Meet the Columnist – Karen Filewood writes News Of The Area’s history column ‘Times Gone By’

Karen Filewood write’s Coffs Coast News Of The Area’s regular history column entitled ‘Times Gone By’.


STARTING at News Of The Area just three months after its inauguration in the Coffs Harbour region, it is hard to believe that over a year has already passed.

If anyone had told me that as an academic and historian I would become a regular newspaper columnist, I’m not sure I would have believed them.

Having ‘put my feet up’ after concluding three decades of volunteering and all the work that goes into an Honours thesis, the opportunity to write a history column was timely.

With a love of storytelling and a passion for history, turning that into a newspaper column was only a short step away, not to mention a nice relief from academic writing.

It is also a change from Halloween cemetery walks I volunteered to hold, so you won’t see me prowling around local cemeteries, dressed up in costume, giving talks by torchlight … at least for the time being.

On the other hand, you might still spot me in my oldest clothes, hiking through the scrub on the trail of a long-lost lone grave, or in some vine-covered abandoned shed looking through boxes of records.

Who said history was boring!

My family have resided in Coffs Harbour since the outbreak of WW1 and having been born here, along with living here almost all my life with my husband and children, I could almost be classed as a ‘local’.

Together with over thirty years of research and academic study, this experience and insight has given me a sense of the depth and variety of history in the region which I bring into my articles.

I am always learning and thoroughly enjoy sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with you, especially during lockdowns when no-one could get out and about.

Researching and writing for a column is largely a solo activity, so I counted myself greatly privileged in teaming up with Uncle Mark Flanders to bring you the perspective of Coffs Harbour’s first peoples and although he is greatly missed, I like to think he is still here in spirit on the land of the Gumbaynggirr.

I also partnered with Coffs Harbour Regional Museum to share, where possible, photos from their collection.

The hard-working people of the News Of The Area are a friendly, enthusiastic and quite considerate group.

To see the establishment of a newspaper to meet the needs of a region, particularly those who do not access electronic news, is inspirational.

Since the 1700s newspapers have been at the core of a community, playing an important role in bringing the news to the people.

It is heartening to see that availability continue and I look forward to bringing you more stories of this region into the future.



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