THEMED Having A Voice, the Raymond Terrace and District Historical Society’s public event was part of The National Trust’s Australian Heritage Festival, attracting several hundred people.
Over $1000 was raised on the day to assist the Society’s activities, which features the Sketchley Cottage, a 19th century timber dwelling.
A rich program featuring people from the local area filled the day’s activities.
This included poetry by Mark Wilson, the reading of World War I soldier letters, authors John Gillam and Yvonne Fletcher telling the personal story of Arthur Keppie and his fiancé Ethel Webb, and a letter by a Turkish school student from the Two Trenches, One Letter project.
Peter Kafer and Zona Kelly were the artists in residents for the day.
Also in attendance was The Newcastle Choir who entertained the attendees with a Songs My Grandmother Sang repertoire.
The Historical Society’s member, Ms Moira Saunderson contributed by relating her experiences in researching local history.
Two local History teachers, Mr Joel Ross and Ms Melanie Innes, who is also a PhD history education candidate at the University of Newcastle; and yours truly; fulfilled the theme of Having A Voice by reading letters by World War I soldiers from the local area.
Of the experience, Ms Innes told News Of The Area, “Although I am not a stranger to public speaking, I really felt a sense of community, embracing our shared history.”
“I feel that events such as these are increasingly important, as our lives become busy and hectic, people in our community are at risk of losing the connection to local history.”
With the event being held on the weekend before ANZAC Day, Ms Innes added, “I think hearing these personal histories from figures in our local area brings a greater significance to the far-reaching impact of WWI.”
President Ken Barlow said, “It is Society members that provide events and services such as these.”
“To continue our work the society seeks new members and practical support for projects.”
By Heather SHARP