The connection between people and place is at the heart of our family photographs and evident both inside or outside our homes. There are many sources of images and information on the history of our homes, especially our local council libraries and museums where we can learn a surprising amount about the place we call home. In Shellharbour, we explore the Discover Shellharbour website for clues of the Stanford family who ran Oak Flats Post Office.
The first day free of lockdown I set off to the South Coast to enjoy the delights of driving more than 5km. My focus was Berrima’s Gumnut Patisserie, my culinary heart of the Southern Highlands, and the Tourist Drive 8 road signs. My journey was like a roller coaster driving up and down the mountains and across bridges from Wollongong to Albion Park up Macquarie Pass to Moss Vale & Berrima village. Then across to Fitzroy Falls and down the Kangaroo Valley to their wonderful 1898 sandstone suspension bridge. From here it was up Cambewarra Mountain, across the Shoalhaven River Bridge to Nowra to pick up some supplies then back to Berry village for a late lunch and a stroll around the lighthouse at Kiama. This seems pretty straight forward until you look for a map of the now antiquated Tourist Drives. Eventually, I found some gems that you might enjoy exploring.
At Berrima Marketplace Park there are a few odd sandstone blocks near the carpark. The plaque tells us they are from the original Berrima Bridge built by convicts for David Lennox in 1836 & restored in 1860 & 1897. Surely, there is a story here to investigate & a lot more blocks somewhere else, so let’s explorer further.
If one tries to think about history, it seems to me – it’s like looking at a range of mountains. And the first time you see them, they look one way. But then time changes, the pattern of light shifts. Maybe you’ve moved slightly, your perspective has changed. The mountains are the same, but they look very different.
History is everywhere. Robert Harris considers history to be ever-changing as it reflects our perspective which is determined by the time & attention we give to details such as people and places. On a recent visit to Berrima, I noticed some beautiful old trees & a pile of sandstone blocks in the park near my favourite cafe, so I decided to explore further.
As we rely more & more on the internet, we also depend on a vast army of volunteers who help to transcribe automated transcriptions on sites such as the National Library of Australia’s Trove for Newspapers or the State Library of New South Wales’ Amplify for oral history recordings. The Australian Museum also has Digivol where volunteers help to transcribe their collection or internationally there’s the Gutenberg Project or LibriVox. By editing the transcriptions the aim is to corrects any errors in the automated versions, especially where the original was hard to read or hear, and make them easier for us all to find through search engines. It’s up to you how much you transcribe, although it does help if you at least edit the transcriptions or details that are important to you so they can be found again. Here’s an example to give you the idea. The topic is Minnamurra Falls, NSW.
Was it six degrees of separation or merely a coincidence that this homeless portrait of the Campbell family, which was unearthed in an antique store in Ballarat, has a direct connection to Yass which was also featured in a post regarding coincidences?
It can seem rather daunting to identify & date unknown photographs but there are often clues to be found in the photographs or other resources to help you identify their details, the who, what, where and when. Here’s one of a few I found in Ballarat which you may find interesting or useful, or you may even be able to help us with their story.
Christmas cards have evolved alongside improvements in photography and printing techniques. Cards can be very useful as images when you don’t have the right picture so think about saving them as they reflect the priorities of the society or times in which they were produced. Christmas cards may include words, verses, motifs or pictures and may or may not be religious. What does Christmas mean today? How can cards help us with our family stories?
Even though, I thought my photo book was finished this was not quite the case. I nearly forgot to include the school photos! There are often photos that are separate to your main photos or albums that need to be considered if you are trying to put everything in one place. If any are larger than A4 you may need to take them to a photo scanning service or if they are damaged have them repaired or restored.
Little did I realise when I purchased the Epson FF680W how much it would be used over the last few months, while we have all been more or less confined to home. I have worked my way through several albums and scanned over 1500 photos. This has taken months as I empty the albums and keep the photos in order; clean & scan them as both 300dpi & 600dpi; store them temporarily and create a photo book. As the photos are scanned they are labelled with their year and number. Later, the details from the albums are added manually. This initially takes a lot of time but you get into a rhythm of scanning a batch one day, labelling it the next and so on. In this way, you slowly work through them all.