Another new project is also underway and this is one where I am requesting the help of the public. This one has been triggered by my late father's book, 'The Sawers From Pitcairn' - and it is something I read about being started by someone in the USA (I think) - and I couldn't help but feel how tragic it would be if nothing is done here in Australia. Dad completed the manuscript for 'The Sawers From Pitcairn' literally just prior to his death in 1993. It traces part of our family and station history and we are so very grateful to Dad for doing this. Unfortunately, my mother didn't pen her story at all. She had planned to and it had been organised for someone to record it - but it never eventuated. Mum passed away in 2010, exactly a week before Dad's book was released. So Mum never actually saw it - but she knew that something had finally been done about it and that, I believe, made her a happy woman at point of death.
But - Mum has now gone and taken her own story with her. It's too late. How very tragic. When it would have been so very easy to encourage her to talk about her life (which she loved doing - who doesn't - irrespective of the sort of life led) and have it recorded. Hey presto - another wonderful story could so easily have been saved. But - no - she's gone and taken her story with her...lost forever.
As mentioned above research for my stations book involves meeting, interviewing and photographing a group of retired pastoralists. The second 'mystery' project/book also involves meeting with retirees. During my first meeting I was stunned by stories of their lives as they recalled them - and watching their eyes light up as they talked - what an overwhelming and humbling experience. I asked whether their lives had been documented - both said it had't but immediately said their daughter could do it. I am encouraging this as far as possible - again before it's too late. Both people are in their eighties.
I know Australia, like every nation, has many formal historical records and I am also aware that many people are being sensible enough to compile family trees and histories and they are to be applauded for doing this. Our elderly folk are the last generation to have witnessed so many things which have already been surpassed and replaced repeatedly. They experienced WWII (sadly most of the diggers from WWI have already gone) - and in this connection I have been in contact with the Department Health and Ageing - they have been wonderful with their encouragement. Our elderly folk experienced the introduction of the motor car, veteran and vintage and the inventions of so many things. The list is limitless.
I am not looking to write a book on this (apart from those already underway and other authors I am helping) - I am simply trying to possibly start a group/project/something that can help me act on this idea. To encourage families and/or volunteers to go into private homes/aged care facilities and in turn encourage the elderly (those that are able to) to reminisce. To talk to their hearts' content. Do something that requires no effort on their part, just enjoyment and simply recording and encouragement on behalf of one or more of their audience.
If anyone 'out there' would be interested in helping with this (such a simple idea and what an absolute and pure tragedy if there is no interest) please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. There is no money involved. Just capturing personal memories from our wonderful elderly before they are lost and gone forever.