How excited am I to get a chance to write! Given that I am a born communicator, I’m surprised it has taken me this long to write about all that has inspired me over the years.
I hope this blog will be as interesting for you to read as it will be for me to write.
I’ve had the fortune in my life to follow my heart and explore the things that make me feel alive, purposeful and true to myself and my values.
I’ve come to realise that the pillars or the ‘absolutes’ of my life, are family, environment, history and community.
They are the ones I will always come back to in my career and personal life and so naturally they are also the ones that will form the stories that I will share on this blog.
The story that lies beneath
Social history fascinates me. I am not a political animal, and the economic ebb and flow over time only interests me inso far as it affects the people in that society at that time. I love a history that is inclusive of all members of society that are bound by its structures and cultural beliefs.
But then again I have spent my life in the natural world, exploring mountains down to the coastline and over our vast oceans, uncovering the histories of these places that span over eons of time. Complex and ever changing, our ancient Australian ecosystems and landscapes are awe inspiring and humbling.
Therefore an archaeological dig of some sort is necessary in order to unearth and uncover the hidden stories and deeper understandings that we can attain if we search and listen to them.
Uncovering ‘The story that lies beneath.’
I believe that a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of all that come before us, can give us the perspective and the appreciation of our place in time and in this land. Through understanding comes connection – to the place we arein, the culture or society we belong to, and to what has shaped us to be the people we are today and tomorrow.
Stories about people
I would like to uncover the forgotten stories of people in this blog. Just a warning… you’ll find no kings, CEO’s of big companies or hollywood stars in my stories! They have been well recorded in the history books, Facebook pages, glossy magazines and websites. I’m interested in the ordinary, the everyday and the people who go unrecorded in history – women, workers, non-europeans and locals. Ordinary people doing everyday deeds that allow us to glimpse a life in another dimension yet much like our own.
Why? Partly because my work over the last 20 years has seen me answering the questions of community and family connected with one of my favourite places, St Helena Island in Queensland. Searching for family members connected with the island, I came to realise that lineage and one’s ancestors gave people a sense of where they came from. These stories were the ties that bound people to each other and to history.
Ok, I’ll admit it. I love the thrill of the chase, the detective hunt to find the fascinating pieces of information that when woven together create the tale. You now can’t break me away from a good “Who Do You Think You are?’ episode nowadays. Even my own family history has begin to reveal communities and attitudes existing centuries ago on the other side of the world.
Connecting people to place
I also found that the more I delved into someone’s ancestor’s life, the more I uncovered the history of the place in which they lived and the events that occurred there. Being someone who was heavily involved in interpreting the history of St Helena Island, this was the difference for me between presenting a generalised account of the management of a prison island or personal story that revealed societal attitudes at the time, personal values and opinions, the choices people made and the struggles they endured.
I’m fascinated by what connects people to place. We are constantly connected with the environment around us, but some places remain in our memories while others we walk through without any sense of it mattering. Unearthing what connects us, not only intellectually in terms of what we know, but also what we feel emotionally and spiritually is another quest on the journey to find ‘the story that lies beneath.’