November 2021

HELM was thrilled to participate in two sessions at Lake Mac Libraries 2021 History Illuminated Festival.

Friday 19 November we held our inaugural heritage walk, Channel-ing our Past, along the Swansea channel, starting at the Rising Sun Anzac Memorial at the RSL Club and ending at the boat ramp at Thomas Humphreys Reserve.  Much fun was had by 40 walkers, many who travelled from different areas around the Lake. Along the way stories were told of cattle thieves, Swansea’s four bridges, two wharves, a police station on 5 acres of land, the school, Chinese fishermen, a boatbuilder and squatters.

Our guest speakers added to the joy of the walk with their personal memories of McEwan’s delicious cream buns, fishing with a soccer goal net, and billy-cart racing down a coal loading gantry. It was a privilege for us to share Swansea’s interesting history with all who attended.

On Thursday, 25 November, HELM hosted a session at Warners Bay Theatre using our Stories from the Shoebox series to explore turning archival materials and oral history interviews into short videos to share with the community.

The stories featured local icons: a shipbuilder, whose contribution to Australia’s war effort was so valued that his portrait is in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra; a world champion ski paddler who overcame two potentially life changing accidents injuries that didn’t deter his joy of life, love of adventure and determination to participate in competitive sports; an artist who returned home from World War 1 suffering both physical and emotional trauma.  Combating his demons with alcohol, he found it difficult to hold down a job, however he was befriended and supported by the people of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.