TSP goes to Uralla

Last week we drove south from Queensland and into the cool climes of the NSW New England tablelands. Here we began the first of three visits recording stories from around Uralla. Uralla is a small town in open grazing country south of Armidale. It is a popular stopping point for people en-route to Sydney and boasts a much loved literary bookshop, boutiques, cafes and galleries. It’s a good example of what a town can do if people work together to foster local arts, culture and heritage.

Elizabeth and John came from Inverell to record Elizabeth’s story

TSP recorded at the Uralla showgrounds – we also did several house calls. With heaters blasting and our signage flapping in the cold winter wind outside, we listened in honour as stories unfolded between friends, family and loved ones: one man’s ongoing connection to the gold mining days of his great grandfather; the birth of the local landcare movement; an aboriginal elder who spoke with her nephew about her life and about how she raised around 25 children; the popular Treefest of the 90s which signalled a turn in people’s perception towards replanting native trees and soil conservation. And more.

When we meet the people and hear the stories, hear their voices, and honour their stories by recording them and then making them available for others to hear, it’s as if we’re plugged into a deep, deep artery that feeds the soul. And from out of this initial trip important connections have been made and much, much more is surely yet to come.

Hamish with Andrew Parker from Uralla Arts

We are excited about this series of recordings and the way in which it promises to marshall a broad level of interest, a terrific body of locally born stories, and culminate in an exhibition that reflect the many lives, relationships and experiences of local Urallians. We felt very welcome by all and recognise how fortunate we were to have the clear support and energy of Andrew Parker, Penny Nelson and Joseph Bell from Uralla Arts – not to mention the broader Uralla Arts and heritage community. We’re looking forward to our next trip in September.

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