Creative residents turn memories into stories

December 15, 2017

Geoff Bergl, Nadine Knight and Helena Kadmos

Sharing memories: Collection contributors Geoff Bergl and Nadine Knight with Dr Helena Kadmos (right)

A Murdoch University literary researcher has supported City of Melville residents as they turned their memories of the area into stories for a new collection.

Dr Helena Kadmos, the Krishna Somers Postdoctoral Fellow from Murdoch’s School of Arts, co-facilitated writing workshops with long-term residents of the riverside region, drawing on writing exercises to help the participants develop their literary efforts.

The resulting booklet, entitled Memories of Melville, has just been launched by the City in the lead up to its 50th birthday celebrations in 2018.

The charming short stories include the day a 6.9 earthquake shook Western Australia, memories of the Mayfair Theatre Art Deco cinema in Bicton and how children playing in the river knew it was time to return home when the 5pm whistle from the CSR Sugar Refinery in Mosman Park rang out.

Dr Kadmos said the experience of working with the small group of residents invited by the City of Melville to participate, had been very enjoyable.

“These residents shared a love of their locality and an almost gleeful certainty that they inhabited, and belonged to, Perth’s best kept secret. The City of Melville is a leafy, spacious and community orientated collection of suburbs,” Dr Kadmos said.

“Over the course of the workshops, the participants were very open to experimenting with a variety of writing techniques to reflect on and articulate their personal and shared experiences of living in Melville.”

Dr Kadmos said the eldest participant had lived in the area for all of her 70 years, while the ‘baby’ of the group had lived there for 39 years.

The project arose from a research collaboration with Dr Rachel Robertson of Curtin University, which is investigating ways in which individual experiences can be combined into one piece of writing.

City of Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the City’s Museum and Local History team were delighted to be able to collaborate with Murdoch and Curtin Universities and long term residents of the City.

“Memories of Melville is perfectly timed as we reach out to residents to celebrate the City’s 50 year anniversary in 2018 and we encourage people to be further involved through Melville Milestones by helping us to search for relevant photos, objects and memories of living in our great City.”

The booklet will be available from City of Melville museums and the Local History Collection.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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