Glimpse Ku-ring-gai’s past with tales from those who lived it

Published on 5 December 2017

Local history as lovingly told by its residents has been preserved on film for future generations.

In March this year, sixteen Ku-ring-gai residents sat down to share their stories on film as part of Ku-ring-gai Library’s first annual Tell Your Story oral history project.

The project, made possible with a grant from the NSW Government’s Seniors Festival grants program, was designed to preserve 20th century history, highlight changes in the Ku-ring-gai community, and to give a lasting snapshot of these changes for future generations.

The filmed interviews have now been curated into a 30-minute video featuring recollections of Ku-ring-gai’s suburbs in decades gone by.

Memories fondly recalled by the interviewees include driving through the “very rural”, “proper little village” of St Ives as a small child; a time when a two-lane highway was all that ran through Gordon; living with septic tanks, and a time before the area had postal delivery.

Some of the interviewees recalled growing up in Europe on the verge of and during World War II. Lydia Mamtschak tells of her father arranging legal passage out of Ukraine for their family, only to be sent to a German concentration camp.

Soccer player Michael Jurecki recalls being sent to Australia from his home country of Poland as part of a deal between the Australian Government and the Polish Olympic Committee.

Throughout the film, the interviewees speak about the passing of loved ones, making their starts in Ku-ring-gai, falling in love, and bringing up their children. They also speak about their plans for the future, spending time with their grandchildren, and what keeps them busy.

The subjects of the film are all natural storytellers - Lydia Mamstchak wrote a book about her life, and Pennie Griffiths writes stories for her grandchildren every Christmas.

The 30-minute film can be viewed on Council’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/KuringgaiCouncil

The full interviews are available to watch, and transcripts available to be read at Gordon Library.

The participants in the history project were: Max Brodie, Maria De Sousa, Geoff Ford, Jewel Goulston, Laurence Goulston, David Griffiths, Pennie Griffiths, Lorraine Hook, Mark Jackson, Michael Jurecki, Lydia Mamtschak, Charles Seaton, Lee Shrubb, Karla Storrs, Gwen Tregear, and Russell Turner.

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Media enquiries: Joel Callen Ku-ring-gai Council Ph: 9424 0897 or jcallen@kmc.nsw.gov.au