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White Cliffs’ history bequeathed to library

Wednesday, 2nd November, 2011

GREAT GIFT: Members of the White Cliffs Historical Society and the Charles Rasp Library in the White Cliffs Room. GREAT GIFT: Members of the White Cliffs Historical Society and the Charles Rasp Library in the White Cliffs Room.

By Kurtis Eichler

 It was the late Gwen Rowe’s dream to have the history of her beloved White Cliffs carried on for future generations.

Now Ms Rowe’s collection of artefacts, documents, photos and books will be on display at the Charles Rasp Library Outback Archives.

The array of items, collected from 1976 until her death in 2001, will be housed in a specially named room called the ‘White Cliffs Room.’

The remaining members of the White Cliffs Historical Society, who were leaving town, wanted the collection to have a permanent home so the library’s archives officer Brian Tonkin in December made the journey to the town, 287km from Broken Hill.

He brought the historic pieces back to the city in a truck to be sorted over six months at the archives office.

“When you start to look into history you can’t get enough of it,” Mr Tonkin said of the collection.

“Gwen’s collection is about history, not about Gwen.”

Deputy Mayor Darriea Turley said the addition to the library would provide a huge boost to the documented history of the area.

“White Cliffs hasn’t really been captured before,” she said.

Friends Joanne Pedler and Dianne Hoffmann cared for Gwen in her later years.

Ms Pedler, who formerly lived in White Cliffs, said her friend taught in a way no one else did and her collection would be carried on for years to come.

She said when Gwen died she wanted her collection to be permanently housed.

“It was her wish that when the history group no longer needed it that it move here,” Ms Pedler said.

“Her passion for history was undoubtable.”

Ms Hoffmann said the opening of the collection on Monday was special in another way because Ms Rowe would have turned 90.

“To see the collection now sorted into such a lovely room is fantastic,” she said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

 

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