24.9°C 03:00 pm

Heritage Festival underway

Thursday, 15th April, 2010

* Fran McKinnon with the sound stage at AJ Keast Park, which will hopefully be restored. * Fran McKinnon with the sound stage at AJ Keast Park, which will hopefully be restored.

This year’s Heritage Festival is themed “The Making of Our Nation” and is now underway state wide. “The Making of Our Nation” is a theme considered particularly relevant to the city and region with the BHP and mining heritage that contributed to, and continues to contribute to, the development of the country.

Local National Trust branch chairman Fran McKinnon said there was also a vast pastoral industry that even predated mining.“It used to be said Australia was built onthe “sheep’s back” but all these industries would not have been possible without the ordinary people, the pioneers and adventurers, who suffered the hardships of climate, water shortages and basic living standards,” she said.

The festival celebrates the 200th anniversary of the start of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s 12 year tenure as the 5th Governor of the colony of NSW.“...our future is not as a penal colony...but a free settlement,” Governor Macquarie said.

The local branch of National Trust is encouraging people to tell their stories of those early hardships that led to the development of the city or surrounding areas. Mrs McKinnon said she remembered as a small child the hardships her parents faced living in a caravan and moving from site to site as her father excavated dams on pastoral properties in the outback.

“I remember having a tub with a bit of water in it, on a tarpaulin under the only shady tree to play in to keep cool in very hot times while mum managed three little girls and ran a camp for the men working on the dams,” she said.“As a little tacker I didn’t know any difference, but now I think back how tough it must have been. But those pastoralists needed to secure water supplies and these were hard times with depression and war and dad worked to keep us all.”

Mrs McKinnon is encouraging locals to “get some of those stories out”, and celebrate the Heritage Festival by recognising the contributions made by ordinary battlers in society.

The festival continues until April 24.

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