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Historian saves motoring history

Thursday, 30th April, 2015

Historian Paul Armstrong has catalogued the city’s motoring history from 1901. Historian Paul Armstrong has catalogued the city’s motoring history from 1901.

By Darrin Manuel

The evolution of motoring is a topic that fascinates historians and car enthusiasts alike, and thanks to Paul Armstrong the Silver City’s auto history will be preserved for future generations.

Mr Armstrong has spent the past year painstakingly cataloguing the growth of the car industry in Broken Hill from 1901 to 1955 after receiving a 12-month fellowship from the Gallipoli Foundation Memorial Fund.

The expansive collection of stories, interviews and photos have been condensed onto CD, covering significant events such as the city’s first petrol car, the inaugural motor-car mail run to Menindee, and and the first Holden to arrive in Broken Hill.

“It took the full twelve months to finish it, right up to only having about a week left,” said Mr Armstrong.

“Just finding all the old photos and going through magazines and newspapers as well as interviewing all the local identities in the industry.

“It’s important people recognise what a fantastic industry it was in Broken Hill, and how they experimented and took it on themselves get involved from the early 1900s.”

The interview process was a big part of the project, with Mr Armstrong meeting with various well known auto-enthusiasts in the community such as Bruce Lord, David Blows, Pud Tonkin, Darryl Lynott and many others.

Mr Armstrong said it was fascinating to chat with these men and their families and capture their memories of a bygone era.

“It’s important to get this information now and hold onto it as some of these people with all this knowledge are getting into their eighties,” said Mr Armstrong.

“We’re starting to lose these people that have all this information in their head, because they didn’t have computers back in those days.

“It’s important to archive it for future generations because one day they’ll come along and say ‘granddad, what did you drive?’

“And that’s a story in itself.”

The CD “History of Motoring Broken Hill” is available for $20 from Bushy White’s Museum, Newsworld, Barrier Stationers, the aiport cafe or from Mr Armstrong on 8088 554.

A copy will also be available for browsing at the BH City Library.

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