Tales of Times Past
Senior storytelling in Melville.
A group of local seniors recently shared their memories and experiences with students at Bateman Primary School.
They were part of the Tales of Times Past oral storytelling program, supported by the City of Melville, which encourages seniors to tell stories about their experiences growing up last century. The seniors share their personal journeys with students from local schools to give today’s youth a better understanding of the older generation and local history.
Tales of Times Past Founding Director Vasanti Sunderland said she started the program in 1995 while working as a community development consultant. “I was doing some work at senior citizens centres and it became evident that there were a lot of wonderful stories out there that needed to be heard,” she said. “Society can’t afford to lose these stories and this program takes steps towards sharing and preserving our history and celebrating seniors and their lives.”
Ms Sunderland said she originally designed the program around bringing generations together to get a better understanding of each other and break down stereotypes. “The benefit for the older generations is that they get to share their stories, which are then enriched through the questions asked by the audience,” she said. “The younger people get pleasure from hearing stories that may not usually found in history books.”
The students from Bateman Primary learnt things such as what was what like at to catch the tram to school, having no shoes to wear, listening to the wireless at night, having no electricity, mobile phones or fast food, living on a farm and using a horse and cart for transport. Some of the seniors brought in their own personal treasures so the children could not only hear but feel and see how life was different in the “olden days”.
Bateman Primary Principal Stephen Breen said the students were absolutely fascinated by the stories told by the seniors. “Oral language is a very important part of our curriculum as it is the starting point for literacy,” he said. “The students also learnt a little bit about local society and history.”
For general enquiries about The City of Melville Tales of Times Past group please contact the Coordinator Pauline Payne on 9317 1469.