Oral History

How often would we would like to delve into the “olden times” by talking to our long departed ancestors? What questions would we ask? What mysteries would we solve? What secrets would we learn? What knowledge would we gain?

John Turnbull Rae and Family, circa 1910                                                                                                                                                       Photo courtesy Denise Rae

Alas, the opportunity seldom presents itself, even with relatives who are still with us. During the course of the history project it was often said by the younger residents, “Well, Dad used to tell me all these things but it went into one ear and out the other”. When asked if they ever asked their parents questions, the older residents often said, “They [the parents] would say, ‘Why do you want to know that for?’.” It just wasn’t done.

However Bowmans Forest and Murmungee is fortunate to still have links to its original selectors via families who still reside there. In early 2020 three of the “oldtimers” of the Basin talked about aspects of their life and events in the district. Thanks to Bruce Witherow, Brian Rae and James Neary for sharing aspects of their life and past events.