Eden residents are being encouraged to join a Facebook group aimed at identifying aspects of historical heritage in the Bega Valley’s south east region.
Local historian Angela George created the ‘South East Historic Heritage’ group in June last year, and hopes to have members from all walks of life join to share their knowledge, photographs and suggestions of items that deserve recognition.
Ms George said experience shows that some of the most valuable artefacts are often “hidden gems” that only a few locals know about, tucked away where others don’t have a chance to appreciate their value.
She hopes that the community will take ownership of the page and create an ongoing reminder of the history of the area from Yellow Pinch to the Victorian border.
“I feel like historical heritage around here is really marginalised, compared to things like the performing arts, visual arts and natural heritage,” she said.
“Professional historians sometimes forget the knowledge that the local community has; you put a picture up in the group and stories just flow.
“So it’s really just a way for people to make each other aware of what’s out there and to bring things to attention.
“An artefact is just an artefact, until you get the personal stories that go with them.
“When you get people talking about things, those levels of significance come through.”
Ms George said the debate around heritage listing the iconic Hotel Australasia was the catalyst behind the page.
She believes it is important to ensure that all aspects of the region’s history are documented, and to not just assume that it has already been recognised.
“It’s not just about built heritage though, it’s about movable cultural heritage too,” Ms George said.
“We’ve got some great museums around here, and the volunteers who help run them do a fantastic job.
“But they can only do so much and there are only so many hours in the day, so this can be a good outreach sort of thing for them.”
The response to the page has been positive, with members of different towns providing a snapshot that others would otherwise not see.
“Very shortly after we started the group, I put something up about the dairy industry, which used to be huge around here,” Ms George said.
“Julie Fourter put up a photo of a tin sign for Fourter and Sons Model Farm, which was an award-winning property at Nethercote.
“It’s those things that are out there in the community that people don’t get to see.”
To join the group, jump onto Facebook and search for ‘South East Historic Heritage’, or click here.