Born and raised in Western Sydney, you could say I was a true, proud Westerner. Attending school in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, I was exposed to complete opposite sides of Sydney, yet was always drawn to the West. My heart. My home. Even attending the University of Sydney, where a large percentage of students come from North Sydney, I had always been identified as the segregated Westerner so when the opportunity came along for me to create, design and direct my own project, it was inevitable I wanted to work within the suburb I love and am so passionate about.
I ran into more than the usual bumps along the journey of finding an organisation. I had little to no luck, with one organisation who originally gave me a positive answer initially pulling out at the 11th hour…I was in tears…literally. I sat in class in week 7 and heard the chitter chatter of my colleagues boasting about their organisation and how “amazing” they were and they were almost done and here I was, back to square one. My search began again. Exhausted, running on no sleep, I contacted as many organisations as I could and, just like that, the Parramatta Heritage Centre waltzed in and saved me from drowning in my own tears…literally.
The Parramatta Heritage Centre, located in the heart of Parramatta, houses thousands of photos, letters, articles, journals, artefacts, memorabilia and writings from convict Parramatta to current times. It allows the public to visit, view and learn about all sources within the centre, 7 days a week. I was quite shocked that a heritage centre was open 7 days a week. It truly shows that it caters to families, including working parents. To me, that’s extremely important as centres like this should be accessible to everyone, during weekdays and weekends.
First day seeing all the sources they had and I was thrown into a huge pot of CONFUSION. It was hard enough I had no idea what to do for my project, but I had a plethora of sources to choose from that it made me stress out even more. Being a natural stress head and a perfect perfectionist, I knew right then and there that I was in for a fun ride.
I met with the archivist and curator of the centre, who were both so welcoming of me and my ideas. I wasn’t sure who was more excited about our collaboration, me or them! Although I wanted to do something within the centre itself, it already had an established website and presence within the Parramatta community. So, I sent my brain on yet another intense brain storm and a huge light bulb lit up! I wanted to use the sources that the Parramatta Heritage Centre has to present the Western Suburbs of Sydney and all it has to offer. How I’m going to present this info and what i’m going to present is still way up on cloud 9 at the moment but the ladies at the centre have been so helpful in bouncing ideas off me when I’m going off on a ramble. I was, also, thinking of doing a “Then & Now” website that shows the progression of the city and how far it’s come. This can also be something that I can add on in the future or pass down and future generations can add to it. Hopeful thinking but never say never!
Despite the challenges involved with working with an organisation that is already established in the city, I look forward to working with people who have extensive knowledge and stories about the city and the sources they look over. Daily visits to the centre will assist me in my project and move further along to completion.