Ku-Ring-Gai Historical Society

I decided to complete my historical work with the Ku-Ring-Gai Historical Society; the local history hobby group of the area I have lived in my entire life. My Initial work started as the group teaching me their own methods of research; combining personal accounts mostly and existing history with things such as land history and ownership records, images, online map databases (predominantly SixMaps), census details via the Ryerson Index, and existing online databases such as Trove to slowly piece together information to understand and produce history. A wealth of resources- the Society was very keen that I pursue personal interest in my research-that being WWI and WWII. A testament to their dedication and knowledge, the group had just produced a multi-volume publication about WWI soldiers from Ku-Ring-Gai, so I decided to focus my attention on WWII. After a brief search on the council website showed a simple one line mention to community groups during the war; I was prompted to question- given the sheer significance of the War and the rightful honoring of those Australians who fought overseas, shouldn’t those whom contributed in other ways back on the Home Front be recognized too? Thus I set out to produce a piece discovering how the people of Ku-Ring-Gai during World War Two contributed to the War Effort.
I did encounter the challenge of a lack of information; the initial goal of interviewing those whom experienced it proved impossible due to no records of the individuals of each community group, which is why I relied a lot on the Historical Society’s property records that mentioned various War-groups in descriptions of past residents. Many past society articles and documents also mentioned groups and people briefly- which is why I was able to focus on combining many of these existing resources to produce an article that was more coherent and in depth of all the groups; which then enabled me to make sense of all the online and independent sources.
Rather than a solid essay; I decided to produce my piece as an article- making it shorter and more interesting, I was challenged to write it in a more relaxed and passionate way, definitely a change from my standard history essays where I jam as much information in as possible! I followed the standard format of the Historical Society’s Articles which go into their monthly newsletter and annual publication- The Historian- allowing them to take maximum benefit if they would like to use my work in that way or add it to their online database. Presenting a shorter work, combined with images; makes the article easier and more enjoyable to read for the general public; whom it is designed for; as I aim to make the hard work and spirit of those who worked tirelessly in the War known not just to a select few but to everyone as their honor deserves.
In this work- I was drawn to something that wasn’t initially in my plans for this course. I spoke to A lovely woman who was also doing her research at the same times I was, who was there sacrificing her own time and effort in order to save a house next door which has been sold and is being planned for demolition by overseas developers. Knowing the beauty and uniqueness of this area, it would be devastating to lost some of the historic houses after so many have already been lost to concrete monstrosities. This is where I developed the side idea of writing a small piece about the work of the society- as a way to highlight from my end the resources of it, get a perspective from people within the society, and also record Edwinas work as a way to preserve it; as I feel that history in Ku-Ring- Gai is under threat and this must be better acknowledged and known about. This article will be written so that it can be used by the society in terms of advertising and sharing their work; and I am hoping it could potentially be used by the Library and shared among their resources.
Thus, I have created 2 articles- one to be used by the society and the other for the society- and both to be used for the general public to gain awareness of two issues which I feel are of upmost importance, one being honoring those throughout recent history whom have given so much, and preserving this history for future generations so that it can be acknowledged how significant the past is to our current world and honor the past by keeping this alive. No matter the academic result of these articles, I can safely say I had an extremely enlightening experience, and this is definitely only the beginning of my time with the Ku-Ring-Gai Historic Society- and I cant wait to see what articles and histories I can research next, and hopefully get better each time!