History matters: Drummond family wedding in Armidale

Shared past: A 1955 Drummond family wedding, this Armidale Federation style house is a rare example of the form expressed in weatherboard.
Shared past: A 1955 Drummond family wedding, this Armidale Federation style house is a rare example of the form expressed in weatherboard.

Over the last 11 columns I have explored New England’s built landscape and architecture.

There is more to say. However, last week I was back in the north after a longish break.

This caused me to reflect on aspects of the present and its links to our shared past.

History is about stories, those we chose to remember, those we chose to forget and some that are just forgotten with the passage of time.

Each story is multifaceted, capable of being told in different ways, meaning different things to different people.

This is a photo of a Drummond family wedding from 1955. To family members, it is a story in itself.

Three of the four Drummond girls are at the front.

Edna, the oldest, was ill in hospital. David Drummond stands on the steps to the left. His wife Pearl is on the verandah with members of the groom’s family.

At a second level, the photo is something of a period piece, an example of an important ceremonial occasion. While most major Armidale Federation style houses are brick, this house is a rare example of the form expressed in weatherboard.

As with so many of the larger South Hill houses built in the second half of the 19th century, the front of the house with its steps and high verandahs faces south, looking out over the back gardens and tennis court to the city beyond.

The street entrance in Mann Street is at the back of the house.

We necessarily live in the present, concerned with problems of work, life, careers, family, school and studies.

One side effect is that our past slips away, especially for new people who do not have a direct lineal connection with that past.

The stories that link the present and past are forgotten. Local and regional historians try to redress this.

But I also see part of my role as making New England history interesting and accessible to those outside the north who may have no connection with the area.

I believe that out stories are relevant to the broader sweep of Australian history and indeed beyond.

Not all visitors are interested in history. Some do come just for the history, including the built landscape and architecture. More come for other reasons, but then sample the history while here.

The more stories we have, the better we tell them, the greater the visitor experience.

Our history should be seen as it is, a resource to develop and manage to attract and enrich.

To contact Jim Belshaw send an email to ndarala@optusnet.com.au. He blogs at http://newenglandaustralia.blogspot.com.au/