Groups want to preserve Shire’s oral histories

Published on 16 September 2022

Rob Wuchatsch and Neil Trotter.jpg

Greater focus on recording oral histories is needed to ensure Corangamite Shire’s history is well documented before it is lost forever.

Heytesbury Historical Society members Gavan Deppeler and Neil Trotter have called on the community to record and retain local history as a matter of priority.

“Educating and communicating the need to retain local history, in particular oral history, is an area of urgent attention,” Mr Deppeler told a meeting of Corangamite Shire’s history groups at Cobden.

Their comments came as history society representatives from Corangamite Shire met to share notes of their challenges and achievements at Cobden recently.

Mr Trotter said a major concern was the loss of oral history. “There is a lot of recorded history put out by individual authors, but little is being done to bring it altogether.”

Mr Deppeler suggested that providing life story books to share with loved ones was a valuable way of encouraging oral storytelling to ensure history was not lost.

Facilitated by Corangamite Shire, the forum also heard about the loss of volunteers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting the challenges of digitisation.

Many groups had experienced a fall in volunteer numbers since the pandemic, yet others found that they gained interest and membership as more people found time to research family history.

Camperdown Historical Society president Rob Wuchatsch said the group maintained its volunteer numbers. “While the enforced break was disruptive to the community, it wasn’t hugely disruptive for the society and allowed some members to take a break.

“It’s important to give volunteers jobs that they feel comfortable in doing. If they are not happy, volunteers will just walk.”

Corangamite Shire Community Development Officer Garry Moorfield provided details about grants opportunities available to the shire’s volunteer-operated history groups and museums.

Members of the community interested in becoming involved are encouraged to contact one of the many historical and heritage groups throughout the Shire.


Camperdown & District Historical Society Inc.
0417 352 987

Cobden and District Historical Society Inc
Judith Gribble (President) 5595 2178

Cobden Pioneer Dairy Park
Heather Walsh 0427 353 106

DLCA Inc Derrinallum Lismore History Group
Avon Buchholz (Collection Manager) 0490 078 420
Sandy Gibson (President) 0427 962 987

Heytesbury District Historical Society

Peter Younis (Treasurer) 0408 032 365

Skipton District Historical Society
Mary Bradshaw (Secretary) 5340 2186
Terry Gosling (Treasurer) 0418 999189

Terang and District Family History Group Inc
Contacts: Jan Whamond (Secretary) 5595 4396
Bev Fleming (President) 5595 4384

Terang & District Historical Society Inc
Bob McIntosh (President) 5592 1354 or 0419 885 784
Margaret McIntosh (Research Officer) 5592 1354
Penny Lourey (Secretary) 0497 150 825

Western Plains Machinery Preservation Group Inc.
Nathan Micallef 0421 825 006

South West Restoration Group
Helen Smith 0408 104 912


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