Stories of old Clutha are coming to life as the Clutha District Council’s community heritage co›ordinator Tiffany Jenks continues her work in Lawrence, digitising hundreds of documents and photos and recording oral histories.
‘‘We are digitising the stories of the people and places in the Clutha district for a new website called Clutha Heritage. It’s a pilot project at this point, to see if the community are keen to engage with a website like this,’’ she said.
‘‘We are funded by the National Library partnership programme until June of next year, so we have a year to work with all the communities in the district to see what we can find.’’
She said so far they had been sharing the stories of groups and organisations, such as the Evans Flat women’s organisations, the Lawrence Catholic Church and the Tuapeka County Council staff.
Oral histories were also important and many people had come forward with their own stories about family trees and events from the past.
‘‘The other week I sat down with Nola Robertson and she gave me access to a lot of photos and memories to work through.’’ Based at Lawrence Library, Miss Jenks set up a scanning unit to review all the photos, books and memorabilia local people have lent to programme. ‘‘People let me scan their photos and digitise them here in Lawrence, then I return them to the donors. So far I have digitised over 600 items for the website since starting about mid June 2021.
‘‘They are all on the website and I have about another three weeks here in Lawrence, so there should be a couple of hundred more to upload before I move to my next town.’’
‘‘I still have to work with the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Tuapeka Mouth heritage hub, and then I’m looking to move to Milton and setting up my scanning operation in the library there, so that will be fun.’’
‘‘The most community interaction I have had so far was after I scanned in a group photo of the 1970’s era Lawrence Catholic Church congregation, many people have called saying they recognise themselves and others in it.
‘‘I’m looking for people who have old photographs, archival material, good oral stories, people who can help me share the stories of this district. I would like to find them and share their stories, so please come on down and talk with me.’’