Part of the secret is not to be a city smartarse, don’t be telling the locals how they should do things or what they should think. Oh! and it helps to keep yourself to yourself and not be nosy. I generally fail miserably at all those things. Despite the failings I seem to have connected remarkably well in this community of 400 or so people.
I ask a lot of questions about the area and its history, just occasionally being asked why I want to know. That one I fouled up last week with the response: I just like to know the ins and outs of a duck’s bum! I suspect from the look I received word will be out this week that I am a government spy or worse. It was ever thus.
In fact these people have been living their myths for generations and resent being called to account for consistency of detail. Indeed, the issue I was addressing was the identification of remains of an old brick hut on our property. The city owners insist it was an exotic tale of land claim jumping by a Henry Munro, the locals say it was a bloke named Harrison or Thompson… the names go on, in the 1940s or 50s.
The city folk are less than delighted when I show Munro was not the occupant, the locals are cautious to stick with a broad suggestion and avoid actual detail. With all that, my nosy probing and other misdemeanors, it seems I am accepted. Having walked to the pub (above) on Saturday, a good uphill hike, I sat with my paper and was reading about the late JD Salinger. I will copy in part the comment I posted on Ragebot in response to Kvatch’s post:
“You read, did you read Salinger?” Well yes, but I thought it was pretty ordinary. Now Kerouak… “Who?” The thing about Salinger is that his name and the book are known – vaguely. One of the bar supports said, “of course he was involved in killing Kennedy – that bloke had his book!” In fact it was the bloke who killed John Lennon was carrying the book. Another corner of the bar offered that he, JDS, was only a Pom after all. It turned out he was confusing another ‘seminal’ text and author, Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence.
I forget that oral history is still alive and well, along with it’s social taboos like insisting on consistency and specifics. It is more about keeping the local myths alive and presumably they have their own point for the initiated. So now I’m nervous of asking questions about the photo of the rail. Well I should ask in Kyneton anyway, it is their railway station..
Kyneton is about 25 Km up the
The Kyneton – Redesdale area were not big producers of gold as their neighbouring districts were, and have been largely ignored by researchers. I suspect that is changing on some fronts. Aspects like the railways, including the one which used to run to Redesdale, will be well recorded, but I wish them well on collecting the real local history.