Unearthing the gems that are our female forebears

Published: 24 Jan 2020

A Mackay Regional Council Libraries project is unearthing a treasure trove of history about our community’s female ancestors.

This project, called “Who do you think she is?”, will endeavour to provide a group of local women with the skills, confidence and opportunity to seek out the story of a woman in their family heritage.

Over a series of eight weekly workshops at Jubilee Community Centre, beginning Tuesday, February 11, participants will be assisted in exploring and documenting a female ancestor’s story.

Local author and researcher Jennifer Perry will be on hand to guide them with their research.

2019 participant, Kathy Tahana, said the experience was wonderful, opening the door to a huge bank of knowledge.

“I went into the workshops with just a snippet of information on my paternal great grandmother, Annie Joyce,” Mrs Tahana said.

“With the help of Jennifer, as well as Donna Kellion from the Library, I was able to learn so much about Annie,” she said.

“Each week, I travelled in Annie’s footsteps, but I didn’t just learn about her, I also learnt about the women of that time and the history that contributed to making them who they were.

“You also learn how to research – where to look for information, such as libraries, museums and other historical records, and how to work the various websites.”

Mrs Tahana said the workshops were ideal for woman with an interest in their ancestry but no idea where to begin.

“Having a group of talented, experienced researchers guiding you through the process made it so easy. It was an invaluable process that I highly recommend,” she said.

During each workshop, participants will be required to record a short interview.

This will document the participant’s individual journey of discovery. Participants will also be given a blank journal to record their discoveries and thoughts.

Cr Fran Mann said the project had been running since 2016 and was always an amazing experience for those who took part.

“Many of the participants still meet regularly as part of social research groups, so not only is it a great way to learn about your family history, it’s also an excellent way to make some new friends,” she said.

Tickets are available from January 28.  For more information, contact Donna Kellion on 4961 9304 or email donna.kellion@mackay.qld.gov.au

Residents can book online via Eventbrite