THE South Arm Peninsula has taken an historical leap forward with the opening of the Maurice Potter History Room.
Housed in the South Arm Community Centre, the History Room was officially opened by Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman.
It features a comprehensive display that is entirely the work of local historian Maurice Potter, who was unaware until presented with the plaque that the room was to be named in his honour.
Mayor Chipman recognised the South Arm Peninsula’s rich history and paid tribute to Mr Potter’s research over many decades.
“Maurice’s childhood memories were the catalyst for his interest in history, particularly the time spent with his father who was building huts for the forces following the war-time acquisition of Fort Direction,” Mayor Chipman said.
“Maurice was asked to write some of the Fort’s history when he worked there in the mid-1980s and from there, interest in his own family connections grew.”
The centre is managed by the South Arm Residents Association Inc (SAPRA), which has overseen the addition of the Community Library and History Room alongside the Pot Luck Op Shop.
SAPRA president Kerry Scambler extended her thanks to Mr Potter.
“Our history is our stories, and these bring us all together,” she said.
“History isn’t just ‘old stuff’, it’s the people and places that were, and still are, the fabric of our community.
“The images are also wonderful conversations starters – from the early cottages to a certain marine vessel that was balanced on a rock nearby.”
Accepting the plaque, Mr Potter thanked his fellow historians and researchers, including Lindsay Calvert, as well as local residents for their invaluable assistance.
He has also spoken of the inspiration and guidance he received from the late Ted Bezzant.
What began as an offer to hang some old photos has developed into a fascinating insight into South Arm’s history and characters.
The display currently focuses on the period of settlement after the mid-1800s, including the Calvert, Musk and Alomes families and convicts through to more recent times including the renowned Calendar Girls, ANZAC Days, community achievements and other activities.
Through images and stories, the room shows new and long-term locals where their community has come from, its strengths, resilience and sense of place.
It is hoped the official opening will raise wider awareness and that the new neighbouring skate park will bring in parents and a new generation to discover the local history.
Caption: Maurice Potter, right, with his sister Joyce Thompson at the Maurice Potter History Room opening.