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Young writers capture history of South Arm Peninsula

A GROUP of aspiring writers from South Arm Primary School has captured the essence of the South Arm Peninsula by creating an evolving history of the area.

The grade five and six class spent the past year collecting stories from the local area, before being treated to a two-day workshop by renowned Tasmanian children’s author and illustrator Coral Tulloch.

Run with assistance from the South Arm Peninsula Residents Association and a Clarence City Council community grant, the workshop provided a framework for the production of a printed guide, as well as valuable insights into creative illustration and writing.

The guide, named the ‘South Arm Living History Project’, offers a unique glimpse of South Arm as seen through the eyes of children.

Project organiser Monica Wedd said the workshop enabled the students to “distil the essence” of what made South Arm special.

“Long-standing residents were asked to think about places in the area that evoked particularly strong memories and the stories behind these spaces,” she said.

“This uncovered some real gems, such as the story of a local shack owner in the 1940s who transported a case of dynamite by ferry to Opossum Bay in order to create an ocean swimming pool in the rock shelf, which still holds water today.”

Under the guidance of local poet and writer Jackie Standish and South Arm Primary School teachers Felicity Cormack and Jenny Gardner, the children investigated their own special places within the area through poetry, illustration and prose.

“This revealed a beautiful overlapping of history, such as the difference between the 1883 lighthouse keeper’s son having to row and walk six-kilometres to school to today’s children just being a short bus ride away,” Ms Wedd said.

“These stories were then presented on a website, which has also become a platform for talented locals to contribute their photos of the local area to illustrate the stories.”

Ms Wedd said the printed guide would be available in local shops and, in conjunction with the website, would show how communities such as South Arm were “added to and enriched over time.”

For more information about the project, visit http://stharmlivinghistory.wixsite.com/livinghistory

Caption: South Arm Primary School students Owen Fitzgerald, left, Felix Woods and Piper Standish created a guide to the local area through the use of stories, illustrations and annotated maps.