Graeme Gibson

Over two weeks at the end of August and early September 2016 the people of Bourke, and visitors to the town, were invited to contribute to the project, Stories of Bourke: Past, present and future.

Meetings and workshops were held with community associations and service providers, schools and support groups. Individuals were invited to contribute through random meetings at the monthly market, in the street and elsewhere.

Life writing workshops were scheduled with participants invited to contribute a story of their experience living in or visiting Bourke. A couple of pop-up writing workshops were held over a couple of hours with people invited to come along for as little or as long as they liked.

Stories collected needed to reflect people’s lived personal experiences, their memories, their hopes for the future. Old stories of Aboriginal culture or of early settlers were not sought, these have been told elsewhere. It is the contemporary stories that were the focus.

Like all places Bourke has had, still does have, social issues that affect the community. These stories, where told, are included. The aim was a snapshot into Bourke as it is, warts and all, not just an air-brushed collection of feel good stories.

Some of the stories are on the spot responses, others are deeply reflective. Some were provided verbally, others written. A very few are drawn from previously told stories.

Some of the stories will make you laugh, some may make you feel sad. Many are very insightful, deeply thoughtful and hopeful of the future.

The stories are presented in three parts: Anecdotes and spoken stories, Written word and Poetry. This project was part of the Festival of a Thousand Stories held in September each year. The festival includes the Poet’s Trek, which gains a mention.

It’s hoped that you enjoy and learn something of this remarkable town and its people – it’s past, present and future.

Story telling is eye to eye, mind to mind and heart to heart

Scottish traveller’s proverb

Stories of Bourke: Past, present and future

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Bourke Stories

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