…this post introduces PHA NSW and ACT member, Ian Willis’ blog, Camden History Notes. Camden is a town southwest of Sydney, situated on land belonging to the Dharawal (Tharawal) people.
Ian’s blog presents stories about the district’s people, its history, heritage and traditions. He draws on the memories and experiences of local families, local identities, community organisations and local institutions.
The Camden story has links to other parts of the world. It is part of the movement of peoples, ideas, technologies and institutions across national boundaries. This is illustrated by Ian’s recent post on the blog about the future of local newspapers. Prompted by a question in his local ‘rag’, the Oran Park Gazette, about the future of the community newspaper, Ian considers the value of recording local news not only for current residents but also historians.
Media historian Rod Kirkpatrick maintains that community newspapers have survived because of their closeness to their community, their reflections of a community’s values, and their contribution to cohesion, welfare and progress. In a similar vein, Louise Prowse, whose historical writing has focussed on rural Australia, argues that the local newspaper is central to the life of country towns because it underpins social capital, values local history and gives the community a voice.
To read more about the past and future of local newspapers, and Ian’s profiles of his local rags, go to https://camdenhistorynotes.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/local-newspapers/