Mid Coast heritage web site to be launched

Penny Teerman and Janine Roberts want people to connect with their community through researching its history.
Penny Teerman and Janine Roberts want people to connect with their community through researching its history.

Interested in history? Your family’s history? Your town’s history?

Friday, September 7 sees the launch of a new website that can help people of the Mid Coast – and beyond – learn more about their history.

midcoaststories.com has come about through the assistance of a Heritage Near Me strategic grant under the Office of Environment and Heritage. 

Janine Roberts, who has a teaching background, and Penny Teerman, who was a member of the Greater Taree heritage advisory committee prior to the council amalgamation, are behind the project and website.

They see history as a way people can connect with their communities and they believe there is potential to entice tourism through our history.

They also want people to share their stories and historical photographs, building up a free resource people can access and enjoy.

One of the features of the website, council rate books, helps build on our social history.

While Penny was volunteering for the heritage advisory committee she came across the council rate books being stored at Wingham Town Hall, which was once council chambers.

The rate books date back to 1885 for Taree municipality, 1889 when Wingham municipality was incorporated, and 1906 for Manning Shire.

The midcoaststories.com website features those rate books for Taree from 1885 through to 1950, with Wingham and Manning Shire rate books to come. They paint a picture of early Taree, what the town looked like in terms of occupations and businesses.

Janine moved to the Manning with her husband, a doctor, and was working remotely for the University of Queensland education department. She wanted to get a feel for her new home and to do this she started researching its history.

It was a similar story for Penny. Hailing from the UK, she has always been interested in the local history of the places she has lived in. Having a background in local government gave her some insight into planning and heritage.

Janine’s teaching background has been helpful in making the new website curriculum friendly. There are also education sessions to come on using such resources as Trove and researching land title records.