Gunnedah residents have submitted more than 500 historical photos for a nationwide photography project.
Local photographer Paul Mathews said about 250 of the photos were “fantastic” and could contribute to the archival project Moments in Time.
The project is the brain child of Mr Mathews, International Olympic Committee photo expert Peter Charles, and journalist and author James Knight who are on a mission to save “Australia’s pictorial past”, with a call for “iconic” photographs that capture “a way of life”.
Mr Mathews said there were a few photos that really captured a moment in history, including a photo of rabbits loaded up on a horse and cart, which was submitted by Tom Torrens’ and Tony Mellick’s grandfather.
They’ve got to look at the photo and think, ‘Would kids in 100 years time be interested in looking at those photos?’Paul Mathews
“There used to be a rabbit abattoir, it’s out near Pryde’s, and three days a week a horse and cart used to go around the district and probably cover 100 miles and pick up rabbits from the trappers because there was a rabbit plague,” he said.
“They’d bring them back on the back of the cart and it was all stacked. They’d have anything up to 1000 rabbits on them and the rabbit abbatoir would freshen the meat up and because it was near the train line, they’d put them on the train and send them off to the city.
“Another great photo was one Glenda Witts brought in from her grandparents’ property up at Inverell… and they were stacking the hay and the horse and cart are picking them up, and there are about 11 women in the photos and there’s a baby sitting in the middle of the field.
“This sort of stuff will be shown down the track to your kids and your grandchildren, and they will be very interested in seeing this.”
Mr Mathews said something he noticed was that “in those days the photos were always taken from a distance, not doing a selfie” and if the photos were blown up, a lot of detail was revealed, such as branding on vehicles. Cameras were usually only owned by the wealthy as well.
“The other thing I did notice was that today kids have got iPhones and iPads. Back in the old days, they had, I run, I play, I jump, I swim, I ride and that was a big difference,” Mr Mathews said.
“You could see the kids were enjoying themselves. It was real stand-out sort of stuff.”
This sort of stuff will be shown down the track to your kids and your grandchildren, and they will be very interested in seeing this.Paul Mathews
Mr Mathews has high hopes for the photography project and said the team would welcome more photos.
“It’s the sort of stuff, the way of life and they’ve got to look at the photo and think, ‘Would kids in 100 years time be interested in looking at those photos?’
“A photo we’re really looking for is a kid in a billy cart or even an adult in a billy cart going down the street.”
The team will make digital copies of selected photos, and video-interview the owners of these photos. The pictures and stories will then be archived and presented to an archive library.
For more information on Moments in Time, contact Paul Mathews on 0427 424 353.