Some time ago I wrote about the beginnings of a digital history project with the Tallarook Mechanics Institute. Well, this morphed into an exciting project with the main users of the hall for over 100 years - the Tallarook Primary School. It was completed towards the end of December 2015 with the launch of the tallarookhistoryproject.website.
After much enthusiasm from TPS Principal Lynette Robberts and the teachers (thank you!) we drew up a program to include the exploration of Tallarook's local and community history in the curriculum. My first visit to the school confirmed my suspicions that this could be a lot of fun! The interest from the children was heartening, and the knowledge (especially of family history) and willingness to pass it on was enormous. One child inadvertently came up with a fabulous expression I quickly scribbled down determined to use somewhere (it's one of the pages in the website); when I asked if they knew much about the Mechanics Institute he was quick to put his hand up to tell me "It's the elder building of Tallarook".
So using archival material and photographs gathered by the Tallarook Mechanics Institute during a previous historical celebration of that building's refurbishment, oral history interviews with their families to consider changes and continuity in the local area and in ways of family life, and drawing family trees and local history timelines from their research, a series of posters were developed explaining the history of this community. You can see these posters and read more on the website's "About this Project" page.
The children finished their work off with a History Day in the Mechanics Institute Hall, a poster exhibition and a whole school rendition of Jack O'Hagan's famous song "Things is crook, in Tallarook" (you can hear this in the website's blog page). I finished my involvement by writing a slightly more fulsome history of the building and community, and designing a website using Mechanics Institute colours to put all our historical material together. The blog page is there for the children to add to as they continue with this fabulous local and community history study in 2016 and into the future.
'I came across your page while researching my family history and would like to congratulate everyone involved in developing The Great Tallarook History Project. My family moved to the Tallarook area about 1870 and I have found this resource very helpful in understanding what their lives might have been like. Well done.' Bev Wilson, 4 May 2017
Thank you Bev! We're very glad to have been of help.