The Boolarra Folk Festival this year proved to be more popular than ever. There was a busy market dotted with buskers that overflowed into the streets, the school children’s drum and rhythm performance and Steve Schultz’s drumming workshop. The talented live music performances onstage stirred a receptive audience. There were new faces and old acquaintances to greet. The Community Hotel was jam-packed. It was an invigorating day. Glorious weather may have been a factor but it was the sterling work of the dedicated Festival committee that worked the magic. It was great!
This year for us began with a talk by Alister Hall, the youngest child of the late Cr Alan and Alison Hall of Budgeree. Alister who is 87 has a wonderful memory for people and events. He is one of the ‘go to’ persons for local historical information. H
is life story is an exemplar of human endurance and patience.
Alister remembers walking the 2km uphill to the school from his home at the age of six. After gaining his merit certificate at Budgeree State School, Alister, like a lot of young lads at that time went to work on his family’s dairy farm. He did his National Service training in 1952 and found it a good experience, ‘better and more educational than school’ in his opinion. So much so that he joined a CMF unit in the Valley from 1952 to 1955.
He married Gladys in 1957 and they had had several children when Alister contracted poliomyelitis and meningitis in 1961. He spent many hours in an iron lung and was permanently paralyzed on one side of his body. Undaunted, he went back to milking cattle and caring for his family. He was unable to drive but his wife Gladys took this on. He has broken both arms and some ribs, too. He adjusted. Today they are still farming together. ‘Keeps you fit’, says Alister. One thing he could not adjust to was his mother Alison’s scone loaf. On that 2km climb up to the school he often fed it to the birds and foxes. There are some things that are just too hard to stomach! Thanks for those vivid memories, Alister.
For over 35 years our society has recorded the experiences of those people like Alister, who have come to address us at our monthly meetings or on open days. We were hard-pressed to keep up with the ever-changing, ever-improving technologies and technicalities until the digitalizing MP3 arrived on the scene. T o have these old analog
ue tapes processed commercially would have been very expensive, so long time member of the society, farmer and computer whiz Tony Minter took on the task late last year and has transformed hundreds of hours of historical information onto one tiny USB. We are deeply indebted to him.
The Boolarra Historical Museum is open on the 1st Sunday of each month from 2-4 pm, or by appointment with the Secretary, Beth Price 5169 6241.The Boolarra and District Historical Society meets at the Boolarra Museum on the third Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm. New members are always welcome, and information on our activities can be obtained from Harry Price 0429 696 241, Judy Webster 5169 6351 or Beth Price 5169 6241.