I often look at the ABC Local radio websites, but usually only a page a link has led me to. Recently I found myself on the ABC South West Victoria website, and decided to look around. I discovered a series of radio interviews by Jeremy Lee entitled A-Z of the South West. Recorded in 2010, the aim was to highlight the history of towns in the region. The good news is that there are 45 towns featured, not just 26. The towns include Macarthur, Caramut, Port Campbell, Branxholme and Casterton.
They are great interviews with local residents and historians, some have lived in their town all their life. Topics covered include town beginnings, past businesses, local attractions, prominent residents and the future outlook. I enjoyed Jim Kent talking about Casterton and his own contribution to the local population, 11 children, 40 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. There are photos of each town too.
An understanding of local history is important when researching a family. It can explain why a family chose to settle in a town. For example, Peter Watt talks of how Cavendish was a town of workers. Many residents, both male and female, worked for the large stations close to the town such as Mokanger and Kenilworth. Aside from a sawmill, a couple of shops and a pub, there was no other employment opportunities except for the stations. Two of my families, the Haddens and Mortimers, went to Cavendish primarily to work at Mokanger station and they remained there most of their working lives.
The various ABC websites are a great resource. I have since looked closer at some of the other ABC local radio websites and found that you can search by topic. Clicking on the “Community & Society” tab brings up a list of sub-topics, including “History”. ABC Western Victoria currently has 86 history related stories available. I have also subscribed to a RSS feed of stories tagged “history” so I don’t miss any. Or take 15 months to stumble across.
To listen to the interviews follow the link: