Latest Happenings at Celebrate Living History! Semester 1: 2015
It is an unfortunate fact that people often overlook the great
efforts of women during war times. During the Second
World War, women served in many crucial roles, including
overseas roles, such as in New Guinea and Singapore, as
nurses, anti-aircraft gunners, mechanics, and radio
operators. Not only this, but as in the case of Audrey Martin,
in the Signals Corps.
Ms Martin, born in the early 1920s in Berrigan, in the
Riverina region of New South Wales, was the youngest of
seven children. She is now the only one left.
Her life has been a very long one, she says, and she has a
little trouble picking out particular memories of it, though
years that still loom large in her mind are the years in which
She is fondest of her Army years, and she entered into them
with remarkably little fuss.
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people and seniors to
celebrate stories for
Celebrate Living History Newsletter
Semester 1 2015
Audrey, A Woman in the War
By Jake Watson
Swinburne University Intern
Meet Our Student Interns
The Importance of Sharing
Locals of Frankston
Our first How to Woo a
Senior and get a great
Swinburne University journalism interns Semester 1 2015
Celebrate Living History PO BOX 11253 Frankston 3199 www.celebratelivinghistory.com2
Semester 1 2015
Meet Our Student Interns
What do you
hope to get
out of the
program this semester?
My internship will involve me
meeting, photographing and writing
profiles on two ‘characters’ from the
Mornington Peninsula for Celebrate
This great initiative is based within
my own community and I hope to
gain opportunities through this
network to meet and write for more
people who, in many cases, feel they
no longer have a voice.
I hope to gain a better
appreciation of the
elderly by hearing
I feel that I can learn
a lot from them and I
will gain a lot of
that I’ve shared
someone’s story, a story that may have
been completely forgotten after they
I believe everyone deserves to have their
story told and that this program is a
wonderful one. It gives back meaning to
the people who may no longer be able to
find it themselves.
The Importance of Sharing Stories
By Melissa Haber
In 2012 I was fortunate enough to have been given
the opportunity to complete an internship.
From the list of worthwhile candidates to choose
from, one organisation in particular stood out from
the rest and not signing up was NOT an option.
Celebrate Living History is a organisation that aims
to connect socially isolated and vulnerable senior
citizens to younger generations, to share life stories
and build communication skills between two age
groups that would not normally mix.
This was something I thought would be a really
wonderful thing to be part of. Nothing breaks my
heart more than seeing elderly people be pushed
aside and ignored by society. They should be treated
as valued and respected members of our community,
and they have many things to teach us. They have
lived through a lot and have seen the world grow,
develop and change into what it is today. One way
to show our respect is to listen and learn, as well as
document their life stories so they can be read and
treasured for many years to come.
We were lucky to be one of
the top 20 finalists long
listed for the Walkley
Grants for Innovation in
Journalism. Part of our
team Bev, Melissa, Rhiann
and Emma attended the
workshop in Melbourne.
Melissa with founder of
Celebrate Living History
Celebrate Living History PO BOX 11253 Frankston 3199 www.celebratelivinghistory.com4
Continued from page 1
“The war came,” she says. “And I decided I was
going to be in it. So, I joined the Army.”
So she joined the Signals Corps, doing work she found
interesting and which she enjoyed. During her five years in
the military, she rose to the rank of Lieutenant, and was
married, though they did not have kids.
They were careful during the war days, such uncertain times,
not to enter into such a contract. Not to mention some stern
advice from her mother. “You’d better not start having a
family,” Audrey was told. “It’d be a bit difficult.”
The events of such a long life have become a little jumbled for
her, and some specific years and dates have avoided her
recollection, though at some point after the war she left the
Signals Corps and went into the Department of Army, which
since the outbreak of World War II had controlled the
administration and finances the Australian Army. In this
department she did various jobs, such as being a typist and a
stenographer. She was in this department for about four
years, before traveling abroad, to Europe.
“I did the touring around that most of us did in those days,”
Ms Martin says. “I’m not sure if they still do it.” When
informed that people most certainly do still do it, she smiles
and nods happily, saying, “Yes, yes. I’m quite sure.”
She was overseas for four or five years, during which time her
marriage got her into “a bit of strife”, as she puts it. They
divorced, and Audrey Martin returned to Australia. She is not
sure where her ex-husband ended up. Ms Martin never
remarried, though this does not worry her. “I’m quite happy
doing what I’m doing now,” she says. “And there were several
other romantic interests, anyway.” When Audrey Martin
speaks of the men she’s known, she speaks with the
cheekiness of a teenager who is curious about them, and the
strong dignity of a woman who has never needed one.
(Indeed, at the end of the discussion, she winks and says,
“There you go; now you can go tell the fellas that you’ve spent
the morning with an older lady in her room.”)
While Ms Martin’s military years are undoubtedly her
favourite, she has many other fond memories. She was a great
14 May to 27 June, 2015
Frankston Arts Centre
Curved Wall Gallery
Davey St, Frankston Entry
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat
Our Founder Bev
Wilkinson is one of the
local characters featured in
the Locals of Frankston
documented sixty locals-
from residents to former
stories and photographic
portraits to present a true
snapshot of the diverse
range of people that make
Frankston such a unique
Locals of Frankston
sportswoman, and played several different
sports, though cricket seems her preference.
She was a fast bowler for the Victorian
Women’s state team, and remembers days
spent in the company of men such as Bill
Woodfull and Sir Donald Bradman.
Woodfull was her favourite, and she says the
men were always happy and willing to help
the women with their cricket.
Speaking to Audrey Martin, you cannot help
but have the sense that she is a woman who
has lived such a long and vivid life that
particular dates, durations and details have
become inconsequential to her, and that
even though some of it may now be lost to
her, has brought and continues to bring her
a great deal of joy. Her goal now, she says, is
to make it to 100; a worthy goal, you would
think, for a cricketer.
Celebrate Living History PO BOX 11253 Frankston 3199 www.celebratelivinghistory.com6
We are very excited to embark on our first series of
Meet Bev Wilkinson who is the founder of Celebrate Living
History. She has a wealth of unique experiences and
communication skills that she would love to share with those
who hang with seniors on a regular basis.
She is eager to conduct a series of Celebrate Living History
workshops for journalism students, health professionals and
those who work with the elderly.
A little about Bev:
A passion for documenting elder’s stories started when Bev
created an exhibition showcasing the local seniors in the
area of Frankston Victoria in 2012.
It was during an interview with a senior that she realised if
she was not there to share their stories; eventually without
documentation these personal tales would be lost.
So she flew to Griffith University on the Gold Coast where
she studied journalism. She met with Professor Stephen
Stockwell, which sparked the first internship program
focused on not only documenting stories but also connecting
generations. Since then she has partnered with Swinburne
University to work with their talented students.
Bev also has a background in aged care and is a qualified
personal care attendant. It is through working within a
nursing home that she realised what she excelled at was
communication with the elderly. But as a PCA she did not
have the time to really get to know the seniors in her care,
every day was rushed and there was no opportunity to really
get to know the residents beyond their every day activities.
In her heart she knew she could help, but not as a PCA.
It is her goal to share her knowledge and most of all offer
tips on how to document stories and communicate with
seniors on a human level.
Interested in attending a workshop with Bev?
Register your interest and topic you would like to
learn about to firstname.lastname@example.org for
your chance to win a $50 JB-HI Fi voucher.
Thanks to our
Doris with Jeanette