THERE is a whole world of motion pictures documenting the history of the North Coast just waiting to be delved into, and Dr Robert Smith is the one to expose it.
Dr Smith, from Southern Cross University’s School of Education, has undertaken the role of research fellow with the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra this year.
The former Mullumbimby High, Lismore High and Bonalbo Central school teacher understands the importance of promoting local history through education.
And it’s his love of education and the realisation that the National Film and Sound Archives could hold many missing pieces of the region’s historic puzzles that prompted him to undertake the fellowship that could increase accessibility to these historic resources.
“In my own teacher training we were in a tough and innovative program that included film-making,” he said.
“At the university I use film to encourage students in Australian studies.”
Dr Smith said he would be linking up local history with files in the archives and negotiating with the institute on how to make the resources more accessible – possibly through the internet.
Throughout his searches of the files, Dr Smith came across some enlightening footage of the great Lismore flood of 1954.
“People were most interested in that to show newcomers just how bad floods can be,” he said. “It was amazing, but only available on VHS format which is awkward to access. There are thousands of items just on Lismore.”
The Richmond River Historical Society has voiced its interest in the research which would help it tackle the technology battle head-on.
“Just as photography can capture the past, a moving film can be even more,” RRHS secretary Geoff Foley said.