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Flood photos sought for historical record

Saturday May 8, 2021 - 09:40 EST
ABC image
The Camden Haven Historical Society has records of a number of floods, including this image of North Haven in 1978. - ABC

As the clean-up continues from flooding on the NSW Mid North Coast an effort to preserve photos of the natural disaster for posterity is also underway.

Taking photos of the unfolding natural disaster as it happened has never been easier but there's a concern from the Camden Haven Historical Society they will soon be lost.

President Phillip Bowman said collecting photos of this flood was different to what had been done for floods in the past, including those in 1929, 1963 and 1978.

"At that period of time everybody took a photo, but it was printed, and it's those prints that we've been able to access for our records," he said.

"But this time we're in a dilemma because everybody's taken them on their phones ? what happens if you lose your phone?

"Or it goes to the cloud and you lose the password to get into the cloud? The photo is gone."

People are being asked to put their photos onto a memory stick and bring them into the museum, with a brief description of what's in the pictures.

Stories as important as pictures

Mr Bowman said as well as the photos, it was important to get the story behind them.

"A photo on its own doesn't really tell us anything," he said.

"For instance, I got three photos the other day that are black and white. They're fairly blurry, one was good.

"But I got a two-page story and it just brought those photographs to life, all of a sudden I've got a background story, I've got an idea of what was happening.

"It is important to get that context of where the photo was taken, what was actually happening at the time, even who took the photo if possible, because that all adds to the background history of what's going on.

"One hundred years from now when we're all gone and someone else is looking at these photos they'll say: 'Thank you for actually giving these photos to the museum so we've got a record of what actually happened'."

And he said he's not just looking for photos of well-known landmarks.

"Because your photo, along with someone else's photo, may tell a story," he said.

"It might not just be the one photo but a collection of photos that puts things together."


© ABC 2021

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