Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Tipping points

I often wonder if I am insane trying to do research and writing around caring for young children. Self-doubt usually coincides with such things as school holidays so I am reassuring myself that my sanity is only teetering, not gone. Today, things are in full swing for my children hosting their first ever sleepover – five children in one bedroom. I’m wondering if the house will fall off its stumps.

I’m focusing my efforts now on trying to find material on the migrant experience. The internet abounds with material for people seeking factual data such as names of relatives, ship names and exact dates of migration. The hobby of genealogy has been good for getting information on the web. If you are looking for general material, description rather than passenger lists, information is more scarce. Much of the more detailed material such as diaries, shipboard accounts or ship masters’ records still lies in actual archives and requires more effort to acquire it. I have requested several books that give an overview of migrant and marine history through our local library service. These should arrive next time the mobile library comes to town. And I will have to spend some time in the John Oxley Library looking at some of the diaries and other records in the archives.

I’m at the point of wondering how much material I should look at before I write more of the narrative. As a researcher, one never feels as if one has enough material. As a writer, I am itching to get going. There is a particular point that you have to push on to, when you finally have the sense that you are teetering on the edge, much like the line between sanity and insanity. At this point, you just stop looking for more information and start writing. Until you reach that point, you don’t know where it is, but in everything I have ever written, I have come to that point. I don’t think I am quite there yet.

On the question of the school P & C’s history, my correspondent has come through with information supporting my statement that there has always been a school committee. J.L. Frederich was the first chairman starting in 1879, followed by George Dobson. Frederich then became secretary. In 1882, the education department required the school’s head teacher, Mr. Freeman to have another committee elected because of intense “disputation.” Freeman had enough of the politics and headed off to Nerang. I would have to read the school’s file at the State Archives to find out what happened to the dispute and the disputees. The committee didn’t become a P & C until the 1960s in an effort to involve citizens rather than just parents.

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