No story forgotten, promises Allora family historian
"We are who we are because of our ancestors."
It is a lesson Allora family historian Lynne Victorsen-Bennett learned from her late grandmother Mary Jane Merritt as the two bonded over faded newspaper clippings and letters from the front.
For decades the two women worked to bridge the gap between generations, sharing stories of cousins shot on foreign soil and children buried far too young.
Ms Victorsen-Bennett learned she was a "patchwork quilt" made up of the intertwined journey of hundreds of different individuals, ranging from Irish convicts to Russian Jews.
And from those auspicious connections came Edward Anderson, one of the first men to set foot onto the lands that would eventually become Allora.
"Everyone has a story," she said.
"And it's so important to know there's more to it than just a birth, death and marriage certificate: There are real people behind that.
"They set the foundations of what we've got today."
On her grandmother's deathbed, Ms Victorsen-Bennett promised her best friend that she would never let those stories be forgotten.
"She was a teenager when a lot of her cousins went away to WWI and she was worried when she was gone people would forget them," she said.
"I told her while I'm alive I'll do everything I can to keep their memory."
Thus began a lifelong passion for Ms Victorsen-Bennett, who pursued higher education in family history and went on to create her business, Timeless Ancestry.
With her two-hour workshops she hopes to ensure no stories are left behind.
"I want to inspire younger generations to take on their family stories before they fall away," she said.
"You have to take the time to listen to your elderly relatives, they have so much they want to share, and if you don't take it all in, they will be lost along the way."
"Once it's gone, it's gone, and you can't get something like that back again."
The Timeless Ancestry family history session will be held Monday, December 9 from 10am - 2pm at Glengallen House.
Places are limited and bookings are essential.
For more information please contact email@example.com or call 0429 071 160.