The old Rustin' ruston at Gada Bridge (Part Two) ... by Rachel Borg

Friday, November 03, 2017

What do you suppose it is that makes us all so prone to looking backward rather than forward?  Are we all just plain curious, or do we simply like to accumulate piles of information; are we ferrets and bower-birds perhaps, or nosey parkers, or simpler people who have a hankering for good stories.  We might all of course fall more into some categories, and less into others.  

A romantic, in the classic sense of the word, might say it is pure unadulterated sentiment that drives us to know the unseen; or the human heart’s innate eternal desire for truth which compels us to uncover and lay bare the events of the past.  Who knows what a cold hard realist, or a pragmatist even, might offer up on the subject of digging around in a pile of old rubble for tiny clues to our dead and distant past?  Perhaps let’s not go there today.

The other thing about history, particularly on this miniscule scale, and especially if it is oral history is that much of it passes out of living memory as the events of one period in history are repeatedly overlaid by the next. 

Deep in the vaults of the Norfolk Island Museum lies a rather small slightly tatty manuscript entitled “The Descendants of the Mutineers of the Bounty” by Eric Stopp, Official Secretary dated 1944.  It contains a small but rather intriguing paragraph on our Island’s past; but an intriguing little layer it is nevertheless:

                ‘According to the Minutes of Proceedings of the Council of Elders there were a number of breaches of the Fornication Law and persons working off fines imposed under this law built a bridge on the Anson Bay Road, which was named after the saintly Bishop Selwyn, but the Islanders have their name for it’.

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