During the early years of producing The Western Echo, each month I would deliver copies to all the local businesses in our distribution area. This is a practice which I undertake to this day as it helps me to keep abreast of the changes occurring, new businesses starting up and new staff or owners in existing businesses. It helps me to keep a 'finger on the pulse' of our ever changing area.
At that time Richard Speechley was the Manager of the Taylor Range Country Club, a local retreat offering members exclusive use of tennis courts, squash courts, three swimming pools, barbecue facilities and picturesque grounds.
Richard would regale me with stories of long ago - what our suburb was like prior to the urban sprawl, life on inner city farms, how the years have changed the area in which we now live.
There were so many, many stories about our suburb and its environs, the sort of stories we urbanites can only vaguely understand. Life without running water, electricity, television, convenience foods, modern luxuries, cars, public transport... even sealed roads.
Richard's stories evoked wonderful images of a time long gone, but miraculously, not forgotten.
Through the many hours, days and weeks of interviews which Richard conducted with some of our earliest settler's descendants, The Western Echo was able to bring an insight into what living in our suburb was like in a bygone era.
Such has been the popularity of the regular monthly column, Richard has now published two books, Reflections I and Reflections II, Memories of The Gap. The books are available through Richard directly: telephone (07) 3300 1425. They are both great reading and paint a unique snapshot of the trials and tribulations of our early settlers.
As a result of the interest in the stories written by Richard, The Gap Historical Society Inc. was established in 2000 and Richard has been elected President of the Society since its formation. Each year membership of the Society grows, now spanning three generations of 'Gapites'.
During the last months of 2005, The Gap Historical Society Inc. published a cookbook, entitled "Recipes of Yesteryear".
This was an enormous effort by members of the Society, recounting age-old recipes from great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, aunts and the like, then rewriting them and compiling the result into a comprehensive cookbook reflecting the thrify, ingenious and creative flair of a staggering number of women, whose recipes delighted and sated their families and friends.
The following pages include recent editions of the Reflections columns which I hope you will enjoy.