A storytelling adventure
I remember the first time I saw Patricia Scott. The library where I worked as assistant children’s librarian had sent me off to watch and learn from a master storyteller. Short, white bob hair cut, standing there, quietly composed she began, “We do not really mean, we do not really mean what we are about to say is true. A story a story, let it come and let it go”
I was immediately hooked and thought I could have a go at this, telling stories with out the book. Looking at the audience, eye to eye, engaging them with my voice and the story. I was not the only one to fall under her spell, I know many that were motivated by Patricia Scott
Oatlands Historical Society: Patricia Scott???
Over the years I have often thought of Pat and the influence she had on my life and my long career as a storyteller. So when a friend invited me to travel to Tasmania with her, cars were free, and she intended to spend ten days on the Island exploring, I jumped at the chance.
I told my friend of Pat and her hometown and wondered if we might travel through Oatlands so I could pay homage. It worked out that we had a night to spend there and as I drove into town, (my turn to drive), I squealed with glee, “Look, the historical society is open.” I dropped my friend off it was about 3.30pm and raced back, as I didn’t expect it would stay open much longer.
The town is one of Tasmania’s oldest settlements with over 150 sandstones buildings, mostly built by convict labour and the historical society had amassed a large collection of all sorts of things cluttered out on display.
The two volunteers were keen to help and being senior citiizens I wondered if they might have heard of or even known of Patricia Scott. For a moment, as they faltered, I thought it might have been just my obsession. While I signed in and found the few coins for entrance the older man, a little hard of hearing wandered off.
When he returned, to my surprise he had an entire folder of information devoted to Pat.
I began to sift through it, her photo, a copy of her Order of Australia Certificate, the citation given to her when she was awarded the Dromkeen medal. I was so happy. Then I found her eulogy written with love by someone who knew her well. By this stage tears were coming to my eyes
‘a woman who approached life with gratitude and wonder… the life of Patricia really was a gift, that each one of us received.’
I’d often wondered but there it was written…’she travelled across Australia, including as much time as she could in Aboriginal communities’ A photo of her with Jack Davies aboriginal storyteller and poet indicated that first nations stories had been of interest to her as well. The eulogy was delivered by her godchild and he spoke of her as an “adventurous, gutsy women who inspired and gave to so many’ and called her Auntie Pat
The name James Boyce and an email address were noted on the back and I got in touch to say how moved I was by his eulogy. Further research revealed that he is an award winning author and highly regarded historian living in Tasmania. I’ve reserved his books and look forward to them arriving at my library.
Onto Hobart to meet Tamas
I had got in touch and said I would be in Hobart for world storytelling day and if there was anything happening put me down for a story.
He is a passionate man with a deep enthusiasm for community and storytelling, and as they days went by he kept adding to the story as he organised the event. I meet him for the first time at ABC Hobart.
Yes we have a gig, we’ll be performing with Young Dawkins and musicians.
The Worlds first Storytelling Hotel
I look forward to returning and taking part in other tours.
Story reminiscing with Prue McCausland
She agrees with me, an oration in Pats honour sounds like a great idea. I'l keep working on that.
Prue travelled from her hometown in Launceston for our World Storytelling Concert, I include her review here intended for an IBBY newsletter
‘New Beginnings’ Storytelling Event in Tasmania
World Storytelling Day celebrates the art of oral storytelling. This year in Tasmania it was marked by a concert on 20 March that was part of Moonah’s ‘Taste of the World Festival’ held in Harmony Week. Moonah is Hobart’s most multicultural suburb.
The concert featured local storyteller Tamas Osvald (Roaming Trees), Anne E Stewart from Victoria (Anne E Stewart - Home) and poet Young Dawkins, plus musicians Emily Shepherd, Moran Wiesel and Warren Mason.
Interest in oral storytelling has fluctuated in Tasmania over many years, from the 1980s when well-known storyteller Patricia Scott started the Tasmanian Storytellers Guild and organized workshops and events statewide. Hobart-based Tamas Osvald is doing his best to revive the scene at the moment with his Roaming Trees storytelling initiative.
In the concert ‘New Beginnings’ he framed the event with his blending of stories about an entitled prince who comes to learn the value of poverty, hard work and self-denial as he seeks to woo a silent princess. Anne E Stewart told a selkie story and also a version of The Loathly Lady in which Sir Gawain comes to realise the ugly/beautiful woman he has been prevailed upon to marry has the right to choose for herself. Her stories were notable for the agency of women – choosing what to do with their lives. Young Dawkins’ poem told of his own experience in the Tasmanian landscape.