Fascinating oral history project at Brough House opens Sunday | Maitland’s Mercury

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Brough House will open its doors with an exciting exhibition on Sunday February 13, telling the stories of students and teachers from Maitland Girls High School during Maitland’s time during World War II. The oral history project was organized by Friends of Grossmann and Brough Houses, who interviewed 15 women to reminisce about their time at school. Project coordinator Mandy Mason said the project is about recording the memories and reminiscences of pupils and teachers who attended Maitland Girls High School when it was based around the Grossmann House. “We wanted to record and highlight those memories, a lot of the women who attended are aging and some are passing away, so we thought it was really important to record this story,” Ms Mason said. In other news: The project started in 2019, but because of COVID restrictions was very stop-start. The exhibit will include audio recordings, storyboard panels, music and memorabilia from the school. Ms Mason said the project is so important because it is recorded in the women’s own words. “These are their own stories of what it was like to go to a much-loved secondary school in Maitland in the 1930s-1960s,” she said. Ms Mason said many of those interviewed were in their 80s and 90s and some have sadly passed away since the project began. They are therefore grateful to have recorded their memories in time. “We looked at things like how they got to school, for example a girl was driven to school in a carriage because her dad didn’t believe in cars,” Ms Mason said. The exhibition also explores the subjects they studied, the teachers, the career options and expectations of girls at that time, the fields of work and studies they could pursue, sports, uniforms and the music. Many interviewees will attend the open house with their families. “It will be an interesting exhibit for people to see, because that information is all lost now,” Ms Mason said. “The school was moved to the new site in the 1960s and became coeducational, so part of girls’ education has really changed now in Maitland.” Ms Mason said the ladies remembered how they knit socks for the Defense Force during World War II. “The Second World War had a huge impact on those who witnessed it,” she said. Friends of Grossmann and Brough Houses mounted the exhibit with the help of a grant from Maitland City Council, to purchase recording equipment, and an in-kind donation from the Maitland Girls School Old Girls Association, to put on set up the storyboard panels. The exhibition will be open again on Sunday 13 March. There is no entrance fee to the exhibition, but a donation of gold coins will be greatly appreciated. Did you know you can subscribe to get full access to all Maitland Mercury stories? The subscription supports us in our local news coverage. Click here to subscribe.

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