Cobar residents enthusiastically take up the offer to chat

Local residents Janine Ohlsen and Elaine Ohlsen called into the Cobar Shire Library last week for a chat with Outback OUTLOUD project facilitators Caroline Wallace and Emma Hoy from Signal Creative. Their stories and stories from other Cobar and western area residents will be preserved for generations to come as part of an Outback Arts audio storytelling project.

Cobar residents have chatted, narrated, opened up, spilled the beans, chewed the fat, chin-wagged, recounted, recalled, reported and told their unique stories as part of an Outback OUTLOUD preserving stories project.
Emma Hoy and Caroline Wallace from Sig-nal Creative were in Cobar last week talking to local residents as part of Outback Arts’ Out-back OUTLOUD project.
“We are bringing audio story telling to Cobar and other communities in the seven shires of the Outback Arts region and encouraging lo-cals to come in and tell their story,” Emma explained.
As part of the project the pair were also run-ning free workshops where people learnt how to interview, record and preserve their stories.
“We think that everyone’s story matters and it’s so important to preserve these stories for our future generations,” Caroline said.
Emma said the aim of the project was to teach the value of listening to each other.
“And to gain a greater understanding that everyone’s story does matter, everyone is unique, everyone’s story is important, and we hope to strengthen the connections between people,” she said.
The project also gave locals the opportunity to learn some new skills.
The pair said they had a “wonderful” re-sponse from locals who were willing to share their stories which included interviews with a 92 year old and a five year old.
“We spoke to an old shearer, the local tourist guide, an ex-mayor and a footy legend; we’ve spoken to people in coffee shops; and we’ve just been approaching people in the street, and they’ve been more than happy to come and talk to us!” Emma said.
“Or to tell us where to find someone that would probably like to talk to us.
“We have all sorts of stories—like some will tell us memoirs of ‘way back when’ or some will tell of something that happened last week, we hear all sorts of different things.
“One lady told us of a story of her childhood growing up on the land, and the struggles and the hard times that her family dealt with then another lady told us about the time she had triplets and then twins!” Emma said.
“You never know what you’re going to hear and it’s all so interesting,” Caroline said.
“And people seem to really open up when they are comfortable and in a warm encourag-ing atmosphere and we can help build their confidence.”
After their visit to Cobar last week Caroline and Emma will now sort through all their re-cordings (which is estimated to be about 20 hours worth) and they’ll take snippets out of some of the stories to create a podcast.
Emma said that doesn’t however include the stories that were requested to be kept in a “private file” which are to be preserved to only be heard by future generations of their own families.
Caroline and Emma will return to Cobar in about two months for a launch party where all the participants who were interviewed will be invited to attend.
“The most important thing to remember is that the project is about YOU and sharing your story and the importance of community con-nections, listening to each other, and under-standing that everyone has a story,” Caroline said.