As a prelude to cutting the 25th Birthday Cake at our June meeting, former councillor, NFDHS Life Member, and now well-known artist David Hinchliffe, recalled what led to his setting up this historical society.

In 1993 when up for preselection in this council ward, David ran against Barbara Dawson, daughter of Beattie who was regarded as the ‘Matriarch of New Farm’ following her term as Labor alderman in the 1970s.

After pipping Barbara, David went to see Beattie. “Here’s your chance to understand the local community, and make a difference,” she advised, though it wouldn’t be easy since the ward had been with the other side for so long.

Beattie spoke from experience about making a difference for the local community.

In her term for instance, the New Farm Library came to pass.One way of making a difference would be to initiate an historical society. David had already set up the Windsor Historical Society in 1988 (now in its 30s).

“After meeting with Beattie, I was determined to unlock the joys of history in this historic and very old locality,” said David. “It was clear that history had been the victim of change and progress in this suburb.”

Establishing such a society would be an important step, though there were no guarantees since similar societies in Paddington and Spring Hill had folded.

“I organised a history walk around the suburb. 200 people turned up! What a challenge to Beattie’s voice trying communicating with so many,” said David.

It was also a shock to the householders who had kindly agreed to open their homes for inspection — though everyone was patient as smaller groups went through.

“The Historical Society was eventually formed in 1994. It has become part of our present and our past and future,” said David. “History is too important to forget.