Peter explains that towns were not built by governments but created by people coming together to pool resources. Community development is teasing out of people what they care about, using conversation and asset mapping as tools.
He’s convinced that Churches have played a significant role in generating social capital and therefore earned the right to speak in public conversations about the future. But they need to set aside differences and mobilise their accumulated resources. Peter speaks from fresh experience of getting the churches of Coonabarabran to do this.
I want you to meet a remarkable man. Peter Kenyon has probably done more to resurrect dying towns in Australia than anyone I know. His early years were spent in remote areas of Western Australia where he witnessed the exodus of young people to the cities and the shrinkage of Australia’s small Inland towns. He estimates seventy per cent are dying. Peter's passion is to act as a community builder, reigniting hope by getting locals to open their eyes to the human and physical resources they have on hand. READ and WATCH to hear more of Peter's story ...
The current urgency for vaccination prompted me to go find a story. I didn’t have to go far – several members of my family in the last century or so were impacted or died young from serious diseases. In my own lifetime a number of these diseases have been beaten and I realised in modern Australia we have lived safely under the umbrella provided by dedicated scientists. I found that the man who is credited with saving more lives than anyone else in history was a Christian with a big heart. WATCH as Paul shares the story that has changed all our lives.
I met evangelist Ron Williams when he travelled through Bourke years ago and he left an impression on me as being a man full of light and joy. When a friend asked me to explain the word ‘celebrate’, I thought of the story I’d been reading of Ron and Diana William’s wedding at Skull Creek in WA. It was the last place you would think of holding a celebration.
WATCH as Paul shares something of his story.
The stories we tell ourselves every day have a strong effect on the way we live our lives. The best of them help us answer the big questions like ‘Why are we here?’ What is the purpose of life?’ The strength of these stories shows when life throws serious challenges at us.
WATCH as Paul talks about stories that he’s found stand the test.
The breakwater at Port Macquarie carries a thousand memorials graffitied onto the chunks of granite stretching out into the waves of the Pacific. Ordinary folk - families, schoolies, footy teams, mates, poets, artists, jokers and the bereaved have all enshrined a tiny fragment of their lives there. When I walk along reading the randomly jumbled text, I think ‘this is an authentically Australian story.’
There’s a solitary figure sitting on a wharf timber at the Western end. The curious pause to read and discover it’s Edmund Barton, Australia’s first Prime Minister, holding the Constitution he helped draft. Some sit beside him for a selfie before heading off for fish and chips.
I see another splinter of our Australian story. I read that around the birth of our modern nation in 1900, Barton said boldly, ‘God means to give us this federation’. Why would he say that?
Caring for the sick and dying has been a long and honourable Christian tradition. I’m proud of the fact that my own family have played their own small part in carrying on this ministry of compassion here in Australia.
LISTEN as Paul tells of this chain of mercy.
Well, it’s been a long road to get there but the Olympics are just about to start in Tokyo. I thought I’d share a couple of stories I’ve been researching about two of our own Olympic medallists. However they both share the discovery that all that glitters is not gold.
WATCH as Paul shares these stories from his office desk.
We have been gifted some excellent resources in recent times by some dedicated researchers. Only a small number are going to read the thousands of pages of stories. These carefully collected narratives could lie idle on bookshelves and gather dust or people like you could take them and put them to work in the marketplace.
There is a big job to do. Greg Sheridan wrote in his book God is Good For You, ‘The sense of Christianity in education has become cockeyed, unbalanced, inaccurately hostile.’ It’s urgent that we get stuck in to set the story straight. We need creative storytellers to love the stories, who will make them jump up and live in public imagination. Good storytelling and good stories can counter the wave of negativity towards the faith that has been the backbone of our country. The tools are in your hands. READ MORE to see a list of good resources.
I remember being stirred as I swung down the main street of Broken Hill, marching behind a Scottish Pipe Band. Was it the Baird in me that surfaced with the skirl of the bagpipes that day? Traditionally the Bairds were bards - travelling storytellers who wove wondrous tales, repeated age old myths and told gospel stories among the scattered dwellings of my ancestors. It was a noble calling because their Celtic songs were the music of the Scottish heart. READ MORE …
Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.