It's been a busy couple of months!
In February something dawned on me listening to John Dixon in St Phillip's church in Sydney reviving the moment when words from the Bible were read out on Australian soil for the very first time. READ MORE...
February / March 2021 With the Outback Historian
In February something dawned on me listening to John Dixon in St Phillip's church in Sydney reviving the moment when words from the Bible were read out on Australian soil for the very first time. I saw that Chaplain Richard Johnson was a brave young man on an extraordinary assignment. He was only 25 and newly married when the First Fleet sailed for Botany Bay. As I visualised this young couple facing enormous challenges, it sparked the idea that stories like this need to be rebooted for Gen Z Australians – the ‘screenagers’. There’s already over two million of them and these tech-savvy young people will carry the country through the next century.
Later in the month I found myself looking into the faces of high-schoolers with twenty different national backgrounds, alongside my friends Bruno Efoti and Riverbank Frank Doolan – a Tongan and a Wiradjuri elder. We told them faith-stories from Australia’s past and present and saw curiosity, surprise and intrigue in their eyes. Some eager ones sat for another hour wanting to know more. It made me hopeful.
A few days later, at the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre, I spent a couple of hours walking Gemma, a Wollongong uni student, through her local history. She was particularly hungry to master the story of Percy Hobson, the first indigenous man to win a gold medal for Australia. Then talking to Katrina Roe on Sydney station HOPE 103.2 FM I recounted moments in the lives of other young men and women of courage and vision who had shaped our country, like John Gribble who made Ned Kelly back down over several robberies and went on to spend himself protecting the indigenous people of Australia. I became more convinced than ever that stories like this refuse be told in a fusty, dusty way.
So, I was excited when Pacific Hills Christian School committed a group of students and staff to join ace historian Dr Stuart Piggin exploring the Christian history of early Sydney. As we walked, I teamed with trainer OJ Rushton to skill them as storytellers – so that they could retell the stories they'd heard for their own generation. She'll work with them in April hopefully to create a pilot group for the up-and-coming Gen Z’ers to become the very best at uncovering and broadcasting the faith history of Australia. I see a new generation of young people embarking on an adventure that will expand their gifts and vision.
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.