People are highly social animals - they like to be part of a community. I have long been intrigued by different forms of community, how communities arise, what makes them effective, how people in communities think about themselves and their connections with others. What are the ties - weak or strong, that bind us?
A shared connectedness to a place and its history can engender a sense of community - Bostonians, Londoners and Melbournians often refer to themselves as such. People who spend a large part of their working life with one organization often develop a sense of community with fellow workers.
I had the opportunity to explore people’s sense of community and connectedness to place in obtaining the personal stories of people throughout the State of Queensland, Australia to celebrate the State’s 150th year in 2009.
The resultant book Queenslanders All Over was published with a foreword by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Paperback and Kindle versions of my book are available on Amazon
“Thinking of my time in Arnott’s, the best way to put it, it was very very much a family… As a young guy growing up there the older women would sort of take you under their wing. The boys would go out and get on the booze and whatever and the women, they’d say, “You shouldn’t drink too much”, and they’d try and match make you up with the girls in the factory.
Some of them are still there now. I’ll walk out to the factory now and wander around and they’ll come and put an arm round my shoulder and say ”I remember you when you were young”. Back then it was such a close knit family - everyone looked after each other. Everyone socialised together….I wouldn't change a day of my working life at Arnotts.”
David Tarczynski, former employee at Arnott’s biscuit factory, Milton Queensland. Interview in 2009 with Joan Burton-Jones for Queenslanders all Over.