Category Archives: Storytellers

Storytellers February 2020 – 117th Meeting

The third on-line Storytellers Zoom Meeting was held last Tuesday 16th June.

Once again, we had members tuning in from abroad, this time with Libby Scherrer all the way from Switzerland. Zoom really is a fun way to connect during these crazy days, especially as members are getting more adept with each Zoom meeting.

We welcomed Gabriella Kelly-Davies to the Storytellers. Gabriella is a member and established a BBC Memoir Writing Group about 18 months ago so is well known to many members already. If you should visit Gabriella’s website – shareyourlifestory.com.au you will quickly realise that she knows what she’s talking about!

Gabriella ran ‘storytellers’ as an interactive memoir writing workshop where we learned the top 5 tips for writing one’s memoir. This was a first time for Storytellers – a workshop – and it went really well. Gabriella initially explained the difference between memoir, autobiography and biography, and gave us many tips on how to construct a story:

  • Plan your story
  • What is your goal? – who is the audience?
  • Organise a writing space ..
  • Develop a regular writing habit
  • Use memory joggers, photos, food, smells, music, memorabilia and so on ..
  • Anecdotes
  • Funny stories, sensory detail – lipstick / Chanel 9 that your mother might have worn
  • Write detail e.g. magnolia rather than just write flower
  • Include expressions that characters used to say ..
  • What do you share in your story? Your observations, insights, thoughts and feeling

Rather than share all the tips, I would recommend that anyone considering writing, should pop along to Gabriella’s Memoir Writing Group sessions. Several members of her Group joined in the conversation and provided an insight to their writing progress and spoke about the enjoyment they obtain from the sessions.

Gabriella then gave us all some ‘homework’ and we settled down to write a paragraph or two about our earliest memories, using some of the tips we had just learnt. Everyone got into the spirit of things, put pen to paper and then shared their memories. A fun evening and once again we learnt something new about our friends. Thanks must go to Gabriella who not only knows how to write a story but can motivate others to do the same.

Enquiries to email me

Storytellers – ANZAC DAY

In keeping with previous years, the April meeting had an ANZAC DAY theme. Meredith Aveling kindly brought along sprigs of Rosemary to share amongst attendees, and with the A Cappella choir dressed in black & red with poppies the scene was set.

Janet Bagnall accompanied the BBC’s one and only A Cappella choir as they began the evening singing ‘Thank you, Soldiers’ & ‘In Flanders Field’.

Roland Longworth representing the Returned Soldiers with her Majesty the Queen in 1954

Sandy Longworth was our special ‘Storyteller’ for the evening, and had prepared a wonderful PowerPoint presentation with the help of his daughter Emma. The slides comprised some which were taken when Sandy and two of his sons, Hugh and William, took him to Gallipoli about 10 years ago. They covered the Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Cape Helles and Suvla Bay. These were all scenes of action during the Gallipoli offensive. It was a 3-day comprehensive private tour of battle sites led by Kenan Celik AM, Turkish academic from University of Canakkale who has been acknowledged by Australian Department of Veteran affairs.

Sandy spoke about:

  • the Turkey and Ottoman Empire leading up to Gallipoli Campaign
  • the Gallipoli Campaign covering British, Anzacs, French and Turkish involvement accompanied with slides
  • Sandy’s ‘hero’, his father Roley, and some of his stories (he did not speak about it much, as it was very tough, but wrote a few very informative letters which were not subject to censors when he was in hospital in Cairo)
  • his father’s life connected with Military and medicine. Roley’s life in a sense was made by WWI. He remained a devoted ‘Digger’ and was the ‘Diggers’ doctor for both WWI and WWII diggers.

Roly Longworth in the Light Horse 1939

Sandy handed out a transcript of a letter written by his grandmother requesting that her only surviving son, Roland, be granted a discharge (a copy of the original letter is included with photographs at the rear of these Minutes).

The presentation was most informative, and it was obvious that Sandy knew his subject extremely well, with hardly any need to refer to his notes to check dates and names of officers etc. As Sandy confirmed the campaign was a failure but the brilliant part from his perspective was the evacuation. Interestingly enough was how the Turks are just as keen as Australia about remembering Gallipoli. One particular photo of Sandy’s shows a huge monument dug into the escarpment.

It was on the beach at Gallipoli that Sandy reasonably speculates the origin of the expression ’digger’ was applied to ANZAC troops in general. Following the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 General Sir Ian Hamilton wrote to General William Birdwood, the commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), adding in a postscript: “You have got through the difficult business, now you have only to dig, dig, dig, until you are safe.”
The choir and audience concluded the evening singing several songs familiar to everyone:

  • ‘Lili Marlene’
  • ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’
  • ‘Pack-up your troubles’ & ‘A long way to Tipperary’
  • ‘We’ll meet again’
  • ‘I still call Australia home’

A special thanks to Sandy for his well-prepared presentation and to the entertainment from the A Cappella choir led by Janet B (who generously rearranged her social calendar to be present on the evening).

Storytellers – Goes to the Cremorne Orpheum Picture Palace!!

The March Storytellers was something rather unusual. We went to the Cremorne Orpheum Picture Palace!! This was new territory (literally) and we had a full-house of 120 people, a record for the Storytellers!

Activities such as the Storytellers are wonderful opportunities to naturally to listen to some of the great things that our BBC members have been doing and supporting the Children’s Cancer Institute is one such event and with the annual Swim for Cancer coming up in nearly a week’s time – Sunday 7th April, this evening’s ‘storytelling’ was even more appropriate. Continue reading

Storytellers – Hope Happens from Timbuktu to Kathmandu – and places in between

Catherine DeVrye

Catherine has addressed audiences in 31 countries and travelled to over 130 countries. Catherine was an executive with IBM for a decade where she held numerous leadership roles. Despite being expelled from English in high school, she’s written 9 books including 3 best-sellers, translated into over a dozen languages that include: Hope Happens and ‘Hot Lemon and Honey’. The late Sir Edmund Hillary said … “information in this book can lead you on the road to success”.

It must work because Catherine is a past winner of the Australian Executive Woman of the Year Award … She’s an active surf lifesaver and has completed marathons, bungee jumped, swam with sharks, cycled over the Andes. And trekked to Timbuktu and beyond Everest Base Camp … quite crazy! Yet… she believes the BIGGEST challenge she’s ever faced is coping with change daily basis.

More on: www.greatmotivation.com

Catherine’s theme for the evening was “Hope Happens from Timbuktu to Kathmandu – and places in between” and accompanied her story with a wonderful selection of her own photographs and motivational quotes. Catherine is certainly a seasoned storyteller and began by giving us some of her early background. Though born in Canada she is a dinky-di Aussie now! She told us all that in fact this was the second time that she had spoken to the BBC, however, previously it was with the British Broadcasting Corporation!! Tonight, she shared with our BBC some of her personal stories and some new material on travel. She used, appropriately for the BBC, the ocean as an analogy for ‘change’. It sometimes ripples and then again, it’s sometimes like a tsunami. Continue reading

STORYTELLERS TUESDAY 16TH APRIL 7:30pm

The next meeting of the Storytellers which will be on Tuesday 16th April commencing at 7:30pm.

In keeping with previous years the April meeting will have an ANZAC DAY theme.
Sandy Longworth will be our ‘Storyteller’ and will talk about:

  • the Turkey and Ottoman Empire leading up to the Gallipoli Campaign
  • the Gallipoli Campaign, mostly narrative slides
  • Sandy’s ‘hero’, his father Roley, and some of his stories (he did not speak about it much, as it was very tough, but wrote a few very informative letters which were not subject to censors when he was in hospital in Cairo)
  • briefly tracing his father’s life connected with Military and medicine.  Roley’s life in a sense was made by WWI . He remained a devoted ‘Digger’ and was the ‘Diggers’ doctor for both WWI and WWII diggers.

The BBC’s one and only A Cappella choir will join in the evening’s fun with a number of songs familiar to everyone.

No tickets required this time!!

If the weather is good then come for a byo drink, feed and chat beforehand, usually starting at 6pm. All members and friends are welcome.

Enquiries to email me