A creative heritage walk through the life and characters of author Jessica Anderson

A creative heritage walk through the life and characters of author Jessica Anderson

Heritage is best experienced in place – not musty conference halls or footnoted tomes. A Walk in the Warm Zone is an encounter of the living heritage kind.

The walk, created by Pauline Peel and supported by a team of contributors was launched last Friday. It starts in Villa street Annerley and explores the surrounds through the writings of well known author Jessica Anderson.

Heritage resides is the living fabric of communities. We can really only access this heritage by walking streets, paying attention to the surrounds, connecting with others, exploring forgotten corners and sharing stories.

History becomes our-story, through the magic of storytelling as the many threads, and the layers of the past that haunt places, are acknowledged, shared, and become entangled with our own life experiences.

These ongoing encounters maintain a living heritage — adapting, and constantly renewing, as stories are re-told, and places re-experienced.

The walk

A walk in the warm zone, cleverly weaves together place, fiction, memory, and performance, seeking out and enriching this living heritage.

Jessica Anderson’s fictional characters reflect her own experiences growing up in Annerley-Yeronga in the 1920s. All are brought to life. Denis’s performances as Jessica’s Dad, steels the show, bringing both humour and hard truths.

Through the walk, Pauline Peel gently takes us by the hand, leading us to places thick with memory.

Together we visit the backyard of Jessica’s childhood and follow her memories through the back gate into Yeronga Memorial Park. We gather outside her primary school, and sit in the pews of the church she insisted on attending.

Along the way we hear about discoveries made by current owners of Jessica’s house, as well a reminiscences by the team members, Jeanette and Wendie who grew up in the area during WWII and post-war. Their memories of park and school entwine with the experiences of Jessica’s characters.

Finishing up at ASHG’s history room in Villa Street gave us a chance for a cuppa and a chat.

This walk is creative heritage at its best: collaborative, artful, and engaging the senses. It affects, at times deeply, and at other times playfully. It is an inspiring co-created mash-up of performance, creative writing, memory, artefacts and storytelling.

The Inspiration

Pauline writes of her inspiration for telling Jessica Anderson’s stories in this way.

The making

It is founded on considerable research and is a collaboration. PaulineASHGs Villa Street Project brought collaborators, and revealed local knowledge, further developing these ideas. Denis Peel, Jeanette Wiley, Kate Dyson, Wendie Hirsch and various community members contributed to the making of this event.

What people have said ..