Facebook helps to preserve mementos of the past

COLLECTING MEMORIES: Jenny Zimpel's old issues of the Monto Herald sparked reminiscence from residents on Facebook.
COLLECTING MEMORIES: Jenny Zimpel's old issues of the Monto Herald sparked reminiscence from residents on Facebook. Contributed

THE ability to share and preserve memories has become a valuable use of social media, especially as it becomes more accessible to seniors.

A Facebook group called "Monto, Remember When” has experienced a surge of activity recently, getting past and present residents of the town reminiscing.

The spike in activity can be traced back to a single woman, former resident Jenny Zimpel, who a few weeks ago began posting excerpts from old issues of the Monto Herald from her home in Ipswich.

"I started off with the first Herald, the 1959 one back when they switched from the old broadsheet to the tabloid. I had kept that from when I was in primary school,” Mrs Zimpel said.

It began when a member of the group made a post concerning the death of late resident Warwick Power.

Ms Zimpel decided to post a family photo of the Powers that her dad had kept.

This created a flurry of activity and she started posting more clippings from the paper, sometimes several times a day.

"It just sort of snowballed from there, people went mad,” Mrs Zimpel said.

"Once I'd exhausted all of that news, I got in touch with an old school friend of mine from Monto and she just mentioned she had an old copy in the floorboards under the lino.

"I asked if she could send them down to me, and it's kept going.”

In addition to her tabloid copy, Mrs Zimpel has gone through several of the old 1940s broadsheets.

Sometimes she does not know which news clipping will spark the next conversation.

A simple name in a brief can spark lengthy posts reminiscing about that person from someone in the group.

Page administrator John Lee said membership, currently at 1400, had been increasing as word spread.

"It's amazing the sort of things that get posted, it creates memories,” Mr Lee said.

"It does go to show the town's not a patch on what it used to be - so many of the old businesses and industries are dead or dying.”

Mrs Zimpel said she could not believe how big Monto was in those days.

"Just going by the advertisements, the businesses that were around, there's lots and lots,” she said.

There have been positive sides to the increased activity.

Many more people have started posting their own memorabilia, and the conversations have allowed former residents to reconnect with one another as well.

Topics:  facebook history jenny zimpel monto

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