The face behind ‘Life Stories – touching the past’ is mine. Simon Dalton.
Biography and life stories became a passion for at least three reasons. The first was due to the volunteer work I did befriending an isolated elderly person and visiting them weekly (Do Care) and helping a refugee to learn English (Volunteer Migrant Home Tutor Scheme). Ordinary people, amazing lives.
The second was travel. Arriving in Asia as a teenager and travelling and living abroad in my twenties and early thirties had a profound impact.
The third centred around a box of the last belongings taken from the home of an eccentric great aunt who succumbed to dementia. In it were letters and postcards – a sad and fragmented testimony to her life and all that was left for she had no children. Now these were bound for the tip. Sifting through genuine pearls of her rich life, I mused on how to better acknowledge and personalise human existence to show more respect for lives lived.
And my work seems to attach me to people and their stories. Through schools, TAFE, community education settings, the Immigration Museum, the Old Melbourne Gaol and the Dandenong Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the amazing link between history and story surround me.
‘Life Stories – touching the past’ came about because I then realised most people want the stories of loved ones, or companies and organisations they founded and nurtured, to live on. If the memories and experiences are lost to the ether, regret follows.
For over twenty years I have set about hearing, recording and writing up some of these stories. I have been weaving details, anecdotes, documents and photos into narratives that honour the lives that have been lived.
This is how I touch the past – by keeping it alive in the capturing, writing and producing of stories of people who matter deeply to those who commission my skills.
I am a member of Writers Victoria, set up and participate in an active writing group, attend regular workshops to further hone my craft and try to write each day.
I live in Melbourne, Australia. Bloodlines suggested one of the children of John Dalton (journalist, author and playwright) and Norma Chisholm (nurse) might follow in either set of footsteps. No nurses, but their third child was a son. He enjoys words; to listen to and read, ink by pen, peck out on a typewriter or flowing from a keyboard.
A father and husband. My family love, encourage and sustain me.