PRESENTER: PETER A.REA
AREA HISTORY TOURS - the name is derived from my birth name. My life long ambition was to be a history educator, however, this didn’t eventuate during my working career. On leaving school, I was unable to pursue my interests at Uni and so undertook an apprenticeship. This took me onto the wharves of Sydney and Newcastle as well as Port Kembla and Port Melbourne. I was contracted to do work for the Navy at Garden Island and Cockatoo Island, also doing a little work with the RAAF. This gave me a good first hand knowledge on many related subjects, before finally giving up my trade to take up a career in graphics.
I became involved in the plans to scuttle ex-HMAS Adelaide as a dive site, and this renewed an active interest in history. I created an entity called History and Heritage, Hunter to Hawkesbury Research or 4HR. Utilising my graphic skills as well as an interest in model making, I began creating visuals based on my research. I have done many A/V presentations as a volunteer for various community groups and was surprised and delighted at the response and interest shown, and so established a website to publish the work, 4hresearch.com
In 2014/15 I began developing an idea of presenting the many years of historical research on board a ferry while standing off the actual historical sites. With support from a Gosford City Council Community Grant to do a few tours for the NSW Heritage Festival, a ferry was fitted with a large TV monitor and tours began in November 2015. The tours have proven very popular and continue today. At least 25% of the funds cleared by Area History Tours goes toward materials to build exhibitions. While some of this material is used for the tour presentations, most is offered free to the community as displays at festivals, public events and places.
Personally, I can’t believe that in a roundabout way, I am finally a history educator and thrilled by the success of the history tours.
Of course none of the above could have been achieved without the support of my life long partner Dora, who provides the non face-to-face work such as the website and maintenance, social media, proof reading, events calendar, etc.
Dolphins escorting the ferry back home after a history tour. Photo by Peter.