Thursday, October 23, 2003

For those of us that are newcomers to Bowen, it's worth remembering that there were people here long before we arrived who made this place very much what it is now. One of those people, Buster Roueche is leaving Bowen after living here for ages. He was a force behind the Legion on the island, and contributed much to the community. It's great hearing "old time" islanders talk about him. It's important to remember that all the growth of the island in the last 15 years has sort of eclipsed the community of people who lived here when it wasn't a convienent place to get to.

When people like Buster move on, or pass away, we get inklings of this community and culture in the obituaries in the Undercurrent or the odd posting at Bowen Online. These "old timers" are the history of this place, and as they die, our collective sense of place changes. I worry a little that too much of this loss will mean that Bowen becomes a suburb in that it seems grounded more in development and newness than in the stories of the people like the Davies, the Buchanans, the Carters, Millers, Collins', Taylors and others who settled here and created the community we now call home. Their silent hand runs deeply through everything we are here. Forget them and we become another new place, devoid of personality, history and collective care.

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