Book published featuring works from Upper Hunter historian Mac Bridge

HISTORY BUFF: Margaret Ashford's grandfather, Mac Bridge, is having his various works shared in a new book.
HISTORY BUFF: Margaret Ashford's grandfather, Mac Bridge, is having his various works shared in a new book.

SOME people are born with natural talent, whether it be sporting, artistic or academic, but in the case of Rouchel's Mac Bridge - he was blessed with an incredible memory.

Throughout his time in the Upper Hunter, he gained a reputation for his ability to recite the smallest details and relive events through words.

In 1957, at the age of 73, his skill set saw him approached by honorary secretary of the Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Wilfred Green, to record a wide variety of facts and stories about the Muswellbrook-Aberdeen-Rouchel district.

Those writings have now resurfaced in a big way, with the Muswellbrook Shire Local and Family Historic Society publishing a book featuring his works.

The new tome has been edited by Mr Bridge's granddaughter, Margaret Ashford, and is a formidable 211 pages long.

She spoke about her grandfather's passion for the written word, despite receiving an irregular schooling schedule.

"He didn't go to school for more than a total of two years, and that wasn't consecutive," she said.

"That's really something to remember, that someone with so little formal education had such an interest in preserving our history and writing so well about it."

He lived far from a sheltered life, performing a variety of jobs including a labourer, farmhand, miner, sowing machine salesman, drover, shearer, fencer, insurance representative and a construction worker - and often travelled to his workplaces via bicycle.

Ms Ashford believes her ancestor would have loved nothing more than knowing that his knowledge was being passed on through the generations.

"He would be absolutely overjoyed, he'd like just about nothing better than telling historical stories," she stated.

"I think he'd really feel that all of his effort was worthwhile, because it practically consumed him for a few years."

Mr Bridge passed away in 1968, just short of his 85th birthday, although his memory is now set to go on long beyond that.

The book, Life in the Upper Hunter: Mac Bridge Remembers, will be launched in Muswellbrook Library's seminar rooms on Saturday, November 23, at 2pm.