The Yass: Now! photography competition run by the Yass and District Historical Society (YDHS) as part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival, is inviting Yass district school students to try their hand at capturing the essence of Yass on camera.
Following in the footsteps of Alfred Shearsby in the early 1900s, students will decide what most represents their community and endeavour to capture the idea as a series of three images.
The YDHS Archives hold around 1600 images, including many by renowned photographer Alfred Shearsby from the early 1900s.
There are photos of families, buildings, flood events, bullock teams, cricket teams, loading wagons with hay, old Yass Bridge, races and balls.
Well known faces and family homes are also included in this carefully recorded, catalogued, organised and preserved record of our community and its development.
Thanks to Shearsby who used earlier photographs to produce postcards, the archives hold an image of Comur street in the 1860s showing the shops, buildings and unformed dirt main street complete with the 'Government' drainage ditch.
This is just one of 18 photographs in the archive collection dated between 1860 and 1870.
The work of identifying, scanning and recording old photographs is core business for archive volunteer Viv Bugden.
The most useful photos are those that have been labelled and dated, giving faces and places from the past a name and context.
Around these images, the archive records and old newspaper entries can often be used to rebuild a story long forgotten.
Entries in the current Yass: Now! competition will include a written explanation that draws together the significance of the three images taken by the student to represent their idea of Yass today.
In this way entries will also be creating an enduring record to inform future generations.
Shearsby always struggled to make his photography business a financial success.
He would probably have appreciated the generous $250 prize money being offered for the winning entry in each of two sections in the Yass: Now! competition.
Entries close April 14. Details of the competition can be found at www.yasshistory.org.au/activities .
To find out more about Alfred Shearsby drop into the Yass Museum in the last weekend opening of Free February.
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