BOXES of historical photographs and documents about Mundaring and the wider hills area fill the Parkerville home of 12-year-old Owen Briffa and his family.
From the very young age of six, Owen has passionately and meticulously collected hundreds of photos and articles which he now shares on his Facebook page Lost Mundaring & Surroundings.
“I’ve always loved the history of Perth,” he said.
“I’ve tried to get photos over the years of the hills area and I wanted to share them with others and when I saw there was no Facebook page to help with that I thought I could set one up.”
About 750 people now follow Owen’s page.
“What I really want is for people to email me with more photos so we can keep sharing and collecting the history with everyone,” he said.
“In the future when I get enough people I want to make a book with photographs of the area.”
That book would join three others Owen has already written recording the history of the places that interest him, Siena’s Italian Restaurant in Leederville, where the family frequent most weekends, 16 Years of Channel 9 Perth and The History of Midland Gate Shopping Centre, available for viewing at centre management.
The Eastern Hills Senior High School student’s collection includes photos of the old miniature railway at Lake Leschenaultia, El Caballo Truck Stop, Chidlow Post Office in 1921, Mahogany Creek Inn in the early 1900’s and a fascinating picture of the old Shell train bridge over Great Eastern Highway in Sawyers Valley.
With a love of telling stories and a confident, go-getter attitude, it is no wonder Owen has his sights set on a career as a television news reporter.
While other boys his age might play computer games in their spare-time, this young historian spends his time sifting through archives at the State Library or calling local businesses and residents in search of historical treasure.
“A couple of years ago I wanted photos of the old shopping centre, I asked for photos from the Mundaring Shire, the WA Historical Society and no one had any,” he said.
“I went around asking local residents and businesses and they had all these old photos.”
Now the historical society come to him for photos to add to their collections.
Mother Nikki Briffa said Owen would often ask to visit old-looking properties to talk to residents about its history and end up spending hours in local’s homes and businesses.
“They can’t believe that such a young person wants to pass on this information to the future generation,” she said.
“The Facebook page has such a range of different age groups of people, you’ve got people in their teens all the way to their 90’s following it.”
Help Owen discover and share more hills history by emailing email@example.com
By Claire Ottaviano