Valerie Polley OAM has been a tireless volunteer for the Warrandyte Historical Society for many years and has been instrumental in furthering the development of the Society. She was recently recognised for her exceptional contribution and going beyond the routine holding of office and awarded the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) Award of Merit.
After many years of service, what does this award and recognition mean to you?
I was very honoured to receive this award from the RHSV, whose work in preserving Victoria’s history cannot be overestimated. However I could never have achieved it without the work of others, past and present, in the Society. Our work builds on what has been recorded and archived over decades of work by volunteers and local historians. Our history belongs to us all.
How has your involvement with the Warrandyte Historical Society expanded and encouraged your knowledge of and appreciation of local history?
Warrandyte has such an amazing Aboriginal, gold, and environmental history, I wonder who could not be inspired by it, no matter what their interests. Exploring the local history requires exploring much wider histories to place it in a wider context of State, Australia and even beyond. We all need history to tell us who we are and what made us and as new information surfaces how that can change the story.
What is your message to people who may be thinking of volunteering in this way in their community?
Please do it, no matter how big or how small the task. The challenge facing us now is how to harness the new technologies to ensure information is not lost over time. New minds, new thoughts and new capabilities. All are needed. All are welcome. All ages can play a part.
To get involved with the Warrandyte Historical Society visit whsoc.org.au