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A Lasting Tale

A Lasting Tale

01 May 2024 News

Australia is getting older, faster – by 2026, more than 22% of Australians will be aged over 65. In Perth, it’s estimated by 2050 there will be more than one million people aged over 65 than there are under 15.

With that comes wisdom, and while people have been tracing their family trees with online platforms, there’s a growing trend of older Australians preferring the personal touch and recording their life stories in their own voices, to be passed down the generations.

Facilitating this is Dimity Brassil, who comes from a family of storytellers, and is passionate about collecting the stories and wisdom of our elderly and dying.

After losing her father and sister within months of each other Dimity realised she had no recordings of their voices, only photographs. Dimity knew that when her mum, Anne, now aged 90, passes away, many family stories would be lost forever – so she asked if she could record her life story in her own voice.

Mum-of-nine Anne agreed, and they were so inundated with requests from family and friends to do the same, they formed a Lasting Tale together.

Recently launched in Perth and operating nationwide, the service is particularly popular with those going into palliative care and people who have been diagnosed with dementia or serious illnesses such as motor neurone disease.

“We do palliative care interviews for all ages and have interviewed people in their 40s and 50s, including those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness,” Dimity says. “They want to pass on their legacy to their families and love the fact their voice telling their life story will live on. One of the first things people forget about loved ones when they die is the sound of their voice.

“We’re also finding that retirees are interested in capturing their stories as a legacy for their grandchildren and great grandchildren whilst they are healthy in mind.”

The face-to-face interviews with a professional journalist can be done in a few hours or over numerous sittings. They are designed to unearth the stories of a lifetime, spanning family, childhood, school, teenage years, travels, partners, children and grandchildren, plus any words of wisdom and life advice. Then the audio is turned into a private podcast-style series.

To date, Dimity and her team across Australia – which includes SBA board member Ara Jansen – have recorded more than 1700 life stories. As well as the professional podcast-style audio, the website also has a $22 DIY interview guide for families wanting to interview their loved one themselves.