OF all the items stashed in the time capsule buried yesterday to mark Wangi Wangi’s centenary, Garth Chapman reckons pictures of a koala in a tree on Watkins Road will most surprise future generations.
The pictures, contained on a CD, were taken about five years ago on the popular road that locals usually associate with lakeside houses and the town’s shopping strip.
“I was just walking down the road and there was this funny noise coming from a tree,” Mr Chapman recalled of his encounter with the marsupial.
“People have always said there are no koalas in Wangi.”
The time capsule was conceived by the Wangi Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group sub-committee which formed to plan events for the Wangi Centenary Festival last year, on October 23.
The idea was to preserve items in the time capsule that gave future generations a sense of what life was like in Wangi Wangi in 2016, and also a glimpse of the 100-year history of the town.
Photographs, books, reports and various news pages from the Lakes Mail were preserved for posterity, as were mementos from the Wangi Centenary Festival.
Among those mementos is one of 100 medallions struck to commemorate the centenary.
Each of the medallions is numbered, and the medallion bearing No 100 was included in the capsule, Mr Chapman said.
There’s also a DVD featuring two short films made by teenagers in Wangi Wangi in the 1950s.
“Part of the fun of this, for people who open it in the future, will be in trying to work out how all of the pieces fit together,” Mr Chapman said.
The sub-committee enlisted the expertise of Margaret Berghofer, of Lake Macquarie and District Historial Society, to archive, collate, and prepare the items for storage in the time capsule.
Ms Berghofer said the items were put into mylar bags – which are traditionally used for food storage – before being placed in the capsule.
Plastics are shunned because of their tendency to deteriorate and taint the items they contact, she said.
“We’ve taken the GPS coordinates of the time capsule, and all of the details have been put onto discs that will be stored at the historical society, Wangi Library, and the [Workers] club,” Ms Berghofer said.
“The discs have to be spread out so that 50 years from now, your grandchildren can at least see where the capsule is, and what’s inside,” she said.
Ms Berghofer said the items were likely to survive for 100 years, or more.
The stainless steel capsule was designed and constructed by Wangi resident Ross Dickson, and measures 60cm deep and 30cm wide.
Ms Berghofer said it was an impressive piece of engineering, with an outer rim that extended outside the cylinder, not inside it, so that in the event of water eventually getting through the bolts on the lid, the water would not enter the chamber.
Mr Chapman said last year there was no question the impressive cyclinder would stand the test of time: “If you could put a rocket on it, it would fly to Mars,” he said.
Wangi Workers Club operations manager Juston Baillie was given the honour of shovelling top soil over the capsule.
He said the club was proud to have been a major sponsor of the Wangi Centenary Festival.
The club also purchased the No. 1 medallion at auction, which helped to raise money for the festival.
“It was a pleasure for us to support the initiative,” Mr Baillie said.
“And with an item like this [the time capsule] we have a legacy for the community into the future.”
Mr Chapman said the burial of the time capsule had originally been scheduled to occur last year, as part of the Wangi Centenary Festival.
The plan had been to bury the capsule in the grounds of Dobell House, the former home of the celebrated late artist Sir William Dobell. However, considerations around the heritage protection of the property prevented that from happening.
“We had to find an alternative site, and then get all of the council approvals, and so on,” Mr Chapman said.
As it turned out, that location was found on the reserve behind Dobell House, just off the shared pathway near the plinth commemorating the artist.
Mr Chapman said he was rapt with the location, and very happy with to bring the important historical project to fruition.