Walter Thamm believes everybody has a story to tell, and if these stories are not shared, they will be lost forever.
In fact, the 82-year-old (pictured) has been storytelling for most of his life, recounting events and sharing the trials and tribulations of Queensland’s South Burnett locals.
After he retired, Mr Thamm produced a newsletter, read by more than 150 people, recalling the day-to-day happenings of the small town of Kumbia, 25km outside of Kingaroy.
He is especially interested in sharing some of the tales of the longest serving Premier of Queensland and Kingaroy resident, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
“Younger folk will know little about their heritage unless we pass on the stories from one generation to the next. It’s a bridge that keeps people together,” he explains.
Mr Thamm’s self-published book called Kumbia Recollections is an anthology of his storytelling journey and pays tribute to the people residing in the region.
“It’s been popular with family, friends and people who knew who I wrote about,” he says.
Mr Thamm has witnessed many things in Kumbia since he moved there in 1951.
“There have been tremendous changes in the whole precinct from people using horse and carts as transport, to rockets launched into outer space and changing the currency to the decimal system.”
Growing up in a family of 10, Mr Thamm lived on a dairy farm on the other side of the Bunya Mountains in Yamsion.
He recalls his jobs as a blacksmith, farm labourer and co-owning an engineering firm, but admits writing has always been his favourite hobby.
Mr Thamm moved from Kumbia to Orana Retirement Village at Kingaroy three years ago and says from the first night he stayed in his little cottage, “it felt like home”.
Orana Retirement Village manager, Richard Fahy, says the facility encourages residents to keep pursuing their hobbies and interests.
“Life doesn’t stop after people retire and we encourage residents to continue living interesting lives,” Mr Fahy says.