The letter, written by a 13-year-old boy on 30 July 1972, intended to be buried in bushland as a time capsule, was found by Fiona Kelly in the folds of a book about planes.
The boy’s letter talked about a picture of an automobile made in 1968, explained what bushland was in case there is none left in the area upon the letter’s discovery, and said Earth is getting very polluted.
Fiona Kelly kept the letter, despite moving house twice, but returned it to the library upon hearing about the Free Range Kids exhibition from her husband who works at the Kwinana Library.
The exhibition celebrates the childhoods of those living in Kwinana in the 1950s and 60s.
While the letter was from a different era to the children featured in the exhibition, she was prompted to recall the letter and to hand it over to the City’s library when she realized the value of local history to the City of Kwinana.
Local History Officer Vanessa Wiggin posted a picture of the letter on several Facebook groups, bringing the writer’s friends out of the woodwork.
People remembered going to school with the boy, even playing in bands with him.
Ruiseart Alcorn, who now goes by his Gaelic first name rather than the Richard he used in the letter, contacted the library via email saying he couldn’t remember how the letter came to be in a book or if they even buried the promised time capsule but said he arrived in Kwinana in 1970 with his family from the United Kingdom.
“I come from a musical background so it was inevitable that I would end up in a band of some sort,” Alcorn said.
He and three friends from high school formed a band called Savage, and while the band gradually drifted apart he continued to play with band member and blues guitarist and singer Martin Cropper for a while.
“Since those days I have played in many bands within the Perth metro area, eventually relocating to Scotland with my wife and two daughters in 2008,” Alcorn said.
“Nowadays I am very busy with recordings and also putting together a live show for some post COVID gigs.
“Maybe I will pop back at some point and do some shows in Kwinana.”
Mayor Carol Adams said it was wonderful how celebrating local history could bring people together, revealing the tapestry of the area and its connections to the wider world.
“On 4 June, we held a panel discussion at the Senior Citizens Centre where people got to share stories of their childhoods and describe the lifestyles they enjoyed,” Mayor Adams said.
“Many of them described their bush adventures and I’m so proud that one of our aspirations as a City is to be surrounded by nature, reflected in the hopes of this letter from 1972.
“At the City of Kwinana, we are proud of our natural, rural feel while still being a modern metropolitan City.”
The Free Range Kids: Growing Up in Kwinana in the 1950s and 60s Exhibition is on display at the Kwinana Senior Citizens Centre in Medina, until 14 June. It will also tour community centres in Bertram (15 to 28 June) and Wellard (29 June to 13 July) accompanied by some family-oriented events.
Caption: Gerard and Fiona Kelly with Local History Officer Vanessa Wiggin.