Postcard couple Greg and Maureen Thornton are cataloguing memories.
Postcard couple Greg and Maureen Thornton are cataloguing memories. Felicia Kosegi

Keeping the memories alive

A GOLD Coast couple is proving history travels by mail.

Greg and Maureen Thornton from Tugun have made it their mission to map out a social history of Australia through the images on postcards.

From Perth to Sydney and Adelaide to Darwin, the Thornton’s have been collecting and archiving postcards and images, tracking changes and developments from over half a century.

And they’re calling for more.

“We want anyone with old postcards to send them our way,” Mr Thornton said.

Bit by bit, the Thornton’s have collected thousands of cards spanning from the early 1900s up to the 1960s.

“Friends, family, strangers, antique dealers; we get them from all over,” Mr Thornton said.

“I realised a lot of these postcards are getting lost, and as the years roll on memories aren’t as vivid as they used to be.

“So this is a way to keep the memories alive.”

Capturing the Australian way of life when it was still a young nation, many cards tell stories of love, friendship, heartbreak and adventures.

“There are some really personal messages on the back; people at war writing to their loved ones,” Mr Thornton said.

“We have one card written by an English gentleman to his wife, and he describes to her the beach and what he sees outside his bedroom window,” Mrs Thornton said.

According to Mr Thornton, the importance of postcards lies in their accurate illustration of the times.

“It use to be the main social contact between family and friends because distances were so far, so they sent postcards of where they were living and what they were doing,” he said.

“You can really see history evolving through these images, and we love looking at how the places, fashion and sites have changed.”

Mr Thornton said the finished project will be available for everyone to enjoy, and hopefully jerk a lost memory for some.

“When I retire we’ll sort them all out, put them on a website and arrange them by date and locality so everyone can get access to the cards and have a look at the images,” he said.

“Even if someone was from a really small town, they’ll be able to find an image they can identify with that might bring back memories.”

The Thornton’s are willing to pay for old postcards from before the 60s.

People interested should call 0404 016 081.

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