Noeleen Guyatt (Left) and Jenny Hewitt (Right) Pic: Lachlan Berlin
Noeleen Guyatt (Left) and Jenny Hewitt (Right) Pic: Lachlan Berlin

Family heritage: Roma sisters’ awarded for archiving history

Fifth generation Roma locals and sisters Noeleen Guyatt and Jenny Hewitt have indexed thousands upon thousands of family history records for the Roma Historical Lodge.

Their indexing and record keeping have been paramount to preserving the town’s happenings during the past 12 years.

First joining in 2008, the sisters have visited the lodge two days a week since 2015, to sort out everything from obituaries, deaths and funerals, weddings and engagements, births notices, business documents, and more.

A substantial part of their success and contribution comes with working together as sisters as they share their knowledge of the town to help source and built accurate records.

“We know one another really well I suppose, and what I don’t remember Noelene might remember,” Jenny said.

Maranoa Regional Council has recognised the sisters’ hard work by awarding them Roma’s Achievement Award on Australia Day.

Noeleen said she was ‘shocked’ to receive the award.

“It was nice to be recognized for what we do,” she said.

“We do it because we love it.”

(From left) Maranoa mayor Tyson Golder, Jenny Hewitt, Australia Day ambassador Olivia Hargroder, Noeleen Guyatt. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
(From left) Maranoa mayor Tyson Golder, Jenny Hewitt, Australia Day ambassador Olivia Hargroder, Noeleen Guyatt. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

But what sparked their passion was the conversations they’d have with their mother, who passed away at 98-years-old in 2015, about the history of Roma and the families who have lived in the greater region.

“We wish we still had Mum to ask certain questions,” Jenny said.

“(The) passion is probably from Mum talking all about it and it sort of got us interested in looking into our side of it,” Noeleen said.

“From there it's just developed.”

The sisters continue to compile the family history records, but are excited about the future of this History Lodge.

A new accessible ramp has been installed outsides and they are renovating some rooms to improve the building.

Jenny Hewitt (left) and Noeleen Guyatt (right) in action. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
Jenny Hewitt (left) and Noeleen Guyatt (right) in action. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

The Roma History Lodge is looking for more volunteers and anyone interested can visit the Facebook page here.

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Originally published as Family heritage: Roma sisters’ awarded for archiving history


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