VHS Memories

I had a brief cry when I watched an old family video this week. There were so many people in the video – even quite young people – who are no longer with us. When I shared the complete video with extended family, I warned them they might cry. But hopefully, they might laugh as well.

Going through a box of old videos I discovered a VHS called “Home 96 / Dreamworld” which I’ve had digitised. I knew exactly what “Dreamworld” meant: it was shot in the early 80s when some extended family visited the theme park on the Gold Coast. I shot the video, and appear only briefly in it as a teenage boy.

Family video from mid 1980s
Family video from mid 1980s. Gloria O’Brien/ Pepper and Edna Dunn / Ianna

I didn’t really know what “Home 96” referred to, as it’s at least 25 years since we’ve watched the video. I haven’t had a VHS machine for years! 

Additionally, there was a bit of mould on the videotape. So it was necessary to track down someone who could safely remove the mould and digitise the video. After a fair bit of research, I found https://movingmemories.com.au/ a small company in Earlwood, where the owner Emmanuelle did an awesome job restoring the tape. Restoration and digitisation cost $75.

As I watched “Home 96”, memories came flooding back of a return visit to Lismore in August 1996, and a brief visit to family in Brisbane. So many faces, so many people no longer with us. Chatting with a younger family member who recently had a baby, I asked him “Is that you as the baby?” to which he replied, “No I wasn’t born then”.

Family video from 1996

Even though video recordings are everywhere these days, thanks to mobile phones, I think these are the only two videos of our family which exist from that era, so they’re very special. And so pleased I made the effort to have them digitised.

Lots of younger family members who were born around the time of these videos, or even after, have written notes of thanks for making the effort. They’ve also admitted to a few tears, seeing our family from all those years ago.

2 Replies to “VHS Memories”

  1. It was years ago when I enquired about the price of digitising VHS tapes and I think it was about what you paid, so with restoration as well, that sounds like good value. I ended up buying a second hand VHS/DVD recorder and digitised all my VHS tapes…and never watched them since.

    1. I know what you mean Andrew about old tapes. For the most part the material can be found anywhere now, except these very personal things. I’ve also got a tape from my brief television career which I’ll take into work to get digitised, as these programs don’t exist in our archive. Quite amusing!

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