“We all come and we all go.”
With that profound statement as a rough theme, actor and author William McInnes ripped into a entertaining speech about his family, his life and the lives of others at the family history research conference in Orange on Sunday.
Mr McInnes had the crowd in the Orange Civic Theatre laughing as he recounted tales of his dearly departed parents and others – as a way of showing amateur researchers the importance of telling the full story rather than just listing names, facts and figures.
“When I write my memoirs I like to put more meat on the bones than the undeniable facts,” he said.
“You don’t dress it up, you don’t make it up, you tell the truth.”
He said some researchers liked to “validate” themselves by seeking and displaying a famous forebear but he said there was plenty to be gained by learning about people’s life stories.
Mr McInnes has written nine books, the first A Man’s Gotta Have a Hobby, was essentially about his parents, an Irish dad and a Welsh mum, who liked to shout and sing and had plenty of insight for him.
“By all accounts I was a pretty idiotic and silly child,” he said.
Mr McInnes recounted a story of when his mother was dying in hospital in 2010 with the family gathered around her bed a doctor asked her if there was anything troubling her.
To which she replied, “Yes, Tony, bloody Abbott.”
He said his fondest memory of Orange was the 1974 Amco Cup rugby league tournament which culminated in Western District beating Penrith in the final.
Mr McInnes said it was a night of mixed emotions and plenty of alcohol.
“Somebody should write a play about it,” he said.