This month’s photo is of a set of scales and a watch that went all the way around the world to Scotland in 1974 only to return to Glenorchy last year, 43 years after they left!

In the early 1970s a young man from Scotland named Ian Harris came out to Glenorchy on his OE and took up work at Rees Valley. While he was in the neighbourhood, he befriended Nancy Watherston. Nancy and her husband Donald had owned the Glenorchy Store for many years. I always notice that people smile when they recollect Nancy. She was small in stature and it seems that most of the children in town back in the days when she ran the store have a good memory of a special treat, of toys she stocked, or of her organising fancy dress at Christmas. She was a generous soul.

Sadly she developed liver cancer. Donald died in 1973 and in 1974 when she knew that she, too, had run out of treatment and the likelihood of her life coming to an end was on the horizon she wrote to young Ian, who had gone back to Scotland, to entrust him with Donald’s scales and his pocket watch to remember them by. You can see the first page of the letter she sent as part of this month’s letters. She wrote Ian in August and Nancy passed away on November 9, 1974. Nancy and Donald had no children so perhaps she was glad to send some of their things away to a young man who had always taken a kind interest.

Ian dutifully kept these treasures. Seven years ago he came out to visit Rees Valley and shared the story of the scales and watch with Iris and Kate Scott. He didn’t want to risk sending these treasures back to Glenorchy via the post so he waited until last year, when a young neighbor, Patrick Barbour, now on his own OE working at the Branches, hand delivered them back to Rees Valley to hold for the museum. As Ian wrote in his letter, “It would be nice to think they are back home again. And cared for…Please care for them as they have been precious to me.”

As we look ahead to designing our community museum it is stories like these that we hope will play an important role where a special object has a story and history all its own. Do you have a story like this one of something from your family that has gone out into the world and come back again? If you do, please let us know!

Now that the days are getting short, be on the lookout, too, for a night in the supper room where we’ll be sharing some of the photos and stories we’ve been collecting. And if you’re sitting in front of the fire and want to have a look through our archives, have a visit to and search Glenorchy (or special topics or people you might be looking for) and the photos from our collection should come up for you.

Happy exploring!