A wonderful story at the Sydney Festival keynote event last week has stuck in my mind. JB Rowley from Storytelling Guild Victoria had the audience at Hope 2011: Stories That Must Be Told hanging onto her every word, relating the story of the Flowerdale Tattoo.
In the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires in 2008, Guild members offered their services to the Black Saturday communities, hosting storytelling dinners in towns in the Murrindindi Shire to give people an opportunity to find healing in sharing their stories.
It was at one of these dinners that Rowley discovered the story of the Flowerdale Tattoo. It began as one woman's personal story of hope - a simple tattoo she had imprinted on her forearm to remind her that out of the ashes new life emerges - and it has grown to be a symbol of hope and courage for the entire town. Now over 80 people bear the Flowerdale Tattoo on various parts of their anatomy, from teenagers to octogenarians.
Rowley is a gifted storyteller and this is a poignant story which will move even the hardest of hearts. Listen to it here.