Stories of St Giles captured for 85-year anniversary

For all its challenges, the COVID pandemic opened the door to many new opportunities.

For Launceston disability services provider St Giles, it offered the chance to create a snapshot of the organisation’s most inspiring staff and clients.

Photographer Scott Gelston and writer Bridget Arkless teamed up to create a book celebrating St Giles’ 85-year anniversary. Picture: Rod Thompson

Stripped of the ability to perform many of their usual tasks, writer Bridget Sullivan Arkless and photographer Scott Gelston teamed up to produce a new book ‘Face Time, 27 Stories of St Giles’ in time for the organisation’s 85-year anniversary.

Ms Sullivan Arkless said the circumstances of the book’s arrival were fitting.

“St Giles was first established during the polio pandemic in 1937 and Launceston came together and said ‘we need to have an organisation that can look after our children suffering from polio’,” she said.

“We were in this unique position 85 years later, also being in a pandemic, so we connected up our history in the moment of time we were living through.”

The book tells stories of children, staff and retired board members and their interactions with St Giles.

“They’re really inspiring stories but they’re just everyday people from our community who do remarkable things,” Ms Sullivan Arkless said.

“It all gets summed up by one of the people I interviewed who said ‘to me, the amount of good that St Giles does is almost overwhelming’. That captures it really.”

The book arrives alongside a companion exhibition that opened at QVMAG Royal Park last week.

The exhibition, which comprises 27 large-format images, will be on show until June 25.

Entry is free.

Originally Published by The Examiner on March 7th 2023