Arts & Features

Finding wisdom in the Good Old World


In 2004, Tamarama residents Julia Schauenburg and Ben Grace boarded a plane in search of the meaning of life.

For one year they travelled through Australia, America, Eastern Europe, Germany, France, Denmark and Spain looking for intriguing characters, from the wise man of the village to Russia’s cat lady.

They talked to and photographed more than 50 older people about their life experiences, which they collected in Good Old World, a selfpublished photographic and written account of this journey, which was released this month.

Although always wondering about the meaning of life, it wasn’t until Ben, an author, and Julia, a photographer, took a trip to Kempsey on Australia’s mid-north coast and ‘hung out with old blokes’, that the idea for the project was born.

“Not only is our own generation so self-involved, family structures are breaking down so most people don’t communicate with old people anymore,” Ben said.

Eastern Harbourside Village Voice, December, 2007.

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