A free Hands-on History author talk will be held at Eskbank House Museum titled ‘Crying Hearts, Healing Hands’, the life journeys of James and Leo Bamber.

The History Week theme for 2022 – Hands-on History invites us to explore histories by or about people who do things with their hands, whether for work or play. (History Council of NSW, 2022)

‘Crying Hearts, Healing Hands’ follows the early roving life of solicitor, town clerk and coroner James Bamber and his wife Kate across Victoria and country New South Wales in the nineteenth century before ‘dropping anchor’ in 20th century Lithgow. It is a story marked with joy and sorrow spanning the Great Depression years. The weight of the economic collapse hurts Lithgow more than many other country towns. Into this mire the aging James takes on the role of Lithgow’s coroner.

Hand in hand with James’s journey is the story of his son Leo who was a footballer, doctor, World War One veteran and, a leader. The pair worked often ‘hand in hand’ in the coronial court system, and later Leo found his love bond with Lucy Boon. Leo fought for causes that affected the poor and disadvantaged in Lithgow. But Leo had another side. He was an entertainer. He had a touch of the entrepreneur, and he was a man who loved the Lithgow people, and the community loved him in return. The presentation is one family’s story of Australian country life – a hands on life journey. (Baker 2022)

Lithgow City Council invites you to Eskbank House Museum on Saturday 3 September 2022 at 2:00pm for a free talk by Peter Baker on the life journeys of James and Leo Bamber. Peter Baker is a retired lawyer who is married with five children and conducted a legal practice in suburban Sydney for about thirty years. He has an interest in creative nonfiction and family history, and more particularly the history of Lithgow. He has written a book on Lithgow rugby league and had several articles published in ‘Traces’ magazine.

Bookings are preferred but not required for this event and can made via Eventbrite, light refreshments will be provided.


This event will also be available online via Zoom as a live streaming event. To access the online event, you will need to have the Zoom App https://zoom.us/ on your device and details for joining online are part of Eventbrite ticket.

These events celebrate and increase community awareness of the cultural diversity and rich history and heritage of the Lithgow LGA.

This is an official event of History Week 2022, supported by the History Council of NSW.