In search of … what, exactly?

Why do we tell the stories that we tell?

Steve Fendt
4 min readJul 9, 2022


(If the tablet version of the Medium interface were fully functional then the above photo would have a caption. Maybe ‘random photo of a bloke in a funny cap enjoying a very expensive imported beer’.)

On the occasion of my wife’s birthday, we’re in Melbourne for the week. For the first time since COVID hit our shores, we find ourselves in the CBD with time on our hands.

Suze likes to spend hours poking around the markets; I’d sooner stick wasps up my arse, frankly. Luckily, we’re accustomed to giving each other space to do our own thing, rather than approaching every outing as a joint activity.

Fear not: we also have a shared calendar of events with multiple highlights and points of interest and time spent with friends – those who haven’t contracted COVID in the last couple of days. I’m not leaving the poor woman entirely to her own devices on the august occasion of reaching three-score years and ten.

So anyway, this morning, Suze was buying music-themed socks at the Vicky Market (hey, it’s her birthday) and trying to work out the location and name of that pub she went to with the girls that one time that sells Belgian cherry beer: an absorbing task for a woman with scant sense of direction and a love of Kriek.

I took myself off to the Immigration Museum. For the first time in, oooh, probably 15 years.

The immediate aim was to get a better picture of 19th-century European immigration to Victoria for a story – which may or may not ever see the light of day.

Then I found myself drawn into the contemporary exhibits, especially a video project by a bunch of young foreign students, talking about why they came to Australia; how difficult but rewarding it was to leave home; how it can be tricky to make connection with Aussies; pressure of English-language tests; challenges of day-to-day living, etc.

The Immigration Museum offers rich inspiration for storytellers. It’s a whole museum of individual stories, unique perspectives. The entire second floor of the museum is currently devoted to an exploration of personal and group identity through a variety of interactive exhibits. One brilliant video installation is a…



Steve Fendt Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Stories of the Australian beach and bush.