17 Year Old Preservationist Wins Award for Lifetime of Protection

Townsville cameraman Paul Lyons awarded for rescuing historical film archive for saving decades of north Queensland, Australia, media history from the trash. The award came from the State Library of Queensland.

Lyons was working as a videotape operator for QTV in 1992 when he discovered these lost treasures. Age 17, he would watch them on his breaks. Knowing these were at risk of destruction, he would hide them away in the “quiet corners of the building to try to preserve them.” Later, he and some co-workers kept up the practice, even to the point of smuggling out old historic films destined for the dump. Today, among the miles and miles of footage saved, only 10 percent have been digitized and the work continues, though finding is scarce.

As I manage my own small historical archive of family media and treasures, I worry about what might be in your basement, your attic, your garage, and what might be lost to time if someone doesn’t take a chance to help you preserve it for the future. I’m doing my part, without an award. Let’s do our part to ensure our own legacy of 8mm films, VHS, video footage, photographs, negatives, and all the visual and audible media we own is digitized and preserved.