Shards of memory, documents in archives and imaginative interpretation are my sources for telling another version of the history of Perth from the mid-19th century and recalling family stories. This has involved dredging up untold stories that shape the ever-developing identity of a family and community. The writing of this social and family history has a hybrid shape, breaking boundaries between the genres of history, autobiography, memoir and fiction, challenging the boundaries between the critical and creative. Its themes are what has been passed on and what has been forgotten, what cannot be spoken of and what gets inherited through the silences. These fractured histories and popular narratives are about questions displacement, settlement, possession, symbolic ownership and rights, in a family, a community, a nation. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.