Local and family historians and academics have collaborated on a workshop about the rise and fall of Port Macquarie as a penal station.
Port Macquarie and Districts Family History Society hosted the workshop on Saturday (April 10).
The family history society's president, Diane Gillespie, said the workshop was a trigger to develop a digital future to remember the past.
The satellite event, as part of the region's bicentenary celebrations supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, attracted about 40 people at the Mac Adams Music Centre and about 20 participants via Zoom.
University of Sydney PhD student Tamsin O'Connor said they hoped to forge a lasting spirit of community collaboration.
"The difficult questions raised by this landmark moment of remembering serve to emphasise the continuing importance of historical inquiry," she said.
"The aim is not so much to celebrate or condemn, but rather to interrogate and acknowledge the past in all its painful and fascinating complexity."
Birpai traditional owner and independent scholar Dr John Heath delivered the keynote address titled "2021: A Birpai Perspective on the Port Macquarie Penal Colony and its Aftermath".
Other speakers included historical novelist Meg Keneally, University of New England head of history Dr David Roberts, genealogist, historian and archivist Dr Perry McIntyre and University of New England history professor Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart.
The bicentennial history workshop covered topics from convict voices and the stories they tell to a digital future for Australia's convict past.
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