Elio Sarpi recognised with community history award
North Melbourne resident Elio Sarpi has made his community proud, taking home the Local History Project Award at the 2024 Community History Awards on February 2 for his Instagram page, Houses of North and West Melbourne.
The annual ceremony is presented by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria to celebrate individuals who are dedicated to telling local stories through creative and unique history projects.
With a social media following of 18,300, Mr Sarpi’s winning Instagram series that explores the “history and houses of North and West Melbourne” has captivated the local community. Mr Sarpi was also recognised in December last year with a Rotary Club award.
“It all started during COVID, I really wanted to get out of the house, and it made me start looking at where we’re living – I started to really appreciate the beauty of some of the houses in North and West Melbourne,” Mr Sarpi said.
While “not a photographer, architect or historian”, Mr Sarpi began posting photos of interesting houses he had come across, and eventually took up researching their history and discovering the multitude of local stories that were waiting to be told.
“It’s kind of like building a jigsaw puzzle, it’s a bit of a thrill about what I can find out about a place,” he said.
“As I started posting, I realised the power of community and the power of information that people store in their heads – people have amazing links and stories that they sort of just keep to themselves, which they’re now starting to share on my posts.”
While he also works for a large IT company, Mr Sarpi has enjoyed getting to express his “creative side” through the project, as well as connecting with other residents in his community.
“It kind of surprised me how many people like what I do and reading the stories,” he told North West City News.
“It’s really nice to feel that sense of community, it makes the area even more appealing in terms of where I live.”
Mr Sarpi hopes to continue the series with a focus on some of the current individuals and businesses in the community, “documenting their stories so they’re not lost”.
He also plans to bring light to some of the migrant stories that have “shaped the community”.
“I feel very honoured to have received the award,” he said.
“The age bracket of people who follow me is from their 20s to about 45, so I’m bringing information and history to an audience that’s probably untapped – that’s what I’m most proud of.” •