Welcome to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies 

No. 154, 29th July 2016
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New Minister for Environment Portfolio and Heritage 
Last Call to participate in the FAHS Survey (Stage one)
Don Garden Guest Speaker at Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society

Digital Access to Collections GLAM Project
ABC Restoration Australia - Call Out for Heritage Projects

Featured Historical Society - South Australia Medical Heritage Society
Exhibition: Cabinets of Wonder: Extraordinary Collections of Ephemera
Managing your Digital Collection, Workshop, Stonnington History Centre
Western Land Exhibition Community Talks Program, WA
WA Australian History Foundation Grants
Queensland Family History Society: Researching your Chinese Ancestry

Professional Historians Association Conference, Victoria

New Minister for Environment Portfolio and Heritage
 In the post-election reshuffle of the federal Cabinet, the Minister responsible for the Environment portfolio that includes Heritage has changed.
The FAHS congratulates and welcomes Josh Frydenberg as the new Minister for the Environment and Energy. We look forward to working with him and bringing to his attention the opportunities, interests, issues and challenges of the community history and heritage movement.
We also wish to thank the former Minister, Greg Hunt, who has been a good friend to the FAHS (securing a valuable operating grant) and has supported the heritage community in such matters as forefronting the Australian Heritage Strategy and promoting the Parliamentary Friends of History & Heritage. His heritage advisor, Tina McGuffie, has shown keen interest in heritage issues and has been very helpful.

FAHS wishes them both well for the next stages in their careers.
Last Call to participate in the FAHS Survey (stage one)
Many of the results from the FAHS survey on Historical Societies are now in. We are delighted that we have had such a good response and have received around 300 responses, many with detailed comments. However, there are many more Historical Societies out there that we'd love to hear from

The survey is providing us with information of the ways in which your society is making a massive contribution to the important work of preserving and disseminating Australia's historical knowledge. We now need to hear from the missing historical societies so that we can understand the full scope of what you do and any challenges facing your organisation.

If you have already filled in the survey thank you, otherwise FAHS would love to hear from you. 

To participate, please click on the following link:

We look forward to receiving the results of the survey. 

Background to the FAHS survey

The Federation of Australian Historical Societies represents approximately 1000 community history and heritage societies and museums and their 100,000 members across Australia. These volunteers do hugely valuable work to collect, preserve, publish and promote our history and heritage.

The preservation, dissemination and promotion of local historical knowledge presents significant challenges in the digital era, and the survey will assist in identifying services required to support societies in this endeavour.

The information provided will assist the FAHS and State umbrella bodies in their work of promoting society needs and interests, and of seeking recognition and support from government and the community.

This first stage aims to provide an overview of membership numbers, premises, the contribution of volunteers, local and state government support, collections, the use of computers, and society activities.

This will be followed by two more surveys in 2016 which will focus on collection management including digitisation and accessibility, and on governance matters such as succession planning, financial management and strategic planning.

The results of the survey will be available on our website

There are 35 questions in the survey, most of which are in a “check box” format. We estimate that someone with a good knowledge of the operations of your society (such as an office-bearer) could complete it in 15-20 minutes.

The FAHS requests that your society appoint a person to fill out the survey by 19th August

Our Online Outreach Officer, Dr. Bernadette Flynn and our Executive Officer John Davies are available to assist with the survey


Don Garden Guest Speaker at Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society
FAHS President to deliver talk at Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society, 2016 AGM. Thursday 22nd August 7pm for 7.30pm start

The President of FAHS and RHSV, author and historian Don Garden OAM is the guest speaker at the AGM this year.

The society anticipates the talk in relation to the current Mapping Port Melbourne project, for Associate Professor Garden not only is noted for his expertise in environmental history but also has a particular interest in Melbourne's wetlands. His talk will include areas around the mouth of the river where the shape of the land has changed drastically and our fine wetlands sadly have disappeared.

The AGM is to be held at St Josephs Hall,  Rouse at Stokes Street, Port Melbourne. The Interiors of St Joseph's historic hall have recently been restructured and renewed to create a special venue space.

Further Information: or phone 03 9005 9709.

Digital Access to Collections GLAM Project

Fundamental to this project are visits to regional galleries, libraries, archives, museums and historical societies to see first hand what is working and what challenges and opportunities these institutions face in opening their collections to the world.

Frank Howarth, co-Chair of the GLAM Peak Bodies..

 Digital Access project on track to unlock collections nationwide

The GLAM Peak Bodies have appointed Rebecca Jones and John Petersen as the consultants to deliver the national Digital Access to Collections project. Funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Catalyst program, this project will set out the nation’s ambition for open access to a rich diversity of Australian content by national and international audiences.

Fieldwork and a draft framework will be completed by the end of 2016.

A GLAM peak website is being developed in order for interested parties to track progress. This will be online in August.

The GLAM Peak Bodies represent galleries, libraries, archives, museums, historical societies and
other research collections.

  • Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
  • The Australian Society of Archivists (ASA)
  • Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA)
  • Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD)
  • Council of Australian Art Museum Directors (CAAMD)
  • Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL)
  • Federation of Australian Historical Societies (FAHS)
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM)
  • Museums Australia (MA)
  • National Research Collections Australia (NRCA)
  • National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA)
  • University Art Museums Australia (UAMA)
Sue McKerracher, CEO, ALIA
Kate Irvine, Executive Officer, NSLA
Alex Marsden, National Director, Museums Australia

ABC Restoration Australia - Call Out for Heritage Projects

The ABC’s Restoration Australia is looking for heritage projects to film in 2016.
Are you interested in finding out about your home’s historical past?
Would you like to share the journey with Australia?

The ABC’s Restoration Australia is looking for passionate renovators to take part in the next series. Whether it’s art deco or something from the sixties, a Georgian mansion or a colonial pug and pine hut.

If you, or a friend, are about to tackle a historical restoration, they'd love to hear from you.
Fremantle Media are very excited to be producing the next two series’ of the ABC’s hugely popular Restoration Australia.

They are currently looking for historically significant projects to follow.

If you have, or know someone who has, a building dating between 1815 – 1960 and are about to embark on its restoration, this could be for you!

Filming will start in August and the size and budget doesn’t matter but passion and history does.

To find out more please contact:

Featured Historical Society - South Australia Medical Heritage Society 

South Australia has a relatively brief but impressive Medical Heritage, one that is cherished by members of the South Australian Medical Heritage Society (SAMHS). SAMHS is committed to the appreciation of medical history, to identifying and recording artefacts of medical interest, and to making medical heritage information more readily available.

A Virtual Museum of SA Medical Heritage

Established in 1983, the initial aim of the Society was establishing a Medical Museum. For various reasons, this goal seemed unlikely to be achieved. Energies were then directed towards establishing a website containing a 'Virtual Museum'. In 2003 retired medical practitioners, Bernard Vaughan (radiologist) and Tony Slavotinek (surgeon) began locating, describing, and photographing items of medical interest scattered throughout the State. They were joined by Michael Patkin (surgeon), who contributed his computer skills to establish the SAMHS website . An early interest was in radiology in SA. This equipment is dispersed in collections at Flinders Medical Centre, Glenside Hospital, Women's and Children's Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and private collections but all items are now all co-located in the Virtual Museum on SAMHS website.


In the Museum store at Netley is an 'Iron Lung' designed and developed by the prolific Adelaide inventors, brothers Edward and Donald Both. A whale-bone prosthetic hand made by Robert Norman and is likely to be one of the first prostheses made in South Australia. This hand prosthesis had 4 fingers operated by pulleys and strings. The fingers could be flexed by tightening strings attached to a ring on the patient’s remaining right thumb.

Over 500 items are grouped in 6 galleries and 80 folders on the website, and the collection continues to grow. A future direction is provision of information on Aboriginal, Chinese and Mediterranean medicine. One significant photograph in the collection is of a print of an X-ray of a hand labelled as belonging to Professor William Bragg, and taken in Adelaide on 1 June 1896 (later, Bragg and his son were awarded the Nobel Prize for X-ray crystallography). The SAMHS website also hosts a biographical library with details of many notable SA health professionals, who include Nobel Laureates, eminent doctors, scientists, nurses, dentists and others. 
SAMHS currently has 70 registered members from a wide range of professions including historians, doctors, scientists, teachers, business people and others, all having a common interest in Medical Heritage. Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 5.30pm in the Royal Society Rooms, off Kintore Avenue Adelaide. An invited speaker addresses each meeting on a topic of medical history interest. Guests and new members are always welcome. A field trip is arranged each year, as well as a celebratory Christmas meeting. The Society is currently considering a public display of medical artefacts for History Month SA in May 2017.  

Stable, effective leadership for the past 15 years has contributed greatly to the success of the society. Factors such as intellectual stimulation, social interaction and encouraging a range of professionals as speakers and members, contribute to stability and growth. The challenges ahead are continuity of active members along with on-going cataloguing and upgrading of the web site. 

Further Information:
Joy Copland, Hon. Secretary SAMHS, email:

Source: SAMHS website and interview with Joy Copland and Tony Slavotinek.

Exhibition: Cabinets of Wonder: Extraordinary Collections of Ephemera

Cabinets of Wonder at RHSV from 12th July - 22nd August

Collectors’ passions for assembling, organising and displaying objects, for creating inventories of the world manifest an innate curiosity and an underlying desire for order.

This exhibition is presented by the Ephemera Society of Australia Inc., which is devoted to the preservation, study and display of items of a transient nature. The Society’s original mission may be colloquially described as collecting material not traditonaly favoured by museums and libraries.
Cabinets of Wonder showcases the best of Society members’ private collections and explores the collecting drive behind their creation.

Installations will range from serious to light-hearted records of political and social life. Ribbons, badges and other ephemeral records of the 8 hour day movement will be featured together with beribboned dance cards for events from the ‘Complimentary Return Ball’ in Foostcray in 1886 to ‘A Matron’s at Home Yallourn 1926’.

A wall of badges, drawn from half-a-lifetime’s hunting and gathering, together with advertising pocket mirrors reflecting the practical and pretty ways of keeping a product in mind are just two examples of the breadth and passion of the wonders on display.

Ephemerists love paper best and so fine, historical local Australian letterhead from John Wren to early Reg Ansett will be featured together with the ephemera of ink. The other tool of the office clerk, the blotter, is a poignant reminder of humbler ambitions – saving for the future, the best children’s shoes and the like.

Private collectors have the time, drive, passion and knowledge to devote to exhaustively collecting on a subject, format or period.

Cabinets of Wonder acknowledges and celebrates the fascination of collections and the role of the private collector as the keeper of items of a transient nature.

Location: At the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne (cnr of A’Beckett & William Sts) (near Flagstaff Station).
Open: 12 July to 22 August (Monday to Friday only).
Times: 10-4 except Fridays 10-3.
Admission: gold coin donation.
Managing your Digital Collection, Workshop, Stonnington History Centre
 History Matters event at Northbrook 2015

Stonnington History Centre History Matters event: Managing your digital collection

The Stonnington History Centre is an archive dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the City of Stonnington and the former cities of Malvern and Prahran. The centre is a branch of the Stonnington Library and Information Service and is housed at Northbrook, located behind the Malvern Library.

Stonnington History Centre Historian Simone Sharpe provides handy tips on how to store, protect and manage your collection of digital photographs and documents. Stonnington History Centre, Northbrook (behind Malvern Library) RSVP: 03 8290 1360 

Wednesday 17 August 2016, 10am – 11am
Book online or phone 8290 1360. 
Bookings open 1 July, 10am


Source: Malvern Historical Society Newsletter 

Western Land Exhibition Community Talks Program, WA
The community talks program for the Society's current exhibition: Western Land - a journey of discovery and rediscovery continues with a presentation on 23rd August

Frances 'Fanny' Brockman was the oldest of the outgoing and alluring daughters of Alfred and Ellen Bussell. This weekend, Lilleyman will take guests back in time through Fanny's diaries.

The diaries span 30 years from 1872 to about 1905 and cover her struggles in farming, the establishment of the timber industry, and then the rise in caves tourism.

Tuesday 23 August 2016, 9:30 for 10am Venue: Stirling House 49 Broadway Nedlands 
Tickets: $20 each Bookings essential 
Tel: 9386 3841 Email 

WA Australian History Foundation Grants

The Foundation is conducting a grants round this year on the following dates:

Closing date for applications – Friday 9 September
Announcement of grant recipients – Wednesday 5 October

A small number of grants will be made, normally to a maximum of $10,000 in any one grant.
A project must fall within the Foundationʼs Objects to be eligible to apply for a grant.

Objects of Association:

• to encourage interest in and knowledge of Western Australian history;

• to promote the teaching of Western Australian history at all levels of education;

• to promote research into Western Australian history, particularly from within the
State's tertiary education institutions;

• to assist with the production, publication and distribution of teaching materials
based on research and linked to curricula for use at all levels of education;

• to raise, manage and distribute funds for the furtherance of these objectives.

For guidelines and more information, see the Foundationʼs website:

or contact the Secretary, WA History Foundation Inc.
Dr Lenore Layman,
Queensland Family History Society: Researching your Chinese Ancestry
Researching your Chinese ancestry with Presenter: Dr Kevin Rains
                                                  Researching your Chinese ancestry

Queensland Family History Society: "Researching your Chinese ancestry"
Meeting Room58 Bellevue Ave, Gaythorne QLD 4051, 
Aug 6 10:00am to 11:00am

Presenter: Dr Kevin Rains

Kevin will present a brief overview of the history of Chinese immigration to Queensland. He will follow this with a review of the historical and archaeological sources available for researching Chinese ancestry.

The QFHS welcomes you to attend their seminar Researching your Chinese ancestry with Kevin Rains.  Kevin will present a brief overview of the history of Chinese immigration to Queensland.  He will follow this with a review of the historical and archaeological sources available for researching Chinese ancestry.

Bookings are required.
Cost: $11 (members); $15 (non-members)

For more information, contact QFHS

Phone: 07 3355 3369
Professional Historians Association Conference, Victoria


We want to hear about the challenges, triumphs, failures and lessons you've learned working as a professional historian. 

The conference will be a dynamic mix of papers, lightning presentations, panel discussions, debates, forums and exhibitions.

Think about how you want to contribute and let us know!
The conference will explore the following:

History: Now

What’s happening in history practice now?  What are some of the tensions, challenges, dilemmas and wisdoms that come with working in history today?

History: How?
How do we communicate history?  How does digital history compare to traditional methods?  Is there still a role for books, radio and television? How important is technology in history?

History:  Whose?
Who are we doing history for? What role does history play in benefiting communities, organisations, individuals?  Should historians weigh in on discussions on policy, planning and heritage?  What are our responsibilities?

History:  Where to?
Our job is discussing the past, but what about the future? What challenges and new practices will we face?  Who might we be working for? And what will working in history be like in 20 or 50 years time?

Dr Tim Sherratt, Associate Professor of Digital Heritage at the University of Canberra will explore ways in which we can maintain and enrich connections between data and narrative -- to tell stories that not only
connect us to the past, but connect us to the wealth of historical material that exists within online collections.

How do historians navigate complexities and ensure ethical practice? What are the things they never taught you at history school that you discover in practice? What influence can history have on public policy? What is the role of historians in challenging grand narratives?

Presenters will share their insights, delving into these fascinating topics to explore issues at the core of professional practice as an historian.

Catherine Andrews, professional historian and special friend of PHA (Vic), will host a conversation with Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC, who will discuss the evolution of professional history and the influence on Australian history and historians since the 1960s

Date: 19-20 August 2016

Graduate House, Melbourne

Registration: Members $80 per day; Non-members $110 per day; Students $65 per day

Registrations are now open!  Click here for details.
Contact  with any enquiries.

The FAHS e-Bulletin, No. 154, 29th July 2016
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