Welcome to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies 

No. 152, 16th June 2016
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FAHS Welcomes New Chair of Australian Heritage Council
Professor Carmen Lawrence, former Premier of WA and Commonwealth Minister, recently completed six years as Chair of the Australian Heritage Council and has retired from the position. She gave great leadership to the AHC and the heritage community in difficult financial times and the FAHS expresses its thanks and congratulations.

The new Chair is Dr David Kemp a political scientist and former MHR 1993 - 2004. Among his Ministerial positions he was Minister for the Environment and Heritage in the Howard government from 1901 –2004 and one of the architects of the current Commonwealth heritage regime. 
The FAHS welcomes Dr Kemp and looks forward to working with him for the protection and promotion of Australian history and heritage.
GLAM Peak Australia Digital Access 

GLAM Peak Bodies have outlined a 7-point plan for community digital access to Australian Cultural Collections

To assist the Australian people to create innovative, educated, resilient and connected communities that understand and celebrate our shared cultural identity through free digital access to the nation’s cultural collections.

A 7-point plan to enable community digital access
  • Endorse a national strategy and framework for digital access to cultural collections
  • Invest in digitising Indigenous collections
  • Invest in institutions great and small to make their collections digitally accessible
  • Invest in research across the arts and humanities
  • Enable seamless discoverability and reuse of digital collections through ongoing investment in a central online aggregation platform
  • Amend the Copyright Act as proposed in the last term
  • Build employment and training in the creative industries and digital humanities
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)

Our members support the nation’s arts, heritage, education, research and innovation priorities:
  • We work with Indigenous communities to preserve the nation’s earliest cultural memories and we embrace new technologies, including world class examples of digital access to collections through Trove and the Atlas of Living Australia.
  • Our collections create a sense of place and introduce young people and new migrants to the ideas that have shaped our nation. They support the Australian Curriculum, providing rich content for teachers and students.
  • They are used by authors, illustrators, designers, musicians, filmmakers and other creators to explore the works of past masters and make new works for a contemporary audience.
  • Media and technology companies, established businesses and entrepreneurs use our collections to investigate opportunities, identify gaps, generate content and spark new inventions.
  • Humanities researchers and family historians rely on our collections to satisfy their need for knowledge.
Whether it is for engaging with culture and science, learning from history, preparing a school project, researching a family history, writing a thesis, filming a documentary or inventing a new gizmo, Australians are turning in their millions to the web. There are more than 20 million visitors a year to Trove alone.
While our collecting institutions have the capability to deliver digital content, there are significant barriers to digital access:
  •  No clearly articulated national strategy and framework for digital access to collections
  • A patchy approach to funding for the digitisation of materials and the processing needed to make them screen-ready
  • Reduced funding for the Trove platform, which will hinder its growth and put it at risk of falling behind in technology terms
  • Copyright law has not kept pace with technological advances.  If we can address these issues, there are substantial benefits to be gained.
  • We will unlock the value of our physical collections.
  • We will promote Australian creators’ work and our national heritage to a global audience.
  • We will enable local community collections to connect to the ‘national grid’.
  • We will create new jobs in the creative industries and help develop a digitally-skilled workforce.
  • In a country that is prone to climate-related disasters, we will be able to safeguard our cultural heritage in its digital form.
We welcome the government’s investment in the collections of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies but there are collections held in many other institutions and keeping places that should be made digitally accessible.

These collections are not only of cultural significance, they also support scientists’ understanding of the landscape and the environment. This deeper understanding is based on the knowledge of people who have looked after this land for thousands of years.

Museums Australia,
National and State Libraries Australasia,
Australian Library and Information Association,

Inside History’s New ‘Look Dater’ Tool

A unique photo-dating tool – the first of its kind in Australia – is set to transform the way genealogists and family historians trace their ancestors.

The History Council of NSW is proud to announce its auspicing of Inside History magazine’s new project. In partnership with the State Library of NSW, Inside History will create a dynamic and freely accessible website to assist users in dating family photographs based on the subject’s style and dress.

“Our readers commonly request help with identifying when family pictures were made,” says Inside History editor Cassie Mercer. “With funding support from Arts NSW, we’re thrilled to be working with the State Library on this pioneering online tool that will provide vital information in piecing together a family history.”
Up to 200 images from the State Library’s collections (including paintings, drawings, miniatures, silhouettes, engraving and photographs,) dating from 1788 to 1955, will be arranged in a chronological timeline to form the visual centrepiece for the website.
This core set of downloadable images will be supported by an impeccably researched reference guide, developed by the State Library’s dress and cultural historian Margot Riley.
“Users will be guided through a step-by-step process of accurately dating and interpreting images through Australia’s dress history (eg. style of clothing and accessories worn, hairstyles, etc), and also by studying the detail within the portrait image (eg. backdrop used and photographic studio details) and other key factors,” says Ms Riley.

“This will be a highly anticipated resource not only for family and local historians, especially those in regional and remote areas, but also the film industry, designers, collectors, vintage clothing enthusiasts and students,” says Ms Riley, who was consulted for costume accuracy for productions like The Great Gatsby and A Place to Call Home.

According to Cassie Mercer, this much-needed public resource will hopefully encourage information exchanges between libraries, historical societies, community groups and individuals which will ultimately enhance our collective heritage.

“We have received incredible support from history societies and public libraries across the state who plan to use the new website to date photographs in their own collections and thereby increase their value to local users,” says Ms Mercer.

The new website is expected to be launched early next year, and the community will be invited to help pick the perfect name for the website. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project.


Convict Records of Western Australia Updated

The Friends of Battye Library, Perth, are pleased to announce  that the Convict Records of Western Australia has been updated and is now available to view and download from the Friends of Battye website on the home page <Convict Records of WA>


This comprehensive guide builds on the earlier 1990 publication compiled by Gillian O'Mara. With her blessing the guide was updated and expanded by Lorraine Clarke and Cherie Strickland  of Swan Genealogy It is now an unparalleled reference guide for family historians and researchers interested in WA convicts.

Lorraine & Cherie have  travelled the road of convict research themselves so they  know all the pitfalls and twists and turns in chasing Western Australian Convicts. Their experience can now help you.  Follow the steps they outline to research your convict.

Proudly supported by the Western Australian History Foundation,Inc

Green Museum Project, Conservation and Sustainability Practices, Victoria

Museums Australia (Victoria) is excited to announce the commencement of the Green Museum Project, a new sustainability initiative developed by MA (Vic) and made possible by the generous support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation with additional support from Creative Victoria.

Commencing July 2016, the Green Museum Project Manager will be offering practical training in Melbourne and regional hubs to staff and volunteers of Victorian museums and galleries on preventive conservation and environmental sustainability practices.

Workshop participants will gain the tools and knowledge to reduce energy use, save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve lighting facilities, reduce the risk of collections to light and ultraviolet damage, and position their organisation as a local leader in sustainability.

Participants will be trained on how to:
Conduct an energy and lighting audit to establish baseline measures
Measure and adjust exhibition and display lighting to meet conservation standards
Ensure long-term preservation of collection material through object rotation schedules
Create and implement an Environmental Sustainability Policy
Design an Action Plan for sustainable operations

We are now calling for expressions of interest from organisations interested in taking part in the Green Museum Project training program. Expressions of interest close 15 June.

MAP-Accredited and MAP-enrolled organisations that undertake the training workshop will be eligible to apply for funding provided by MA (Vic) to make improvements to exhibition spaces. The Project Manager will help museums with these improvements, alongside other MA (Vic) staff and external museum lighting experts.
Training for the Green Museum Project will be held in Melbourne and regional hubs starting July 2016. Exact dates and locations are yet to be specified. Please fill in this form by 15 June 2016 if you are interested in attending training and the Green Museum Project Manager will be in contact with more information as training dates and locations are confirmed.

Further information:

Featured Historical Society - Benalla Historical Society Inc. Victoria

The Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum was founded in 1967 and is accredited through the  Museum Accreditation Program (Vic). It is the only public costume museum of its kind in Victoria. It is managed entirely by volunteer members of Benalla Historical Society Inc. and is a splendid example of how the skills of an enthusiastic and talented group can produce excellence.

The Benalla costume collection dating from 1750s and including Ned Kelly’s famed green silk sash, has built up through time supported by the skills of a secondary school textile teacher and a retired antiques dealer. The Benalla Costume and Kelly museum has been awarded volunteer museum of the year by Museums Australia (Victoria) and other awards for best museum experience and archival care. Robin Sadler, executive member and former president puts this down to a combination of enthusiasm, energy, skills and enjoyment. With a volunteer team of 10 people, the historical society’s exhibitions committee has been assisted by the Roving Curator Program which supports the development of quality cultural exhibitions in Victoria.

Through the Roving Curator Program the society received onsite training on exhibition development, label writing, and help with planning for a new temporary exhibition for 2016. 'Mini, Maxi & More: Styles of the 1970s' opened in October 2015 and runs until the end of 2016. The exhibition features outfits and accessories from the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum collection, plus photographs and stories of Benalla's local 1970s fashion escapades. 


Benalla became a regional hub during the 1970s and residents were fortunate to have several fine boutiques from which to purchase fashionable clothes. Others made their own dresses at home. Several local citizens have donated a variety of clothing as part of the Mini, Maxi & More exhibition. These range from the ubiquitous mini-skirts to the ultra-maxi outfits. Also displayed are samples of footwear and accessories from the 1970s, some men’s fashions (flares and flamboyant shirts), children’s clothing, and photographs from that era. 

The museum is located in the former Mechanics Institute building with later extensions, and is  supported by the local council which is responsible for the upkeep of the building.  The society pays no rent but contributes with 50% of admission costs.

Open:  9-4.30 every day,  Entry: $5, con $4.
Address: Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum, 14 Mair Street, Benalla VIC 3672

The Roving Curator Program offers an exhibitions professional (Roving Curator) to work with a museum or gallery on an exhibition-related project. Further information on the Roving Curators Program

The Urban and Regional Landscape: Annual Heritage Partnership Symposium 2016, ACT and Region
'Inside Out | Outside In' – The Urban and Regional Landscape

The Symposium asks how people, practice and planning relate to place making, recognising and celebrating our spaces and shared cultural and natural heritage.

ACT and Region Annual Heritage Partnership Symposium 2016

Inside Out / Outside In asks how people, practice and planning relate to place making, recognising and celebrating our spaces and shared cultural and natural heritage. The concept of landscape has moved on from its early meaning of open areas of land and planted gardens; based on only aesthetic appeal. How can we extend our understanding of our landscape, the natural, the built and the Indigenous, into better planning of our city, our suburbs and their settings and into a city that understands and draws from its cultural and natural heritage values; from the people, communities, and the environment that inhabit it and exude it?

Convened by: Australia ICOMOS, Canberra Archaeological Society, Canberra & District Historical Society and National Trust of Australia (ACT).
Date: Saturday 23 July 2016
Venue: Mount Stromlo, Commonwealth Solar Observatory (CSO) Common Room
Cost: $75 non-members, $55 members of host organisations, $30 concessions

Further information:

Opening of Denman and District Heritage Village Shed, Muswellbrook 

On 4th June the Denman Men's Shed in Muswellbrook was officially opened along with the heritage village shed.

Muswellbrook Shire mayor Martin Rush officially opened the facility and congratulated those attending: 'The Denman shed provides an important space for men to gather, share stories, learn new skills and practice their trades in a range of activities that promote mateship,' he said.

Muswellbrook Shire Council has been pleased to provide financial support in the form of land and of $55,000 in grants to the project. It is also a great pleasure to mark the occasion of the official opening of the Denman Heritage Village, which Council has been pleased to support.

A number of historical items are on exhibition at the Denman and District Heritage Village Shed many of them donated by Jeff Wolfgang from his own collections for the benefit of the community.


Talk at RAHS on the History of Lebanese Immigration
Image: Homepage of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society website

Taking a thematic approach, Paul Convy will discuss the history of Lebanese immigration to Australia and the contributions made by the Lebanese, in common with all immigrants to New South Wales, to our local and national cultural landscape. Using the major themes of Lebanese settlement in NSW from the 1880s: migration; commerce and labour; rural and urban settlement; religion; leisure and social institutions; and civic affairs, Paul will then discuss the project to research and write Lebanese Settlement in New South Wales: A Thematic History.

Date: June 29
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Cost: $32 - $35
Organiser: RAHS/WEA
Phone: (02) 9264 2781

Further Information:

Launceston Historical Society, Lecture on Dr Pugh's Journal

You are invited to attend the Fifth Pugh Day Lecture - 19th June

Dr Pugh’s handwritten Journal of his voyage from England to Van Diemen’s Land is first mentioned in the Illustrated Tasmanian Mail Christmas Issue of 1934. Three years after publishing Pugh’s Biography and seven years after starting a search for the Journal it has finally been found – in Bristol, England.

This lecture brings you the story of the search and unpublished highlights of Pugh’s life, including an escape from pirates in the Cape de Verde Islands, as described by the intrepid Doctor. 

Speakers: Dr John Paull, Retired Anaesthetist & Mrs Aileen Pike, Genealogist, who together discovered the whereabouts of the Journal and arranged for a copy to be provided.

When: Sunday 19 June 2016 at 2pm.
Venue: Meeting Room of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston (Inveresk site).

Afternoon tea will be served. 

Sponsors: Launceston General Hospital Historical Committee and the Launceston Historical Society. 

Lecture on Cultural Materials Conservation, Melbourne
Australian Identity through Cultural Materials Conservation Professorial Lecture – 16th June 2016

Without a national strategy for the preservation of its cultural and scientific record is Australia risking identity amnesia? 
In this lecture Professor Robyn Sloggett explores the valuable contribution that cultural materials conservation makes to the continual quest to understand our place in the world. She examines how conservation studies expand our understanding of Australia's diverse epistemological traditions and their significance in contemporary Australian life and expand opportunities for economic innovation, referencing Australia's rich, ancient and continuous Indigenous knowledge, the disciplinary genealogy of the Western history of ideas, and our place in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Her lecture concludes by addressing the question: Without a national strategy for the preservation of its cultural and scientific record is Australia risking identity amnesia? 

Professor Robyn Sloggett AM is Director of the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne.

Further Information: 
The FAHS e-Bulletin, No. 152, 16th June 2016
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