Aus map - Federation of Australian Historical Societies Tasmanian Historical research Association Royal Historical Society of Queensland Royal Australian Historical Society Canberra & District Historical Society Royal Historical Society of Victoria History Trust of South Australia Historical Society of the Northern Territory Royal Western Australian Historical Society


search tips advanced search
site search by freefind





e-BULLETIN No. 104 – 27 October 2012


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr



1) Lithgow's Small Arms Factory Museum


2) Australian Heritage Strategy


3) International Council on Archives Congress, August 2012, Brisbane


4) Digital deluge in archival world


5) Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame - Kalgoorlie


6) Chinese archives - Guangzhou (formerly Canton)


7) HMS Orpheus on the Manukau Harbour (west coast of Auckland)



1) Lithgow's Small Arms Factory Museum


The official opening of the Antique Arms Collectors Society of Australia (AACSA) exhibition of antique and colonial firearms occurred on 29 September 2012. The exhibition runs from September 24th to October 27th. Workshops were held on the weekend.


The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum houses a superb collection of firearms and also commemorates the birthplace of modern manufacturing in Australia.


The museum, opened in 1996, is one of the largest tourism attractions in the Lithgow area and is situated on the original factory site.  It is recognised world-wide for its unique firearms collection and as a research resource. The collection includes weapons manufactured at Lithgow as well as many made in other parts of the world.  The display includes a magnificent collection of approximately 1500 handguns donated to the museum in 2006.  Unique to the museum are Australian-designed experimental, prototype and pre-production weapons. Other displays show the commercial side of the factory’s output.


The archives form a collection of national significance, being an almost complete record of the Lithgow Small Arms Factory from its inception, as well as tracing the industrial history of our nation. There is a large and irreplaceable photographic collection which details not only the factory over the years, but also a general history of the Lithgow area.  A well equipped research room enables access to the archives by appointment.


The museum collection is owned by the people of Lithgow and the museum is operated entirely by volunteers.


Officially opened in 1912, the Lithgow Small Arms Factory produced thousands of weapons used in World War One, including the famous Lee-Enfield .303 rifle and its P.07 bayonet.  In the prelude to World War Two the Bren and Vickers machine-guns were produced.


Between the wars it switched most of its production to non-military items, including sewing machines, food processors, sound-film projectors, tools, sporting goods and shearing equipment.


The factory was corporatised in the late 1980s.  Now owned by Thales Australia, it still makes a valuable contribution to Australia’s national defence industry.


The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum is at 69 Methven Street, Lithgow.  For more information call (02) 6351 4452 or email


(Source: Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum – 13 August 2012)



2) Australian Heritage Strategy


A summary document outlining the ninety-six submissions received through the public consultation period for the Australian Heritage Strategy has been placed on the web at


(Source: Email from Jennifer Carter, Director, Heritage Strategies Section, Heritage South Branch, Heritage and Wildlife Division, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra – 28 September 2012)



3) International Council on Archives Congress, August 2012, Brisbane


Valuable papers on history and archives were presented at the congress in Brisbane. They have now been made available on the following website:  It includes papers on loss in disasters.


(Source: International Council on Archives Congress email on 28 September 2012)



4) Digital deluge in archival world


On 13 July 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that globally, the amount of data created, collected, and shared in 2009 was 800,000 petabytes. By 2020 this figure will be 35 zettabytes (one zettabyte is equivalent to 260,000,000,000 DVDs).


With rapidly evolving business systems, cloud environments, expanding application and software development and information profusion, we are in an environment where a stable archival heritage will be difficult to create, let alone sustain.


‘The evidence suggests that our professional methods are not coping with the scale and complexity of contemporary recordkeeping challenges, and they are failing us at a time of critical risk. And this is not the first call to reinvent our professional practices.’ In 1986 David Bearman first argued that archival core methods of appraisal, description, preservation and access were fundamentally unable to cope with the volumes of information that archivists were required to process. He called on the profession to completely reinvent its core methods. Much has been done in the intervening 25 years.


The Australian Society of Archivists Inc is holding a two day workshop in Sydney on 29-30 November 2012 to explore how archivists can fundamentally reassess their methods and determine what can be done to create a stable archival record of the 21st century.

• Full program details for the event will be available via and


(Source: Australian Society of Archivists Inc. Events Update - Issue 7: 24 September 2012)



5) Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame - Kalgoorlie


Clive Annear kindly pointed us in the direction of the following press release:



6) Chinese archives - Guangzhou (formerly Canton)


The Chinese Archives News of 16 August 2012 was widely distributed at the International Archives Congress, 21-24 August 2012 in Brisbane. It contained numerous articles on the growth of the archives profession in China and the community repositories as well. For example, the Guangzhou Municipal Archives (formerly known as Canton in the western world) submitted an article outlining its collection of archives. Canton was the centre from which thousands of Chinese came to the Australian colonies to mine alluvial gold.


The Art Archives of Liwan District (established in 2007) has a repository area of 3000 square metres collects documents and objects of the artists and houses objects of ivory, jade, wood, Guangzhou coloured porcelain and Guangzhou embroidery.


Archives of Fanyu District was established in January 1959 and has a repository area of 2850 square metres. In 2009 it became the demonstration site for digital archives at the county level. The Fanyu archives has an information centre covering the district and towns with broadband access and manages electronic, audiovisual and paper archives.


The Real Estate Archives of Guangzhou (former Office of Real Estate Ownership Registration Records under the Land and Housing Administration of Guangzhou) has a repository area of 15,700 square metres and houses 3.7 million volumes of archives (99% of which are real estate archives) spanning 400 years, with a monthly increase of 30,000 volumes. 520,000 volumes are consulted per year.


A map of Canton drawn by a German in 1907 accompanies the article, together with one drawn between 1685 and 1722 and photographs of Sun Yat-sen’s memorial hall (1931) and an old street scene.


(Source: Chinese Archives News 16 August 2012 p.24)



7) HMS Orpheus on the Manukau Harbour (west coast of Auckland)


The West Auckland Historical Society in New Zealand has advised the Federation of a proposed commemorative event in February 2013 about the wreck of the HMS Orpheus.

Some of their members have a keen interest in the wreck of HMS Orpheus on the Manukau Harbour bar (west coast of Auckland) on 7th February 1863. It is the worst maritime disaster in NZ waters to this date in terms of lost lives: 189 perished out of a complement of 259.

A committee has recently been formed to organise a commemorative event on 7th Feb 2013 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the accident. They would like to bring together as many descendants and relatives of the survivors as possible. Some of them did settle in the area but many did move on and settled in other parts of the country, returned to Australia or even went back to England.

Below is a list of the people who survived the tragedy. The Society would greatly appreciate if it could be circulated widely. If anyone can help locate any of the descendants of the people on this list, they should contact Alex Vartzbed whose contact details are: 14 Hollywood Ave, Titirangi, Auckland 0604, New Zealand. Phone: +64-9-817 8877 (A/H); Email:

Orpheus Survivors List:


Paymaster:      E.A.Amphlett

Lieutenant:      Duke D. Yonge(Younge), Charles Hill

Ass. Engineer:   George Gossage

Bosun:              William Mason(Hames/Jimmy)

Carpenter:         John Beer  (His descendants are coming from Australia)

Midshipmen:     Bernal Fielding, Henry Barkly, Charles Hunt, W Ollert, M Barkly,  C Mayne, H Nelson, D Elphiston, W Stuart, F Scrutton, P Cheeseman, P Fry, W Bardsley,  L Corbeit, P Hearne, T McDonnell, C Hunt.

Seamen: Charles William Sturtridge, Wilson John(Thomas) Geary, J Finnis,  W Johnson, J. Ellison, D Briggs, J Young, W Masl, L Wathen, A Byrne, H Summer, T Morrison, P Broadley, N Ormsby, O Lamb, J Kennedy, D Hawkins.


(This is not definitive as records are believed to have been lost by the British Admiralty and Australian Naval Authorities.)


(Source: Email: - 16 September 2012)