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e-BULLETIN No. 128 – 29 August 2014


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr


1) ABC RN Online history articles


2) History Council of NSW - Annual Lecture - 9 September 2014


3) History Council of SA - Annual Lecture - 29 August 2014


4) Victorian History Week : 19 - 26 October


5) Tasmania - exhibition - 21 objects, 21 stories


6) Western Australia - grant program - natural disasters


7) Northern territory - Elcho Island - Chinese coin


8) Graves in Wessel Islands of North West Arnhem Land


9) Darwin - historic boab tree in GPO car park


10) 'Holey dollar' stolen from State Library of New South Wales



1) ABC RN Online history articles


ABC RN Online Producer Andrew Davies has brought to our attention the following articles which may be of interest to historians.


(Source: Emails from Andrew Davies, ABC Radio RN – 30 July and 5 August 2014)




2) History Council of NSW - Annual Lecture - 9 September 2014

The History Council of NSW is proud to present the Annual History Lecture 2014


 'The Battle within ourselves' - POWs in post-war Australia

Presented by Professor Christina Twomey, Professor of History at Monash University


on 9 September 2014 from 6 pm to 9 pm at The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street, Sydney.


Cost: $50.00 General, $45.00 Concession
Contact: Dr Mandy Kretzschmar,,
02 9252 8715

The current embrace of former prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese as veterans who suffered undue hardships in the service of their nation belies a more complicated history. Focusing on the immediate post-war period until the 1970s, Professor Christina Twomey explores in her lecture the rare testimony from ex-POWs about how they experienced life in Australia after their return home.

Tickets are now on sale and can be booked via the website:

(Source: Email from History Council of New South Wales – 31 July 2014)



3) History Council of SA - Annual Lecture - 29 August 2014

Colonial South Australians 1836-1900 who were they?

Presented by Ron Gibbs – Historian and Author

The annual lecture is being held on Friday 29 August 2014 at 5.30pm at Hazel Lecture Theatre, State Library of South Australia, North Terrace, and Adelaide. Entry is by gold coin donation.
Bookings may be made by telephone (08) 8207 7347 or on the State Library’s Event website. The flyer is on website:


(Source: Australia ICOMOS E-News No.646 – 22 August 2014)



4) Victorian History Week : 19 - 26 October

This year, History Week in Victoria is being held from Sunday 19 October until Sunday 26 October. If you are holding a history related event during that week, make sure it is included in the official online event calendar. You can do this by listing details of your event at The RHSV looks forward to hosting yet another successful History Week and encouraging Victorians to travel back in time exploring Victoria’s wide and wonderful past!


(Source: Email from Royal Historical Society of Victoria – 25 August 2014)



5) Tasmania - exhibition - 21 objects, 21 stories

“21 Objects, 21 Stories: celebrating community collections”


exhibition was held at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) in Launceston.


It was an initiative of Arts Tasmania, developed to coincide with the 21st Anniversary of Museums Australia. It featured a selection of objects and accompanying stories from small museums and collections around the state, celebrating their contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage.


The exhibition closed on 27 July.


(Source: Email from Tasmanian Historical Research Association – 5 August 2014)



6) Western Australia - grant program - natural disasters

WA Natural Disasters Resilience Program


The funding is available to organisations across Western Australia to help improve the ability of local communities to deal with disasters.

Applications close on 30 September 2014.


(Source: Email from Chair, Blue Shield Australia – 7 August 2014)



7) Northern territory - Elcho Island - Chinese coin


‘Past Masters heritage group defends throwing old Chinese coin into sand dune’


A Northern Territory heritage enthusiast group, Past Masters, located a brass coin, thought to be from the Qing Dynasty and minted between 1736 and 1795, on Elcho Island in July 2014. The heritage group, which includes a geomorphologist, an anthropologist and several archaeologists, was on Elcho Island, about 600km east of Darwin off the coast of Arnhem Land when they made the discovery. They located the coin using a metal detector and said they photographed the item and left it on the sand dunes where it had been found.

News of its discovery stimulated international interest, with speculation on ancient links between China and northern Australia. It was also noted that similar Chinese artefacts had been found around goldfields in the Northern Territory.

The decision to leave the coin in the sand has been criticised.

‘A spokeswoman for the Northern Territory Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment, which deals with heritage matters, said there was no rule or requirement that valuable items be returned to their original location. However, she said the research undertaken by Past Masters was conducted at a known Macassan archaeological site. Macassan people are known to have visited Australia for hundreds of years from Indonesia to trade in trepang, or sea cucumbers, and there are legal protections for these sites. Such sites are automatically protected by the Heritage Act as heritage places. This means that a permit is required for any disturbance of the site, she said.

Curator of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Paul Clark, stated that picking up a coin and taking it from where it was found would mean it lost its context. ‘Metal detectorists and heritage enthusiasts and general members of the public are not encouraged to collect artefacts from the field,’ he said. Mr Clark said it was impossible to know how the Chinese coin came to be on the remote island.


(Source: ABC News - - 22 August 2014)



8) Graves in Wessel Islands of North West Arnhem Land


Two World War II servicemen are buried in unmarked graves on Garuwa Island in the Wessel Islands of North West Arnhem Land . They died of wounds sustained in an attack on an RAN vessel on 22 January 1943 when bombed by a float plane from Dobo in Anu Island in Indonesia. They were Percival Cameron of east Sydney and Gitjbapuy Markulu from East Arnhem Land. The story of the attack on the ship, their wounding and deaths is outlined in the Arafura Times newspaper of 29 July 2014.


(Source: Arafura Times 29 July 2014 pp.1-3 including three photographs)



9) Darwin - historic boab tree in GPO car park

The historic boab tree, Andansonian gregorii,  in the GPO car park in Darwin has been entered on the Northern Territory Heritage Register. It was planted in the late 1800s. The Northern Territory government has pledged $10,000 towards preservation of the tree.


(Source: Litchfield Sun 23 July 2014 p.5 including photograph)



10) 'Holey dollar' stolen from State Library of New South Wales

An 1813 ‘Holey Dollar’ and other coins were stolen from a display at State Library of New South Wales on 6th August 2014. Sydney Police are investigating the theft of 12 coins dating from 1850s to 1920s. Police stated that the coins were in a steel framed glass cabinet with heavy and armoured locks. The State Librarian, Dr Alex Byrne, stated that the State Library knew the value of the coins financially and historically. The ‘Holey Dollar’, Australia’s first coin, is the inspiration for the Macquarie Bank logo. Mr Jim Noble, managing director of Noble Numismatics and official valuer for the State Library of New South Wales, stated that sale prices of ‘Holey Dollars’ have ranged from $70,000 to $400,000. The ‘Holey Dollar’ was minted in the Lima Mint in Peru and was the start of currency in Australia. Governor Lachlan Macquarie bought 40,000 Spanish silver dollar coins to resolve the colony’s currency shortage. A hole was punched in the centre to devalue. Each coin became two coins – the larger donut outer ring and the smaller coin, the Colonial Dump. A second theft occurred nearby on the same afternoon – jewellery from a George Street hotel.


(Source: Australian Financial Review 9-10 August 2014 p.2 including photograph)