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E-BULLETIN No. 67 – 10 June 2010


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr


1)  Gallipoli photographs saved in Canada


2)  Trends in archival administration and storage


3)  Microfilming v digitisation


4)  Japan Foundation, Sydney events - Living Histories lecture series


5)  Local history – Victoria – Walhalla Tramway


6)  Local history – Broome Historical Society, Western Australia


7)  United Kingdom cultural and historical issues


8)  Consider joining the online Australian Historical Societies Support Group


1)   Gallipoli photographs saved in Canada


 ‘Dozens of World War I photographs, including some from Australia's Gallipoli campaign, have been saved by a quick-thinking removalist in Canada.

Max Madden, an Australian who operates a removalist business in Vancouver, was helping relocate Canadian man Trevor Pilley to a retirement home when he came across the historic black and white photos.


They were contained inside an album marked, "Dardanelles - Landing of Australians and New Zealanders at Anzac", which was in a pile of belongings to be sent to a consignment store for auction.


… The photos were taken by Trevor Pilley's father, Charles, who was a machine gunner in a biplane during World War 1.


"Trevor's father had travelled quite extensively during the war, through from the Gallipoli campaign right through into the Middle East from Palestine, Gaza and then across and over into India," Mr Madden said.


"There's a number of photos of Turkish prisoners of war, a couple of very early World War I tanks, very early military motorbikes with sidecars from like 1916.  "It's a pictorial history of that time that encapsulates the military side as well as things of quite a personal nature."


Mr Madden put a collection of the photos on display for the recent Anzac Day ceremony in Vancouver. He plans to send copies of the rediscovered images to the Australian War Memorial, as well as its Canadian counterpart.’


(Source: – 27 April 2010)

2)   Trends in archival administration and storage

The following provocative general comments summarised below were made in relation to management of the National Archives in New Zealand and could be applied more broadly:


the trend in tight economic times is for governments to downsize archives;


the question is asked whether administration and storage of archives could be transferred to the concerned public, as an extension of e.g. the local history and genealogy spheres;


storage of material long term, especially digital media, could perhaps be done by pluralising it in the public domain rather than guarding it – cheap option compared to expensive one;


the challenge of open pluralisation is that while the "content" is preserved, the public at large places less emphasis on the necessary preservation of accompanying metadata, especially provenance information; and


forensic examination of the object itself and metadata embedded in it is the most authentic storage method. Thus a combination of adapting digital storage technology to inextricably store as much metadata as possible with digital objects and transferring into the public sphere for permanent preservation; otherwise the physical objects will disappear as they decay no matter how much we spend on them.


(Source: – 25 April 2010)



3)   Microfilming v digitisation


A discussion of the benefits of digitisation versus microfilming is underway in the archival profession. The Australian War Memorial ceased microfilming for preservation in the year 2001.


In 2009 they completed digitising the First World War diaries (500,000 pages) –  They had been microfilmed in the 1980s for long term preservation.


They found that up to 20 percent of the pages on microfilm were unreadable. This is a quality assurance issue in the microfilming. It is particularly unsuitable for lead and indelible pencil on fine paper.


The Australian War Memorial went back to the original paper records and rescanned them for preservation in full colour. Due to the quality of the microfilm, until they had all the war diaries online they were under a great deal of pressure from the public to provide access to the original paper records.


Access has always been a fundamental component of the Australian War Memorial’s preservation policy and digital format delivers a better product including colour and broad access on the web. The digital collection records can also be enhanced through cataloguing and more searchable within databases.


Further input from Micrographs technologists provided useful technical data, highlighting the quality assurance requirements of both digitisation and microlfiming:


Experienced microfilmers are required to deal with low contrast scenarios such as the one presented by AWM – just as it does for digitisation. 


Examples of techniques for handling similar scenarios are provided in the National Library of Australia’s 'Training for Preservation Microfilming' module on cameras (p36)


There are also cost implications for large format (A3+) records where microfilm is still a cheaper format, albeit limited to a greyscale colour space.  While storage in electronic form is oft-stated as cheap it is costly over time when management and migration and quality assurance is factored in.  This is rarely contended with in the budget for an imaging/capture project.


There is now an option to scan first (in colour) and write the digital copy to film for long term preservation using archive writers, a modern form of Computer Output to Microfilm (COM) devices.   There is a forthcoming chapter on this topic in the  DCC Curation Reference Manual:

(Source: – 1 & 2 June 2010)


4)  Japan Foundation, Sydney events – Living Histories lecture series


The Japan Foundation, Sydney is currently organising a series of free lectures titled 'Living Histories: the personal face of the Australia-Japan relationship'. The next lecture, titled 'The Kure Kids - race mixing under military occupation' by Walter Hamilton, former Tokyo correspondent for the ABC, will be held on Friday 28 May in the Japan Foundation, Sydney's Multipurpose Room in Chifley Plaza.


Please find below a brief outline of the lectures: 


Living Histories: the personal face of the Australia – Japan relationship


     Friday 28 May 2010 The Kure Kids - race mixing under military occupation by Walter Hamilton

     Friday 4 June 2010 The Hirodo Family - A century of involvement in Australian wool-buying history by Graham Eccles

     Friday 18 June 2010 Living Legacies: Japanese - Australian stories of friendship and tragedy by Dr Pam Oliver

     Friday 25 June 2010 Caught in the Middle - a life spent between Australia and Japan by Roger Pulvers

     Friday 2 July 2010 Japanese Migrants and Indigenous Australians in Northern Australia from the 1870s to Today by Dr Yuriko Yamanouchi


Time:  6.00pm (for 6.30pm start) – 8pm

Venue: Multipurpose Room, The Japan Foundation, Level 1 Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney

Admission: Free. Bookings essential. RSVP or phone 02 8239 0055

Please visit this website for full details of each topic and speaker:



5)   Local history – Victoria – Walhalla Tramway


It is the centenary of the narrow gauge (2ft 6in) line to the gold mining town of Walhalla high up in the mountains of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria. It was a very prosperous gold mining town and the mining only ceased with labour shortages due to the first war. The line ran using Baldwin designed 2-6-2 tank engines and later a Beyer Garrett. Lack of traffic forced the lines closure beginning with the Walhalla section in 1944 and the whole line in 1954.


Efforts were first made in 1972-3 to re-establish the line and restore a locomotive to run on it. Inspired by the successful rescue and restoration of the narrow gauge line between Belgrave and Emerald – “Puffing Billy” the Walhalla Goldfields Railway was established in 1993 to reopen the track between Walhalla and Erica. This is a spectacular section of line with a major bridge over the Thomson’s River and the line running through the gorge of Stringers Creek to Walhalla.


To celebrate the 100th anniversary the Walhalla Goldfields Railway persuaded the Puffing Billy Railway to lend locomotive 7A to run trips on the weekend (in the guise of 9A) and it ran successfully.


Mr Frank Stamford of Light Railways Research Society has a page,
which gives an excellent coverage of the trip to and from Thomson.


Often heritage experts overlook tourist railways as examples of industrial heritage but events like this are a reminder that huge numbers of people are involved in industrial heritage without realising it!


(Source: – 30 May 2010)



6)   Local history – Broome Historical Society, Western Australia


The Broome Historical Society operates out of a wonderful museum that showcases much of Broome’s history and covers the pearling, pastoral, WW11 and the rich cultural history of Broome. The museum building was originally constructed during the late 1890s and in 1901 it was used by Newman, Goldstein & Co. The company used the building to store all that was needed for its fleet of 22 pearling luggers, 2 schooners and a steam launch. At the time, the company also owned the notorious Roebuck Bay Hotel. In 1910, Customs moved into the building and remained there

until 1979. The Broome Shire Council bought the building and it was opened as a museum in 1981 by the then Premier of WA, Sir Charles Court.


(Source: Historical Society of the Northern Territory Newsletter May 2010)



7)   United Kingdom cultural and historical issues



Restoration is now underway on Westminster Chapter House by Nimbus supporting young people in employment in stone masonry and carving work. The work is being done under the auspices of English Heritage. The Chapter House of Westminster Abbey was completed by King Henry III around 1255. It was the first meeting place of the King’s Great Council and was later used by the House of Commons before it moved to the Palace of Westminster. In the seventeenth century if became a storage building for Royal documents, which were removed in 1863. Sir George Gilbert Scott, Victorian gothic revivalist architect, worked in the building and reinstated the medieval windows from 1866. A new vault, held aloft by wrought iron rods, was constructed. The current innovative employment opportunities being utilised are similar in principle to the National Citizen Service for 16 year olds being advanced by the new Conservative – Liberal Democrats Government in the United Kingdom, as part of their ‘Big Society’ policy. 300,000 places in the voluntary work scheme within five years are planned with expansion proposed to 650,000 in eight years.

(Source: The Financial Times (London) 1-2 May 2010 Life and Arts p.22; The Independent (London) 23 May 2010 p.28)




A copy of the 1587 execution warrant for Mary Queen of Scots will feature in a collection of rare English documents and artefacts to be displayed at Lambeth Palace. The display will mark the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Lambeth Palace Library.

(Source: The Press and Journal (Inverness) 13 May 2010 p.10)







The Westray Wife is the only known Neolithic carving of a human form to have been found in Scotland. It was located in the 2008 summer archaeology season on Historic Scotland’s excavation at the Links of Noltland on Westray. It is to be displayed in Westray from 15 May until October 2010 and then be transferred to Orkney Museum in Kirkwall.

(Source: Orkney Today 13 May 2010 p.3)




8)  Consider joining the online Australian Historical Societies Support Group


The online Australian Historical Societies Support Group, through an arrangement between the Federation of Australian Historical Societies (FAHS) and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, is one of the My Connected Community (mc2) groups initiated and funded by the Victorian Government’s Connecting Communities policy. 


The Australian Historical Societies Support Group offers participating historical societies, like-minded bodies and their members a variety of free, easy to use Web-based services which they can use to communicate with each other across the nation and the world on any topic that is of interest or concern to their organisations.  


The mc2 website provides easy access to online technologies now available for communicating between group members. Features of mc2 include a forum, an events list, space for sharing files, space for sharing photos, a links page and a chat room.


Details on how to join the Group are available at the FAHS website at:  Follow the “Support” and “Support Group” links from the home page.


(Source: FAHS Council)