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e-BULLETIN No. 73 – 22 September 2010


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr




1) ABC - Regional Museums Award


2) Victoria 175 History Grants announced


3) First Fleet letter sold at auction


4) Electronic recordkeeping world wide


5) Indigenous Unit - Dhiiyan - Moree - reduced services


6) Local history - Alice Springs


6) Local history - Broome


7) Consider joining the online Australian Historical Societies Support Group



1) ABC - Regional Museums Award


Richmond River Historical Society - based in Lismore, New South Wales – has won the ABC Regional Museums Award in Australia.


'Richmond River Historical Society, formed in 1936, was selected as overall winner because it performed highly across all criteria. It is a very active museum with a big collection preserving all elements of the local history, has a strong volunteer base and works well with all locals including the Italian and Bandjalung communities to tell interesting and inclusive stories about the district.


Now in its third year the 100-plus nominations for the 2010 Regional Museums Award again reflected the extraordinary breadth of organisations preserving the history and telling the stories of communities and, collectively, the nation. The three categories included:


Best Volunteer-run Museum – Richmond River Historical Society (NSW)

Best Small Museum (defined as having total operating costs of $150,000 or less per year) – Narryna (Tasmania)

Best Indigenous Cultural Centre/Keeping Place: Patakajiyali Museum (Bathurst Island, NT)


ABC Radio National's Bush Telegraph program will visit Lismore in October to record a program for broadcast and a representative of Richmond River Historical Society will have the opportunity to attend Museum Australia's National Conference in Melbourne later this month to collect their trophy and participate in the Conference activities.


All category winners and commendations can be viewed at the ABC Radio National Regional Museums Award website,


'Once again Australia's regional museums have exhibited extraordinary diversity, resilience and commitment to their communities. They showcase collections and stories that encompass every aspect of Australian life from Indigenous history to transport, mining, textiles, military history and domestic life,' said Jane Connors, Manager ABC Radio National.


'The Patakajiyali Museum, on Bathurst Island, reveals the outstanding work of cultural conservation occurring in local centres 'close to country' in Indigenous communities' said Bernice Murphy, National Director, Museums Australia.
'The award to Patakajiyali Museum reminds us that Indigenous history and leadership is still working to 'keep culture strong', as well as offering a unique cultural history and creative resources to enrich all Australians.'


The Regional Museums Award was developed with the invaluable assistance of Museums Australia to enable some of Australia's smallest organisations – many volunteer-run – to bring their organisations to a national audience. The Awards also seek to highlight the many roles that museums play in their communities that extend beyond the preservation and display of artefacts and include genealogical assistance, tourist destination, education facility and fundraising institution.


To listen to the ABC Radio National Podcast of the announcement visit the ABC RN Breakfast website here:


(Source: ABC RN Media Release 2 September 2010 - mc2 Forum Message for Australian Historical Societies Support Group)


2) Victoria 175 History Grants announced


The grants from the Victoria 175 History Grants have just been posted on the Public Records of Victoria (PROV) website following notification from the Department of Premier and Cabinet.


The Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) will receive $7000 towards its Journal.


Many affiliated historical societies are receiving special project grants. The full list is at


(Source: Dr Andrew Lemon, President of RHSV – 5 September 2010)

3) First Fleet letter sold at auction


A first fleet letter in private hands was sold at auction in Melbourne for $55,000 to a private buyer in United Kingdom on 14 August 2010. The auctioneer stated that a letter had been provided by the Australian government for its export. The letter was written by Newton Fowell, midshipman, near the coast of Brazil. His ship was wrecked at Norfolk Island on 19 March 1790. Although he survived he died in another shipwreck. The Mitchell Library paid $97,000 in 1987 for an archive of letters by Fowell. Although bidding they did not succeed in purchasing this letter.


(Source: Australian Financial Review 26 August 2010 p.47)


4) Electronic recordkeeping world wide


The September 2010 issue of the "Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World" newsletter is now online. Home Page September Issue


Long-term preservation is becoming more and more crucial as the amount of digital information increases and advances in technology show no signs of slowing down. It is estimated that as technology advances, and hardware and software goes out of date, €3bn worth of data are becoming obsolete every year in the European Union.


In response, scientists in Europe have created a time capsule they call a "digital genome" and have placed it in a bunker deep beneath the Swiss Alps for 25 years. The aim of the project is to ensure that future scientists will be able to decipher the data using obsolete technologies.


(Source: – 14 September 2010)

5) Indigenous Unit - Dhiiyan - Moree - reduced services


The Sydney Morning Herald article on 11 September 2010 sets out the public anger about the closure by the Moree Plains Shire Council of the local Aboriginal Library. The Australian Society of Archives (New South Wales Branch) has taken up the issue with the Council and local press.

There is a press release on the website that refers to the Indigenous Unit - Dhiiyan - being closed until 20 September and then "after that date we will finalise methods of access: it is expected that members of the public will be able to make an appointment to access the Unit and the services it provides".

The Moree Plains Shire Council Heritage Strategy 2008-2011 - does not refer to the Indigenous Library. There is detail about local art deco shopfronts but nothing about the Indigenous Unit.

Northern Regional Library Service website is It contains a short public history of the Indigenous Unit. (It is otherwise password controlled.)


Moree Plains Shire Council website is Fax number is 02 6752 3944. Mailing address: PO Box 420, Moree, NSW 2400. E-mail


(Source: ASA list – 14 September 2010; A Mailing List for Australian Archivists – 15 September 2010; Sydney Morning Herald 11 September 2010)

6) Local history - Alice Springs


There has been much debate in the Letters to the Editor column of the Alice Springs News regarding the positioning of a statue of John McDowall Stuart in Alice Springs. The debate is over the fact that he did not travel within around 100 kms of Alice Springs.


(Source: Alice Springs News 19 August 2010 pp.2,14)


The National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame is undertaking a history project about the women's gaol at the foot of Billy Goat Hill and near the Royal Flying Doctor Service.


(Source: Alice Springs News 19 August 2010 p.14)

7) Local history - Broome


The Broome Historical Society has around 30 members and manages and promotes a museum out of the Sail Maker's Shed at Broome. They have received around $160,000 of Royalties for Regions funds for renovations to the building. It was previously occupied by the Department of Public Works and Sea Cadets. The Historical Society now has a lease with the Water Department of Western Australia.


(Source: Mrs Naida Darcy, President, Broome Historical Society – 11 September 2010)


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)