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e-BULLETIN No. 84 – 7 June 2011


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr



1) Outback museums - cool solutions


2) Commonwealth Parliamentary Library publishes its first e-book


3) Abolition of journal rankings


4) Launch of Obituaries Australia


5) Australian Irish Studies conference: the Irish in Australia 1788 to the present


6) Charles Dickens' Australia: selected essays from Household Words 1850 - 1859


7) John Douglas Kerr Award for Distinction in Research and Writing Australian History, 2011


8) Cairns heritage


9) World Heritage convict sites in Tasmania


10) Hydro Tasmania's disappearing heritage


11) Launceston floods 1893, 1929 & 2011


12) Maritime Museum of Tasmania - Conference - Archipelago: maritime influences and life on Tasmania's islands


13) St Helens (Tasmania) History Room, 25th anniversary celebration – The making of history


14) Consider joining the online Australian Historical Societies Support Group




1) Outback museums - cool solutions

The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) (Queensland) provided a recent TechClinic for outback museum operators to learn more about using technology to reduce costs.

Innovation Partnerships and Research & Development (R&D) Services Manager, Phil Abernethy, said participating museums included the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, John Flynn Place Museum in Cloncurry and the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton.

“These museums operate in very hot conditions. Their running costs for cooling and lighting can be very high and this reduces their profit margins and long-term viability,” he said.

“This clinic linked operators with private enterprise, government and university experts in energy solutions, building efficiencies and architecture and did exactly what our TechClinics are designed to do – bridge the gap between R&D and industry, look for new business opportunities for our ideas people and solve major challenges being faced by industry.”

DEEDI partnered with Tourism Queensland and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council to deliver the TechClinic. For more information contact Phil Abernethy on 07 3405 5643 or visit the website.

(Source: News@DEEDI 26 May 2011)


2) Commonwealth Parliamentary Library publishes its first e-book


The Commonwealth Parliamentary Library has published its first i-pad/e-book format book, Anzac Day 2011, which is used by Senators and Members.  Various versions can be accessed at


Members of Parliament are using i-pads and mobile devices extensively and this provides efficient mobile delivery.  Future publications in this format will include the Parliamentary Handbook.

(Source: Parliamentary Librarian, Parliament House, Canberra - – 5 May 2011)


3) Abolition of journal rankings


“Journals will no longer be assigned rankings, in a radical shake up of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative, announced by Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr on 30 May 2011.

“The ranking of journals as A*, A, B and C was the most contentious aspect of the ERA exercise devised and administered by the Australian Research Council, with the first results published in January.

… Senator Carr said lists of journals would still be important, and each journal would be provided with a publication profile, that is, an indication of how often it was chosen as the forum of publication by academics in a given field.
"These reforms will strengthen the role of the ERA Research Evaluation Committee members in using their own, discipline-specific expertise to make judgments about the journal publication patterns for each unit of evaluation.'' ARC chief executive Margaret Sheil said the change empowered ``committee members to use their expert judgement to take account of nuances in publishing behaviour''.
``This approach will allow experts to make judgements about the quality of journals in the context of each discipline,'' Professor Sheil said.

Other changes announced include: increasing the capacity to accommodate multi-disciplinary research and investigating strategies to strengthen the peer review process, including improved methods of sampling and review assignment.”


(Source: Australian  Higher Education Supplement – 30 May 2011)


4) Launch of Obituaries Australia

Obituaries Australia (OA ) was launched in April 2011. The database results from a project by the group which supports the Australian Dictionary of Biography online. It aims to function as a high standard repository for the numerous published obituaries. See link below:


It is a digital repository for obituaries published in newspapers, journals, magazines and bulletins. It includes all Australians as well as non-Australians who have made an impact on Australian history.


Users of the OA database can search for obituaries using various criteria such as life dates, birth and death place, religion and occupation etc.


(Source: Geoff Dean, Local and family history researcher, Romaine TAS – 28 May 2011)


5) Australian Irish Studies conference: the Irish in Australia 1788 to the present


National Museum of Australia
Friday 1 -- Sunday 3 July 2011


Explore the impact of Irish culture, religion, language and music in shaping Australian identity at the Irish Studies Association annual conference.

Speakers from across Australia and Ireland will spend two days at the National Museum in Canberra, which is hosting the exhibition Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia.

The third day of the conference will be held at St Clement's Retreat and Conference Centre in Galong, once the home of Irishman Ned Ryan, a convict who became a respected local pastoralist.


Draft program and registration details:


Download the registration form:


(Source: National Museum of Australia – 2 June 2011)


6) Charles Dickens' Australia: selected essays from Household Words 1850 - 1859

The Sydney University Press has just published Charles Dickens’ Australia: selected essays from Household Words 1850–1859. The anthology highlights Dickens’ career as a journalist, and the economic and social changes in Australia during the nineteenth century. There are 100 essays (out of his collection of 3,000), and provide a perspective on his preoccupation with the working poor and immigration. The essays are divided into five volumes (Convict Stories, Immigration, Frontier Stories, Mining and Gold, and Maritime Conditions), and are accompanied by an introduction and biographical material by the editor, Margaret Mendelawitz.

A flyer about the publication can be downloaded using this URL:

Further details are available in this blog post:


(Source: Sydney University Press - E  | W - 30 May 2011)


7) John Douglas Kerr Award for Distinction in Research and Writing Australian History, 2011


The John Douglas Kerr Award for Distinction in Research and Writing Australian History was awarded by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland and the Professional Historians Association (Queensland) at the Queensland Day Dinner at the Queensland Club on 6 June 2011 to Geoffrey Bolton. There was a large attendance of approx 100 and an evening of fine speeches. Geoffrey Bolton was of course in attendance and his vast body of work particularly on north Australia was applauded. The dinner is sponsored by the Queensland State Archives with whom the RHSQ has a close relationship.


(Source: Royal Historical Society of Queensland and Professional Historians Association (Queensland) Announcement – 6 June 2011)


8) Cairns heritage


The Cairns cruise port terminal designed by Arkhefield and Total Projects Group Architects won the main prize in far north Queensland regional architecture awards. The heritage listed waterfront shed has been “recovered and repositioned as a city asset of substance’, the judges stated.


(Source: Australian Financial Review 14-15 May 2011 p.17)


9) World Heritage convict sites in Tasmania


Two World Heritage listed convict sites in Tasmania have been united under shared management. In April, Premier Lara Giddings MP announced that responsibility for managing the Cascades Female Factory had been transferred to the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, and is supported by Government funding of $610,000 in this financial year.


(Source: Heritage e-news Tasmania, April 2011)


10) Hydro Tasmania's disappearing heritage


Thirty or more years on from their main phase of use and no longer owned or managed by Hydro Tasmania, the future of the remaining Hydro camps is uncertain.

In order to help inform discussions with land managers on which places to retain and how best to manage them, Hydro Tasmania is undertaking a heritage assessment of a select number of camps reflecting different facets of remote area living and working.

Hydro Tasmania’s Cultural Heritage program staff are keen to hear from anyone who has past or current experience and knowledge of the following camps:

Gordon Stage 2; Lower Gordon Camp (Sir John Falls); Olga camp; Gordon Splits;  Albert Rapids; Denison camp; Fincham hut; Lake McRae hydrographic hut (Mersey Forth); Julia Creek Linesman’s hut (Roseberry – Queenstown transmission line); and Fisher River gauging station (Mersey Forth).


If you have any information about these, or any other ex‐Hydro Tasmania huts still out there in the bush, contact Greg Jackman on 03 6245 4376 or Email:


(Source: Hydro Tasmania Newsletter No.25, March 2011)


11) Launceston floods 1893, 1929 & 2011


Recent floods in the Cataract Gorge in Launceston brought reminders of the disastrous floods of 1929 and those of July 1893. There had been heavy rains on the east coast in early July 1893 and the South Esk, St Pauls and Macquarie rivers flooded to 22 feet above summer level. At Campbell Town: " Looking out toward the eastward from Campbell Town the flood waters of the Elizabeth river can be traced for miles, and what was a few days ago thickly wooded country has now more the appearance of an inland sea rolling in from the watershed of the Eastern Tiers."


The huge lake extended to beyond Evandale and the floodwaters and debris cut the railway line at Clarendon. By evening floodwaters was beginning to flow through the Cataract Gorge. On Thursday 20th July the evening high tide was an anxious moment, especially for the residents of Inveresk as the water rose to within a foot of the decking at Queens Wharf. … There was increasing anxiety whether the levees protecting Inveresk and Invermay would hold. That day the Mayor, Alderman S.H Dean, called meetings to discuss arrangements for the relief of flooded families should the levees be breached. The Albert Hall was readied to house flood victims and a ladies committee headed by Mrs Dean prepared for a soup kitchen at the hall. … During the day 1,400 people flocked to see the flood waters surging through the Cataract Gorge. Others gathered on the waterfront to watch the flood waters creep up the Esplanade and lower sections of the city.


The Launceston Examiner newspaper described the response to the levee breaks when water rushed into the railway yards and through Inveresk. “There was an immediate rush of cabs across the Tamar Street Bridge to evacuate the houses in the low lying areas and take them to the Albert Hall. Some families headed for the safety of the Invermay School. Another breach of the levee caused an even stronger swirl of water that extended the flooding as far as Forster Street.  The Invermay road was now a uniform sheet of water, Dry Street, Gleadow Street, and Foster Street, as well as Gunn-street and the street leading from the ferry past the yards of the Tasmanian Agricultural and Pastoral Association, were also submerged; whilst in the small cross-streets boats were busily plying … removing women and children from the flooded houses to the cabs which conveyed them to the many shelters freely and hospitably thrown open to them. Most of the boats were attended by men with lanterns, and the scene, as the boats swept up the narrow streets, lanterns at prow and the flash of the oars sounded through the voices of the men and the gurgle of the waters, was certainly a novel one, although there was nothing in it to suggest immediate danger, or even great risk.


The water also rose in the city area, extending 20 yards past the River View Hotel in Charles Street, and within 20 yards of the barracks, the lower portion of the drill-yard being entirely submerged. All the low-lying houses and shops in Charles, St. John, George, and Tamar streets were flooded as the waters extended to Cimitiere Street.”


(Source: George Town and District Historical Society Newsletter, No.89, May 2011)


12) Maritime Museum of Tasmania - Conference - Archipelago: maritime influences and life on Tasmania's islands


11th Biennial Tasmanian Local History Conference

Archipelago: maritime influences and life on Tasmania’s islands


Saturday 2nd July 2011, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Dechaineaux Lecture Theatre, UTAS Centre for the Arts, Hunter Street, Hobart
$35 per person


Maritime Museum of Tasmania, Carnegie Building, Corner Argyle & Davey Streets, Hobart 7000. Phone: 03 6234 1427, Fax: 03 6234 1419, Email:


The registration form and program can be downloaded with this link:


(Source: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – 28 May 2011)


13) St Helens (Tasmania) History Room, 25th anniversary celebration – 'The Making of History'


The St Helens History Room is celebrating its 25th anniversary. There is an opportunity on 11th and 12th June to visit St Helens to ascertain its history, view historical images, learn about local families and buy local publications. There will also be refreshments, fund raising and textile work.


The venue is St Helens Memorial Hall, Cecilia Street, St Helens, Tasmania, 11-12 June, 10am to 4pm


(Source: Federation of Australian Historical Societies - 5 June 2011)


14) 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.


(Source: FAHS Committee)