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No. 36 – December 2012


Hon Editor, Esther V. Davies



From the President


Community Heritage Portal - Report from the Coordinator


Obituary: Dr Marita Bardenhagen


Report from the FAHS AGM - including announcement of Fellowship Awards


Good news stories from historical societies


….Berrima District Historical and Family History Society (NSW)

….2012 Community Heritage Grant Recipients announced


News from our constituent organisations

…. Canberra and District Historical Society - "Kookaburras, Parliaments and Much More"

…. Historical Society of the Northern Territory - Stuart 150th anniversary celebrations

…. History South Australia - significant discovery of Aboriginal photographs

…. Royal Australian Historical Society - 200 years since European crossings of Blue Mountains

…. Royal Historical Society of Queensland - recent events

…. Royal Historical Society of Victoria - studying for Advanced Diploma in Local History, Oxford       University

…. Royal Western Australian Historical Society - significance assessment of the RWAHS Costume       Collection


Can you help? Looking for teachers and/or pupils - Celebrating Canberra’s bush schools


Nominations for FAHS Merit Awards 2013


A gentle reminder - about forwarding to your members


A final quote - Marcus Garvey








FAHS President Ruth Kerr


The Federation’s current main project is the Online Community Heritage Portal Project commissioned by the Community Heritage Grants Section of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Our role is to encourage and assist historical societies and similar organisations to fill the portal with content. The Scoping Paper that was required as the first part of our contract with the department was completed and forwarded in late September and agreed to by the department. Mr Andrew Bowman of the Carnamah Historical Society in Western Australia has been selected and contracted by the Federation as he has the demonstrated skills for the project, having managed significant IT projects in his state through historical societies and major libraries. Historical Societies will very soon be invited to contribute heritage information and history stories to the portal.


The Federation has been involved in promoting the National Cultural Policy, Australia’s Heritage Strategy and the value of the Australian government being more extensively involved in supporting the preservation of heritage in our nation. Movable heritage remains a neglected are of heritage protection. The Federation is also preparing a submission to state Education Departments on history teaching and professional development for history teachers.



COMMUNITY HERITAGE PORTAL - Report from the Coordinator


As the President notes in her Report, FAHS has been contracted by SEWPaC to work with historical and heritage societies and museums to place their information in the new community heritage portal.

This will be an interactive website into which historical and heritage societies and museums (and other community groups and individuals) will be invited to place information about themselves, their history and their heritage. It will be something like Wikipedia, for those familiar with it, but intended as a source of information about Australian communities.
Our contractor, Andrew Bowman, will in due course be in contact with all societies to explain the project and offer advice and training on how to upload information. This is a very important initiative by the Commonwealth – one that is to be encouraged by a big response from the community history movement. We therefore ask you work with Andrew to ensure that the site is a success.


Assoc Prof Don Garden (Immediate Past President, FAHS)



OBITUARY: Dr Marita Bardenhagen



Dr Marita Bardenhagen who tragically died of cancer at the age of 51, on 18th November, was an FAHS delegate, representing the Tasmania, in 2011, before ill health forced her to withdraw.  During her time as a delegate, she made a most enthusiastic and valuable contribution to the work and the discussions of the Federation.


To quote Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson who moved a motion of adjournment in the Australian Senate to speak on the death of Dr Bardenhagen:

Marita was a widely respected 'social historian' in Tasmania, who leaves a rich legacy of local research and community work. A graduate of the University of Tasmania, she was also president of the Launceston Historical Society and actively contributed research and energy to many important areas of Tasmanian life, such as Tasmanian architecture, bush nursing, immigration, rural youth in Tasmania, early European contact with Tasmanian Aborigines, and rural women's affairs. She both worked for and was actively involved with Tasmanian organisations such as the Heritage Council of Tasmania, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the National Trust of Australia and the Cultural Heritage Practitioners of Tasmania.”

Australian Senate Hansard Wednesday, 21 November 2012  Page: 87


Marita is survived by her four children, Rachael, Jessie, Brigid and David, and her husband, Dr Alex Thompson.

FAHS Council members express their condolences.



FAHS Annual General Meeting - 23 July 2012

Mines House, Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, Darwin, Northern Territory


Out-going President Don Garden spoke to his Annual Report and stated that the Federation has worked well in the preceding year and has increased its profile in Australia and expressed thanks to Council members and the Executive Officer for their roles in the Federation. A key item in the AGM agenda was the election of office-bearers for the 2012-2013 year. The new office-bearers are as follows:  President: Ruth Kerr, Snr Vice President: Judith Smart, Vice President: Esther Davies, Hon. Secretary: Helen Henderson, Hon. Treasurer: Nick Drew, Advocacy Delegate: Don Garden.  Incoming President, Ruth Kerr thanked Don Garden for his leadership of the Federation and his conscientious role as President.


Another main item of business for the AGM was the awarding of the annual Fellowship and Merit Awards for 2012. This year two Fellowships were awarded. Ms Wendy Carter, member of the Kununurra Historical Society and the Historical Society of the Northern Territory who was nominated by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Royal Western Australian Historical Society and the Historical Society of the Northern Territory received a Fellowship award for her outstanding contribution to the historical society movement throughout Australia. An FAHS Fellowship was also awarded to Dr Michael Pearson of Canberra for outstanding service to many important and influential national and state/territory history and heritage bodies since the early 1980s. Dr Pearson has provided an outstanding contribution to the historiography and preservation of heritage sites internationally and across a number of Australian states and territories He has also made an outstanding contribution to the development of the history and heritage professions in Australia. Dr Pearson was nominated by the Royal Australian Historical Society.


Wendy Carter being congratulated on her Fellowship Award by FAHS President Ruth Kerr


The AGM was followed by a general meeting.



AGM delegates on the steps of Mines House, Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, Darwin, Northern Territory






(Editor's note: It is often said that good news is not news. However, it is always cheering to hear success stories from some of our many regional and local historical stories. Here are two such stories. If your local historical society has similar good news stories, please let the Federation know.)


Berrima District Historical & Family History Society (NSW)


The Berrima District Historical & Family History Society was founded in 1960 and has since grown into one of the most active local history societies in the state. It has embraced technology in its work to improve the general public’s knowledge of, and access to, its outstanding collections. The organisation has an archive and research centre at Mittagong and a museum at Berrima where the collection is showcased through regularly changing exhibitions.

The Society’s photographic collection numbers in excess of 6,000 images. Many of these images are unique, dating from the 1870s onwards. The World War I Berrima German Internment Camp collection has been assessed as nationally significant by the National Library of Australia and is the largest of its type held by any repository in Australia.

‘Castle by the Sea’ the hut of prisoners of war from the ship Emden.

Between 1915 and 1919 hundreds of German mariners were interned in the disused Berrima Gaol. Along the banks of the Wingecarribee River, they built numerous huts, summerhouses and gardens and constructed watercraft of all shapes and sizes for boating on the river. From initial suspicion, the local population soon came to respect the enterprise of these people and the fame of their activities brought crowds of sightseers to Berrima, leading to the town’s first experience of mass tourism.

The German Internment Camp photographic collection includes more than 400 images, taken both by the internees themselves and local professional photographers. In keeping with our aim to make this collection more widely accessible, we recently applied for a grant of $3,300 from the IMB Community Foundation to purchase an image library module for our photo cataloguing program, Perfect Pictures.

The IMB Community Foundation was established in 1999 to provide financial support to community groups with positive ideas and concepts to help them convert their ideas into working projects. Since its inception the IMB Community Foundation has granted more than $6 million to support almost 350 projects throughout our local communities. Applications for the 2013 round of funding will open in November 2012.  

The Society was delighted to receive the grant. The purchase of the software will allow us to upload scanned images of this important collection to the internet, making them available not just to the local community but worldwide. This is particularly important given that most of the internees returned to Germany after the war and most of their descendants, and indeed the wider historical community, would have no idea of the existence of this amazing photographic record in our small archive in regional New South Wales.

Linda Emery, Archivist. Berrima District Historical & Family History Society.


Diane Manly manager of the IMB Bowral (right) presents the ‘big cheque’ to BDH&FHS archivist Linda Emery and volunteer Patricia Doris.


Announcement of Community Heritage Grants for 2012


Representatives of some of the 78 organisations that received Community Heritage Grants in 2012, photographed with Minister for the Arts, Hon. Simon Crean (slightly to the R of centre, rear)


While congratulations are due to all those organisations receiving Community Heritage Grants for 2012, FAHS would particularly like acknowledge the following historical societies which received grants under this scheme.  Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Tatura & District Historical Society, Wangaratta Historical Society Inc.,  Port Macquarie Historical Society Inc. and the Thredbo Historical Society Inc.


The Assessment Report for the 2012 Community Heritage Grants can be accessed with this URL:






(Editor's note: A small selection of news items has been chosen to illustrate the diversity of activities happening in historical societies around the nation.)


Canberra and District Historical Society

Member’s Night 2012  Kookaburras, Parliaments and Much More


The annual Members’ Night at CDHS is an opportunity for members to speak on their particular research projects. The recent Members’ Night produced some fascinating talks. Phoebe Bischoff began the evening with a talk on the era of the Arts and Crafts movement in Australia and the now, almost forgotten art of poker work, the making pictures or patterns on wood, using a series of deep grooves made with a heated poker. During this period, works such as tea trays, jewellery boxes and painted cushions reflected the work of artists such as Neville Cayley and the ceramicist Clarice Cliff. The kookaburra was a popular theme at the time, being regarded as good luck and laughing in the face of adversity.   Phoebe provided a fascinating collection of craft items with the kookaburra theme to add further interest to her presentation.



Items from Phoebe Bischoff’s collection of kookaburra memorabilia. 


Victor Isaacs provided a comprehensive coverage of the move of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library from Melbourne to Canberra.  At the turn of the century, while discussion continued in the press to the location of a new capital city, the new Federal Parliament was located in the Victorian Houses of Parliament and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library moved into the Victorian Parliamentary Library. This caused a certain amount of resentment within the ranks of Victorian Parliamentarians who found themselves displaced and, for a time at least, obliged to use a temporary library in the Exhibition Building. After 26 years of this “temporary” arrangement, the Commonwealth Parliament finally moved to the new Provisional Parliament House in Canberra – although, oddly enough, following a library stocktake in Melbourne at the time, it was strangely decreed that no books were to go north.

Alan Roberts who is currently researching a book on 100 Canberra Houses in 100 years spoke on a now lost ‘organic’ mud brick house built in the 1970s.  Dawn Richardson discussed the history of the Quaker movement from the middle of the 17th Century, their presence in Australia and some of the activities of the Canberra meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). John Bates presented a newspaper account of the death of one of Canberra’s early pioneers.



Historical Society of the Northern Territory

Stuart 150th anniversary celebrations


July of this year saw very successful commemorations of 150 years since the south-north crossing of the continent by John McDouall Stuart at Newcastle Waters, Point Stuart and Darwin. These events are helping to elevate Stuart to a more appropriate place in the Territory’s history. A lively program of events included hosting the FAHS AGM and a very special trip to Pt Stuart on Tuesday 24 July, 2012 to mark 150 years to the day and time that Stuart and his party arrived at the northern sea. Celebrations at Pt Stuart included a flag raising ceremony, speeches and champagne toasts. Visitors included Margaret Cook & Graham Thring – descendants of Francis Thring, a member of Stuart’s original party, and Jim Stuart, John McDouall Stuart’s great, great, great nephew.



Relatives of the original pioneers,  Graham Thring and Jim Stuart raise the  

   Union Jack at Pt Stuart - 24 July 2012.


Text and Image courtesy of Historical Society of the Northern Territory NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2012 NO:59


Sponsors for the Pt Stuart trip -The Historical Society thanks the Heritage Branch, Department of Natural Resources, Environment, Sport and the Arts for a grant. The grant has enabled the public to participate in this event and keep our history alive. It would also like to thank Ron Strachan, Flagman, Edmunds’ Street, Darwin for the loan of a Union Jack.


History South Australia


Crossing Country: John McDouall Stuart


In the 150th year since Stuart and his party succeeded in crossing the continent, the exhibition Crossing Country will reconsider Stuart’s achievements, and his legacy. Opening at the Migration Museum in December 2012, the exhibition places Stuart within two contexts: nineteenth-century inland exploration and culture contact and colonisation.

Crossing Country will cover Stuart’s expeditions; the country through which the expeditions travelled and responses of local Aboriginal people to the exploration parties; Stuart the person; his companions; and the place of exploration and explorers in myth and public memory. The exhibition  will be rich in objects, drawn both from History SA’s collection and the collections of other organisations and individuals. It will be complemented by a specially-developed education program.


Crossing Country: John McDouall Stuart

Gallery Two, Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide

3 December 2012 – 31 October 2013


A Significant Discovery at Port Lincoln, South Australia


During a routine visit to various community museums and historical societies on the Eyre Peninsula late last year, History SA’s Community History Officer, Pauline Cockrill was excited to make a significant discovery at Mill Cottage in Port Lincoln. On a chest of drawers in the front room of this small pioneer house museum, she spotted some early daguerreotypes of Aboriginal men from the nearby Poonindie Mission dressed as ‘gentlemen’.


Daguerreotypes, the earliest form of commercial photographs, were around for only a short period of time in the mid-19th century.  They were made on silvered copper plates, and are easily recognisable.  They not only resemble a mirrored surface but are also generally encased in glass with a hinged cover so protecting the very fragile surface.  


The process used and the subject matter of these tiny portraits certainly caught Pauline’s attention and once back in Adelaide she consulted with History SA’s Senior Curator Mandy Paul who shared her excitement about the discovery and referred her to a similar daguerreotype of an Aboriginal woman in the Ayers House Museum collection, thought to be the earliest known photographic image of an indigenous person in South Australia.  The backdrop and design of the case seemed identical to one of the items at Port Lincoln.


Feeling that their probable significance warranted some investigation as well as some advice regarding their future preservation, History SA suggested to the Southern Eyre Peninsula Local & Family History group who look after the collection that they the items be brought to Adelaide and evaluated by experts.


The six items were inspected in January this year by consultant historian Tom Gara, and Julie Robinson Senior Curator and Maria Zagala, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs from the Art Gallery of South Australia, along with the curator and volunteers of Ayers House Museum who brought a number of daguerreotypes in their collection to compare. 


After each item was scrutinized, it soon became clear that the collection was made up of three daguerreotypes and three ambrotypes (a slightly later form of photography on glass rather than a metal plate). But what we really wanted to know was the names behind the faces.  And why were they photographed?  Having a daguerreotype made was an expensive business, around a guinea a sitting – that was more than a week’s wages.   After much rigorous discussion the items were packed up again and taken to Artlab to be assessed by Paper Conservator Liz Mayfield. 


The last few months have upturned little pieces of the jigsaw and we are all in agreement that the collection needs some thorough research and careful preservation.  Currently we believe we have identified at least one of the portraits and can generally assume that the photographs were taken of some of the more prominent members of the Mission, ‘catechists’ or lay preachers.  Like the two 1854 oil paintings of men at the Poonindie Mission by Crossland in the National Library of Australia, they were probably made to illustrate Archdeacon Mathew Hale’s vision for Poonindie, in Bishop Short’s words “a Christian village of South Australian Natives, reclaimed from barbarism, trained to the duties of social Christian life and walking in the fear of God.”   Superintendent of the Mission from 1856-1868 the Revd Octavius Hammond who took over from Hale, was the father-in-law of Joseph Bishop, the original owner of Mill Cottage.  Joseph had married Elizabeth Hammond and then after her untimely death, married her younger sister Ethelah, who had actually been born at Poonindie.  This was probably why the photographs ended up amongst the Bishop memorabilia.  One of the most exciting discoveries was when Artlab took a record shot of the most damaged daguerreotype and enlarged the image.  From out of the faded image of the seated woman we could suddenly see the shape of a small child come into focus. 


Since then there has been huge interest amongst academics at the universities of Monash in Melbourne and Oxford in the UK who are working on a collaborative ARC funded project looking at early Aboriginal photographic images.  Similar daguerreotypes amongst Hale’s papers have been identified at Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum and the library in Bristol.  Mill Cottage has also recently been successful in History SA’s South Australian History Fund 2012-13 grant round, being awarded $2000 for the professional preservation of their six images.


This story certainly highlights the distribution of the national collection and to never underestimate the significance of collections held by community museums and historical societies.



Daguerreotype of Aboriginal man – found at Mill Cottage



Royal Australian Historical Society

Western Crossings: Commemorating the Bicentenary of the First European Crossings of the Blue Mountains  


The Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) is actively encouraging and facilitating the commemoration of the forthcoming bicentenary of the first European crossings of the Blue Mountains, beginning with the journey of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson in 1813 and encompassing the survey and construction of the road that led to Bathurst's foundation in 1815. The aim is to suitably mark both stories of the crossings and their very considerable impact, including on Indigenous peoples. By 1815 western New South Wales was opened up to the pastoral and mining industries, beginning the colony's transition from a subsistence-based penal settlement. The crossings legacy resonates throughout Australia today; for the Aboriginal peoples, in the way land has been used and where Australia is going in the 21st Century.


The crossings were commemorated in some style in both 1913, the centenary, and 1963, the sesquicentenary. The RAHS was actively involved in these and following an initiative from its President, Dr Ian Jack, in 2010, the Society convened a meeting of interested parties to discuss the bicentenary. This subsequently resulted in the establishment of a quite large and rather fluid group now called the Western Crossings Committee that I chaired. Dr Anne-Maree Whitaker, the RAHS’s current President and, like Ian Jack, a historian of the Blue Mountains region, took over the chair in July this year. The committee includes representatives of Aboriginal traditional owners, community organisations, local governments, members of parliament, and federal and state government agencies. Descendants of the first explorers and the road builders also participate in meetings. Meetings are held in various parts of the greater Blue Mountains region.



Jack Thompson, the face of Penrith's crossings commemorations, with members of the St Marys and Nepean District Historical Societies in 2012. 


The Western Crossings Committee is the only group linking together most of the various areas and organisations from Blacktown and Parramatta in the east to Oberon and Bathurst in the west that are involved in the bicentenary. It provides regular opportunities to exchange information and ideas about the planned commemorations, which include walks, forums, re-enactments, interpretation of historic sites, performances and a range of other activities. As such, the committee’s bimonthly meetings are well attended and its role is widely appreciated and recognised.


David Carment, RAHS.



Royal Historical Society of Queensland

Recent events


At the AGM on 13 September Ms Helen McMonagle was elected President – the youngest ever President, being in her twenties. Helen has been very active on Council and Committees and brings the perspective of a younger person to the position. Helen is currently completing a history thesis at University of Queensland.  Dr Judith McKay gave the Clem Lack Oration at the AGM on the history of the Australian Inland Mission. Judith’s father had been a padre in the service.

A very successful ‘At Home’ was held on 26 August 2012 to celebrate 25 years since the passage of Queensland’s heritage legislation, The Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Hon Andrew Powell MP, who is also a Society member, visited the Commissariat Store building on 6 September 2012 and met with a number of Councillors and Guides. The heritage significance of the Commissariat Store was one of the topics discussed. The Commissariat Store yard continues to be a construction site as Q-Build manages the reconstruction of the retaining wall along William Street after the January 2011 flood event. Around 75 people attended. On the Brisbane Open House Day on 6 October 2012, 750 people visited the Society at the Commissariat Store building. On 24 November the exhibition on the Italian Presence in Queensland was opened by Mr Adrian Dillaway MP, Member for Bulimba. It is a major exhibition for the year, having been supported by a multi-cultural affairs grant from the Queensland government.


A cocktail party is being planned for Queensland Separation Day on 10 December at which long serving Council members will be thanked. The Society also has an extensive array of Queensland history books for sale for Christmas. The Society Centenary Celebrations Committee is very active in planning a Centenary Fair at the Commissariat Store in 2013.


The Society is taking up heritage preservation issues in regional Queensland including railway buildings and the routes. Several Society members are vitally involved in activities regarding these railways, and also in writing railway history in the state. Looking ahead to 2013 the Society will hold another Strategic Planning event for members at the first ‘At Home’.



Royal Historical Society of Victoria

Studying for Advanced Diploma in Local History, Oxford University


While my husband Gary and I were recently living in England for thirteen months, I undertook distance studies through Oxford University, and can strongly recommend the course to all interested in the study of local history.   The Advanced Diploma in Local History consists of two modules, the first being mainly about local history content: historiography and methodology (the qualitative aspect of local history research), and included readings on the fascinating development of local history from its humble beginnings in the hands of antiquarians through to the present when it is recognized as a respected discipline in its own right.  The second module emphasised learning about how to create and use Excel spread-sheets and Access databases for the quantitative aspect of historical research.  Support readings of chapters, articles, papers, and documents were all supplied as downloads.  Extensive use was made of original sources and case studies, and the writing of local history underpinned everything else.  The aims and other information about the course can be found at:


Weekly tutorials were held online through a chat-room setup, and responses to readings were posted on our tutorial group’s page for comment and feedback.  Seven assignments were required to complete the requirements of the course, using secondary, primary and on-line sources including databases and webpages provided by local historical study groups.  All but one assignment were of 2500 words, the final one being 5000 words accompanied by tables and charts we had created.  All assignments were downloaded as attachments through the university’s site, and winzip files were used to send databases and tables which are invaluable for analyzing population and demographic detail.


An inspiration was the work of William George Hoskins (1908-1992), the academic local historian who founded the first university department of English Local History.  He is credited with linking landscape study with a wide range of documentary and material evidence.  We looked at interdisciplinary areas: sociology, social science, culture, demographics, economics, archaeology, architecture, and the making of the physical landscape.  Sources that we learned to interrogate intelligently included the census, hearth tax documentation, Poor Law accounts, church records, monumental inscriptions, surveys, inventories and probate records – all from the medieval to early modern period.


While the information aspects of this course were exceedingly interesting and stimulating, my greatest learning occurred in the quantitative aspects of the methodology.  Although I had used census records for many years it was always within the context of family history research, with an emphasis on one household and the clues the census held about them.  Now I was looking at a different approach altogether, and learning how to treat very large numbers to extract important meaning. 


A great advantage in being the country, I found, was the ability to attend extra, non-compulsory activities and events, such as field trips.  In the photograph, my tutorial group listens to Course Director Dr Adrienne Rosen explain aspects of the history of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, accompanied by our tutor Dr Sarah Richardson (at left; hands in grey jacket pocket).  On 27 March we will all meet at Oxford for the last time, when our awards ceremony will be held at the Sheldonian Theatre.  Our reunion celebrations will include a party to celebrate the memory of a most enriching course shared together.



My tutorial group listens to Course Director Dr Adrienne Rosen explain aspects of the history of Woodstock in Oxfordshire.


Joan E. Hunt FRHSV

Churchill Fellow.



Royal Western Australian Historical Society

 ‘Historian at Large’ – Significance assessment of the RWAHS Costume Collection


Sometimes I wonder what encouraged me to move from the built heritage working environment to the museum world. One Thursday in June, I was reminded why. I happened to be in Sydney with three hours to spare. Weighing up going directly to the airport or taking the chance to see someone at the Powerhouse Museum, without an appointment, I took the chance, which is how I came to spend a very enjoyable and productive hour with Glynis Jones, Curator of Costume, Fashion and Design, discussing the significant items of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society’s Costume Collection.


Though Glynis didn’t actually say she coveted some of the remarkable gowns, she did say if they were offered to the Powerhouse collection she would welcome them to be added to the already prodigious collection of 30,000 items. Of course the Royal Western Australian Historical Society is aware of their special collection and has been making sure the management of the costumes and textiles meet the National Standards of Australian Museum and Galleries. The collection significance assessment process I have been guiding has revealed some fascinating items, one with an interesting provenance to New Norcia, the Aboriginal girls living there and there delicate, embroidered linen sold to raise money for the Monastery. Working with curious historical collections, active and motivated volunteers and generous staff of leading museums contributes to stimulating consulting work and encourages me to keep taking chances.


 Cathy Day, Heritage Consultant, Heritage TODAY




Two of the gowns in the collection of the Royal Western Historical Society


This brief article is reprinted from the Professional Historians Association (WA) Newsletter with the permission of the author.  Cathy Day is currently doing her PhD. Her thesis topic is social and cultural sustainability of local history Museums.  She delivered a paper on some of her findings at the Museums Australia National Conference held in September of this year.




Can you help? – Looking for teachers and/or pupils

Celebrating Canberra’s bush schools


The ACT’s Hall School Museum (one of 85 Australian school museums listed by the Australian National Museum of Education) is working hard to document the stories of dozens of one teacher bush schools in the Canberra district that have disappeared from the landscape.


Eighteen bush schools were featured in a 2011 Heritage Festival exhibition. In October 2013, the Centenary year of Canberra, there will be an exhibition on the schools and teachers of 1913. At that time, the ‘bush capital’ was served by ‘bush schools and it was to be ten more years before the first ‘city’ school, Telopea Park School, opened.  Those seeking higher education had to leave home to go schools further afield. The fifteen schools of 1913 include for example the Canberra Public School, Weetangera, Tuggeranong, Gibraltar, Majura, Naas and Naas Upper, Royalla and Tharwa.


While the previous exhibition included some biographical material and anecdotes about teachers, we realised in the course of our research that teaching at the beginning of last century was a particularly demanding profession, and that there were many outstanding and colourful practitioners and a much greater story to be told. We therefore hope to include more material about teachers and the teaching profession in these early years. If you or your local society/museum has any information about the teachers or indeed any information about these schools, could you please contact us: Our website is Hall School Museum  


 Alastair Crombie Curator: Hall School Museum



TAFE students visit Hall School Museum - Feb 2012


Editor’s Note: The Australian National Museum of Education (ANME) is a distributed collection, which is continuing to bring together virtually, archival material held in schools and school museums throughout Australia. It also has an on-site repository of historic text books, journals, manuscripts and ephemera. To read more about this museum and the school museums registered with Museum go to the ANME website .








Nominations for the FAHS Merit Awards for 2013 close on 30 June 2013.

Information about the awards (including a list of previous recipients) is available on the FAHS website.

The guidelines (in PDF format) and nomination form (in PDF and DOC format) can be downloaded from the website.

Please consider nominating a member of your society – successful nominations help raise the profile of all volunteers in local history.





Are you passing this FAHS Newsletter (and its sister publication, the FAHS e-Bulletin) on to those within your historical society who may be interested in them?


The FAHS tries to send the e-mails to the current President or Secretary, but it is not always easy to keep up with changes in office-bearers which may have taken place. If you are not the most appropriate person for us to be sending them to, we would be grateful if you would let us know of an alternative, so that the publications can reach as many of your members as possible.





A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

Marcus Garvey- Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, and inspirational figure for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s