Thursday, December 31, 2009

Residents want input into plan

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Residents who campaigned against suggestions for a high rise commercial precinct to be built on the fringes of their neighbourhood want to see a finalised Central Maitland Structure Plan.
Maitland City Council formally endorsed the document at its final meeting of the year on December 8, despite objects from the residents of Bourke and surrounding streets that up to 800 trees bordering Athol D’Ombrain Drive would be lost to make way for the development.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 29 Dec, 2009.

National Archives of Australia News

Cabinet records release – check the National Archives website  January 1st for a glimpse of the nation as it was in 1979, with the annual Cabinet records release. These records reveal key decisions and events, providing insight into the major issues of the time.

Winding up the Collections Council

The Collections Council of Australia is now working towards winding up its affairs. The company has received funding from Cultural Ministers Council to enable the completion of several projects and the transfer of some activities to other organisations. The Secretariat expects to be active for several months into the new year. The Council is preparing to write to all collecting organisations with advice about our 'legacy'.

Monday, December 28, 2009

National Library update on Australian newspapers digitisation

The millionth page was made publicly available on 14 December 2009, marking a project milestone. The 1 million pages publicly available amounts to 10 million articles with coverage dates of 1803 -1954. This includes the first 70 years of the Sydney Morning Herald publicly available, that is, 1831-1901.
More information at Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program.

The Maitland Mercury is available for the years 1843-1855 and 1880-1883.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Restoration to fix drainage problem at Maitland Gaol

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Heavy iron gates that slammed behind some of the State's most notorious criminals will once again welcome visitors to Maitland Gaol. A $65,000 facelift for the historic site is complete in time for a deluge of visitors expected over the school holidays. Maitland Gaol operations co-ordinator Gordon Sauber said the main purpose was to address problems with roof water drainage.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 22 Dec, 2009.

National Museum of Australia (Canberra)

Farewell Nation Gallery: symbols of Australia. The Nation Gallery exhibition will be closing on 1 February 2010 to make way for an exciting new permanent gallery set to open in 2011. The month of January will be the last chance to see the Nation Gallery’s collection of iconic Austalian objects including the Hills Hoist, the Victa lawnmower and the pink Propert caravan from the 1950s.

Centaur is fully protected as an historic shipwreck

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has confirmed AHS Centaur is fully protected as an historic shipwreck. Following advice on Sunday 20 December 2009  that the Centaur was located off the Queensland coast, Mr Garrett said the shipwreck is protected by the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. The Act gives legal protection to the vessel and its associated relics from damage, disturbance or removal.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

St. Mary on Allyn - the most historic Anglican Church in Australia

From the Maitland Mercury report:
St. Mary on Allyn is now believed to be the most historic Anglican Church in Australia. During 2009 the people of Gresford and Allynbrook raised money to undertake restoration work on the church. The church was restored about 45 years ago but by now its time to do some more work. There’s a bit of rising damp and there's also talk of restoring William and Mary Phoebe’s graves.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 18 Dec, 2009.

Ozculture news

Ozculture, the Australian Government Culture Portal has added three new Australian stories to their web site:

Access to Funding workshop 2010 - Museums & Galleries NSW

Successfully obtaining funds for museums and galleries requires knowledge and creativity. Museums & Galleries NSW presents Access to Funding, an invaluable workshop which delivers the skills and specialist knowledge to make accessing funds a reality.

When: Friday 12 March 2010
Where: Hurstville City Museum & Gallery
Cost: $55 full price / $45 conc.
Contact: Phoebe Arthur on or (02) 9339 9913

Further information and to register:

Darcy painting to go under the hammer

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Bob McCaig’s large scale painting of Maitland's favourite son is to be sold to raise funds for the Darcy family vault at East Maitland cemetery. Bob hopes his latest artistic offering will garner funds for the Les Darcy Family Vault Restoration Fund established by Maitland City Council.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 17 Dec, 2009.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Libraries Australia switches to Trove

From 3 December 2009, the Libraries Australia free service has been switched to a new service, Trove.
Trove is a new discovery service focussed on Australia, Australians and items found in Australian collecting institutions. Trove searches books, journal articles, pictures and photos, Australian newspapers (1803-1954), maps and more.

St John’s Catholic Chapel tower unsafe

From the Maitland Mercury report:
St John’s Catholic Chapel in central Maitland has not been reopened because the church tower is unstable and there is a risk it could collapse. Classrooms above the chapel have been closed to St Peter’s secondary school students since December 4 and will no longer be used because of the school's extensive building program next year.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 16 Dec, 2009.

History Week 2010 - Host an Event

The History Council of New South Wales invites event registrations for History Week 2010 to take place 4-12 September. History Week is our state's annual festival of history.  The official theme for 2010 is Faces in the Street. Walk down the streets of the past and into the lives of those you pass. Explore the biographies of those who shaped our world and those of lesser known identities.
Registrations for History Week 2010 will close 26 March 2010.
Full details at the History Council events page.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's annual report for 2008-09, published each November, is now available online. The report is an illustrated narrative account of the Commission's activities during the previous year, including financial accounts and statistical charts.  
The Commission has also developed a new Histories microsite about the North African Campaign, 1940-1943.

Newcastle 1989: the story of an earthquake

New exhibition at Newcastle Region Library - Newcastle 1989: the story of an earthquake. This exhibition recounts the events, the response and the city's renewal following the 1898 earthquake. The exhibition runs from 16 December 2009 to 9 January 2010, at the Local Studies Lounge, level 2, Newcastle Region Library, Laman St. Newcastle.

State Records New South Wales December Update

The latest additions to online indexes and resources on the State Records website include:

  • New index: closer settlement Transfer Registers 1919-1925
  • New webpage: today in history
  • 'Online' microfilm of shipping lists available
  • New Digital Gallery of Lachlan Macquarie in development
  • NSW Government Gazette is now online for the years 1836 to 1851. This has been included as part of the Victoria government gazette online archive, 1836-1997. Includes images of every page of every relevant gazette and government notice produced since 1836.
  • A land fit for heroes? A history of Soldier Settlement in NSW, 1916-1939.
Full details available at State Records website.

St. Ethels Public School

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Memories of days in old school yard : Mick Fairleigh and Paul Doherty were two of the muck-about kids who headed off each day to learn their lessons at St. Ethels Public School. Today, almost five decades later, the Maitland men have written and produced a book on the days of the old school yard. Titled Blood and Bandages - the School of Hard Knocks, the book focuses on the history of St. Ethels and the pupils who went there.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 10 Dec, 2009.  

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Macquarie 2010 Bicentenary Commemorations

The 200th anniversary of Lachlan Macquarie’s appointment as Governor of New South Wales will be commemorated in 2010 with a statewide celebration program aimed at enriching our knowledge of the past and inspiring our vision for the future.  State and local government agencies, community organisations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to be part of history by organising a new activity or theming an existing event ‘Macquarie’ and applying for endorsement. More information at  NSW Government's Macquarie celebrations.

Heading for journey of discovery

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Aberglasslyn artist Michael Randall will embark on a photographic journey of discovery after he won the Brenda Clouten memorial travelling scholarship. The scholarship provides the opportunity for travel overseas and to broaden his horizons.  Michael will travel to New York to explore its public darkrooms, which he said was something he would like to establish in Maitland.

Full article by Belinda-Jane Davis is available at Maitland Mercury, 07 Dec, 2009.

Of Love and War - Australian War Memorial Exhibition

The Australian War Memorial’s exhibition Of Love and War looks at the impact of war on relationships and the ways in which Australians incorporated affairs of the heart into their wartime lives. The exhibition opened on 3 December 2009, and will be on display until 5 May 2010. A curator-led tour of the exhibition will be held on Saturday 16 January 2010 between 10.00 and 11.00am. RSVP Wednesday 13 January 2010.

U.K. National Archives - Search ships' logs online

You can now search and download 164 volumes of logbooks of the Royal Navy's voyages of scientific discovery. Many famous officers kept logs held in this collection, including James Cook and William Bligh who commanded the mutinous Bounty. The cost to download a log book or journal is £2.00.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

If these walls could talk

From the Maitland Mercury report:
These days Maitland Gaol is part museum and tourist facility but even in the daylight hours it’s one eerie place. There were 16 executions on the grounds in the mid to late 1800s but, while the sanctioned deaths may have dried up the 20th century, it still had its share of Australia’s most notorious crims.

Full article by Glenn Cullen available at Maitland Mercury, 27 Nov, 2009.

Third track to help traffic problems

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A third train track through Maitland to expedite the delivery of coal to the Port of Newcastle will also revolutionise the road network. Rail bridges are proposed to replace level crossings at Lochinvar and Belford, with a replacement bridge at Greta as part of the Maitland to Third Track Project on the Main Northern Railway.  Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2010, with a target completion date by the end of that year.

Maitland City Council gave its approval last month to the demolition of the historic Old North Road rail bridge at Lochinvar to make way for the third track.

Full report by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 02 Dec, 2009.

Reinvention of Maitland High Street put on hold

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Major developments touted as regenerators for central Maitland have been put on hold. Plans for a $6 million motel attached to Maitland District Leagues Club will be delayed until after refurbishment of the club; a mixed commercial and residential development for the former Fren's car dealership has been targeted for a government office block; and a site earmarked for a similar mixed development on the corner corner of High and Ward streets is for sale.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 02 Dec, 2009.

Museums and Galleries New South Wales

Museums and Galleries New South Wales Volunteer Initiated Museums (VIM) Grant Program successful applicants have been announced. The VIM Grant Program provides assistance to volunteer initiated, community museums in NSW. Some of the winners: Oral history recording equipment - Concord Heritage Society Inc. ; Promotional brochure – Walcha & District Historical Society ; Exhibition development - The Oaks Historical Society ; Exhibition display equipment - Walgett and District Historical Association.
Full details are available at the M&G website.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Facelift for facade at historic gaol site

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The scaffolding has gone up on a $65,000 facelift for the fa├žade of the historic site on John Street to restore deteriorating guttering and drainage and ensure the future of the main entry for decades to come. The project was funded under the Federal Government’s Jobs Fund Grants Program.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 01 Dec, 2009.

Light Horsemen to saddle up

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Gary Chapman is a member of the 12th Light Horse Regiment and about to form a re-enactment troop in Maitland to keep the Light Horse tradition alive. Apart from attending Anzac Day parades and showcasing at other public events, Gary hopes the re-enactment troop will become a history resource for local schools.
Picture by Stuart Scott.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 01 Dec, 2009.

Society of Australian Genealogists activities

Special SAG Library Access Day : Friday 15 January (9.00am - 5.00pm)
Experienced SAG Library Volunteers will be on hand to assist members with research advice, demonstrations and assistance in using all our resources.

Orientation tour : Saturday 23 January (9.00am - 10.00am)
A one hour orientation tour of our library at 379 Kent Street - find out how the library is set out and what services we offer there.

First Steps for Aussie Ancestors : Saturday 30 January (10.0am - 4.00pm)
Join us for the day and learn about Australian birth, death and marriage & cemetery records, arrivals and the value of oral history.

Olley gifts Harding to gallery

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Maitland Regional Art Gallery has become the proud owner of a Nicholas Harding original through the generosity and ongoing support of gallery patron and Australian artist Margaret Olley. Ms Olley gifted the $11,500 drawing – titled River Figure - to the artistic space as an early Christmas present for the gallery.

Fulll article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Nov, 2009.

Medals given to city’s faithful

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Basil Stemp and John Szczdluk have both been presented with Maitland Medals at Maitland City Council’s annual volunteers Christmas party. As well as his involvement in East Maitland RSL and Steamfest, Mr. Stemp designed the mayoral chain. Mr Szczudluk is the president of Maitland Polish Association, of which he was a founding member in 1958.

Full report available at Maitland Mercury, 26 Nov, 2009.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lochinvar Police Station

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The historical home of policing in Lochinvar will soon be divided. Maitland MP Frank Terenzini said plans were progressing to subdivide the Station Lane property into three lots, with the historic building to be sold and a new police residence to be built next door. Work is under way on design documentation and heritage investigations.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Nov, 2009.

St Ann's Church on the market

From the Maitland Mercury report:
One of Australia’s oldest Presbyterian churches is about to esperience a reincarnation. It’s been close to four years since the pews of St Ann’s Presbyterian Church, Paterson, were filled with parishioners and now the church faces a change. Due to a decline in parishioners, the church just couldn’t keep going - Paterson Historical Society president, Cameron Archer - so it’s about to go on the market. (Picture by Cath Bowen)

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Nov, 2009.

RAHS award for Val Anderson

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Mrs Anderson has received a Royal Australian Historical Society Certificate for her outstanding services to local history, including her unwavering dedication to the Paterson Historical Society. Today the Paterson Historical Society is widely acknowledged as one of the best rural museums in New South Wales.

Full article by Emma Sawin available at Maitland Mercury, 24 Nov, 2009.

Push to restore boxer’s grave site

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It was a knock out for Yanwyn Kirby to discover he was related to one of Australia’s most legendary figures. And as a recognised relative of Maitland’s favourite son, Les Darcy, he is behind a push to restore the boxer’s grave site. Mr Kirby, a cousin to Darcy, donates money each fortnight to the Les Darcy Family Vault Restoration established by Maitland City Council.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 23 Nov, 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

National Archives of Australia - Interactive australianscreen online

A new-look australianscreen online offering access to a wide range of moving image
material has become interactive with social space for discussions, forums and groups. The National Archives is a collection partner for australianscreen online which holds nearly 1400 Australian film and television titles from the last 110 years.

Historic Shipwrecks Program

Federal Heritage Minister Peter Garrett announced funding for projects that will protect the nation's underwater heritage. A total of 25 projects across Australia will receive funding under the Historic Shipwrecks Program. Projects to receive funding in New South Wales include: historic shipwreck survey recording and monitoring of Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks - continuing investigations at the M24 Japanese midget submarine site and the convict transport shipwreck site of the Hive (1835) and its associated survivor’s camp near Jervis Bay.

For more information on Australia’s shipwreck heritage, visit Historic Shipwrecks.

‘Silver City’ memorabilia on display

From the Maitland Mercury report:

East Maitland branch librarian Olga McTackett has a special connection to the people who lived at Greta Migrant Camp. She was born at Greta’s “Silver City” in 1951 after her Ukrainian parents migrated here from a displaced person’s camp in Germany. A display of three collections of migrant camp memorabilia will open for exhibition at East Maitland Public Library on Monday. The collections show the lives of migrants at Greta, Port Stephens and Mayfield camps after World War II.
An official exhibition launch will be held at the library on December 4.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 19 Nov, 2009.

Heirloom missing from museum

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A family heirloom revolver dated 1863 has gone missing from Morpeth Courthouse Museum. Jack Paten, whose family has lived in the area since the 1860s, is searching for the missing family treasure donated to the museum in the 1970s. The revolver belonged to Mr Paten’s great grandfather, who came to the Hunter as a five year old in 1865.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 19 Nov, 2009. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Update on Collections Council funding

The Board and Secretariat wish to thank all those who have offered support in response to the advice that the Cultural Ministers Council (CMC) will cease its funding of the Collections Council of Australia. The Collections Council now confirms that the CMC will cease its funding of the Collections Council of Australia. The final Funding Agreement ends on 30 June 2010.
The Collections Council will wind down its activities over coming months and will then proceed to wind up the company.
The CMC is establishing a Working Group to consider any future approach to matters relating to the sector.

History to make way for a third rail track

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The railway bridge on Old North Road at Lochinvar will be demolished to make way for another train track as part of the Maitland to Minimbah Third Track Project, prividing an additional an additional single direction line for coal to the Port of Newcastle. Maitland City Council gave approval for the demolition of the Old North Road rail bridge at a meeting last week. Ray Fairweather said he wanted the bridge to be saved. Details of the history of the bridge were limited, but Cr Fairweather said it could be 150 years old.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 17 Nov, 2009.  

21st Anniversary for Maitland’s Heritage Mall

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland’s Heritage Mall marks its 21st anniversary. The pavers of the mall were officially opened in grand fashion on November 17, 1988. "A very interesting and exciting part of our history in Maitland has been the mall,” Cr Blackmore said.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 17 Nov, 2009.

Fast Track Heritage project - Rail Motor Society at Paterson

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The Rail Motor Society at Paterson welcomed nine specially recruited volunteers to take part in the Fast Track Heritage project. Part of the Rail Heritage Care program, the project is an intense week-long program of heritage conservation works. The volunteers will archive train books and paraphernalia in a stationary carriage, build shelves, garden around the site, restore and paint during the next five weeks.

Full article by Sam Rigney available at Maitland Mercury, 17 Nov, 2009.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Digital access to Sydney Morning Herald

National Library of Australia newspapers service has announced that the first digitised issues of the Sydney Morning Herald are now available commencing with the the first issue in 1831. The first 20 years (18,000 pages) are available: Sydney Herald 1831-1842, Sydney Morning Herald 1842-1852. Issues from 1852 - 1954 will be made available each week to early 2010.
Issues of the Melbourne Argus are also now completed and available from 1846 - 1945.

Bob's Bird Barn - High Street Eyesore

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Bob's Bird Barn - the dilapidated building in Maitland’s High Street is an “absolute blight” on the city and poses a danger to surrounding  buildings, Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore says. But the Maitland City Council can’t act unless the structure becomes unsafe.

Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 16 Nov, 2009.

Historian Peter Bogan receives award

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It is testament to Peter Bogan’s commitment to preserving the city's flood history that he is the recipient of a Premier’s Award. With his status as a flood authority cemented through the sell-out Walk and Talk Flood Tour series, run by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Managment Authority, Mr Bogan was presented with a Premier’s Award when Mr Rees was in Maitland on November 6.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 16 Nov, 2009.

Black Boy should be displayed proudly

From the Maitland Mercury report:
American author Waymon LeFall proudly studied Maitland’s little black boy or hitching post boy. Maitland’s little black boy has been part of the High Street landscape since 1866. LeFall said "This statue is revered in America and, through my story telling, people have come to realise that he is a symbol of pride – it is not a racist statue."
Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Nov, 2009.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Paterson at War

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Author David Brouwer has launched his new book - the Paterson at War, the 19th title in the series All About Tocal. It’s a story of the people of Paterson and how they helped the war effort in various ways.  The book covers the building of the bunker (during World War II) and how the Paterson community responded to war time conditions.
Full article by Sam Rigney available at Maitland Mercury, 13 Nov, 2009.

Maitland Region Art Gallery Building

From the Maitland Mercury report:
There were predictions that the futuristic extension to Maitland Regional Art Gallery would set an architectural benchmark for the city. Only months since its official opening in August, the structure has been recognised by the State’s construction industry.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Nov, 2009.

Galton's Reunion

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Most Maitland residents have fond memories of shopping and meeting for lunch at the former Galton’s department store in High Street. The Galton’s building was the focal point of the town for more than a century and made such an impact on the lives of its staff that a reunion will be held again this year.
Galton’s opened in 1878 and was owned by the Wolstenholme family, closing 23 years ago. Reunion organiser Helen Watts of Rutherford predicts the gathering will attract at least 50 to 60 former staff members at East Maitland Bowling Club on Monday, December 7 from 11am.

Contact Helen on 4932 7111

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 11 Nov, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First World War ancestors online and Irish maps available - U.K. National Archives

In partnership with The National Archives, has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than two million soldiers who served during World War One.

You can also now search and download a stunning collection of early Irish maps c.1558 - c.1610) for the first time. These beautiful, hand-drawn parchment maps depict plantations, fortifications and townships during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.

Vision for Branxton to be unveiled

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A vision for a Branxton with the congested New England Highway replaced with a leisurely, shared pedestrian and vehicle zone will be unveiled tomorrow. The draft Branxton Urban Design Framework was created to help residents define the town they wanted, and guide the future development of the Branxton commercial centre.

 Full report by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 10/11/2009.

Library services follow demands of population

From the Maitland Mercury report:
East Maitland Library is fast taking over as the city’s most popular. Visitation figures show more people are using the Garnett Road venue than any other, and a recommendation will be put to tonight’s Maitland City Council’s meeting to increase opening hours at East Maitland Library to meet demand.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 10/11/2009.

Nancy Bird-Walton Memorial Open at Luskintyre.

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The official opening of the memorial tower for aviator Nancy Bird-Walton was held on Saturday, 7 November 2009. The 1930s style, 15.5m high control tower – with the latest mod cons including Internet webcam and weather station - were opened in fine style.

Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 9/11/2009.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tocal Homestead access

Tocal Homestead will close for public visits at weekends on 29 November 2009 and re-open at the beginning of March 2010. For more information phone Sandy Earle on 49398901 or email

National Trust Events

Comestibles and Collectables at the Coliseum: Friday 27 November, 6pm - 8pm.
Coliseum, 118 Maitland Road, Mayfield. Join us for a browse through Mayfield’s historic Coliseum, magnificently restored, a haven for collectors of antique and collectable glass, china, jewellery, books, furniture etc. Bookings: essential, contact Anne Creevey. P: 0416 285 376

Walsh Bay walking tour: Thursday 26 November, 10am – 11.45am.
The Walsh Bay precinct has become one of Sydney’s most interesting cultural and residential areas. A special walking tour of the area has been arranged for National Trust members and friends.
Meet outside the Garrison Church in Argyle Place. Cost: $40.
Tour leader: Loma Priddle. P: (02) 9412 2875.

Cockatoo Island walking tour
: Tuesday 17 November. Catch the Rivercat Ferry from Circular Quay, Wharf 5 at 9.50am Cockatoo Island is an historic island with buildings dating from the convict era to the naval ship building times of the early 1900s. Cost: $39 includes lunch.
Tour leader: Margaret Durham, P: (02) 9326 2963
National Trust Events Diary

Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Exhibition Opening:  27 November 2009, 6pm – everyone is welcome and entry is free.
In Your Dreams: an exhibition of art work created by Australian and German artists.
To be opened by Brett Alexander – Lecturer in Fibres Textile at the University of Newcastle.
Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Thursday, November 5, 2009

National Museum of Australia (Canberra) Demonstration: Top drawers

Observe a corset-making demonstration and learn about historic undergarments with Canberra fashion designer Eline Martinsen and ‘unmentionables expert’ Maria Ramsden.
Saturday 14 November, 2–4 pm.   Top drawers!

36th Australian Antiquarian Book Fair

The State Library of New South Wales hosts this year’s Antiquarian Book Fair, organised by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers.  Booksellers from around Australia and New Zealand will showcase a selection of books within a broad price range. This is an opportunity to meet booksellers, browse hundreds of books on all subjects and perhaps make that special find.
Friday 13 November from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm and on Saturday 14 November from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Society of Australian Genealogists activities

The November 2009 - January 2010 activities programme is available at the Society of Australian Genealogists web site.
Activities include:
First Steps for Aussie Ancestors - 15 November ; A one hour orientation tour of the SAG library at 379 Kent Street - 21 November ; Getting Started on Your Family History (Members only) - 26 November.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Accolade for heritage city

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Another affirmation of Maitland’s status as a heritage centre came at this year’s Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy Towns awards. The city dominated the Heritage Branch Cultural Heritage Award category, taking out the prize for the restored Maitland Gaol auditorium and museum space and runner-up for the book Hearths and Homes, by Cynthia Hunter.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 2/11/2009.

Red Lion Inn to reopen for visitors

From the Maitland Mercury report:
One of Maitland’s most historic buildings will be restored to its original use with plans to reopen it to visitors.
The Red Lion Inn on Banks Street, East Maitland was built as a coach inn about 1851, and took on its name when it was sold to Charles Whittaker in 1855 who extended the building and rechristened it.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 27/10/2009.

60 years of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme

National Archives of Australia is highlighting 60 years of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. Today, 60 years after the first blast, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme is recognised as one of the most incredible achievements in Australia – not only an engineering and construction marvel but a project that brought thousands of migrants to our shores. You can find out more about the Snowy's mighty history at the National Archives.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Steamfest timetable on track

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Some of the most influential people in steam have climbed aboard preparations for the 25th anniversary of the city’s most notable event. The 2010 Hunter Valley Steamfest will be the most expensive with an extensive program to celebrate its silver anniversary on April 17 and 18.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 22/10/2009.

St. John's Cathedral

From the Maitland Mercury:
Maitland’s devout Catholic parishioners have written to Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell for his intervention to restore their beloved Old St John’s Cathedral, Maitland. Mass came to an end at the heritage-listed cathedral last January when the church was condemned as unsafe, but school students still use classrooms on the second storey of the building... There are fears the cathedral will be forgotten and never again be used for church services, the first of which was held there in 1846.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 22/10/2009.

Heritage tour, University of Sydney

View the heritage of The University of Sydney including the Macleay Museum , University Art Gallery, Nicholson Museum and the historic buildings of the Main Quadrangle this Heritage Tour by Craig Barker.
When: Wednesday 4 November 2009, 4pm.
Where: Sydney University Museums , the University of Sydney.
Bookings Essential by Monday 2 November, to Paul Bentley 02 9387 7307 or
Further information:

Opposition to Bourke Street reopening

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Residents living in one of Maitland’s oldest neighbourhoods will hold a public meeting to discuss their concerns about plans to deliver more traffic and more development to their streets. The people of Bourke Street, Maitland, and surrounding streets have called for reconsideration of a proposal to reopen the historic street between Ken Tubman Drive and Athel D’Ombrain Drive, included in Maitland City Council’s draft Central Maitland Structure Plan.
For more information about the Central Maitland Voice or the meeting, contact Mr Leverence on 4933 1982.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 21/10/2009.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What lies beneath: Maitland Gaol

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The black earth of Maitland Gaol will soon be forced to give up the trinkets of those confined to the sandstone walls and now, with the passing of a century, to history. It may be non descript as a field of grass behind the cell blocks that held some of the State’s most notorious prisoners, dismissed as simply a patch of lush greenery in an expanse of graying sandstone and concrete... ambitious project to scrape away the layers of earth and reveal what secrets had lain buried for decades or more.
Full article by Briony Snedden avaliable at Maitland Mercury, 16/10/2009.

Cranky handle rally

Step back in time when mechanical power drove farm equipment. The rally displays antique petrol and diesel engines at work driving vintage farm machinery. See vintage cars and tractors on display and in the street parade.

Date: 24 & 25 October 2009
Venue: St Johns Centre, Morpeth Rd, Morpeth
Phone: (02) 4990 5091
When: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: FREE

Period gardens: landscape for houses with history

Leading landscape designer Myles Baldwin details his experiences of restoring some of Sydney's finest period gardens; including Bronte House, Rona and Boomerang. Historic Houses Trust curators Robert Griffin and Ann Toy will then tour the Government House Eastern Terrace, discussing future restoration plans. Thursday 22 October.
Location: Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Contact: 02 8239 2211

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Historical Society Walks to put colour into city centre’s rich history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The sepia tones of the central Maitland of yesteryear will be restored to glorious technicolour in a series of heritage walks to begin next month. Buildings, people and events from centuries ago will feature on the tours, led by the Maitland and District Historical Society on November 7 and December 5, taking in High Street and covering the elegant buildings of Church Street and the charming cottages of Bourke Street.

Full article by Briony Snedden avaliable at Maitland Mercury, 15/10/2009.

Care of Photographs Seminar - 21 October 2009

This Preservation Australia seminar covers identification of common photographic processes, deterioration of photographs, preservation of photographic collections, and storage and display options for photographs.

Collections Council of Australia

The Cultural Ministers Council has advised that it will cease its funding of the Collections Council. Following its meeting on 9 October 2009, the Cultural Ministers Council has verbally advised the Collections Council of Australia (CCA) that it will:  cease funding the CCA; provide funding for a transitional period; establish a working group that would consider future approaches.   Full details from the Collections Council of Australia news page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Memorial holds key to a family’s history

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It was a moment of remembrance for four ex-servicemen – and of discovery for one of them when they met at the Transvaal Memorial in Maitland Park yesterday... And as Maitland RSL committee member Neill Russ paused to inspect names on the memorial, he discovered the surname of a missing relative, a Corporal B W Bridge from Wollombi.
Full article by Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 12/10/2009.

Walking history tour brings back memories

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Almost 55 years since the city’s biggest disaster, the history of flooding in Maitland continues to stir memories and capture the imaginations of a younger generation. A capacity audience relived the rushing floodwaters that inundated central Maitland periodically during the past 150 years as part of the second instalment of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Walk and Talk flood tour on Sunday. Amateur historian and Horseshoe Bend resident Peter Bogan led two tours along the riverbank, down Cathedral Street and into High Street.
Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 13/10/2009.

Archives in Brief (AIB) 119 – How to find probate and deceased estates

State Records have released a new Archives in Brief information sheet with step by step instructions on how to find records relating to Probate and Deceased Estates.  
Ever wondered whether your ancestor had a probate or a deceased estate file? Archives in Brief 119 provides handy guidelines to track down a probate and deceased estate file.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Garden tour of Glendonbrook

National Trust event:
Take a garden tour of Glendonbrook, a property just outside of Branxton, which is famous for its prize roses. You'll need to arrange your own tranpsort, but once there you will enjoy a tour of, and lecture about the garden, along with morning and afternoon tea and lunch. A map and details will be provided upon booking. Organised by the Friends of Miss Porter's House.
Sunday 18 October 2009
Contact Patti Graham  (02) 4953 9034

Hands on convict research - Society of Australian Genealogists

Researching a convict ancestor can be frustrating, challenging and rewarding but is often not straight forward.
This convict research session will involve:
a presentation on the types of documents you might find, what they could reveal and, direction on locating information based on your research of the family in question. Library Assistants with expert knowledge on convict research will be on hand to assist with interpreting documents and demonstrating the use of the many relevant resources available in and through the library.
19 October 2009. 379 Kent St. 10.00am to 1.00pm.
Society of Australian Genealogists.

Look who’s talking : Sam de Brito

Sam de Brito has spent more than two decades writing for newspapers, film and TV including the series Water Rats, White Collar Blue and Stingers. His popular and award winning Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age blog, 'All Men Are Liars', expounds on the business of being a bloke, while his bestselling first book, No Tattoos Before You're Thirty, offers advice to his unborn children. De Brito's first novel The Lost Boys was published in April 2008 followed by his second non-fiction, Building a Better Bloke: Become a Man Women Want in August 2008.
Date: 16 October 2009
Venue: Mansfield, 315 High St, Maitland
Contact Details: Maitland City Library    Phone: (02) 4933 6952
When: 12.30pm - 2.00pm      Cost: $25 per person (Inc lunch)

Friday, October 9, 2009

NSW Premier's History Awards Shortlist

The 2009 NSW Premier’s History Awards Shortlist has been announced and can be accessed at the Arts NSW web site. The winners will be announced at a presentation dinner on Tuesday, October 27 2009 at the Mint.
When: 27 Oct 2009 - 6:00pm for 6:30pm
Where: The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street , Sydney
Contact: Jean Moylan,

National Trust Hunter Regional Committee Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust will be held at Grossmann House, Church Street, Maitland.   Sunday 25 October, 11.00am.
The guest speaker will be John Neish, Executive Director of the National Trust.
Bookings: Margaret Henry. P: (02) 4961 1063.

Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape

National Trust news: the National Trust is strongly supporting the nomination by the Coal Working Party, University of Newcastle of ‘The Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape for listing on the National Heritage List. This landscape is situated at the southern entrance to the Port of Newcastle and includes landmarks such as Nobbys Head, Macquarie Pier, Colliers Point/Signal Hill and Flagstaff Hill, Fort Scratchley, the convict lumber yard and the adjoining foreshore. The site is the birthplace of Australia’s coal mining industry and the site of the discovery of coal and the first modern coal mining in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Flood tours prove a hit

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Peter Bogan is flooded with knowledge. The avid historian who revived old Horseshoe Bend through stories of flooding will venture into High Street a second installment of historic walks this weekend. Developed by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) as part of its ongoing flood education program for Maitland, the tours have captured the imaginations of people of all ages.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 7/10/2009.

New Memorial Park envisaged for town

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A set of historic gates engraved with the names of Lochinvar’s fallen World War I diggers will take pride of place in a new memorial park, if RSL sub-branch members have their way. The gates, circa 1919, are close to the New England Highway making access a dangerous task for the growing numbers of residents and school students attending the town’s Anzac Day service, according to Greta RSL sub-branch president Kevin Gordon.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 6/10/2009.

Last-ditch effort to save historic wall

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A last-ditch plea has been made to the State’s heritage body to save a sandstone wall described as a link to the city’s colonisation from burial beneath the third Hunter River crossing. East Maitland resident Kevin Hoy was one of four signatories who wrote to Heritage Council of NSW chairperson Gabrielle Kibble to come to East Maitland to see the remains of a convict-built sandstone wall on Pitnacree Road, believed to be an approach to a bridge built across Pitnacree Creek.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 6/10/2009.

Maitland Uniting Church Sesquicentenary

The Uniting Church building in High Street Maitland is 150 years old. During the week of October 11th to 18th the Church will celebrate this anniversary with a variety of events: an organ recital on Sunday 11th on the Heritage Pipe Organ, static & audio-visual displays during the week. A dinner will be held at Maitland Town Hall on Saturday 17th & an Anniversary Service on Sunday 18th.
Date: 11 - 18 October 2009.  Venue: Maitland Uniting Church, High St, Maitland. Contact Details: David Carratt.  Phone: (02) 4932 4045.  Email:

Historic Houses Trust walk – ‘Over the Hill’

West Paddington and Surry Hills were once the most densely populated areas of Sydney. Janet Morice and Andrew Starr will take you exploring through the maze of tiny streets, down the slopes to Central Railway Station, telling stories of Chinese opium dens, music halls and circuses as they trace the lives of this fascinating area.
10th and 17th October 2009. 10am - 12:30pm. Location: Durty Nelly's, 9-11 Glenmore Rd, Paddington. Contact: 02 8239 2266. Historic Houses Trust.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Historical Atlas of Sydney

The Historical Atlas of Sydney has been produced by the City of Sydney Archives and is a digitised version of maps and related cartographic resources, covering mainly the City of Sydney local government area but also more widely in the County of Cumberland region.

The Atlas went live a few months ago, but is being added to on a regular basis. Recent additions include the City of Sydney 'Civic Survey' (1938-1950), and some radical post-1945 schemes in which Surry Hills and Redfern would be transformed as planned communities. The next additions will include the 1909 Royal Commission for the Improvement of Sydney and its Suburbs, and the 1945-55 County of Cumberland Planning scheme.

Layers in the Historic Landscape - State History Conference

The theme for the 2009 Royal Australian Historical Society State History Conference is Layers in the Historic Landscape. The conference is held on 31 October - 1 November at the Armidale City Bowling Club.  Contact the Royal Australian Historical Society via web site or phone (02) 92478001 for details of the conference. Registrations close 9 October 2009.

Newcastle Family History Society Annual Seminar

The Newcastle Family History Society Annual Seminar: Rememberance 2009 - those who served. Saturday 7 November 2009, at Wallsend Diggers Club.
Registrations close 7 October 2009. 
Refer to the Newcastle Family History Society web site for details.

Sesquicentenary of Local Government in Newcastle

From the State Records Archives Outside blog:
How did local government in the form of the Newcastle City Council come to be? The Local Government Area, of which Newcastle city is its centre, has gone through a number of name changes over the years.... The article concludes: "No full length substantial history exists for the city of Newcastle nor of its Council.
Therefore this modest administrative history is a preliminary first step towards a more comprehensive history." 

Read the full article posted to the Archives Outside blog on September 30, 2009 by Gionni DiGravio : Sesquicentenary of Local Government in Newcastle.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sydney Benevolent Asylum

A new website details the historical records associated with the Sydney Benevolent Asylum between 1857 and 1900. An index was created from records held at the Mitchell Library in Sydney and has been published on this site. The index contains over 78,000 records and is as far as possible, a listing of all inmates between 1857 and 1900. The website also details how you may be able to obtain more information about an inmate of the Asylum by accessing the original records held at the Mitchell Library.

The Irish Vanguard: the Convicts of the Queen, 1791

Barbara Hall has released her latest book, The Irish Vanguard, which traces the lives of the first 155 convicts exiled from Ireland to NSW on the Queen in 1791. Full of gallows confessions and brazen escapes from Sydney , Hall's research brings to life their stories in Ireland and their fate in Sydney .
ISBN: 978-0-9581499-3-8.

More information at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Society of Australian Genealogists October Seminars

  • Occupations in Local Council Records - Saturday 10 October 2009
  • Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) website - Tuesday 13 October 2009
  • - Catalogue 2, next generation of FamilySearch’s Family History Library Catalogue - Saturday 17 October 2009
  • Could I Have a Convict in my Family Tree? - Monday 19 October 2009
  • Commemoration & Exhumation - Resources for Camperdown Cemetery - Sat 24 October 2009
  • Getting Started on Your Family History - Thursday 29 October 2009
  • Colonial Secretary's Correspondence - Saturday 31 October 2009
Further details available at Society of Australian Genealogists.

Legendary baker dies after long illness

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Jack Latter, of the historic Maitland Latter Brothers Bakery team, has died after a battle with cancer. Mr Latter was a past district governor of Rotary and past president and treasurer of East Maitland Rotary.
He had been a Rotarian for 40 years and was heavily involved with the Uniting Church and later with St Peter’s Anglican Church at East Maitland.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 30/09/2009.

Anniversary celebrates railway volunteers

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It has been three decades since the Cessnock City Council stepped in to stop the demolition of a power station and coal mine at what is now the site of the Richmond Vale Railway Museum. Since then hundreds of volunteers have contributed to the maintenance of locomotives, rolling stock and the site. This Sunday volunteers will be remembered. The museum will hold a 30th anniversary open day with two steam engines operating, the SMR 10-class and the small shunt engine affectionately known as Marjorie.
Full article by Nick Hansen available at Maitland Mercury, 29/09/2009.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

“I even trained dingoes to round up the sheep”

Ian Warden looks at some of the work-seeking ingenuity of the battling ‘train jumpers’ of the Depression years in his article in the September issue of the  National Library of Australia Magazine.
Bill Ryland was one of those who spent the Depression years being stoical and resourceful while ‘jumping the rattler’ (secreting himself aboard trains so as to go from place to place looking for work). His unpublished memoir,‘Knockabout Boy—Tales and Songs of aTrain Jumper in the 1930s’, is one of theNational Library of Australia’s unsung gems.
National Library of Australia Magzine, September 2009.

Maitland and District Historical Society Inc.

The next meeting of the Maitland and District Historical Society will be held on Tuesday, 6 October at 5.30 pm.
The meeting is held at the Masonic Hall, Grant Street, Maitland.

All welcome!

New online tools point researchers in the right direction

From the U.K. National Archives:
The National Archives has launched a set of more than 60 'research signposts' on Looking for records of a person, to simplify the process of researching an ancestor. Each signpost takes a single topic - for example the census, railway workers or the Indian Army. The short, clearly written guide points you to the most useful resources, whether these are online or original documents, held at The National Archives or elsewhere.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Richmond Vale Railway Museum 30th Anniversary Open Day

Join with us as we celebrate 30 years of preservation and volunteering. See a photographic display of Richmond Vale in the early days. View the restored coal wagons. There will be a plaque unveiling. All full size train rides are free after entry.
Date: 4 October 2009
Venue: Richmond Vale Railway Museum, Leggetts Dr, Richmond Vale
Contact Details: Richmond Vale Railway Museum
Phone: (02) 4937 5344
When: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Cost: Adult $12, Concession $8, Children (5 to 15yrs) $6

Convict cells discovered on Cockatoo Island

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, has announced the discovery of convict solitary confinement cells used for punishment in the mid-nineteenth century on Cockatoo Island.

Buried and forgotten for over 100 years, the two intact solitary cells were discovered during an archaeological dig on Sydney’s largest island.
The two cells were built in 1840 beneath the original convict cookhouse located on the top of the island. The cramped cells were each designed to hold a single convict and would have been used as a form of punishment for the hardened secondary offenders who were sent to Cockatoo Island from 1839.
Full media release: Convict cells discovered on Cockatoo Island, 24 September 2009.

Women’s Voluntary Services – an important part of the war effort

State Records New South Wales Archives Outside blog feature:
June Dietrich, a staff member at CSU Regional Archives, has recently begun a research project looking into women’s groups and organisations who volunteered their services during World War II. On discovering the lack of existing published information, June decided to write a series of articles to honour and remember their contributions to the war effort.
June's introductory report outlining the roles of various groups that were involved in Wagga Wagga and surrounding areas is published at the Archives Outside website.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Council bends guidelines for famous aviator’s memory

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Luskintyre Aviation Flying Museum approached Maitland City Council to make a donation to its efforts to erect a 1920s style observation control tower at the airfield to remember Nancy Bird-Walton.
A report to the council’s meeting on Tuesday recommended the council decline to make a donation because the application did not meet the guidelines of a council policy.

But Cr Lisa Tierney, who is also gathering support for a statue of Australia’s first prime minister, Edmund Barton to be erected in Maitland, moved that the council get involved in the project to honour a part of Australia’s – and Maitland’s – history.

Full article by Briony Snedden available at Maitland Mercury, 24/09/2009.

Restored Tiger Moth going home

From the Maitland Mercury report:
After two years of painstaking restoration at Luskintyre airfield, a 1940 Tiger Moth has been flown to its original base at Narromine aero club. The plane, built in England, was one of an original fleet used to train more than 2800 pilots at the Narromine elementary flying training school during World War II.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 24/09/2009.

S.H. Ervin Gallery re-opening

S.H. Ervin Gallery has been closed over winter months for an upgrade to its exhibition, shop and entrance area and collection store. S.H. Ervin Galley was fortunate to receive some funding from Arts NSW to assist with refurbishing its collection store at Observatory Hill. The closure of the Gallery to the public has allowed staff time to begin surveying the Gallery’s permanent collection which will eventually enable it to be more easily utilised online for exhibitions by researchers and by other institutions.
The Gallery reopens for public viewing on Friday 25 September, 2009 :
S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Watson Rd , Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney.

Future of Historic Scobie Barracks

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Fears Maitland’s historic Scobie Barracks at Rutherford are on a secret Federal Government “hit list” of bases earmarked for closure brought a deluge of calls for it to remain open yesterday.
Maitland RSL sub branch joined the Mayor Peter Blackmore and Paterson MP Bob Baldwin in demanding the Government reveal its plans for Scobie Barracks, which dates to 1855 and is home to two cadet units and C Company of the 2/17 Royal NSW Reserves.

Full article Alan Hardie available at Maitland Mercury, 23/09/2009.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Australians Vol. 1: Origins To Eureka - Thomas Keneally

Launched in early September, Thomas Keneally's first volume of a multi-volume history, Australians, is a unique history of Australia where people are always centre stage. Keneally has woven a vibrant history of convicts and Aborigines, settlers and soldiers, patriots and reformers, bushrangers and gold seekers to tell a rich and colourful tale of our unique national character.
Published by Allen & Unwin.

Family reunion for the Short family

From the Maitland Mercury report:
It will be 170 years since Samuel and Jane Short arrived in Australia and settled at West Maitland. It will be 170 years since Samuel and Jane Short arrived in Australia and settled at West Maitland.
All members of the Short family and relatives are encouraged to attend the reunion on September 26 at Wallsend Uniting Church Hall in Metcalfe Street. RSVP by September 25 by calling Kerry Short on 0448 465 744 or email

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 22/09/2009.

Coin from reign of King George IV found in cellar

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A coin minted during the reign of King George IV has surfaced in the cellar of historical Tocal Homestead. The heavily tarnished penny, bearing the date 1826, was found during a regular check for termites at the site. “Obviously the penny would have been in circulation at the time and was misplaced sometime after the homestead was constructed,” Tocal Agricultural College director Dr Cameron Archer said.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 21/09/2009.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Greta Migrant Camp feature

The Greta Migrant Camp features in the Newcastle Herald Weekender magazine for September 19, 2009.
The four page article titled “So far, so good” by Neil Jameson, notes: "Greta Migrant Camp became a necessary home away from home for thousands of post-war refugees and new arrivals on assisted-passage schemes."

Born digital records: what next?

A workshop presented by the Royal Australian Historical Society.
This workshop deal with the "born digital" records which now are such a large part of our life rather than the digitising of items which were born on paper. Most historical societies now use their computers to record minutes of meetings, to deal with correspondence and to maintain their memberships lists or database.
Katharine Stuart, Project Officer, Digital Strategy at State Records NSW will talk about State Records' digital records strategy - know as the "Future Proof" strategy.
Mari Metzke will look at ways historical societies can establish protocols to ensure membership lists, minutes and accounts are backed up so that if the computer fails, these important society resources are not lost.

When: 26 Sep 2009, 10:00am to 3:00pm
Where: History House, 133 Macquarie Street Sydney
Contact: Phone: 02 9247 8001
More information: History Council NSW

Friday, September 18, 2009

Books Alive Author Visits

From the Maitland Mercury report:
As part of the national Books Alive campaign, Maitland City Library will play host to two authors, both first-time authors recognised as two of Australia’s up-and-coming contemporary writers.
Toni Jordan, the author of Addition, will be at the Readers Cafe, East Maitland Library, on Monday from 1pm and Virginia Lloyd, author of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement will appear at Cafe P’Chinos on Tuesday from 10am.
Bookings for both events are essential, and can be made by contacting the Maitland City Library on 4933 6952.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 18/09/2009.

Yaralla Open Day

A rare chance to wander one of the last great rural estates left in Sydney : Yaralla or the Dame Eadith Walker Convalescent Hospital on its own peninsula in the Parramatta River at Concord . This grand rural estate was subdivided to provide much of the modern suburbs of Concord West and Concord . What remains is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.
The next tour of the Yaralla mansion is being conducted  by the Concord Heritage Society on Sunday, 25th October 2009.
Information and bookings via the Concord Heritage Society web site.

Former Newcastle Post Office redevelopment

From the Herald report:
Owner of the historic former Newcastle post office Sean Ngu has two new business partners on board and says he is confident the building will be ready to open by Christmas next year.

Full article by Gabriel Wingate-Pearse available at The Herald, (Newcastle) 18/09/2009.

Maitland's Heritage Mall

From the Maitland Mercury report:
High Street and the Heritage Mall reflect the new direction of the city’s CBD through a variety of new businesses and boutiques.
Shop owners show confidence by investing in the CBD so many previously vacant, historic buildings have been given a facelift and are re-opening with new purpose.

Full article by Rebecca Berry available at Maitland Mercury, 17/09/2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stories of city women woven together in art

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The stories and experiences of women living in Maitland have been immortalised in a permanent public art installation, Time Capture, ensconced in the new-look Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
Time Capture is an artwork including film, images and light.

Governor of NSW Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir will open Time Capture at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery on Saturday 19 September 2009 at 6pm.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, 16/09/2009.

English history can be seen in Australian church carvings

From the Maitland Mercury report:
English history can be seen in Australian church carvings. With St James Anglican Church as her backdrop, medieval art specialist Terry Pearson will deliver a talk on Myths, Monsters and Misericords throughout the centuries.  Ms Pearson’s visit was organised by the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society in Pokolbin.
Ms Pearson’s talk will be held on September 27 at 3.30pm. Phone 4930 0723 or 4933 3312 to book a seat.

Full article by Emma Swain available at Maitland Mercury, 16/09/2009.

Passionate historian to deliver Harry Boyle lecture

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Dr Janis Wilton, OAM, will deliver the Harry Boyle Memorial Lecture – titled A Night at the Museum – at Brough House in Church Street, Maitland, later this month. The lecture will look at how local museums and history, collections and research can bring the past alive.
The Harry Boyle Memorial Lecture will be held on Friday, September 25, at 6pm.
For bookings phone 4933 6452 or 4932 0518.

Full article available at: Maitland Mercury, 15/09/2009.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Launch of Time Capture at Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Time Capture is a reflection and celbration of the diversity of women in Maitland.
Time Capture was filmed on location in 2008 and is embedded in the newly built fabric of Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
It is a filmic memory. Time Capture will slowly reveal the lives of 100 Maitland women until the year 2034.

Everyone is welcome to attend the launch of this unique and hauntingly beautiful project -
19 September 2009, 6.00-8.00pm. Please RSVP to the art gallery on 4934 9858 or via email

National Trust Hunter Regional Committee Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust will be held at Grossmann House, Church Street, Maitland, Sunday 25 October, 11am.
The guest speaker will be John Neish, Executive Director of the National Trust. We welcome nominations to all positions on the committee - chair, deputy chair(s), secretary, treasurer and committee members. The meeting will be followed by morning tea.
Bookings: for catering purposes please RSVP to Margaret Henry. P: (02) 4961 1063.

James Fletcher Hospital Nominated for NSW State Heritage Register

News from the National Trust:
The Hunter Regional Committee has recently submitted a nomination for the James Fletcher Hospital to be placed on the NSW State Heritage Register. The nomination, named Newcastle Government House & Domain specifically identifies the early use of the site in the Macquarie period and its association with convict labour. It is the site of the Newcastle Military Barracks, and for 138 years an evolving psychiatric hospital, representing significant change and adaptability.

There is a need to have the exceptional heritage significance of this convict, mining and military site fully acknowledged, as it has been a government site since 1804. The area has been nominated to the National Trust Heritage at Risk Program.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Morpeth Manor Historic Trees

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A passionate group has rallied to save a corridor of tall trees planted about a decade ago and described as a buffer zone. But the trees will be axed to make way for an aged care and residential development for over 55s on the historic St John’s College site, according to residents Kevin Pywell and Kevin Lord.

Maitland City Council documents said the buffer was planted to preserve the historic setting of the approach to Morpeth from Tank Street and was 10 metres wide, but the council can vary this.

NSW Heritage Council does not place any significance on the buffer and the council plans to remove it in stages and re-establish a narrow corridor with an approved landscape plan.

Full article by Rebecca Barry available at Maitland Mercury, 10/09/2009.

Off the Beaten Track

Solitude of sighs is being presented by the History Council of NSW and Copyright Agency Limited, part of the lecture series Off the Beaten Track. This presentation by Laila Ellmoos expands on scholarly and popular understandings of the NSW  prison system from the perspective of those who spent time 'doing time.'
Laila Ellmoos is a professional historian based in Sydney, with a passion for researching and writing about Australian social history. She is currently the historian at the NSW Government Architect's Office.
Laila will be speaking at Maitland Gaol, Sunday 13th September. Phone Maitland Gaol for further information, 49366482.