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 phoebea@mgnsw.org.au or (02) 9339 9913

Further information and to register: 
http://mgnsw.org.au/sector_development/access_to_funding_2010/

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.