Newsletter 13 March 2020
HCSA Historian of the Year 2020 Open for Submissions
This award recognizes outstanding achievements in one or more of the following areas: history teaching, historical research and scholarship, writing or presentation on historical topics, raising community awareness of history and heritage, and strengthening the community profile of history.
How to nominate a Historian:
Please visit the HCSA website here and complete the nomination form and attach a citation (one-page maximum) setting out the case for the nominee in terms of how their achievements align with the award’s criteria.
Closing date for submissions: 5 pm, 31 March 2020
Announcements are made in May each year at an event and venue in Adelaide. More information to follow on this in the coming weeks.
HCSA Wakefield Press Essay Prize Award 2020
Submissions for this award closed at 5 pm on 31 January 2020
The History Council of South Australia and Wakefield Press welcomed applicants for the 2020 annual Wakefield Press Prize for the best essay on a topic relating to the history of South Australia.
The prize was open to anyone who during the year 2019 had written or published an essay dealing substantially with some aspect of South Australian history. The word length was between 2,000 and 10,000 words.
The prize consists of a $500 book voucher from Wakefield Press. This will be presented at the annual History Council of South Australia awards in 2020. A number of essays from 2019 were submitted by 31 January 2020. We will update you in the coming weeks as to where and when the winners will be announced. Thank you to all who have submitted an essay, the HCSA looks forward to announcing the winner(s) in due course.
Tandanya Collection - Aboriginal Art in Unley
South Australian Medical Heritage Society
The SAMHS meeting dates for the year are available here.
The SAMHS started the year in their February meeting, with Emeritus Professor Alastair MacLennan speaking on the history of reproduction, using the Royal family and their influence to illustrate advances.
Guests are always welcome at the meetings.
The Historical Society of South Australia (HSSA) Keain Medal
Awarded for a non-fiction book relating to South Australian History and/or biography, published during the past year, is now open for nominations.
Nominations close at the end of March.
Congratulations are in order for one of our HCSA General Committee members who received a: MEDAL (OAM) OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA IN THE GENERAL DIVISION
Mr Andrew Guy Peake, For service to community history.
Mr Guy Peake has been a member and valued contributor to a number of organisations, to read more click here.
Churchill Fellowship 2019 Recipient - Elspeth Grant
Around the country
Bushfires in Australia, December 2019 - January 2020
Statement from the Federation of Australian Historical Societies
Bushfires have devastated every state of Australia, and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies acknowledges the hard work of first responders and community members during this time. As the recovery efforts begin the first priority is the safety of our affiliates and their families.
Donations for immediate relief and future recovery for affected communities can be made to the Australian Red Cross who are distributing food and supplies and reuniting families.
Donations can be made here.
If you have more time than money to spare, consider donating items now via GIVIT - Goods For Good Causes, and volunteering at your local museum or historical society once rebuilding has commenced. We’ve seen in the past how bushfires and other natural disasters bring the community together, particularly in hubs like historical societies and regional museums.
In assessing the damage to property and collections, Blue Shield Australia's resources about disaster preparedness and recovery will be helpful to those communities whose history and heritage collections have been affected by this disaster.
The Blue Shield Australia website includes links to fire recovery resources and preparation, response and recovery resources and also the following:
Bushfire crisis in Australia (04/01/2020)
Bushfire recovery (13/11/20190)
We are yet to understand the extent to which our nation’s rural and regional heritage has been affected, and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies will monitor this closely in partnership with Blue Shield Australia. If your history group has been affected by bushfire we encourage you to reach out to us or Blue Shield Australia for assistance.
Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999
Australia's World Heritage properties and National Heritage places are covered by the EPBC Act 1999, which requires that an independent review of the operation of the Act, and the extent to which its objects have been achieved, be conducted at least every 10 years. A review was done in 2009, and now another is underway, by Professor Graeme Samuel AC, to be completed by October 2020.
A discussion paper has been released, and all Australians have been invited to make comments and/or formal submissions by 17 April 2020.
To read the discussion paper please click here.
To make a formal submission please click here.
Formal submissions are due by 17 April 2020.
To make a brief comment please click here.
Vale Ian Jack
The following obituary for Ian Jack, who died on 5 September 2019, was written by Christine Yeats (President of RAHS) and Carol Liston (Senior Vice President of RAHS), and appeared in the December 2019 RAHS History Magazine, and is re-published here with their permission. Ian made a valuable contribution to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies over the 15 years in which he served as a representative of the RAHS (from 2004 until his death), as mentioned in paragraph 5.
Welcoming strategic investment for humanities research
News from the Australian Academy of the Humanities
The Australian Academy of the Humanities today welcomed the establishment of a new Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiative (SRI) for research into Australian culture, history, and society announced on 27 January 2020 by the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP.
The focus of the scheme will be for research into “the way in which we live today and how the past has contributed to Australian society and culture, including how our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture is understood and has impacted modern Australian society”.
The $12M investment in Australia’s world-class research in the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) will help address the growing trend of disinvestment in HASS research, which the Academy’s research on the sector has highlighted.
“Researchers who work on studies of Australia, at the local, regional or national level, and in the past or the present, make a vital contribution to understanding human experience on our continent”, said Academy President Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA. “At a time of great turmoil and uncertainty, humanities researchers provide historical and cultural context to the events and issues that are touching people’s lives today”.
“It is a welcome signal that the government values the leading role played by humanities researchers in helping to address these vital questions about who we are as a nation, and what we might aspire to be.”
ARC Special Research Initiatives are rare in the humanities. Preliminary data analysis undertaken by the Academy indicates that less than 2% of SRI funding has been awarded to humanities projects in the 2001-19 period. The National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (2012) was a welcome initiative, but otherwise there has been no strategic funding since 2005.
“The under-investment in research on Australian culture, history, and society identified by the Minister must also be seen in the broader research system context. The pressure of international university rankings acts to privilege research that appears in highly ranked international journals, which can disadvantage those who work on issues of deep and direct relevance to Australia,” said Professor Damousi.
The Academy appreciates the questions from the research sector with regards to the process and funding source for this $12M investment, specifically that it will not take away from existing HASS funding for work focussed either on Australian studies or the rich and vital work about the world in which we live. The Academy’s understanding is that, as is generally the case with SRIs, funding will be drawn from within the ARC budget, and will not be sourced from existing HASS allocations.
“This looks to be a distinct opportunity for research into Australian culture, history, and society and a funding boost for HASS”, said Professor Damousi.
The Academy’s 8 Point Plan to Humanise the Future called on the Government to both address the $4.2M which was stripped from the sector via Ministerial veto, and to consider the design and effectiveness of publicly-funded schemes for HASS research.
“We note that the Minister has approved funding for previously vetoed projects in December 2019, and warmly welcome this injection of funds as a first step towards addressing some of the critical needs of the sector”, said Professor Damousi.
Tasmanian Names index provides access to 1.3 million records
The Tasmanian Names index contains a wealth of information for researchers with close to one million names of people who have lived in Tasmania.
The index provides free access to over 1.3 million digitised records including convict, birth, death, marriage, arrivals, departures, wills and many more.
The index is easy to use, simply enter a name into the search box on the Libraries Tasmania website to get results. Search results can then be refined by record type, date, ship, property, place of registration etc.
The most recent records to go live are the Colonial Secretary’s Office index to correspondence 1824-1836. These records provide an entry into correspondence documenting the developing colony of Van Diemen’s Land. The index entries have been fully transcribed enabling researchers to search by the name of the correspondent or the subject matter of the correspondence. A quick browse of the subjects reveals intriguing descriptions such as; swarm of bees, hackling machine and pen knives, inviting further exploration.
Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) Conference 2020 Call for Papers and 2019 Presentations
2020 ASA Conference Brisbane
“Archives Amplified: Connect, Challenge, Reimagine”
How do we ‘amplify’ archives? Let’s question the status quo.
This conference will provide a platform for finding creative solutions to shared challenges. The theme is open to encompass many ideas and topics, and we welcome creative responses.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Reimagining the potential of archives
- Growing and supporting diversity and inclusivity
- Increasing visibility, access and understanding of archival holdings
- Digital transformation and innovation
- Disruptive thinking and organisational change
- Removing barriers or breaking down borders
- Advocacy and sustainability
- Collaboration, participation and engagement
PHA 2020 Conference: History Transmitted - Connect - Consider - Challenge
Professional Historians Association (Qld) Inc. is proud to announce the 2020 Professional Historians Association conference will be held in Brisbane on 28-29 August 2020.
The 2020 conference theme is History Transmitted: connect – consider – challenge. The conference aims to highlight and interrogate ways in which historians work and adapt to changing audiences and technologies, as well as share experiences and learnings from recent projects which they have undertaken.
More information on the PHA Queensland website.
If you have any questions please contact [email protected].
Restoration and extension of old Burnie Post Office in Tasmania
The owners of the old Post Office, Amanda and Ernest Kemmerer, at 14 Marine Terrace at Burnie have applied to the Council to build a stand-alone extension at the back of the heritage listed building. The building was opened as a Post Office on 15 July 1901 and had a mailroom extension in 1909. Marine Terrace was one of the first streets in Burnie providing access to the Van Diemen’s Company’s store and the port. The Post Office was listed on the Tasmanian Heritage List in 1998 as an excellent example of ‘Italianate’ architectural style.
Read more on restoration:
Burnie post office restoration reveals history and mystery. Rick Eaves, ABC Northern Tasmania, updated 25 Jul 2014,
Read more on extension:
Kemmerers plan to extend old Burnie post office heritage building, Leah McBey, Burnie Advocate, 31 December 2019, p7
Murchison (Victoria) meteorite contains the oldest material on Earth: 7-billion-year-old stardust
A meteorite that came down in fragments across an area of farming land about 11 km long and 3 km wide near Murchison (167 km north of Melbourne) on 28 September 1969, has very recently been identified as containing grains of stardust that are the oldest found on Earth, about 7 billion years old, which is about 2.5 billion years older than the Sun and the Earth.
The announcement was made in a press release issued on 13 January 2020 by the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and on the same day in a scientific paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
It was picked up by media in Australia, including this article in 10Daily by Jessica Dunn and Natasha Christian entitled "The Day a small Victorian town was rocked by a meteorite"on 15 January, which includes information provided by the President of the Murchison Historical Society (Kay Ball) and others.
Over the years, fragments of various sizes (about 100 kg in total) have been found, much of which are in scientific institutions in Australia and around the world. The institution with the largest collection of Murchison fragments, and which made the recent discovery, is the Field Museum in Chicago. At the time it was the best-equipped to study them because it had been set up to study moon dust from the Apollo 11 moon landing, which occurred only two months earlier. The Museum sent three pieces to the Murchison Historical Society so some of it could be seen closer to home.
This digital presentation by the ABC Science unit, written by Fiona Pepper, was produced in October 2019 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the falling of the meteorite. It contains good visual material, and first-hand information from various people who were personally involved in the event in 1969 and later.
This article in Wikipedia (last edited on 18 January), concentrates on the scientific aspects of the meteorite.
Blue Shield International statement on potential targeting by USA President of cultural sites in Iran
Resources and other activities
Online courses for digital skills
Be Connected has a range of 5-10 minute online courses for all levels of abilities, from ‘What is a computer?’ to ‘Researching your family history’. Simply go to https://beconnected.esafety.gov.au/ and sign up as a learner of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies. By signing up, the website will remember what you’ve completed, and you can access games and quizzes to see how much you’ve learned.
For help signing up, please contact [email protected].
South Australian History Sources
Author: Andrew Peake, OAM
If you are researching your ancestors in South Australia, and really don’t know what types of records are available, or where to look for them … South Australian History Sources is the answer. It will not only advise you of the types of records available, but will also give information on where you can find them, and the types of information you can find.
First released in 2007, South Australian History Sources proved itself to be the ‘bible’ for researching local, biographical, and family history in South Australia.
Covering everything from civil registration and church records, to education records, health and welfare records, census records, place names, photographers, land records, law and order records, passenger and shipping records, military records, newspapers, probate records, change of name and adoption records, education (including teacher) records, naturalisation records, fraternal and friendly society records, and so much more.
Obviously there has been an ENORMOUS amount of changes to records and their availability over the past 12 years, so this new second edition has been fully updated to take all of that into account, and includes website addresses wherever possible.
I have no doubt that this new updated edition of South Australian History Sources will be a key reference work, and one that sits on every South Australian researcher’s shelf.
Title: South Australian History Sources
Author: Andrew G. Peake
Media: paperback, 250 pages, 2nd ed.