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Presidents Letter


Issue no. 57                                          President’s Letter                                        December 2018

News from the AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the HCSA was held in September, for the first time at The Historian in the city. Thanks to everyone who came along and enjoyed a convivial evening while also attending to the serious side of things. As always, the AGM brought with it some changes on the HCSA’s committees, not least the departure from the Executive Committee of long-serving member/stalwart Richard Venus. We thank Richard for his work on the committee but also look forward to a continuing association with him, not least in relation to his regular
updates on the HCSA’s bid for DGR status. The bid, as many will be aware, has morphed into a saga, and many of us are looking forward in the fullness of time to Richard’s blow-by-blow history of it.

Sadly, also we had to farewell our secretary Lauren Gobbett, who, happily for her at least, has taken up employment elsewhere. We thank Lauren for all her efforts for the Council, and we trust that, in this case also, we will be able to maintain an association with her into the future. Fortunately, Sandra Kearney, who was already a member of the Executive Committee, has agreed to take on Lauren’s duties and from now will handle most of the matters relating to communication and membership.

The 2018 Regional Lecture was held in Burra last month and was a resounding success. Our sincere thanks go to the speakers Bob Kearney and Sharon Cleary, who showed great knowledge of the ways in which the community of Burra and other districts of the mid-North were impacted by the Great War. It was the perfect topic at the time of the centenary of the Armistice. Thanks go also to Meredith Satchell and her team among the Friends of the Old Burra Railway Station, who did a great job in providing a venue, helping to promote the event,
and arranging for the kind of afternoon tea only rural communities can offer. The HCSA remains committed to staging a Regional Lecture in future years also. As in the past, the key to these events is the creation of a partnership between the HCSA and a regional community or organization. If you have any ideas for future events, please let us know.

History Festival
Another event to which our minds are already turning is the annual History Festival. The Executive Committee will once more be exploring possibilities for the HCSA’s own contribution to the History Festival, which will run through the month of May. We are of course happy to receive suggestions from our members, but preferably by mid-January, as entries close in early February.

For more information on the Festival and how to go about planning an event as part of it, see the History Trust’s website at

Wakefield Press Prize
Each year the HCSA awards the Wakefield Companion to SA History Prize to the best essay on South Australian History. If you wish to nominate an essay – whether by a student, a professional historian or dedicated amateur, and whether already published or not – you will need to act quickly. The word length should be between 2,000 and 10,000 words inclusive of footnotes. The judges will assess entries according to the originality of their contributions to South Australian history and the quality of their writing and research. The prize consists of a
certificate and a generous book voucher from Wakefield Press. It will be presented at the annual History Council of South Australia Awards in 2019.

The closing date for submissions to be forwarded to our panel of judges is the end of January.
For further information on the prize, please visit the HCSA’s website at:

One of the annual challenges for the HCSA and its Executive Committee is to collect annual subscription fees from its individual and corporate members. Without these subscriptions, we cannot continue our work in supporting history in South Australia and acting as the umbrella body representing the interests of everyone involved in history in South Australia. If you are not sure whether you had made your payment for your current membership, please contact us at [email protected]

Through a series of letters to relevant State Government Ministers, the HCSA has made the case for the retention of the Overland rail service. Fortunately, the service has been saved for another year thanks to an additional $200,000 in funding from the Victorian Government, while Great Southern Rail, which manages the 131-year-old link between South Australia and Victoria has also pledged extra funding until the end of 2019. Given the historical value of the service and the role it plays in promoting links between regional and urban centres, the HCSA hopes that a way will be found to support the service into the indefinite future.

Like Janus, at this time of year, we look back on the events of 2018 but also forward to what is in prospect for 2019. Two commemorative events stand out for their potential to generate considerable interest in South Australian history. One is the centenary of the flight of the Smith brothers from England to Australia in a Vickers Vimy bomber. The other is the 125th anniversary of the ground-breaking achievement of women’s suffrage. The HCSA will keep a close watch on how these significant events are handled and will do its bit to promote interest
in them and to use the opportunity to advocate for the importance of history and heritage more

Season’s Greetings
And last but by no means least, on behalf of the Executive Committee and the General Committee of the History Council of South Australia, let me wish all members a joyful festive season and a Happy New Year.

We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope to see you at one of our events next year.

Professor Peter Monteath, President, HCSA

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