July 2015

Read all the latest news from the Koorie Records Unit

About the Koorie Records Unit
The Koorie Records Unit (KRU) promotes awareness about records relating to Aboriginal people held by PROV and the National Archives of Australia and aims to improve access to these records for the wider Aboriginal community.

In this issue:
  • NRW2015 and NAIDOC Week activities
  • ‘Seeing the Land from an Aboriginal Canoe’
  • Project Albany
  • Public Record Advisory Council
  • Victorian Community History Awards
  • Ramahyuck – the best school in the state
  • Have you visited PROV’s blog recently?
  • What’s on at PROV

NRW2015 and NAIDOC Week

'Change it up' and 'Sacred Ground'

The KRU celebrated National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC by offering staff and the public activities based on the themes ‘It’s time to change it up’ and ‘We all stand on sacred ground: learn, respect and celebrate’. 

The Koorie Records Unit has been busy celebrating National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC. As part of the celebration we:
  • Worked with Wurundjeri Tribe Land Cultural Heritage Council and Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op to develop and mount signs in both the Victorian Archives Centre and the Ballarat Regional Archives Centre acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our buildings are located
  • Introduced Acknowledgement of Country to our staff emails, communicating our commitment to reconciliation to the public and staff
  • Screened a number of TEDx Talks by Aboriginal people highlighting the extraordinary talents of author Anita Heiss and musicians Tjuppuru and Chris Tamwoy
  • Installed a pop-up display in the Victorian Archives Centre foyer of early records from 1843 which showed Aboriginal language and place names recorded by Surveyors
  • Took part in the NAIDOC week reception at Government House celebrating the achievements of local Aboriginal people.
Check out the Koorie Records Unit Twitter page for highlights from throughout National Reconciliation and NAIDOC Weeks, including a look at a few of the records we had on display.

'Seeing the Land from an Aboriginal Canoe'

A collaborative project

River crossings, 1840
In 1840, Charles Tyers and Thomas Townsend mapped the course from Westernport Bay to Portland Bay.  The original map is held in the Historic Plan Collection at PROV This section shows the area around Geelong and the Moorabool River crossing point.  


PROV is proud to be associated with a new documentary and multimedia project, developed by Federation University and independent film production company Wind & Sky Productions. Now live on Culture Victoria, the film explores the little known contribution of Aboriginal navigators to 19th century European settlers who depended on them to transport goods, stock and people in colonial Victoria. We assisted the project by identifying a number of records to be included in the film.
The film features research by Associate Professor Cahir, who found numerous 19th century examples of explorers, gold miners and settlers using Aboriginal ferrying services and boat building services. 
“We have loads of accounts of white people’s dependence on Aboriginal canoes,” says Cahir. These anecdotes of canoe use on rivers such as the Murray, Barwon, Goulbourn, Loddon, Moorabool and Mitchell shed light on the generosity, resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Aboriginal inhabitants and of the trading relationships formed between Aboriginal people and European colonists, who were “totally dependent on Aboriginal technology in that period of time in that area of Australia,” says Cahir. “It’s a really interesting story.”
Learn more about the project.

Project Albany

National Archives exposes the ongoing impact of war

Registration file of John Stanley Beasley
Non-Aboriginal soldier, John Stanley Beasley left Australia with the first convoy from Albany, WA in 1914.  Beasley’s repatriation record has been digitised and is now available to view online through RecordSearch. The KRU are investigating whether any Aboriginal Victorians left Australia on that first convoy….stay tuned!
NAA, B73: R42255, Beasley, John Stanley

To mark the centenary of World War I, our colleagues at the National Archives have begun a $3.4 million project to describe and digitise Department of Veteran’s Affairs Repatriation files. These files document the medical care, welfare services and pensions provided by the Repatriation Department to returned soldiers and their families. Very few of the files have been viewed since their official use.

According to Director-General David Fricker, the project, known as ‘Project Albany’ "aims to digitise 5000 of these repatriation records, notably of the men and women who left Australia from Albany in November 1914 as part of the first convoy, and returned home again. More than 2300 have already been digitised and are available online by searching under the person's name or service number".

Not all service men and women who returned home have a repatriation record, only those who applied for a pension or benefit.   If you are having trouble locating a family member, you can phone the National Archives of Australia on 1300 886 881 for assistance.

Further details of the records can be found on the Discovering Anzacs website.

Public Records Advisory Council

Calling for Expressions of Interest

Photographs from the Borough of Stawell, 1909 - 1935
PROV VPRS 3457/P0, unit 138

PROV is advised by a Council called the Public Records Advisory Council (PRAC).

There are currently a number of vacancies on the Council and we are seeking expressions of interest from people with experience in the following fields:
  • Historical research (public history)
  • Historical research (academic)
  • Records management
  • Genealogy and local history
  • Public administration
  • Finance and business administration
These appointments are on an honorary, unpaid basis, with members being eligible for the reimbursement of expenses such as those related to travel to and from meetings.
Interested? Applications close 7 August 2015. Visit the PROV website for more information.

And for further information on PRAC please see pages 8 – 9 of PROV Annual Report 2013-2014.

Victorian Community History Awards

Entries close soon!

Director & Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, with 2014 winner Anne Vale.


The Victorian Community History Awards program is managed by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

The Awards recognise the contributions made by Victorians to the preservation of Victoria’s heritage and acknowledge works that contribute to the development and appreciation of the history of Victoria. Awards are given for work across the following categories:

  • Victorian Community History Award
  • Collaborative Community History Award
  • Local History Project Award
  • History Publication Award
  • Local History Small Publication Award
  • Multimedia History Award
  • Historical Interpretation Award
  • Centenary of ww1 Award
  • History Article (Peer Reviewed)

A total of $17,500 is being awarded across the categories. Applications close 2pm Friday 7 August 2015.

Download the entry form now or visit our website for more information.


The best school in the State

Plan of Ramahyuck mission and school house, 1883

On display at Old Treasury Building, this plan of Ramahyuck State School shows the kitchen garden, boarding houses and playground.  Boys and girls used the playground but never mixed and were always supervised. 

PROV, VPRS 795/P0, unit 559
There's only a few months left for you to be transported back to your old school days at Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building. The School Days: Education in Victoria exhibition features classroom stories, school photographs, old text books, and memorabilia straight from the vaults of the PROV archives.
One of the schools featured in the exhibition is of the state school at Ramahyuck Aboriginal Mission on the shores of Lake Wellington in East Gippsland. Ramahyuck was one of the highest performing schools in Victoria, achieving results of 100 per cent in 1872.  According to Charles Topp, Inspector of School for the Education Department,
“This school has again passed an excellent examination. This is the first case since the present result system has been enforced that 100% of marks has gained by any school in the Colony. The children, moreover, show not only accuracy in their work, but also exhibit much intelligence - excellent progress is shown.”

Visit the Old Treasury Building website for more information.

Have you visited PROV’s blog recently?

Digitised maps of Ballarat

Digitised maps of Ballarat: Camp Street 1877 to 1887
You can also find nineteenth century photographs of these sections of Camp Street contrasted with current streetscapes in Ballarat Revealed  on the City of Ballarat’s Historic Urban Landscape website.

PROV, VPRS 4771/P2 Unit 263b, Township of Ballarat, Camp, Sturt and Grenville Streets, 1887.

Staff from all over PROV, including reading room researchers, policy-makers and collection managers contribute to the PROV blog. Learn about:
  • what happens behind the scenes
  • what is 21st century recordkeeping
  • what exciting discoveries have our reading room staff and researchers made
  • what incredible records have been transferred to the archives recently.
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Denny, Access Services Officer in our Ballarat office wrote about the digitisation of over 400 maps of Ballarat.  Ranging from the 1850s to the early twentieth century, among the collection you’ll find four nineteenth century plans of Camp Street providing a snapshot of the growth of Ballarat.

Vist recent posts and our archive here.

What's on at PROV

Upcoming events

Monday to Friday 10am-4.30pm
Free exhibition: 'Transporting Art'
Victorian Archives Centre Foyer
North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street

Saturday 8 Aug 10am-4.30pm
Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room
North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street
Open Saturday

Saturday 29 Aug 10am-4.30pm
Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room
North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street
Open Saturday

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