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Koorie Records Unit Newsletter

JULY 2012 - NUMBER 9              ISSN 1449-0323

The Koorie Records Unit Newsletter is published three times per year by the Koorie Records Unit at Public Record Office Victoria

The Koorie Records Unit promotes awareness about Victorian Aboriginal records held by Public Record Office Victoria and the National Archives of Australia and aims to improve the accessibility of these records to the wider Aboriginal community.

Reminder: Black Screen Film Program showing every day during NAIDOC Week at lunchtime - see full details.

Footprints - now available as an ebook!

Cover of Footprints book
Cover image, Footprints ebook.
    When one of our most popular publications Footprints: the Journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper went out of print in late 2011, we decided to convert it into our first ebook.

    Footprints presents the story of Lucy and Percy Pepper and their children through transcriptions of public records held by Public Record Office Victoria and National Archives of Australia. Through a selection of correspondence, family photographs and other documents, the publication provides an informative and intimate portrait of the Pepper family as they struggled to live independent lives.

    The publication is an example of how researchers can use government records to retrace family connections, explore individual, family and community histories, and learn about past government policies and actions that affected Aboriginal people in Victoria.

    The ebook was released in June and will be available for purchase for $9.95 as a download in epub format from the PROV online shop.

    Some time later in the year we will be exploring the possibility of making the book available as a print-on-demand so if you prefer your books printed on paper, stay tuned!

    Footprints - new education resources for travelling exhibition

    Footprints Education Videos on YouTube, featuring Ossie Cruze (top), Robert Critch (middle) Rita Watkins (bottom)
    Three new videos filmed on location at Lake Tyers and Koo Wee Rup in Gippsland feature descendants of Lucy and Percy Pepper reflecting on the lives of their ancestors and struggles they endured, and their resilience in the face of adversity. The videos, which are linked to the Victorian and Australian school curriculum, continue the collaboration on the Footprints book and exhibition between Public Record Office Victoria, National Archives of Australia and the descendants of Lucy and Percy Pepper.

    Accompanied by education notes and resources, these videos will be an invaluable contribution to the teaching of Victorian Aboriginal history in Victorian schools and beyond.

    The Footprints videos will be made available online through the Public Record Office Victoria and National Archives of Australia websites, on YouTube through PROVchannel and on FUSE, a website featuring teaching resources developed by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Education.

    These three videos and education resources have been specially designed to complement Public Record Office Victoria's newest travelling exhibition, Footprints: The Journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper. The exhibition continues to generate a great deal of interest in the community, and has been travelling all over Victoria to local historical societies and museums, libraries and keeping places.

    At present the exhibition is on display at Goulburn Valley Regional Library, 41–43 Marungi Street, Shepparton, until 31 July 2012, after which it will be on display at Sam Merrifield Library, 762 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds, from 3 to 23 August 2012, and then Avondale Heights Library, 69-79 Military Road, Avondale Heights, from 24 August to 28 September 2012. Dates for venues later in the year are available on our website.

    Revised publications in the works: 'My heart is breaking' and Finding your story

    Cover of original edition of 'My heart is breaking'

    'My heart is breaking' is a joint publication of Public Record Office Victoria and the National Archives of Australia.

    First published in 1993 (see original cover above) this book provides a comprehensive guide to official records from 1836 to the present relating to the Aboriginal people of Victoria, held by Public Record Office Victoria and the National Archives. The guide gives information about undertaking archival research and lists over one hundred series of records, giving information about their contents and date range of their contents.

    The production of the revised edition of 'My heart is breaking' is currently underway and will be published both in print and as an ebook toward the end of 2012.

    Cover of original edition of Finding your story

    Originally published in 2005 by Public Record Office Victoria, with major contributions from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and the Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce, Finding Your Story is reference tool for Aboriginal Victorians seeking information on their separation. The book is also designed to assist agencies continuing to help members of the Stolen Generations on their journey of discovery and healing.

    This useful and practical guide is now being updated in preparation for a new edition that will be published in 2013.

    Jade Johnson, who has been working at Connecting Home in the role of Healing and Community Partnerships, has recently joined the team of the Koorie Records Unit as a Project Officer and will be liaising with the Aboriginal community, organisations and stakeholders to help improve and update this valuable resource.

    New community publications funded by wilam naling Small Grants

    Cover of new publication from Mount Evelyn History Group

    Nine small grants were awarded in 2011 under the wilam naling Small Grants Scheme. These grants give Indigenous and non-government community groups the opportunity to undertake projects that raise awareness and improve access to Aboriginal records and other cultural collection materials. Details about all the current recipients are available on the PROV website.

    Three projects funded through the wilam naling Small Grants program have already been completed. The Mt Evelyn History Group's beautiful publication Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs (above) is an improved second edition of this book about the Wurundjeri people and their traditional lands to the east of Melbourne. The book was launched at Mt Evelyn Station House, Wray Crescent, Mt Evelyn on 3 December 2011. Copies of the book are available from the history group at a price of $15.00. To order a copy send an email to For more information about this and group's other projects, visit the Mt Evelyn History Group's website.

    The Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service has also recently completed its funded project to catalogue Sisters Day Out images and transfer these into their central database. This archive will now provide a record of Koorie women in the twenty-first century in Victoria for future generations to access. Further information is available on their website.


    Cover of new publications and databases from Nillumbik Reconciliation Group

    Another project funded by the wilam naling Small Grants Scheme is the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group production of CD-ROM versions of two publications originally available only in print (see above). The CD-ROM versions of the Coranderrk Database, which contains 346 A4 pages, and the Birrarung Database, containing 237 A4 pages, will be included with each print copy of the new publication and be distributed free of charge to all regional libraries and secondary schools in the Yarra Valley, and to other organisations in the area supporting Aboriginal Reconciliation and/or Indigenous awareness.

    The databases contain Mick Woiwood's compilation of archives covering the Coranderrk Settlement at Healesville and the Indigenous history of the Yarra Valley. Joy Murphy-Wandin launched the databases at Eltham Library, Panther Place, Eltham, in April this year.

    For further information about the project and the event, visit the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group Inc website.

    Groups who are currently completing their projects will need to submit a six-monthly progress report by 15 July 2012. All remaining projects will be completed by December 2012. We hope to announce details about all the completed projects in the March 2013 issue of the Koorie Records Unit Newsletter.

    Koorie Index of Names Database

    The Koorie Index of Names project continues to add new names to this easy to search database of Aboriginal people in Victorian Government records available in Public Record Office Victoria's reading rooms. Our volunteers have recently completed indexing the Inward Registered Correspondence to the Superintendent of Port Phillip District, relating to Aboriginal Affairs (VPRS 10, 1839-1851) and the Unregistered Inward Correspondence to the Chief Protector of Aborigines – Reports and Returns (VPRS 11, 1847-1851).

    Volunteers working on the Koorie Index of Names are currently indexing other records relating to Aboriginal Affairs. Data from previous work is currently being uploaded to the Koorie Index of Names database and will shortly be searchable along with data from the main correspondence series of the Board for the Protection of Aborigines (VPRS 1694, 1889-1946).

    Discovering Your Mob at Aboriginal Education Centre, Ballarat University, 27 July 2012

    Discover how to research family and community connections, as well as cultural heritage, through archival collections. Find out what services and resources are on offer from the Koorie Records Unit of Public Record Office Victoria and National Archives of Australia, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative, Child and Family Services Ballarat, and the Aboriginal Education Centre at Ballarat University through this half‐day free workshop.

    Aboriginal Education Centre
    University of Ballarat, SMB Campus
    Lydiard Street South, Ballarat
    Friday 27 July 2012, 11.00am to 3.00pm
    Bookings are essential:
    03 9348 5600

    11.00am Welcome and introduction

    11.05am Finding your mob in Victorian government records Sebastian Gurciullo and Grace Baliviera (Public Record Office Victoria and National Archives of Australia)

    12.30pm Lunch (provided)

    1.15pm Vicki Peart – Stolen Generations Worker, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative

    1.45pm Sharon Guy – Heritage Coordinator, Child and Family Services Ballarat Inc

    2.15pm Bonnie Fagan - Manager, Aboriginal Education Centre, Ballarat University

    2.45pm Wrap up

    Koorie Records Unit Information Sessions - invite us to your place!

    The Koorie Records Unit runs information sessions open to the public that explain how to access records relating to Aboriginal people from both the Public Record Office Victoria and National Archives of Australia collections.

    These information sessions cover the kind of advice and assistance that the Koorie Records Unit can provide, and information that researchers interested in records about Aboriginal people will find in the Public Record Office Victoria and National Archives of Australia collections in Melbourne.

    If you are interested in finding out more about these sessions, would like to attend one of them, or would like to discuss the possibility of hosting a session in your own community, contact the Koorie Records Unit by sending an email to or calling 03 9348 5600.

    For more information on upcoming training sessions see our website.
    Screen shot of Koorie Records Unit training recording on YouTube
    An example of one of our training sessions ‘Knowing who you are: Koorie records in Victoria’, recorded at Genealogical Society of Victoria, Thursday Talks, Melbourne, 12 April 2012, is available as a podcast on our training webpage (permission to reproduce provided by the Genealogical Society of Victoria).

    Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce Final Report

    Over the last ten years Public Record Office Victoria has supported the Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce as their secretariat as well as being a member of the Taskforce.

    The Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce was established in 2001 as a major initiative of the Victorian Government’s response to the Bringing them home report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. The establishment of the Taskforce was a direct response to recommendation 23 of the report which called for ‘Records Taskforces in each state and territory to assist members of the Stolen Generations in tracing their families’.

    The Taskforce has not met since 2009 and many of the key programs for which it had oversight have been completed or have become ongoing business activities for some agencies.

    With the assistance of Taskforce members we have compiled a final report which aims to summarise its achievements over the last 10 years. This will be the final activity of the Taskforce, and will thereby bring its existence to a close.

    The report includes a section on those initiatives which will continue, in order to ensure that the momentum achieved to date with these many projects will continue beyond the life of the Taskforce. A copy of the report can be accessed on the Public Record Office Victoria website.

    Public Record Office Victoria would like to thank those who have contributed to this important work over the many years of the Taskforce's existence. That work does not end with this report, but it is a suitable juncture to reflect on what has been achieved.

    Staffing changes at the Koorie Records Unit

    Tsari Anderson, Coordinator Koorie Records Unit
    Tsari Anderson

    Coordinator Koorie Records Unit
    back from leave June 2012

    Jade Johnson, Project Officer Finding your story
    Jade Johnson

    Project Officer
    May - October 2012

    Grace Baliviera, Koorie Reference and Project Officer
    Grace Baliviera
    Koorie Reference and Project Officer

    Sebastian Gurciullo, departing Acting Coordinator Koorie Records Unit
    Sebastian Gurciullo

    Acting Coordinator Koorie Records Unit
    May 2011 - June 2012

    There have been a number of staffing changes recently in the Koorie Records Unit. In May last year, Tsari Anderson went on maternity leave and Sebastian Gurciullo stepped into her role as Acting Coordinator, Koorie Records Unit. Tsari has now returned to the Koorie Records Unit two days per week on Thursdays and Fridays and Sebastian has taken up a new role in the Community Archives team at Public Record Office Victoria.

    In May, Jade Johnson joined the Koorie Records Unit as a Project Officer to work on the revision of the publication Finding Your Story. Jade continues to work with Connecting Home in the role of Healing and Community Partnerships two days per week, and will be working with the Koorie Records Unit on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week until October 2012.

    Grace Baliviera continues in her role of Koorie Reference and Project Officer, working to assist members of the Aboriginal community to locate records in the National Archives of Australia and Public Record Office Victoria collections.

    Victorian Community History Awards - now accepting applications

    Public Record Office Victoria administers the funding for the annual Victorian Community History Awards, which recognise the contributions made by Victorians to the preservation of Victoria’s heritage. The awards are presented by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

    The Victorian Community History Awards recognise excellence in historical method.

    The range of award categories acknowledges that history can be told in a variety of formats with the aim of reaching and enriching all Victorians. Further details about award categories are available on the Public Record Office Victoria website.

    Applications are now open so if you are interested download a form from the Royal Historical Society of Victoria website.

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