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08.01.11 >

Issue #51
The Family Way

Public Record Office Despatch

National Family History Week

Get stuck into your family history - you never know what you might find!

This year you can complete the Census online!
  1. National Family History Week
The first week of August means it's National Family History Week! With more than 100 events happening around the country, it’s a great opportunity to begin exploring your family history if you haven’t yet got around to it. And if you’ve already embarked upon the journey into your past, there are talks and seminars aplenty on a range of family history topics.

And on Tuesday 9 August, Australia sits down to do the Census. Check out the ABS's Spotlight infographic to find out what the Census data can tell you about Australia, and yourself.

New opening hours at the Victorian Archives Centre

A few changes to improve our service to you

From today 1 August the Victorian Archives Centre Reading Room is open from 10am to 4:30pm Monday–Friday and every second and last Saturday of the month. Ordered records will now be available for viewing from 10am (previously 10.30am)

We’ve made some modifications to the microform reader printer and all PCs in the Harry Nunn Reading Room, so you can now save copies of your records direct to your USB. And we’ve installed a second digital camera so won’t ever need to photocopy again!

The next couple of months will also bring a makeover of exterior and interior signage at both the Victorian Archives Centre and Ballarat Archives Centre.
Further information

Victorian Community History Awards close 19 August

Recognising excellence in Victorian history telling and preservation

Experienced a great piece of Victorian history recently? Then nominate it for the 2011 Victorian Community History Awards. We’ve doubled the prize pool to $20,000 for the eight categories:
  • Overall winner                           $5,000
  • Best community research,
    registers and records             $4,000
  • Best collaborative
    community work                       $2,000
  • Best commercial
    publication                                 $2,000
  • Best self or community
    publication                                 $2,000
  • Best exhibit or multimedia      $2,000
  • Best walk/tour                           $2,000
  • Judges discretionary prize     $1,000

Volunteers Celebrate 22 years of active research

Leonie Marshall writes about her experience as a volunteer with Public Record Office Victoria.

More than 100 volunteers help us preserve Victoria's history every week.
  1. Find out more about our volunteers program today!
This year marked the 22nd year of transcription of the Passenger Lists and other volunteer activities at the Public Record Office. The volunteer program has seen changes of venue from Casselden Place CBD to Sheil Street North Melbourne, with comings and goings of personnel over the many years, but the continuity of the shipping program has seen continued publication of the volunteers work over the 22 years.

Among the volunteers, we have some who started at the beginning of the program and who are still attending regularly to continue the work, which is now published online for the benefit of researchers not only in this country, but overseas as well.  Up to 60 volunteers each week meticulously transcribe names and other personal details from original documents. These transcriptions are data entered and checked, ensuring the new archive provides the highest possible quality of information.  The Index currently holds over one million passenger names, and has been an immensely popular tool among researchers and curious family history seekers.

The stories emerging from these passenger lists continue to give volunteers a great deal of personal satisfaction and enjoyment.  Immigration came in waves, from the first colonists to the later gold prospectors and settlers. Others left gradually due to economic or social reasons. Those leaving Melbourne after the influx of the gold rush days were trying their hand at gold prospecting in New Zealand and later in Western Australia. One volunteer spotted engineers sailing to Gabo Island to build the lighthouse there. Another spotted engineers travelling to Darwin to establish the telegraph line.

All of history is here. Being able to handle the original records brings history to life in a way that we are privileged to experience.

Squizzy Taylor at Old Treasury Building

Discover the life of the notorious Melbourne gangster with storyteller Barry Dickins.

Squizzy Taylor graduated from pickpocketing to become a notorious standover man in 1920s Melbourne.
Playwright, artist and poet Barry Dickins’ will recount his stories of the notorious 1920s Fitzroy gangster Squizzy Taylor at Old Treasury Building on Sunday 7 August.

Squizzy gained notoriety in 1920s Melbourne for race fixing, standover tactics and bootlegging, and for his flashy style of dress. He was linked to several high-profile murders. It was the time of the 1920s gang wars and criminal activities in Melbourne’s inner-city slums in the pre-Depression era.

Dickins will give a different perspective to this criminal as he recounts his own personal memories and encounters with Squizzy’s gang including the story of Squizzy’s fatal wounding in a shootout in 1927.

Records of Squizzys prison life are on display at the Old Treasury Building.

  • The Real Squizzy
    Old Treasury Building
    20 Spring Street, Melbourne
    2pm Sunday 7 August
    $5; bookings: 9651 2233 or

  • August events

    What's on at the Victorian Archives Centre and around the state

    Monday 1 August
    Family History Feast at State Library of Victoria
    State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

    Wednesday 3 August
    Seminar: Researching Your Family History
    Ballarat Archives Centre, Ballarat

    Thursday 4 August
    Seminar: Researching Your Family History
    Victorian Archives Centre, North Melbourne

    Sunday 7 August
    The Real Squizzy
    Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

    Thursday 11 August
    Seminar: Caring for your collection
    Victorian Archives Centre, North Melbourne

    Saturday 13 August
    Victorian Archive Centre Saturday opening
    Victorian Archives Centre, North Melbourne

    Thursday 18 August
    Workshop: Just Digitise It
    Traralgon Historical Society, Traralgon

    Friday 19 August
    Workshop: Just Digitise It
    Traralgon Historical Society, Traralgon

    Saturday 27 August
    Victorian Archive Centre Saturday opening
    Victorian Archives Centre, North Melbourne
    Further information

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