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Koorie Records Unit Newsletter

December - 2014

Read all the latest news from the Koorie Records Unit at Public Record Office Victoria

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:
1. What a year it has been!
2. Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place visit
3. Q&A with our intern from Monash Uni
4. Was your ancestor a teacher?
5. Local History Project Award winner
6. PROV volunteers win City of Melbourne Award
7. Last chance to see walata tyamateetj exhibition
8. Who's in the KRU these days?
9. Holiday closures and What's On at PROV

What a year it has been!

Our achievements for 2014

The KRU has had an extremely busy year and is proud to celebrate our achievements for 2014. This year we:
The KRU and Public Record Office Victoria would like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to another year of promoting archival resources and assisting Aboriginal people to explore their family story.

Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place visit

A group visit including a tour of the repository

Image:  Over 100kms of records are stored at PROV.  The public are invited for tours of the repository throughout the year - check our What's On page for more details.
In September, the KRU were visited by 11 members of the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place community group. The group went on a tour of the archives to see where and how government records are stored. They then spent time in the Reading Room where they searched Aboriginal name indexes and viewed original records including correspondence of the Board for Protection of Aborigines and rolls of work attendance at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Station.
The KRU later carried out research on behalf of the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place community group and provided them with copies of records relating to their family.
The visit was an emotional one for the group, and for the Koorie Reference Officer, as many were just beginning their family history journey. If you would like to arrange a group visit, please email us at 

Q&A with our Monash intern

Sophie talks to the KRU about her internship project

This year, Monash University intern Sophie McLeod carried out research to create a new guide for improving access to Aboriginal records in the PROV and NAA collections. The KRU spent some time getting to know Sophie and asked her how she found her internship project. 

Image: Petition from men at Framlingham mission station asking for rations to be given to their wives and children during the winter months.
PROV VPRS 1694, Unit 11, Bundle May-June, Item 14

Q:  What course are you studying and what do you hope to do when you finish?
I'm studying Arts/Law at Monash, majoring in Australian Indigenous Studies in my Arts degree. I'm planning on doing honours in this area next year but I'm still not sure what I will do after I finish my degree.
Q:  What does your project with PROV involve?
My project with PROV is to create a research guide on petitions written by Aboriginal Victorians from 1850-1930s.  It involves looking through the PROV collections of the relevant agencies that I think the petitions would have been sent to. 
Q:  What will be the end product of your work?

The final product is a research guide that will indicate where to find the petitions in the collection and hopefully will include some digitised records. 
Q:  What is it like to handle the original records?
Some are quite fragile but it is so exciting to be able to handle the original documents. In particular I find the petitions very special as they contain signatures of many different people. I have also been reading other letters and documents and was very lucky to see a reading of the Coranderrk Inquiry of 1881 which was amazing because I had read the original enquiry only days before and it brought the whole thing to life.

Was your ancestor a teacher? 

PROV holds teacher record books from 1863 until 1959

Image: An excerpt from the teacher record book of Joseph Wandin, born in August 1886. Joseph’s teaching career spanned from 1901 until 1950 and included schools such as Brunswick West, Badger’s Creek and Box Hill Primary School. 
PROV VPRS 13718/P1, Unit 1, 13301-15350

Working with government archives means you are always discovering interesting records that teach you about the lives of everyday Victorians. Did you know that PROV holds teacher record books from 1863 until 1959? They provide information such as:
  • date and place of birth
  • teacher's full name
  • schools where they taught
  • classification of the teacher, based on assessment and promotion
  • remarks about the teacher and their performance
Search the teacher record book index for Victorian teachers here. If you locate an entry, can you can view teacher record books on microfilm in the North Melbourne Reading Room. 

Local History Project Award winner

Congratulations to Marguerita Stephens

Image: Winners of the 2014 Victorian Community History Awards

As part of History Week celebrations in October, PROV honoured the winners of the 2014 Victorian Community History Awards.
 The annual Awards, funded by the Victorian government, recognise the people and projects that helped preserve and share Victoria’s history in 2014.  
This year’s winner of the Local History Project category will be of particular interest to readers of the KRU news. The award was presented to Marguerita Stephens who has published the first transcription of William Thomas’ diaries. The diaries of William Thomas, Assistant Protector of the Aborigines of Port Phillip and Guardian of the Aborigines of Victoria 1839-1867, have long been recognised as an important source for contact history.  For the first time, these four volumes make Thomas’ hand written diaries accessible and easy to interpret. Overall this is an enormously useful publication which will have a big impact on anyone wanting to research Aboriginal history.
Learn more about the Awards and the winners here.


PROV volunteers win City of Melbourne award

Congratulations to our wonderful volunteers

Image: PROV Volunteer Program Coordinators Jack Martin and Leigh Kinrade accepting the award

Our wonderful PROV volunteers are the proud recipients of the 2014 Melbourne Award for Contribution to Community by a Corporation.

The City of Melbourne’s ‘Melbourne Awards’ were held on Saturday 15 November, 2014. Volunteer Program Coordinators Jack Martin and Leigh Kinrade attended the gala event and were thrilled to accept the award on behalf of more than 150 volunteers. Read more here.


Last chance to see 'walata tyamateetj: carry knowledge' exhibition

Exhibition closing early 2015

Image: A map of Westernport District made by William Thomas, Assistant Protector of Aborigines, in 1841.
PROV, VPRS 6760/P0, Unit 1, Item 1

Make sure to visit our walata tyamateetj: carry knowledge exhibition before it closes early in the new year.  The exhibition features rarely displayed government records, maps, petitions and photographs related to the administration of Aboriginal affairs in Victoria.  Entry is free. We are also holding a guided tour of the exhibition in February. Register here...
You can also visit our publications page to download walata tyamateetj: A guide to government records about Aboriginal people in Victoria as a PDF or an eBook.  Requests for hard copies can also be made by visiting our online shop.


Who's in the KRU?

You might have noticed that there have been a few staff changes in the KRU this year. 
Jessica Reid continues as the Koorie Reference Officer until April 2015 when Grace Baliviera, currently in a full-time role with the National Archives, is expected to return to the KRU. 
Tsari Anderson is currently on leave and will return to her position as Coordinator, Koorie Records Unit in late 2015.


The best way to get in touch is via email or phone 03 9348 5600 and ask to speak to Jessica Reid.

The KRU are primarily focused on family history enquiries.  We appreciate your patience while we investigate your requests. 


Holiday closures and What’s On at PROV

Please note our schedule over Christmas:
Victorian Archives Centre will close at 3pm Weds 24 Dec and reopen 10am Mon 5 Jan AND Cafe 99   will close at 2pm Tues Dec 23 and reopen Mon 12 Jan 8am.
Ballarat Archives Centre will close 4.30pm Tues 23 Dec and reopen 9.30am Mon 5 Jan.
Bendigo Regional Archives Centre will close 4.30pm Thurs 18 Dec and reopen 10am Weds 7 Jan.
Geelong Heritage Centre will close 5pm Weds 24 Dec 2014 and reopen 10am Mon 12 Jan.


17 February 2015
Tour of the Archives

17 February 2015
Research Immigration Records

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