Dig the Archives at the Victorian Archives Centre Open Day

Registrations are now open for this 2 May event

Welcome to this special mid-month edition of Despatch dedicated entirely to our upcoming Open Day.

We're opening our doors and inviting everyone to Dig the Archives on our annual open day. Come along on the 2nd of May to hear fascinating talks, tours and training sessions about archival discoveries.

Read on for some of the highlights...

The power of the public record with author and journalist Gideon Haigh

Don't miss Gideon Haigh share his research into a 1950s murder...

Calling all crime buffs!

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear from renowned author, journalist and entertaining speaker Gideon Haigh about his upcoming book Certain Admissions - due out in June through Penguin Publishing.

Gideon was given special access to the capital case files of murderer John Bryan Kerr and will ask a powerful question: 'Can public records prove someone's innocence?' Join him as he shares some of the archival records he used to piece the case together.

The Power of the Public Record
10.30am | Conference Room

You might also be interested in:

Start researching here!
11.30am | Conference Room

Discover your ancestors through DNA with Ancestry.com.au

Join our supporting partner, Ancestry.com.au, for a special presention

    What can your DNA tell you?

    We're proud to partner with Ancestry.com.au for this year's event. Their 11.15am Q&A session is already booked out - don't miss your other chance to learn about their DNA kit.

    DNA testing can be used to determine your ethnic heritage and even to discover ancestors you never knew you had! 

    Ancestry DNA
    12.15pm | Conference Room

    You might also be interested in:

    How to: Preserve your family treasures
    3.15pm | Training Room

    ANZAC Commemorative Talks

    Stories of soldier settlement and the first convoy

    The Spirit Lives on 2014 - 2018

    The story of soldier settlement is one of the most significant and unspoken chapters in Victoria's regional history. Thousands of returned WW1 soldiers were leased farming land from 1918 to create a new life for themselves.

    Hear PROV's Daniel Wilksch explain the challenges they faced as they attempted to rebuild broken spirits on unbroken land - and discover the website that makes these records available for the first time.

    This session will also see Gerard Poed from NAA discuss the repatriation soldier case files of the returning soldiers who survived from the first convoy of 20 ships to leave Albany Western Australian on the 1st of November 1914.

    ANZAC Commemorative Talks
    1.30pm | Conference Room

    You might also be interested in:

    Q&A with PROV volunteers
    11.00am | Reading Room
    No Registrations Required

    Transformative women in Victorian history

    An expert panel on the bold and transformative women of colonial Victoria

    Women of the Archives...

    Colonial Victoria offered fresh opportunities for the scores of intrepid women bold enough to transform their lives. Join us for this exciting panel featuring:

    Historian Bev Roberts who will tell the story of two 'lady pastoralists' who formed an extraordinary partnership.

    Dr Liz Rushen will share the story of pioneer educator Nichola Anne Cooke who defended her right to property.

    Pauline Rule will give a rare insight into Elise Mowfung (pictured in this image circa 1855-1882, State Library Victoria) who was able to foster a career outside of strict cultural customs.

    Charlie Farrugia will provide an understanding of the women's records of Public Record Office Victoria.

    Transformative Women
    2.15pm | Conference Room

    You might also be interested in:

    How to: Research women's health files
    1.15pm | Training Room

    Ghost busting the 'ghost signs' of Melbourne

    Dr Stefan Schutt helps us to understand this phenomenon

    Visual archives as public property

    The phenomenon of 'ghost sign' hunting is rapidly gaining a cult following both in Melbourne and overseas. Faded handpainted signs advertising yesteryear's businesses, these ghosts of Melbourne's former commercial life are often transient, sometimes uncovered only to be lost again in the construction of new developments.

    Dr Stefan Schutt from Victoria University will discuss these 'ghost signs' and delve into how archives are increasingly becoming public property in the online era.

    Ghosts from the Open Archive
    3.30pm | Conference Room

    You might also be interested in:

    How to: Research photographic collections
    12.00pm | Training Room

    Explore the many treasures of the archives

    Get a behind the scenes look at some of the rare treats of the archives

    Take a tour!

    Join one of our many tours of the archives throughout the day. We are also offering a special Auslan tour for deaf people at 10.30am.

    Each tour runs for 45 minutes, and features new treasures from the collection. Please note that you will be on your feet walking through the archives so a minimal level of fitness is required. Wheelchair access is also available.

    Archive Tours
    Click 'Book Now' for times | Repository


    But wait... There's more!

    What else can you look forward to this Open Day?

    • Gift bags for the first 500 people through the door - including a free copy of Inside History magazine.
    • Delectable delights, coffees and cakes at our very own Cafe 99.
    • Pop Up sessions in the Reading Room with our Access Service Officers who will talk about how to access specific parts of our unique collection.
    • The chance to view our new foyer exhibition 'Tram Art'.
    • A rare opportunity to be able to bring in your family treasures (photos, paintings, antiques) and receive advice from expert conservators - see 'How to preserve your family treasures' in the program.
    • The chance to hear from leading historical experts on exciting topics!
    • And if you get in early you can see the Hon. Gavin Jennings, Victorian Special Minister of State, officially launch Open Day at 10.00am.

    More Upcoming Events

    What's else is coming up?

    We will be closed on ANZAC Day

    Tuesday 28 April 11-12pm
    School Days Floor Talk:
    'Migrant Education' with D. Robertson

    Old Treasury Building
    Melbourne, Spring Street

    Note: There are no bookings required for the School Days Floor Talks at Old Treasury Building.

    Connect with us!


    Wednesday 22 April 10am-1pm
    Adoption & Wardship
    MADE, 102 Stawell St South, Ballarat

    Thursday 23 April 11-12pm
    Free: Tour of the Archives
    North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street

    Thursday 23 April 1-2pm
    Free: Digging Deeper Info Session
    North Melbourne, 99 Shiel Street


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