State Archives NSW eNewsletter
Issue 81, February 2017
News & Events

Our new name

We are pleased to announce that we have a new name!

On 25th October 2016, a change to the State Records Act 1998 (the Act) was approved returning 'Archives' to our name.

Our corporate name is now 'State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales' but we may also be called State Archives, State Archives NSW or State Archives and Records NSW.

This is great news as we now have a much easier way to describe the full scope of what we do and who we are. The change doesn’t play down the importance of the work we do with records and in providing advice on recordkeeping to public offices but allows us to build a greater identity in the community and across Government.

Our new webinar program!

We are pleased to announce our new program of webinars! For those of you not familiar with webinars, they are essentially an online presentation which you can enjoy live or as a recorded session streamed to your computer or mobile device.

Our webinar program is free and we will be using GoToWebinar to deliver the presentations. Each session will focus on the wonderful resources of the State archives collection.

We will be presenting sessions live but will also be recording those sessions and loading those on to our website. This means if you are unable to attend live, you will be able to listen to the presentations at any time!

Details of our first two webinars are:

  • Wednesday 29 March 2017, 10am-11am – Using the NSW State Archives website
  • Wednesday 31 May, 10am-11am – Tracing NSW convicts

Click here for further details to register and ‘reserve your seat’!

Joining and participating in a live webinar is easy. There are a number of tutorials available for those of you not familiar with webinars, including the QuickStart tutorial.

Our webinar program will allow us to engage with audiences all cross NSW and indeed, the world. We are very much looking forward to spreading the word about the State archives collection and helping people with their research through this intiative!

Digital scanning and photography

We are always adding new digital images of our records to our website which you can search via Collection Search, as well as adding interesting images to our Flickr page on a regular basis.

But did you know that we have a total of eleven digital scanners in our Reading Room, from which you can scan microfilm, microfiche and aperture card copies of original records to a USB/memory stick? You can also print copies in A4 and A3 formats via our laser printers.

If you wish to acquire a digital image of original records, you can use our digital cameras yourself, or order a high-resolution copy via our digital copy service (under General Charges, Digital Images).

Read more about our digital copying services.

Easter opening hours

We will be closed over the Easter period:
  • Friday 14 April 2017
  • Saturday 15 April 2017
  • Monday 17 April 2017
Our usual opening hours will resume on Tuesday 18 April.

Image: Geoff Hinchcliffe being interviewed on ABC Radio Broken Hill, 11 November 2016

Windows into Wartime - Broken Hill launch

On 10 November our Executive Director, Geoff Hinchcliffe, was the special guest at the Broken Hill City Library for the launch of the Windows into Wartime touring exhibition. The exhibition is a ‘pop up’, or smaller, mobile exhibition to that currently on display at the Western Sydney Records Centre. On at Broken Hill until 11 March 2017, the exhibition will tour throughout NSW to Regional Archives Centres in Newcastle, Armidale, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong until November 2017.  

Geoff spoke about the themes explored through Windows into Wartime to an audience of more than 60 people at the launch, and the Outback Archives contributed local material to the exhibition. Local media interest in the exhibition was strong. Geoff was interviewed on ABC Radio Broken Hill and Southern Cross TV News. Local newspaper, the Barrier Daily Truth, also published a piece about the exhibition. Geoff also attended meetings with Broken Hill Council CEO, James Roncon, and other senior staff to discuss the Council’s Living Museums project and its broader plans for a dedicated archives facility.  

Exhibition Curator, Dr Penny Stannard, and Senior Project Officer, Fiona Sullivan,  accompanied Geoff on his two day visit to Broken Hill.

Image: Seal enclosure, Taronga Zoo, September 1916. NRS 4481, ST 5910 (detail)

Spotlight: Taronga Park Zoological Gardens centenary

Can you imagine Sydney Harbour without Taronga Zoo perched on Bradley’s Head at Mosman? October last year marked one hundred years of families making the trip by ferry, tram and car to see the exotic and native animals at Taronga and get a picturesque view of the harbour.

We hold a number of records relating to Taronga, including on the circumstances surrounding its opening on 7 October 1916.

Read more on records relating to Taronga Zoo's opening.

EmDARA Project completed

The digitisation project we discussed in Issue 79 last April - EmDARA - which involved the preservation and description of records vulnerable to deterioration and technological obsolescence, has now been completed. In summary, the project has listed, batched, documented, digitised and quality assured:
  • 1753 cassettes
  • 833 computer media
  • 2294 DVCRo’s
  • 1235 film reels
  • 2282 video tapes
  • 1528 magnetic audio reels
  • 46,894 gaol book pages
Congratulations to all involved in this fantastic achievement! We hope to make some of this newly digitised material available on our website over the next few months. So stay tuned!
From the Regions
As many of you will be aware, a network of Regional Archives Centres throughout NSW provides access to State archives of regional significance and to copies of key State archives. We will be featuring news and updates from the Regional Archives Centres and the great work they do on a regular basis in Now&Then.
Home-front during wartime in northern New South Wales

Regional Archives Centres tend to gather complimentary record sets from different government and non-government sources that provide interesting snapshots of the past. One such story stems from some unusual administrative archives of the old Armidale Teachers College and former New England University College created during World War Two.

Image: Don Shand and WASPS, c.1943. Don Shand collection, UNE Heritage Centre

The mobilization of manpower for military service stripped away much of the male rural workforce early in the war. The New England University College appealed this loss of its rural labour to the military as it caused staff shortage for its on farm food production for students and staff as well as affecting the expanding drug crop program producing opium for medical use and pyrethrum for pesticides required to replace lost imports.

Student volunteers could and did milk cows, tend gardens and assist on the farm, but a larger casual workforce was required for seasonal harvest. As seen in the administrative records of the colleges, a local landowner from Armidale, Mr Don Shand formed a group called the Women’s Agricultural Security Production Service in order to meet the demands of seasonal harvest. Known as WASPS, female students and other local women guaranteed to provide casual staff for harvest before crops were planted. In return, the women were paid piece rates by farmers.   

With this labour the university college and local farmers were able to expand the plantings of opium and pyrethrum. Stories and photos about WASPS activities were published by local newspapers and the Australian Women’s Weekly. From small beginnings including the two Armidale tertiary colleges, the WASPS group expanded to over 3000 members in NSW by the end of the war. The Port Macquarie WASPS group alone had 150 members. The photo album of the late Dulce Edwards, WASPS organizer in Armidale provides a photographic archive of this early example of rural girl-power.

Contributed by Bill Oates, University Archivist, University of New England.
Wagga Wagga
The Evolving and Eclectic Collection Processing Project

For many years now, Charles Sturt University Regional Archives has been offering an annual scholarship to a Charles Sturt University student. The aim of the scholarship is to provide a work experience opportunity for a student from the School of Information Studies interested in a career as an information professional.

Our most recent scholarship holder, Nicole Gammie, may go down in the annals of CSU Regional Archives as the scholar who processed the most collections in the shortest period of time.

Image: Letona Co-operative Cannery products on sale in a supermarket, c.1960s [CSURA RW3241/126 Letona Co-operative Cannery collection.]

Rather than focusing on a single collection as most of our scholars have done in the past, Nicole processed 11 collections of great variety, all of which are now neatly boxed up, listed and ready for use.
Some of Nicole’s collections included records from: Read more about Nicole’s scholarship at ‘The Evolving and Eclectic Collection Processing Project’.

Contributed by Jillian Kohlhagen, Collection Management Archivist, Charles Sturt University Regional Archives.
New Online
Our Research A-Z updated

Many of our guides and Archives In Brief leaflets  have been arranged on our new website in the 'Research A-Z' section. Knowing how much our users appreciated the new subject-based approach to our Online Indexes reported in the last Now&Then, we’ve now arranged the Research A-Z in the same way. We hope you find it useful as a way of finding information on popular research topics.

Here you can browse the alphabetical list of research topics, including guides, as well as related indexes and stories.

Online Indexes - updates

Intestate estate index almost complete!

The Index to Intestate Estate Case Papers 1821-1913 is almost complete with the addition of papers from 1913. There are over 22000 entries in the index.

The case papers relate to those persons who died intestate and comprise the following: amounts of money owed by the deceased; amounts of money paid from the estate to the individual creditors; petitions from the Curator of Intestate Estates to the Supreme Court relating to the administration of the deceased's estate; orders to collect; affidavits of death; circulars from shareholders (if applicable); newspaper cuttings and in some cases personal correspondence.

Watch this space!

Nurses index updated

Another volume of the Index to Registers of Nurses, 1926-54 has been indexed and added to the online index. This volume [6/4431] is the Register of midwives, 1931-50. The register shows name, hospital trained at, certificate number, date of registration or renewal, records number, and remarks.

The registers are available for viewing on microfilm in the Western Sydney Reading Room.

Image: Cronulla Beach, NSW [no date]. DIGITAL ID: 12932_a012_a012X2441000052

Flickr update

Check out the selection of new images we've added to our Flickr page. They include:
Featured upcoming talk:

Colonial Secretary -
The family historian's friend


The Colonial Secretary was one of the main NSW government officials in the 19th century. The office was the channel of communications between the Governor, other government officers and private settlers on a wide range of matters including requests for land, petitions to mitigate convicts’ sentences, naturalisation and everything in between. In this session you will learn how to search the Colonial Secretary’s correspondence and hopefully find written gems relating to your family.


Thursday 20 April 2017

10.30am to 12:30pm
Society of Australian Genealogists
Richmond Villa
120 Kent Street, Sydney

Book you place at:
Society of Australian Genealogists

See more upcoming talks

Windows into Wartime:
Regional Tour, Newcastle

Our new exhibition, Windows into Wartime, is also touring to regional centres. The next host is Newcastle, followed by Wagga Wagga, Armidale and Wollongong.

See dates for other regional locations.

3 April 2017
12 May 2017

Auchmuty Library, University of Newcastle

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