NSW State Archives eNewsletter - ISSUE 108 September 2021

Reading Room re-opening

As part of the overall relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions, we are intending to re-open our Reading Room at the Western Sydney Records Centre effective from Tuesday 19 October

While we are fine tuning details now, arrangements for visiting our site will largely be the same as when we opened up after the last lockdown including an appointment system, wearing of masks etc. The key difference will be that all visitors will need to be fully vaccinated (or have a medical exemption) and will need to show proof of compliance with this requirement. 

We will provide further details on our website next week and will be taking bookings for Reading Room visits from Monday 11 October.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back!

How to Move a Zoo exhibition

More than a hundred years ago, Sydney’s residents were woken by a cacophony of weird and wonderful noises. The zoo animals were on the move.

Over the course of six months in 1916, hundreds of Sydney’s favourite animals left behind their dismal and outdated cages at the old Moore Park Zoo and were shepherded through the city streets before being ferried across the harbour to their new, purpose-built home – Taronga Zoological Park.

How to Move a Zoo invites visitors of all ages to reimagine this unique Sydney story and meet the animals that delighted generations. Enter a space of immersive projections that re-create the sights and sounds of the animals’ journey through the streets of Sydney. Choose your animal and see it walk, run, hop or fly across the cityscape to its new home at Taronga. Discover how the planning of Taronga incorporated the latest zookeeping practices to give the animals spacious, bar-less enclosures set into the natural landscape.  

Specially commissioned illustrations, coupled with rarely seen historical photographs from the NSW State Archives Collection, re-create this incredible story in a playful, thought-provoking interactive exhibition opening 20 November 2021 at Museum of Sydney.


94,000 new image descriptions

We continue to add new items and series to our online catalogue, Collection Search.

A large recent addition is over 94,000 item listings in the series NRS 21689 Images [Government Printing Office], 1870-1988. These item titles contain a wealth of names, locations and subjects to assist in your research into NSW Government activities.

Search this series yourself!


Upcoming mini-webinar

Teachers' rolls and Teacher career cards are the point of entry for research about teachers. They tell us where and when teachers were employed, and their classification.

This webinar shows you how to find these records and where they can lead your research.

Teachers' rolls and Teacher career cards mini-webinar
Friday 29 October 2021


New colouring-in image

Bring out your colouring pencils!

Enjoy this relaxing, screen-free activity. We have transformed a photo from the Collection into a downloadable / printable page. It fits neatly on landscape A4-sized paper.

Get colouring one of our historical images today.

New jigsaw puzzle

Test your skill with our latest jigsaw puzzle!

This jigsaw features a poster which is a guide for plane spotters is from the correspondence files of the Ministry for Transport [NRS-10623]. The role of a roof spotter was to detect and report fires rather than look out for aircraft. Incendiary or fire bombs were designed to start small multiple fires from the one bomb, often using delayed action, making them difficult to put out.

Don't forget our other jigsaws, while we ride out the lockdown together.

Two more live Q&A sessions

Before we re-open our Reading Room, we have two more live Q&A sessions for you to attend on key research topics:

Follow the links to join in on the day of the events, and don't forget you can submit your questions beforehand, or ask them in the chat feed live.

Chat with us online 9-5!

As reported in our last issue, during this lockdown we are trialling the use of a live chat feature on our website. This service is now active from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

The aim is for an Archivist to address quick questions about researching our collection or using the website in real time.

The chat bot is accessed via the Contact Us or Ask an Archivist pages by clicking on the maroon “Chat now” box at the top right of the page.

We look forward to chatting with you.


SMH famous probates article

Following on from the Channel 9 News segment on our fabulous Probate packets, the Sydney Morning Herald has had a look at the Probate packets of the rich and famous from our collection.

Check it out at the link below.


What is in a bankruptcy file?

Bankruptcy files contain lists of creditors that the bankrupt person owed money to and debtors that owed money to the bankrupt person.

Through these lists they show commercial connections in a town, between towns and with Sydney. The bankrupt person provides a statement about why they became bankrupt often providing a picture of what is happening in the town and beyond. The files of bankrupt people in the town collectively show what sorts of businesses where operating.

Check out our new overview of some stories revealed through the digitisation of select bankruptcy files, as part of our Archives in Your Town project.


Archives in Your Town

At the heart of every town are people and buildings. With the Archives in Your Town series of webinars and online samples of records, we brought to you (virtually) archives about the people and buildings of some major NSW towns.

Check out this recently-added Archives in Your Town webinar:


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Museums of History NSW
Western Sydney Records Centre
161 O'Connell Street
Kingswood, NSW 2747

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