National Archives of Australia

Issue 1 January 2011

In brief: Issue 1

A new minister for the Archives

The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP

The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP

Following the federal election in August 2010, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP was appointed Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, and Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information, giving him portfolio responsibility for the Archives.

He replaced Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig as Minister responsible for the Archives. Minister O’Connor was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2001.

Mr O’Connor was re-elected at the 2004 and 2007 federal elections, representing the seat of Gorton, in Melbourne.

Archives Advisory Council changes

In December, Archives Advisory Council Chairman Paul Santamaria SC stepped down as chairman. Mr Santamaria first joined the Advisory Council in December 2000, and was appointed Chairman in 2003. During his time on the Advisory Council, Mr Santamaria played an instrumental role in the achievement of many significant initiatives, including amendments to the Archives Act 1983, the Memory of a Nation permanent exhibition, A Gift to the Nation (digitisation of more than 376,000 World War I service records), and the annual Constitution Day.

In September, the Senate elected Senator the Hon John Faulkner as a member of the Advisory Council. Senator Faulkner was previously a member of the Council for 12 years prior to becoming Minister responsible for the Archives following the 2007 federal election. Senator Kate Lundy resigned from the Advisory Council after becoming Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Citizenship, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. Senator Lundy made a significant contribution during her time on the Council, particularly as convenor of the Information and Communications Technology Innovation Subcommittee.

Sharing Histories: Kiap tribute event

Guests at the Sharing Histories event view personal collections of Kiap memorabilia, 20 November 2010.

Guests at the Sharing Histories event view personal collections of Kiap memorabilia, 20 November 2010. Photographer: Emily Hanlon

In November 2010, more than 300 people attended a tribute event for Kiaps – Australian patrol officers who served in Papua New Guinea up to 1975 – held at the Archives’ National Office in Canberra. The event highlighted and celebrated the role Kiaps played in Papua New Guinea.

Former Archives Advisory Council member and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senator Kate Lundy, presented a formal address and acknowledged the history and contribution of the Kiaps. Former Governor-General and Patron of the PNG Association of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC (Retd), and PNG High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Charles Lepani, also spoke at the event. Guests then participated in a panel discussion, followed by dances and songs from the PNG Cultural Group.

Read more about the Kiap experience in Papua New Guinea

The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize 2010

From September to November 2010, the Archives hosted the 31 prize-winning and highly commended entries in The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize 2010. The Waterhouse Prize is Australia’s richest natural history art competition, and is organised by the South Australian Museum. Waterhouse Prize entries collectively reflect and celebrate the beauty and fragility of our natural world. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Archives ran a series of art workshops for children aged four to ten. A selection of the children’s artwork was published on the Archives’ Flickr site.

2010 National History Challenge

The National History Challenge encourages students from Years 5 to 12 to explore major events that have impacted on Australia as a nation. In November category winners travelled to Canberra, where they visited national cultural institutions (including the Archives) before attending the presentation ceremony at Parliament House. Year 11 student Alice Tan from Pymble Ladies’ College, New South Wales, won the Using Primary Sources from the National Archives category. Alice’s essay developed a strong argument about the significance of Leader of the Opposition Gough Whitlam’s visit to China in 1971, and Australia’s subsequent relationship with China.

Read more about the Archives’ involvement in the National History Challenge

ACT Constitution Convention

Leigh Haversekara plays Jane Barton to give students an insight into Edmund Barton, Australia's first prime mininster, at the Constitution Convention, September 2010.

Leigh Haversekara plays Jane Barton to give students an insight into Edmund Barton, Australia's first prime mininster, at the Constitution Convention, September 2010. Photographer: Trudie Hargrave

In September the Archives presented the morning sessions of the two-day ACT Schools Constitution Convention for Year 11 students. Approximately 80 students and their teachers participated in a series of activities delivered by Archives staff.

Events included an introduction to the Constitution by Professor Fiona Wheeler, Associate Dean of Law at ANU College of Law, a discussion of the heritage value and significance of the founding documents held by the Archives, actors interpreting relevant archival records, and a ‘ConCwiz’.

The annual convention is held in conjunction with the ACT Legislative Assembly, Department of Education and Training, Australian Electoral Commission, Elections ACT, and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

Find out about Archives current and future events

2010 grant winners announced

The Archives has recently announced the recipients of its 2010 research grants. These grants aim to promote archival research in Australia and encourage scholarly use of the Archives’ collection. Dr Shannon Faulkhead and Kirsten Thorpe, recipients of the Ian Maclean Award, will develop an international network of projects relating to Indigenous people, archives, libraries, museums, galleries, keeping places and communities.

The Frederick Watson Fellowship was jointly awarded to Dr Peter Copeman and Dr Susan Lever. Dr Copeman will use the Archives’ records to assist in writing a biographical play about Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony. Dr Lever will research the creative role of Australian writers in ABC television drama up to 1981.

Dr Daniel Leach, recipient of the Margaret George Award, will use archival records to investigate Australian security attitudes towards ‘friendly aliens’ from occupied countries between 1939 and 1945. Dr Lyndon Megarrity, also a recipient of the Margaret George Award, will undertake research into Australian overseas student policy between 1972 and 1980.

Read more about the Archives’ research grants

Archives office co-locations

In 2010, the Archives announced that its offices in Darwin, Adelaide and Hobart would be co-located with other similar local organisations. This decision was made in order to make financial savings and to ensure the Archives was more sustainable in the long term. Co-located offices will also assist researchers by enabling access to state or territory records and Commonwealth records in the one place.

Preparations have been made for the first stage of the transfer of the Northern Territory Archives Service to the Archives’ Darwin office, which is expected to commence early in 2011. In Adelaide, plans are underway to transfer the Archives’ reference services to a shared reading room in the State Records of South Australia by March 2011. The Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office has also agreed to co-location and the two institutions are working together to achieve shared delivery of research services by early 2012.

Read more about the Archives’ state office co-location project

Social media: another kind of record

Following the Australian Government’s response to the Government 2.0 Taskforce Report, the Archives has published a guide for government agencies to ensure that records created using social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, even this website), are captured and managed appropriately. Social Media: another type of Commonwealth record is available on the Archives’ website.

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