National Archives of Australia

Issue 6 April 2012

In brief: Issue 6

Shake Your Family Tree opens for Archives for a ‘byte’

An information stall at Shake Your Family Tree. Photographer: Gilbert Herrada

Approximately 1500 people attended one of the Archives’ offices around the country to ‘byte’ into their family history at the Shake Your Family Tree open day on Saturday 31 March 2012. Experts from the Archives, as well as a range of other cultural and family history organisations, provided tips on finding families in the digital age. 

At the National Office in Canberra, a special panel event included Canberra Times journalist Sally Pryor, researcher with the SBS television program Who Do You Think You Are? Linda Emery, and Brad Argent from This well-attended panel discussion shared family history research tips. In addition, a panel of conservators presented the best way to preserve documents and share stories.  

Antarctica comes to Canberra

Minister Crean explores the interactive panorama at the Traversing Antarctica exhibition. Photographer: Samantha Birch

On Thursday 23 March 2012, the Hon Simon Crean MP officially launched the Traversing Antarctica: the Australian experience exhibition at the Archives’ National Office in Canberra. The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the 1911–14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Douglas Mawson. Traversing Antarctica is a collaboration between the Archives, the Australian Antarctic Division and the Western Australian Museum. 

The exhibition is on display until September, at which time it will visit 10 museums and galleries around Australia until 2015. The Archives received funding to tour Traversing Antarctica as part of the Visions of Australia touring program. 

Archives enlightens concert-goers

Alice Giles and her harp at the Enlighten concert. Photographer: Samantha Birch

The Archives recently held a series of evening concerts by acclaimed harpist Alice Giles as part of Canberra’s Enlighten festival in March 2012. The concerts featured audiovisual material gathered by Alice, the granddaughter of Antarctic expeditioner Cecil Madigan, on her 2011 trip as an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow to Davis and Mawson stations. 

Concert-goers were also able to experience the stark beauty of Antarctica through historic film footage from the archival vaults. This visual imagery was accompanied by an eerie soundscape by experimental sound artist Philip Samartzis, who recorded icebergs, glaciers, sea ice and frozen lakes at Davis Station during his Antarctic Arts Fellowship. 

Archives grants encourage scholarship and research

Archives Director-General David Fricker congratulates Ian Maclean Award winner Dr Narelle Morris. Photographer: Gilbert Herrada

The Archives has announced the winners of its 2011 grants, awarded annually to promote archival research in Australia and to encourage scholarly use of the collection. The winner of the Frederick Watson Fellowship was Dr Michelle Arrow, a senior lecturer in history at Macquarie University, who will be undertaking the first detailed analysis of the Royal Commission on Human Relationships set up by the Whitlam government in 1974. 

The Ian Maclean Award went to Dr Narrelle Morris from the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law, Melbourne University Law School. Dr Morris will examine and analyse the 300 Australian war crimes trials of the Japanese after World War II. Hannah Forsyth was the recipient of the Margaret George Award. Her project will investigate federal government research funding initiatives as part of post-war reconstruction. 

Find out more about the Archives’ research grants

Digital Continuity Plan rolled out

Archives Director-General David Fricker speaks at the launch of the Digital Continuity Plan. Photographer: Chelsey Kosalka

On Tuesday 13 March 2012, the Archives launched the Digital Continuity Plan at the National Press Club in Canberra. The plan is a key element of the Digital Transition Policy, which requires all Australian Government agencies to move to a more comprehensive digital information and records management regime. The plan provides guidance for agencies to ensure their digital information and records remain accessible and usable for as long as required. It is intended to promote better information management practice and avoid unnecessary stockpiles of digital records into the future. 

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