National Archives of Australia

Issue 7 August 2012

In brief: Issue 7

FE Williams collection listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World

An FE Williams photograph from National Archives of Papua New Guinea. Album no. 10, 27

A collection of glass-plate photographs portraying Australia’s first contacts with Papuan culture has been listed on the UNESCO Asia/Pacific Memory of the World Register.

The FE Williams collection of photographs, taken by Australian government anthropologist Francis Edgar Williams, was chosen for its outstanding historical value as a record of Australia’s relationship with Papua in the 1920s and 1930s. It captures some of the first interactions between Papuan culture and the western world.

The collection of almost 2000 glass plate photographs and negatives was taken during Williams’ time as government anthropologist in the Australian Territory of Papua from 1922 until his death in 1943. Most are held by the National Archives of Australia and the National Archives of Papua New Guinea, with some in the South Australian Museum – all of whom are jointly awarded the place on the Register.


International Council on Archives comes to Brisbane

10th Archivist of the United States David Ferriero delivers the keynote speech on archives and social media.

More than 1000 leading archivists from around the world have joined forces in Brisbane to try and solve the many challenges of archives in the digital world.

Hosted by the National Archives of Australia, the International Council on Archives (ICA) Congress was held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, but the debate went worldwide through lively and far-reaching Twitter discussions.

Keynote speakers including David S Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States; Baltasar Garzón Real, former Judge Magistrate of Spain’s central criminal court; and Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General of the British Security Service, MI5, encouraged fascinating debate. The right to information versus privacy, and archives in a world of social media and technological advances were hot topics.

For more, see the ICA Congress 2012 website.


Lost Griffin document now in safekeeping

The rediscovered Griffin document. Photographer: Samantha Birch

A lost document from the Griffins’ winning entry in the 1911 Federal Capital Design Competition has been handed over to the National Archives, completing the Archives’ collection of original Griffin items.

The document explains and describes the 16 competition drawings submitted by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin as part of their ‘Entry 29’. Typed by the Griffins, it is in an unusual ‘tall’ booklet format favoured by Marion Mahony Griffin. It includes original hand-drawn diagrams of the underlying concept for Canberra, shedding further light on the Griffins’ vision for the city.

You can see the unearthed document on RecordSearch.


Debating our Constitution – Where to for Indigenous Australians?

Speakers at the Constitution Day Speakers Forum. Photographer: Chelsey Kosalka

Each year, on 9 July, the National Archives celebrates Constitution Day. This date marks the day Queen Victoria gave royal assent to the Australian Constitution in 1900, making it law.

This year, we joined forces with ABC Radio National to promote discussion of how to best recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution. Leading commentators Professor Mick Dodson, Father Frank Brennan, Alison Page and Professor Megan Davis gave their ideas at a forum in Sydney on 2 July.

You can read their views, and have your say, on the Constitution Day blog.


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