National Archives of Australia

Issue 10 April 2013

In brief: Issue 10

Forced Adoptions project

Forced Adoptions logoFollowing the national apology to people affected by forced adoption practices delivered by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 21 March, the Archives will be creating an exhibition and website to record personal experiences and increase awareness and understanding of forced adoption.

The Archives plans to launch the website on the first anniversary of the apology in 2014, and to open the exhibition on the second anniversary in 2015. The exhibition will tour nationally.

The Archives would like to hear from people affected by the practices and policies of forced adoption in Australia. Visit the website to find out more or to share your experience.

Shake Your Family Tree

More than 1200 people attended Shake Your Family Tree events at Archives offices across Australia on Tuesday 16 April, and many more joined in online with live webcasts happening throughout the day. This year’s theme was ‘journeys and arrivals’, and a range of experts from the Archives and other cultural and genealogical organisations provided advice on finding records about ancestors who migrated to Australia.

Visitors to the ‘pop-up’ Archives stall in Adelaide. Photographer: Jenny Scott

Highlights in Canberra included a panel discussion about the experiences of post-World War II migrants featuring soccer presenter Les Murray, a practical introduction to the Archives’ Destination: Australia website, and advice from conservator Ian Batterham on protecting precious family records threatened by fire, flood or other disasters.

In Adelaide, ‘pop-up’ stalls in Leigh Street attracted plenty of interest, while in Melbourne AFL player Michael Firrito from the North Melbourne Football Club talked about his family history. In other states, visitors took in behind-the-scenes tours and received plenty of expert advice.

If you couldn’t make it on the day, some sessions are available as webcasts on the Archives’ website, presented by

Making Footprints

Studio portrait of the Pepper family, circa 1912. Courtesy of the Watkins family

To celebrate National Reconciliation Week, the Archives in Canberra will be hosting Footprints: the journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper, produced by the Public Record Office Victoria. This exhibition traces the lives of a Victorian Aboriginal family in the first half of the twentieth century. It is a remarkable story about the strength of family in the face of adversity. It is on display from 27 May to 3 June.

The Peppers’ moving story is also told in a book co-published by Public Record Office Victoria and the National Archives. Footprints: the journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper is now available as an e-book.

Aliens, spies and accessing archives online

Security Service dossier. NAA: D1915, SA15480

A seminar at the Archives in Adelaide will explore the intriguing world of 20th-century espionage through investigation case files held by the Archives. It will also cover South Australia’s own history of internment, national security and fraud.

The Aliens, spies and conmen seminar is on Thursday 30 May. It is free but bookings are essential. Contact (08) 8204 8787 or

Learn how to find and use National Archives records online and go on a behind the scenes tour at the Archives in Perth. Accessing Archives online is on Thursday 30 May. Bookings are essential for this free seminar: contact (08) 9470 7500 or

To get the latest news on upcoming events and seminars, visit the Archives’ website.

E-learning module assisting with the digital transition

The Archives has launched a new e-learning training module to help Australian Government agencies meet the challenges of digital information management.

Introduction to digital records is presented by avatar or animated character Sam. The interactive module will help government agency employees understand what digital records are and their most important characteristics, and the concepts of digital continuity and digital transition. Key legislation and standards relating to digital records are also covered. The module includes activities and a quiz.

It is available on the Archives’ website in Flash, accessible HTML and as a PDF.

Exhibitions news

Violinist at the Methodist Ladies’ College in Burwood, Sydney, 1971. Photographer: Max Dupain. NAA: B4498, 28E7

Design 29: creating a capital, an exhibition featuring the original and rarely displayed designs for Canberra by the 1911 Federal Capital City Design Competition finalists, has been attracting thousands of visitors in Canberra’s centennial year. It is on show at the Archives in Canberra until 8 September.

The Archives’ touring exhibitions have been on the move, with Shell-shocked: Australia after Armistice opening at the Museum of Tropical Queensland on 4 May, and Traversing Antarctica: the Australian experience showing at the Western Australian Museum – Kalgoorlie–Boulder until 8 June. Max Dupain on Assignment is on display at the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre, WA until 12 May, and then at Liverpool City Library, NSW, from 28 May.

Find out more about these and other travelling exhibitions on the Archives’ website.

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