Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Victorian Community History Awards - more Winners and Commendations

The official photos of the Victorian Community History Awards 2014 are now available on the Public Record Office Victoria Flickr account:  In the meantime, here are more of the unofficial photos:

Marguerita Stephens with Fay Stewart-Muir of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, with the winning Local History Project Award for The Journal of William Thomas, Assistant Protector of the Aborigines of Port Phillip & Guardian of the Aborigines of Victoria 1839-1867, 4 volumes.

Alex Bragiola and Mary Cahill of the Essendon Historical Society with a Commendation in the Collaborative Community History Project category for The Grand Mansions of Essendon and District, 1880-1892

 Brett Weinberg who received a Commendation in the Local History Project Award category for Ballarat Benevolent Asylum Registers of Inmates 1860-1880. See

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Some photos from the Victorian Community History Awards 2014

The Winners gather to have a group photograph taken.  Guest speaker Gideon Haigh is on the left, and RHSV President Don Garden next to him.  Margaret Bowman, the winner of the Local History Small Publication Award is next to Don Garden.

From left to right, guest speaker Gideon Haigh, RHSV President Don Garden, Gerry Robinson who accepted the prize for Collaborative Community History Award, Anne Vale who took the Victorian Community History Award, and Sandra Pullman on behalf of the Friends of La Trobe's Cottage which received the Historical Interpretation Award. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Exceptional book takes the prize for 2014

Anne Vale, winner of the Victorian Community History Award 2014
The winning entry.
The judges' citation reads:

Many great gardeners have also been great writers.  In this beautifully presented book which focuses heavily on Victoria, the author concisely explores the major influences on Australian gardening and designs.  Particularly from significant individuals like Ferdinand von Mueller to the present, and the enormous literature to which many of them contributed.

It is an accessible overview of garden history that reinforces the importance of gardens and gardening in Australian life and culture.  Its focus on the 'exceptional' demonstrates how pivotal women were in the making of Australian gardens and garden writing well before the 21st century, partly due to their early participation in the courses at Burnley.  A very well-written and researched book with splendid photos and a very informative index.  It has wide community appeal.

The RHSV congratulates the winners, the commended, and all those who entered their histories which greatly contribute to the rich and diverse stories about our state.  Your presence at the awards ceremony today contributed to the making of a very special occasion.

Friday, 17 October 2014

History Week on Flickr

A recent and important discovery that will be featured in History Week at Maffra - early invoices from a number of tradesmen.
History Week begins next Sunday, 19 October 2014.   One of the first events will be the launch of a book about Johnson Street, Maffra, at the Macalister Hotel (lunch at own expense), followed by a street walk along Johnson Street to see the "trades block".  See further details on the History Week calendar
If you attend any History Week event, please have a go at loading the photos onto the History Week 2014 Flickr, or email them to with the subject heading "History Week Photos".
Previous History Week photos can be seen at:

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Pettifoggers revealed

Andrew Lemon on the left and Simon Smith on the right with the new book.
.."and it is because of a set of meddling pettifoggers have been permitted unmolested to stir up ingredients with their vile "chop sticks" that the working thereof have become unbearable."

Pettifoggers have always had bad press, but now they have Simon Smith peering at a sample of early legal practitioners and poking them with their own "chop sticks" to see what would happen.  In his new book, Barristers Solicitors Pettifoggers, Simon Smith introduces us to some very appealing characters, such as the hapless Sidney Stephen, who was struck off  in Van Diemen's Land and was then refused admittance to the Bar in Port Phillip - he was cleared by the Privy Council and  went on to become acting Chief Justice of NZ;  and James Erskine-Murray whose splendid double-barrelled name was no hindrance when he decided to give up lawyering and take up piracy. Irascible judges, sugar plantation slave-owners, and ladies of dubious reputation all make an appearance on these pages.

Young friends of the author provided a little frivolity to the occasion with their paper wigs.
After being welcomed by current RHSV President Associate Professor Don Garden, the book was launched on Tuesday evening by RHSV Past President, Dr Andrew Lemon before an appreciative crowd.

The book is available at the RHSV for $39.95 plus postage.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Generous review of Simon Sleight's book and the RHSV

A recent review by Dr Andrew May of Young People and the Shaping of Public Space in Melbourne, 1870-1914, by Simon Sleight, gives generous recognition of the role played by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in providing resources for researchers, both in our collections and in our contribution in holding conferences and publishing research. 

Sleight's book was launched at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria headquarters in A'Beckett Street, in 2013.

There was a certain appropriateness in the choice of venue for the launch of Sleight’s Young People and the Shaping of Public Space in Melbourne – not only does the Royal Historical Society of Victoria hold a treasured collection of historical materials dating from the infant origins of the city (a collection which Sleight himself has usefully mined in his research for the book), but also because a line might be drawn back from this recent contribution on the youthscapes of colonial Melbourne to the biennial conference of the RHSV in 1979, the International Year of the Child. Collected papers from that event were published in 1981 as The Colonial Child, with contributions from historians including Ken Inglis, Chris McConville and June Factor.

See the full book review here.

We can't help you with copies of Simon Sleight's book, but we do have a few remaining copies of The Colonial Child, referred to by Dr May. Only $5 plus postage! Just call in to our headquarters, 239 A'Beckett St, Melbourne, email, or phone 9326 9288.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Willis Casebooks on the radio! UPDATED!

Listen to Jon Faine, ABC Radio 774, on the Conversation Hour on Friday 19 September, 11 am, to hear Professor Richard Broome Janine Rizzetti (La Trobe University) talk about the Willis Casebooks Online Dr Simon Smith about his new book Barristers, Solicitors, Pettifoggers.

UPDATE:  You can listen to the Conversation Hour with Richard, Janine and Simon on