Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Holiday break

The RHSV will be closed for a short holiday break from midday Wednesday 21 December, and it will re-open on Monday 9 January at 9 am.

We wish everyone the compliments of the season -  we'll see you back next year!

Friday, 11 November 2011

RHSV Address Book

The Address Book is a showcase of the treasures of our collections.  Beautifully illustrated the images in the book have been selected for their ability to tell the history of Victoria and the RHSV.  With over 30 illustrations – accompanied by extensive captions – the Address Book contains photographs from our map, manuscript, image and rare book collections.

The wrap-around cover of the Address Book shows a detail from an illustration by Albert Charles Cooke of Melbourne in 1882.

The outcome is a jewel – a beautiful 60 page A5 book with plenty of space to write names, addresses, email addresses or other notes. The alphabet is tabbed down the right hand side and it is spiral bound meaning it falls open easily. The Address Book is a beautiful gift. You can order the book directly from the RHSV office or we could post the book as a gift to friend for you. The book is $30.00 plus p&p.

Orders can be made over the phone 9326 9288 or by mailing your cheque to 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Our new website now live!

Our new website has gone live.  Content is still being up-loaded, so please be patient.  In the meantime, the latest History News  is available under the Publications drop-down menu to the right of our logo. 

Monday, 7 November 2011


Victorians are invited to stop and consider what the future holds for our history books, as the Royal Historical Society of Victoria presents their November talk topic: “New ways of telling history – an appraisal”.

To be held on Tuesday 8 November at 5.15pm, historian Alex McDermott will draw on a decade’s experience writing, researching and teaching history for various mediums and offer his appraisal of the future of history.

“In 2003 English historian Simon Schama suggested that ‘the future of history, the survival of history is going to depend at least as much, if not more on the new media and television as on the printed page’,” noted McDermott.

“I’d like to ask is this true and, if it is, should it alarm or excite us?

“I want to look at what connects and what distinguishes the various forms of history-telling in Australia in the early 21st century.

“I’ll also discuss the possibilities that still remain to be exploited.”

Alex McDermott has most recently written Australian History for Dummies and is an expert on Kelly studies. Between 2007 -2009 he was chief historical consultant and history researcher for Screen Australia’s Making History Initiative, which led to the ABC broadcast of ten historical documentaries including Rogue Nation, Constructing Australia, Monash – the Forgotten Anzac  and Menzies and Churchill at War.

The event will be held at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in the former Australian Army Medical Corps Drill Hall - an impressive Art Deco space, listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for its state-wide architectural and historical significance.

Formed in 1909, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) is committed to collecting, researching and sharing an understanding of the history of Victoria. Housing the most extensive single information resource on the history of Melbourne and Victoria, collections are open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm.

The RHSV is a community organisation that relies on membership subscriptions. Join today and help promote and preserve the history of Victoria – www.historyvictoria.org.au

Date:                            Tuesday 8 November
Time:                           5.15pm tea/coffee; 5.45pm – 6.45pm lecture
Address:                      Royal Historical Society of Victoria
239 A’Beckett Street
Cost:                            $5.50 non members; free for members
Bookings:                    t: (03) 9326 9288   e: office@historyvictoria.org.au

Thursday, 3 November 2011

New in our Bookstore

Books entered into the Victorian Community History Awards are beginning to make their way onto RHSV 'for sale' bookshelves.

Amongst these are The People of Budj Bim: Engineers of aquaculture, builders of stone house settlements and warriors defending country by the Gunditjmara people with Gib Wettenhall.    This book won the Overall Prize in the Awards.  It is available for $20 plus p+p.

Welcome to Little Europe:  Displaced Persons and the North Camp by Josef Sestokas received a Commendation from the judges in the Best Print Publication (Self or Community) category.  It is available at $45 per copy, plus p+p.

A Whole New World: 100 years of  education at University High School received the judges Commendation in the Best Print Publication (Commercial).  It is available for $60 plus p + p.

The Wealth Beneath Their Feet: a family on the  Castlemaine goldfields, by Marjorie Theobold received a Commendation by the judges in the Best Print (Commercial) category. It is available for $39.95 plus p+p.

To order a book and check the cost of postage, please email the RHSV office on office@historyvictoria.org.au or ring Gerardine on  03 9326 9288.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Feeding the Bookworm at Castlemaine

 Over the weekend the RHSV travelled up to Castlemaine for the History Victoria Support Group seminar, "Feeding the Bookworm", hosted by the Castlemaine Historical Society Inc. 

 The weather was superb, and between presentations we enjoyed a sumptuous barbeque lunch on the back lawn of the Former Castlemaine Courthouse, the home of the CHSI.

 Visitors were taken on a tour of the excellent archive storage facility.

 Two of our guest speakers  were on the left, Larry O'Toole (Graffiti Publications)  and Charles Fahey (La Trobe University, Bendigo) on the right. 

Thank you to Castlemaine Historical Society for a really enjoyable day.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Victorian Community History Awards 2011

The People of Budj Bim Gunditjmara people with Gib Wettenhall em PRESS Publishing, Heywood, 2010

The Victorian Bush: its ‘original and natural’ condition by Ron Hateley Polybractea Press, Melbourne, 2010

1835: the Founding of Melbourne & the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce
‘A Whole New World’: 100 Years of Education at University High School by Carolyn Rasmussen
‘The Wealth Beneath Their Feet’: a Family on the Castlemaine Goldfields by Marjorie Theobald
Summer Walk: Sale Botanic Gardens & Lake Guthridge by Ann and Peter Synan

The Catalysts: Change and Continuity 1910-2010 by Anne Longmire Published by the Author and The Catalysts, Melbourne, 2011

Welcome to Little Europe: Displaced Persons and the North Camp by Josef Sestokas
Water: the Vital Element. 150 Years of Shepparton’s Growth by Martin Summons Marvellous Melbourne and Me: Living in Melbourne in the 20th Century by Bruce McBrien
They Fished in Wooden Boats: a History of Port Franklin District and the Fishing Families by Neil Everitt

Our Boys at the Front, The Mornington Peninsula at War 1914-18 from the pages of the Peninsula Post, Book & DVD by Michael Collins and others, Mornington & District Historical Society, 2011

Burke and Wills Memorial Fountain: Linking Local History to a National Story, Sovereign Hill Museums Association
The Goldfields Stories The Girl from Carisbrook. - Website, Community Museums Program
Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla by Bruce Pennay
The Thomas Martin Letter: Memories of Strangways and Newstead by Liz Coady

I Succeeded Once’: The Aboriginal Protectorate on the Mornington Peninsula, 1839-1840 by Marie Hansen Fels ANU E-Press and Aboriginal History with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, Canberra, 2011

Victorian Naval Forces Muster, Friends of the Cerberus
Hope and Hardship: an Account of Soldier and Closer Settlement in the Katandra District 1919 to 1933, Katandra and District History Group
The Murder Victims: Fate’s Wicked Child, Friends of Cheltenham and Regional Cemeteries

BEST WALK/TOUR Category Winner
Henry Handel Richardson in Maldon by Peter Cuffley, Helen McBurney, Geoff Palmer & Janey Runci Published by the Authors, Maldon, 2010

Commendations Spa Country: Victoria’s Mineral Springs, Edward and Maura Wishart and others
Discover the Other Side of the Tracks in Flemington, Flemington Association
3 Self-Guided Tour Pamphlets: Best of the Best, Famous Artists, Untimely Ends, Friends of Boroondara Cemetery

Mameloshn: How Yiddish Made a Home in Melbourne. The Jewish Museum of Australia

Commendations ‘Discovering Melbourne’s Chinatown: Our History and Heritage’, Museum of Chinese Australian History
RDNS Reflections. Book and Website, Royal District Nursing Service
Beeac Heritage Windmill Park, Beeac Heritage Windmill Park Committee

Early Navigators of Bass Strait, 1770-1803, by Gregory Eccleston and others Map produced by the Office of Surveyor-General Victoria, 2010

Special Commendation
John Abraham and His Everlasting Windmills by Hugh Sloane.

Victorian Community History Awards 2011

The Victorian Community History Awards were presented yesterday.  Steve Grimwade, Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival, addresses the gathering at Queen's Hall, Parliament House.

The overall winner was The People of Budj Bim by the Gunditjmara people with Gib Wettenhall.

While we are awaiting the official photos, here are some of some happy recipients of a Commendation:

Liz Coady, who is a member of the Newstead Historical Society, was pleased with  a Commendation in the category of "Best Collaborative/Community Work" for The Thomas Martin Letter:  memories of Strangways and Newstead.

Liz is also a volunteer at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Another couple of happy folk are Garry & Jan Wallden from the Katandra and District History Group, which entered the book Hope and Hardship:  an Account of Soldier and Closer Settlement in the Katandra District 1919 to 1933.  This book received a Commendation in the category of "Best Community Research, Register, Records".

Monday, 17 October 2011


The Royal Historical Society of Victoria Inc
presents an

Saturday 26 November 12.45 for 1 pm to 4.30 pm
239 a'Beckett Street, Melbourne

Presented by Lenore Frost Author of Dating Family
Photos (now out of print)

The workshop will cover the techniques for dating old photos.  Attendees are invited to bring their photos for individual dating. Limit 2 per person (no albums). Originals are best. If they are copies, try to include the whole mount board, not just the image.

Presented by Jenny Coates

Attendees will receive a voucher entitling  them to purchase scans of postcards from the RHSV collection for only $10 each. The voucher does not have to be redeemed on the day and is not transferable.

After the sessions, our experts will be available for consultation to date individual photos (remember, only 2 per person), and guidance through our postcard collection. Owing to time constraints on the day, the voucher for postcard scans may be redeemed at a later date.

Flagstaff Station is closed on weekends, but trams will be running, and we are not far from Melbourne Central Station. All day car parking to 5 pm is available nearby for $4. Venue is not wheelchair or walker friendly. Tea and coffee served.

Please arrive at 12.45 to ensure a timely start.
$20 for RHSV members, $25 for non-members.
Bookings essential by 23 November 2011 on
office@historyvictoria.org.au or 9326 9288

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ambition and Unrealised Hope

When Sir John Franklin, polar hero and explorer, succeeded George Arthur as governor of Van Diemen’s Land in January 1837, there was an expectation among some of the colonists that the old, autocratic bureaucracy would be broken up and replaced by a more liberal regime. Franklin however was inexperienced in penal and colonial affairs, and naturally enough, he could not easily evade the advice of Arthur’s close officials, or the “faction” as they were known by their critics. A ‘change of men and measures’ however was not forthcoming, and Franklin placed almost unlimited confidence in his predecessor’s favourites to administer the penal establishment.  Craig Joel tells how a civil servant came to usurp the Governor’s authority in his desire to curry favour with British ministers, and in the process profoundly affected the political development of the colony. Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011.

 Available  from the RHSV for $44.00 plus P + P.

See our full list of publications for sale here.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


Associate Professor Don Garden
 Victorians are invited to don their hiking boots and unearth the history of bushwalking as the Royal Historical Society of Victoria presents their October talk topic, “Becoming Comfortable in Our Land”.

To be held on Tuesday 11 October at 5.45pm, environmental historian Associate Professor Don Garden will explore Victoria’s environmental history and the role that bushwalking has played in it.

“In the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century important changes occurred in the relationship between the Australian colonists and the Australian natural environment,” said Associate Professor Garden.

“For a variety of economic, technological, scientific and cultural reasons, the ‘bush’ came to be seen as less alien and threatening than it had been in the early decades of colonisation.

“For many people the bush increasingly became something to enjoy for recreation, exercise and study – a place for leisure and pleasure.

“One manifestation of this changing view was the number of people who took up bushwalking as a recreational hobby.

“Bushwalkers also played a significant role in the early stages of environmental protection campaigns, and notably in efforts to establish national parks.

“Our talk will explore just how bushwalking has evolved to become the popular cultural and social activity it has today.”

Associate Professor Don Garden is President of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies, a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University’s Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society, a Principal Fellow in the School of Historical Studies, and a Fellow and Councillor of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

The event will be held at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in the former Australian Army Medical Corps Drill Hall - an impressive Art Deco space, listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for its state-wide architectural and historical significance.

Formed in 1909, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) is committed to collecting, researching and sharing an understanding of the history of Victoria. Housing the most extensive single information resource on the history of Melbourne and Victoria, collections are open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm. 

Date:                            Tuesday 11 October
Time:                            5.15pm tea/coffee; 5.45pm – 6.45pm lecture.
Address:                      Royal Historical Society of Victoria
239 A’Beckett Street
Melbourne  (entry via William Street)
Cost:                            $5.50 non members; free for members
Bookings:                   t: (03) 9326 9288   
                                    e: office@historyvictoria.org.au

Monday, 12 September 2011

‘War’s Evil and Good’: The Great War’s Influences on the Careers and Daily Lives of Victoria’s Teacher-Soldiers

From: Education Department's Record of War Service
No-one emerges unchanged from any experience of war. The teacher-soldiers of Victoria’s Education Department were no different. Some who may have wished to return to the classroom could not do so due to profound physical and psychological injuries; some chose to depart teaching for new professions; some returned to schools and battled briefly or for decades with their injuries; and, some returned to blend quietly into anonymity. Yet, some managed to salvage something distinctly positive from their experiences and continued to teach, finding what their Director urged them to find: ‘some soul of goodness in things evil’. Some gave significant school-time and personal time to organisations such as the fledgling Victorian Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia, Australian Red Cross, Legacy, State Schools’ Relief Fund and other ‘social service’ organisations that benefitted thousands of Victorians in need of support, whether or not for war-related reasons. Whilst none would have chosen for their generation to experience the war, some indicated that the knowledge, skills or values they acquired as a consequence enabled them to be better teachers or community servants than otherwise would have been the case. Most teachers also helped shape and preserve Anzac Day and, in numerous cases, their beliefs in Anzac Day commemoration and pacifism were not mutually exclusive.

Dr Rosalie Triolo is History Education lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University and President as well as a Life Member of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria. She is active in HTAV, HTAA, Australian History Curriculum and historico-cultural education communities. Her research into History Education, the Great War and the history of Australian education informed her doctorate on Victoria’s Education Department and the Great War, 1914-18. The thesis was judged best in the Faculty of Education in 2008 and was awarded a Monash University Mollie Holman Medal in 2009. The thesis will be available as a book in 2012.

Speaker: Dr Rosalie Triolo (Monash University)
Time: 5.15 Tea/Coffee  5.45 Lecture
Cost: Members Free  $5.50 non members

At 239 A'Beckett St, Melbourne.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Giant Booksale reclassified to "Monster"

Some titles spotted on the tables today:
  • Is Heathcliffe a Murderer?
  • Can Jane Eyre be Happy?
  • Memoirs of an Old Bastard
  • Check Your Own IQ
  • The Darwin Awards IV:  Intelligent Design
  • Normal Men.  Desperate Women
Don't forget - next Sunday, at 10 am, 239 A'Beckett St, Melbourne, for a Monster second hand booksale. 

RHSV Giant Booksale Sunday 11 September

The RHSV is preparing for its popular annual second hand booksale, which will be held on Sunday 11 September at 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne.  The doors will open at 10 am for bargain hunters.  You will find novels old and new, prayers, plays, poetry, Australian history, English history, travel books, gardening, crime novels, sports, biographies of the famous and much, much more.

Come along and join other booklovers in this exciting annual event, our biggest fundraiser for the year.

Find us at 239 A'Beckett Street (near the corner of William Street), 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday 11 September.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Award of Merit for Wemyss Struss of Stratford HS

Today Dr Andrew Lemon, President of the RHSV, attended wonderful afternoon function, at which a RHSV Award of Merit was presented to Stratford Historical Society President, Mrs Wemyss Struss. Wemyss is shown above with Andrew, who is the latest recipient of a jar of marmalade from Wemyss. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

New in the RHSV Bookshop - UPDATED

Pioneer feminist Henrietta Augusta Dugdale holds an important place in Australian history.  Her fearless campaigning resulted in breakthroughs in womens' rights in Australia throughout the nineteenth century.  This biography of a thrice-married woman, who was born in St Pancras, London and died 91 years later at Point Lonsdale, Victoria, seeks to understand why and how she came to Australia, became a vegetarian, a secularist, initiated the first femal suffrage society in Australasia and, in her late middle age, published a futuristic allegory titled  A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.

This meticulously researched book offers an illuminating insight into the formation of the Australian women's movement.  The author, Susan Priestley, is a past president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Launched this week at the Athenaeum Library, the book is now available at the RHSV for $35 plus post and handling.

Update:  Now that the invoice has been located, it appears that the RRP is $30, plus p&h - even more of a bargain!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

RHSV and Melbourne Open House 2011

The Melbourne Open House organisation banner outside our front door.

Two cheery MOH Volunteers greeted the visitors in the foyer. 

RHSV Councillor Jane Carolan greeted visitors inside our door.

Visitors having a good look at the Everard Studley Miller exhibition.

Visitors at the trading table in the library.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Open House at the Medical Drill Hall 2011

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria is participating in this spectacular showcasing of Melbourne's best-loved buildings.   We will be open for public viewing on Saturday and Sunday, 30-31 July, from 10 am to 4 pm.

This is a wonderful opportunity to have a look at our 1938 art deco building which retains its fine art deco detailing.  The evocative, timber-panelled Officers' Mess will be open for viewing on the first floor. 

Our new exhibition on Everard Studley Miller will add a great deal of interest to a visit to the Drill Hall.  The exhibition concentrates on E Studley Miller's historical and cultural interests, revealing his approach to photography as a tool of historiography and providing some details of his family background and lifestyle.   While drawing mainly on resources held by the RHSV the exhibition is also supported by the National Galley of Victoria, the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of Archaeology.

Because of the stairs and the lack of a lift, it is not a suitable building for people of limited mobility, though if you can manage two or three stairs, you will be able to view the ground floor and exhibition.

If you want to view a list of all the buildings involved in Melbourne Open House, click here.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Everard Studley Miller: member, historian, benefactor

House occupied between 1806-1814 by
Arthur Phillip at Bath, Somerset,
Eng., 1924 / E. Studley Miller / RHSV
Collection: AL085-0073

The exhibition concentrates on E Studley Miller's historical and cultural interests, revealing his approach to photography as a tool of historiography and providing some details of his family background and lifestyle.

The above photograph from the RHSV collection is an example of E Studley Miller's individual use of photography to record historical buildings. This is one of a series of photographs he commissioned of places associated with the founders of Australia - in this case Governor Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales. Phillip returned to England in 1792, and retired from the naval service in 1805. He lived quietly in this Bath house with his wife Isabelle until his death in 1814.

Miller was a benefactor of the National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Historical Society of Victora, as well as other organisations.

The exhibition can be viewed at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne, Mondays to Fridays between 10 am and 4 pm. Dates: 13 July to 2 September.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New in the bookshop

Australian cinema has effectively popularised the Anzac legend. Just how this has been so is explored in this lucid, clear-eyed study. Here's a taste: "While European art developed a dominant myth of the horror and meaninglessness of the war," and some Australian writers interrogated the Anzac myth, "Australia's many war films are almost entirely devoid of irony."

Published by Australian Scholarly Publishing. Available for $34.95 plus postage.

See our full list of publications for sale here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Launch of the Victorian Community History Awards 2011

Pictured are Justine Heazlewood, Director of Public Record Office Victoria, and Dr Andrew Lemon, President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria at the official launch of the Victorian Community History Awards for 2011 at the RHSV headquarters today.

Formerly administered by Information Victoria, the 2011 VCHA is a new partnership for PROV and RHSV. Prizes have been increased, in particular that for the Best Community Research, Registers, and Records, which is now $4,000. This complements PROV's commitment to community history through the Community History Grants.

Entry forms can be picked up from the RHSV, at 239 A'Beckett St, Melbourne, or at the Public Record Office, North Melbourne, or downloaded from the RHSV website. Further brochures will be distributed to RHSV members and Affiliated Societies with the July newsletter.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Victorian Community History Awards 2011

The Victorian Community History Awards 2001 will be delivered as a partnership between the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria.

Dr Andrew Lemon, President of the RHSV, said "We are delighted to join with the Public Record Office Victoria in delivering these prestigious awards as both organizations share a commitment to an understanding of the past based on real knowledge and properly safeguarded evidence of our history. Community history is important because this is where the love of history, the understanding of the power of history, begins".

The Victorian Community History Awards recognize excellence in historical method. The various categories acknowledge that history can be told in many and varied formats with the aim of reaching and enriching all Victorians.

Entrants' work must be completed between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011. An official entry form must accompany each entry. The Entry form can be downloaded here.

The categories and prizes are listed on our webpage, link above.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

RHSV Annual Report

The 101st Annual Report of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria can be downloaded from the RHSV webpage.

A direct link to the pdf can be found here.

New in the bookshop

Told through the lives of six families, from the colourful goldfields’ era to the Second World War, The Wealth Beneath Their Feet is a social history of the central goldfields of Victoria. These stories of immigrant families with limited or no financial resources are, at times, heart-rending, and we suffer along with them in their trials and tribulations; from women who suffered the perils of childbearing, raising children in the primitive conditions of the goldfields, to men seduced by the tales of riches beneath their feet, despite the ever-present dangers of mining and unrelenting work. As the mining declined, the town grew; with the construction of roads and railways, and the provision of a reliable water supply to the parched inland, providing employment for those who were still young and strong. Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011.

Available from the RHSV bookshop for $39.95 plus post and handling, or drop in before the La Trobe lecture on Tuesday. See our full list of publications here.