Sunday, 26 October 2014

The last photos of the Victorian Community History Awards 2014

Robert Kenny, Winner of the History Publication Award for Gardens of Fire: An investigative memoir.

Jennifer Burrell with a Commendation in  the Multimedia History Award for the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society website.

Sonia Cameron left and Jackie Tidey right,  from the Middle Park History Group Commended in the Collaborative Community History category for Middle Park: From Swamp to Suburb.

Daniel Ducrou and Emily Fitzgerald from Yarra City Council Commended in the Small Publication category for Welcome To Wurundjeri Country: The Wurundjeri history of Yarra.

Debbie Squires with the Commendation in the Small Publication category awarded for Black Sheep, a  journal jointly published by the East Gippsland Genealogical Society and the East Gippsland Historical Society in Bairnsdale.

Harry Rekas and Danie Sprague from Large Worldwide with a Commendation in the Small Publication Award for the quarterly journal The Dura.

David and Rosemary Langmore with a Commendation in the History Publication category for Planning Power: the uses and abuses of power in the planning of the Latrobe Valley.

Lorraine Smith representing Lilydale & District Historical Society, Winner of the Multimedia History Award for the website Gun Alley

Melinda Mockridge with a Commendation in the Historical Interpretation category for Art Behind the Wire.
For other photos see the Public Records Office Flickr photostream:

Professor Katie Holmes explores the Mallee

Picturing the Victorian Mallee, 1840-1945
Picturing the Victorian Mallee, 1840-1945
Picturing the Victorian Mallee, 1840-1945
Picturing the Victorian Mallee, 1840-1945
RHSV Past President Andrew Lemon with Professor Katie Holmes.

When Europeans first encountered the land we now know as the Mallee, they saw it as desolate, featureless, and hostile to human habitation. Fifty years later they were exultant about the ‘miracle of the Mallee’ as they celebrated its transformation into a vast field of golden grain. The ‘Howling Wilderness’ had become the ‘Promised Land’. But as the Federation Drought took hold, dreams of golden fields gave way to realities of dust, drought and despair. In the inter-war years, as Soldier Settlement Schemes floundered, the struggle for survival became, in the words of the Argus, ‘the story of a warfare, no less exacting, no less fierce, not a whit less decisive, than the war from which most of the settlers have come’.

History Week continued last Tuesday Professor Katie Holmes took the attentive audience through the different ways in which the Victorian  Mallee has been depicted  and imagined – in maps, images and words – and the impact these imaginings had on the settlement history of this region. Several people in attendance had personal stories to tell about the Mallee.

Friday, 24 October 2014

More Winners and Commendations, 2014

Hayley Fleming and Ian D Clark with Ian's THREE Commendations in three different categories - Collaborative Community History; Local History Project; and the History Publication Award.

Dorothea Rowse with a Multimedia Award for The St Paul's Cathedral App.

Sandra Pullman  on the left with the Historical Interpretation Award for The Garden at La Trobe's Cottage; RHSV President Don Garden, and Victorian Community History Awards Winner Anne Vale.

Clare Wright with a Commendation in the category History Publication Award for her book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.


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.