The FAHS biannual Newsletter is full of stories from FAHS member societies around Australia that show how diverse and active is our history community.
Relevance and importance of local history
Issue 55 (June 2023) of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies’ Newsletter looks at the relevance and importance of local history, through stories from around the country from public art to our democratic history, from everyday views to using our history to inform urban redevelopment planning. There’s also a review of the benchmarks for local history publications and other guides to compiling and preserving local stories.
Memory, memorialisation, monuments, and more
December 2022 This issue looks at changes in memorialisation, attitudes and responses to our past and how, often, there is no change and issues and events play out on repeat. The controversy about statues and monuments is examined in several pieces, discussing what, if any, actions should be taken. The threat of inappropriate development, in this occasion at the culturally significant Parramatta Female Factory (1818) site at North Parramatta, and other issues facing local history and heritage groups comes under the spotlight again. And the truth about just how much history can be found in Western Australia is explored. And as we approach the 71st anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin, there is reflection on the impact that event had on families around the country and how it is still being remembered despite the passing of the last ‘Darwin Defender’.
Communicating History and Heritage
June 2022 This issue celebrates the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Overland Telegraph line between Adelaide and Darwin on 22 August 1872. Four articles consider this significant engineering feat. A review of Constructing Australia: A Wire Through the Heart; The Overland Telegraph Line; How the telegraph revolutionized communication in Australia and inadvertently began the feminisation of the office and Textbooks that Traverse the Nation: New Research and Resources for Australia’s Historical Societies.
Other aspects of history and heritage are also included: A maritime history discovery in an historic homestead at Braidwood, NSW; Archaeology as Heritage; Digitising Bonegilla Cards and the vulnerability of local and community museums and historical collection to the impact of changing weather patterns.
Why history matters
December 2021 The articles in this inspiring edition of the Newsletter on Why History Matters demonstrate the immense significance of History in Australian culture, democracy and community wellbeing.
It covers environment, indigenous, family, local and public histories, teaching and research at all levels, the law and emotion in Heritage as well as why it matters to advocate for history and heritage.
It is hoped this will assist and encourage local organisations and their members to engage in advocacy for History in their various spheres of influence, as well as to promote their ongoing and invaluable work collecting, preserving and disseminating our cultural heritage.
Care of our National Heritage
July 2021 The story of the 1860-61 Burke and Wills expedition, the first to traverse the continent from south to north, is iconic in the history of European exploration of Australia, as is the key site – the Dig Tree at Fort Wills on Cooper Creek where the expedition established Camp 65, with valuable support from the local Yandruwandha Aboriginal people. This issue takes a closer look at the Dig Tree and the Australian War Memorial and their management and the complex issues of heritage management.
November 2020 The loss of the Genoa School museum in Victoria in the New Year fires (photo at L) was a blow to the district and to all who had a connection to the site both as a school and as a museum. 2020 has presented disruption and challenges across the country with COVID-19 and various restrictions impacting on most Historical Societies. This issue of the FAHS Newsletter explores these challenges and restrictions and how they have been dealt with across the country.
December 2019 This summer has barely begun and already we’re in the midst of a terrible bushfire season. This awful reminder of our changing climate urges me to emphasise how important it is to assess risks to collections, particularly in rural areas, and to digitise collection objects to safeguard the future of historical societies. In this time of change we thought it apt to devote a whole issue of our newsletter to the theme.
June 2019 This issue explores the theme Connections in every sense of the word. Connections between historical societies and between a historical society and another organisation almost always lead to success. We learn how meaningful connections can be made between collections and the community. Finally, we consider the complex connections between one’s identity and the GLAM workplace.
January 2019 Historical societies stand to make a meaningful contribution to Australia’s heritage, through knowledge, skills, and advocacy. The RHSV is saving Queen Victoria Market. The National Trust share their extreme measures to restore a heritage site in New South Wales, and breathe life into a heritage building in SA. In Katanning, WA, heritage is repurposed for the 21st Century. RHSQ look after the Dig Tree, whilst Canberra & District Historical Society explore the wide-reaching consequences of another kind of significant tree.
July 2018 Historical societies are well situated to make a unique contribution to the recognition and celebration of diversity – by working with – and being part of their communities. The writers in this issue express a commitment to inclusion – from documenting histories – to exhibiting the historical evidence and reinterpretation of collections. Stories of the long forgotten are reinvigorated from varied perspectives, whether these are feminist, multicultural, queer or indigenous.
Collaboration and Participation
December 2017 In this issue we highlight collaboration and community participation as important factors in running an historical society or community heritage group. Collaboration (with artists, universities, GLAM organisations, etc) helps to develop new networks and activate local interest in history. Such collaborations are also critical in obtaining support and ensuring that your work is recognised and rewarded.
June 2017 In this collection of articles, historical societies across Australia reflect on the myriad ways that we do history from developing curriculum resources to re-enactment and immersive learning. Research and interpretation of local knowledge sources once confined to the most earnest of researchers now has extended reach through a diversity of publication formats, events, blogs and social media.
December 2016 Historical Societies across Australia hold important parts of our history, whether this is in local memorabilia, items of national significance or through the intangible heritage of local customs and stories. This newsletter focuses on the collections of historical societies from around Australia. As Don Garden, President of the FAHS points out these collections are important because they represent our local, grassroots and family history. They identify and recall the people who lived and worked in our villages, towns and suburbs and they describe the evolution of our communities.
May 2016 For issue 41, a new format has been introduced reflecting the diversity of approaches to historical and heritage matters and the importance of the work of regional societies and community museums. FAHS is also proud to expand its digital presence https://www.facebook.com/FederationAHS/ and provide a forum for emerging national news and events.