2017 Annual Report – Hunter Living Histories

Vera Deacon and Alf Rigby (2017)

University of Newcastle’s Hunter Living Histories


Our Mission: To achieve recognition for Newcastle and the Hunter Region’s contribution in the making of the Australian nation.

GOAL 1. (G1) To have Newcastle and the Hunter Region’s important historic sites nationally recognised

GOAL 2. (G2) To ensure our legislative frameworks are working effectively for our heritage

GOAL 3. (G3) To locate, protect and physically (or digitally) repatriate archival records of historical research importance to the Hunter Region

GOAL 4. (G4) To research, investigate and verify historical evidence

GOAL 5. (G5) To inspire, and share knowledge and expertise to promote the importance of heritage to communities



The University of Newcastle established The Coal River Working Party (CRWP) under the leadership of Dr Erik Eklund in 2003 to support a local community organization, The Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc., in their endeavours to have an historically significant area of Newcastle East, the “Coal River Heritage Precinct” nationally recognised. The CRWP gained a new Chair in 2008, Mr Gionni Di Gravio, University Archivist, and operations came under the support of the University’ Cultural Collections (Archives) within the Auchmuty Library. In 2016, the CRWP changed its name to the Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative to better reflect its work across the Region.


2017 in Review

The HHi blog has achieved over 67,289 hits through 2017 and currently has over 1405 FB followers and 667 twitter followers across its HHi/CRWP HHi/CRWP pages. The UON flickr site has had 46.6M hits to date. UONCC Youtube for 2017 has had 50,435 views, with 171,109 minutes watched. UONCC Soundcloud for 2017 has had 17,000 hits, and over 2000 downloads.

The year has marked by the rollout of the Living Histories @ UON digital platform as Cultural Collections’ new digital catalogue, and a new GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation Lab to advance Aboriginal cadetships, Work integrated Learning and Internship opportunities for students and young people in the wider community with Dr Ann Hardy as its “Historian, Living Histories Co-ordinator” which allows the HHi to fully support all the new emerging digital creative & humanities and student work integrated learning (WIL) areas as part of our University’s community outreach support.

We sincerely thank VERA DEACON, and her FELLOW DONORS to the VERA DEACON REGIONAL HISTORY FUND that have enabled our volunteers to obtain paid employment in our projects. To help, please click here: https://uoncc.wordpress.com/vera-deacon-fund/


Sincere Thanks to Our Volunteers

From January to December 2017, our volunteers have provided us with over 4435.37 hrs of unpaid work valued at $187,706.88 [This is calculated at 4435.37 hrs @HEW4 Step 1 ($41.46 per hour) $183,890.44 and 73 hours @ HEW6 Step 1 ($52.28 per hour) $3816.44]

Eleven (11) meetings have been held thus far throughout the year to December. Approx 80 blog postings have been prepared for the Hunter Living Histories Blog so far this year.

Hunter Living Histories Initiative has been incorporated into GLAMx WIL professional initiative providing students with access to wider community in safe and secure environment to enable collaborations with community groups, including digitisation, curatorial projects, etc, preparing reports of their work in blog postings, as well as public speaking engagements reporting directly to community members. They have also been able to find mentors in their chosen research areas, and which has broadened their business networks across the region.


2017 GLAMx PROJECTS involving staff, WIL student placements, and student and community volunteers have included:

  • GLAMx Deep Time Project (G4 G5)
    Dr Ann Hardy/Dr Amir Mogadam/Dr Greg Blyton/Gionni Di Gravio/FEDUA/Innovation Team began the 3D DEEP TIME project pilot of the 3D digitisation Palais Royale Aboriginal Artefacts dating back 6,500 years. These sample 3D digitised objects are being incorporated into Living Histories @ UON digital platform, with metadata, and then exported to a Virtual Reality Simulation of the dig prepared by the UON Innovation Team (Auchmuty Library). The Deep Time Project received a four page cover feature in Newcastle Herald Weekender 18 November 2017 by renown National media personality Scott Bevan featuring comprehensive overview of the project involving work of WIL, volunteers, Aboriginal community and Innovation Team. See: https://hunterlivinghistories.com/2017/11/17/deep-time-project/

    Emma Heath (Natural History Illustration student) Has drawn over 300 Aboriginal artefacts from Former Palais site. Under Supervision of Dr Ann Hardy. See: https://hunterlivinghistories.com/2017/12/04/aboriginal-artefacts/We greatly appreciate the help currently being provided by our students and volunteers including Beth Anastasiou, Jason Connor, Simone Cox, Ann Kay, Rebecca Simpson, Rosie Heritage, Victoria Havice and Emma Heath on this project and hope that this information assists in clarifying the challenges of this Project.


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