Hunter Living Histories 2020 Annual Report

Hunter Living Histories 2020 Annual Report






Stories of Our Town – Partnership with filmmakers Glenn Dormand and Tony Whittaker of Carnivore Films

A successful $72K grant we secured in April 2020 has made accessible the key stories of Newcastle and the Hunter Region including the Scott Sisters Of Ash Island Now working on films relating to the artistic life and works of Captain James Wallis and Joseph Lycett due to be released before the end of the year. Learn more on these ongoing film productions here:


The Dr Bob James Fraternal Societies Collection

With the installation of a new compactus and purpose built art racks, along with private donation of $75,000 in February 2020, and another $50,000 donated in November 2020, Dr Bob James’ Fraternal Societies Project (five years in the making) has helped to provide the University with a unique Collection for ongoing future research and study, as well as provide paid employment for four UON students in 2020-2021. Thank you Dr Bob for your great generosity.

Dr Bob James Fraternal Societies Art Racks for professional storage of framed artworks and honour board items.


3/9/2020 NBN Television story on Dr Bob James Fraternal Societies Collections filmed, and Broadcast on NBN News 4/9/2020. (AM) See:


Croudace House Project

Croudace House Project – In 2020 Dr Barlow provided funding through Vera Deacon Regional History Fund to employ a student to research history of his Medical Practice’s residence, Croudace House. Thomas Sharples, a UON Bachelor of Arts (Hons) student was commissioned to work on the project looking at the history of ‘Croudace House’, a building first erected in 1863 to house the Lambton mine manager, Thomas Croudace, and his family. A series of exhibition panels were created for the Surgery’s waiting rooms at the historic House.



Volunteer Grants

On the 22 January 2020 our Team (i.e., the former Cultural Collections/GLAMx in the Auchmuty Library) – Applied for a grant under the  Volunteer Community Grants Program at the invitation of Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon. The grant was to assist our Hunter Living Histories volunteers in fuel, transportation and training costs. On the 27 May 2020 we were notified that we were successful in our Commonwealth Government Volunteers Grant application for $4,980. After consultation, the only item we could actually provide volunteers from the grant was training courses, so we sought quotes from the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) for their eLearning Courses. Nine (9) volunteers responded, and provided with 44 accredited eLearning course choices from the Keeping Archives online course series.

Thanks to all our volunteers, especially those who have continued to work for us through the COVID pandemic, once physical safe distancing precautions were adopted.


International Publication

International publication – Hardy A, Di Gravio G, ‘Engaging tertiary students with university archival collections and digitisation processes’, Technology, Change and the Academic Library Case Studies, Trends and Reflections, Chandos Publishing, United Kingdom 131-142 (2020) “Technology, Change and the Academic Library: Case Studies, Trends and Reflections”


Historic Hunter Valley Weather Journals

Conjoint Professor Howard Bridgman and Team Belfield scientifically digitise the Hunter Valley data sets from Wollong, NSW from 1891-1907 and Lochivar, NSW from 1864-1870. The early set from 1843 will probably be completed before the end of December 2020.

Lochivar Weather Records, January 1867 to May 1869.


Little Richard in Newcastle (1957)

Roland Bannister, Musicologist and Gionni Di Gravio, OAM finally able to confirm that rock legend Little Richard actually did throw his rings and jewelry into Newcastle Harbour off the Stockton Ferry (Punt) in 1957
The full story here:

1957 Australian Tour Booklet (Front Cover Alternate)
(Courtesy of Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences:


HLH Instagram  (Kieran Sturt, UON B Comms)

Thank you Kieran for your professionalism and dedication in maintaining HLH Instagram during 2020. Your contribution has certainly enhanced our Special Collections and we greatly appreciate your contribution.



SEE: All WIL Projects coordinated by Dr Ann Hardy in GLAMx lab here:
“GLAMx : WIL Projects 2020” – summary of WIL opportunities and specific projects


Interview with Pilot Officer Ronald (Ron) Slater 17/7/2020 (AH) In collaboration with Josephine Kirkby WIL student.


Our Regional World 50 Years Ago
WIL Students were enlisted to work on a film reconstruction project of News items from 1970, recreated from original footage and newly recorded voice overs of written scripts created in 2020 by former Television presenter Ray Dinneen (2020). Background music from the 1970s is also used. The re-read and recorded original scripts were prepared at the GLAMx Lab early 2020 and file was reassembled by UON students for Multi-platform Journalism (CMNS3333) course. Thank you to CMNS3333 students and Ed Reddin, course co-ordinator. See:


Rachel Klyve Scientific Illustrator

Rachel Klyve, Scientific Illustrator (UON Natural History Illustration student) used the Library’s Artec Studio 3D scanner to create a beautiful digital scan of a bird’s beaks for submission to Australian Museum for the Scott Sisters Scholarship.


Reliving the Victory – 1945- 2020 Reconstruction
Creative Industries student Joshua Webb recreated sound for a silent and very rare colour film of Newcastle WW2 Celebrations:


ABC TV Revelation Series

From March-April 2020 – ABC Revelations screens. ABC TV Revelations, the three-part landmark series on Australian Clergy abuse. GLAMx Lab WIL and Volunteers helped in tracking down historic film footage for series.

Revelation ABCTV – Credits



Archival Chats – Chapbooks Inspired by the Archives

ARCHIVAL CHATS – Series of Chapbooks exploring the UON’s Special Collections & Archives
Created by Jasmin Thompson – Creative Industries student. See:


Florence Austral Timeline

Created by Kyle Yerbury, WIL student



King Edward Park Headlands Project
Ms Yasmin Box, Bachelor of Social Science (Hons)


Merv & Janet Copley Collection
Thomas Romanis, WIL student from ‘Museum & Heritage Studies’, University of Sydney

CLICK HERE to view further information about Merv and Janet Copley

Revitalisation of Indigenous Culture
Brad Cunningham, Indigenous Library Intern is re-examining archival audio visual content from the 1980s





Emeritus Professor John Burrows – Humanities Computing Pioneer

Emeritus Professor John Burrows with (l-r) Professor Ray Siemens, Dr Alexis Antonia, Professor Jan Rybicki, Emeritus Professor Hugh Craig.


Chris Bourne (1957-2020) – Cultural Collections Digitisation Officer and Project Assistant

Chris Bourne


The Once and Future Mirror Ball of University Archives

The Once and Future Mirror Ball of University Archives (2009-2020)


Dr Edward Bridle, Project Archivist
(Began work in Archives, Rare Books & Special Collections on Monday 19 August 2002.
Position was disestablished 27 November 2020.)


Dr Edward Bridle – The Dapper Gentleman of the UON


Goodbyes to Lyn Keily, Special Collections Librarian, and Susan Paton, Library Technician






Mrs Vera Decaon, OAM, admiring her Order of Australia Medal pinned to her jacket.
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beasley AO QC presenting Mr Gionni Di Gravio, OAM his Australian Honour at the Investiture Ceremony held at Government House, Sydney on 9th September 2020 at 4pm. Original Livestream:

In 2020, both Vera Deacon and Gionni Di Gravio were honoured with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to the UON and wider regional communities. See: and



Testimonials & Words of Appreciation for the Cultural Collections (now Special Collections) and GLAMx Team for 2020:


“Thanks to the University of Newcastle’s Special Collections for the wonderful images and The Newcastle Herald” – David Dial, OAM (11/11/20) 


“ (To Ann Hardy) I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for taking the time out to come and speak to our Tuesday Club ladies yesterday, we really appreciate it!”  – Grace Folkard, Programs & Marketing Director, Charlestown Square (12/2/20)


“ really have created my the GLAMorous spaces of my student, research and community engagement dreams, and I am feeling quite empowered..” – Clare O’Hanlon, LaTrobe (12/11/20)


Thank you so much for your kind message on the SMH guestbook and for compiling the video of Dad. I’ve just found it and am so happy to be able to watch it. Thanks again.” – Elizabeth Burrows (18/2/20) Re: 


“I came across the fantastic image you uploaded on Hunter Living History site of West Maitland Engraving. The engraving also shows the rear of our house (before it was closed in to turn the house into four flats) and this is the first representation we have seen. Thank you thank you thank you!!!” – Simone Torpey, (2/3/20) Re: 


How totally brilliant is this; the original photographer, the finders, the donors, the digitisers, Gionni and your team of wonderful archivists and helpers. WELL DONE. STUNNING!!! What else can I say???” – Anne Morris (3/3/20)


“WATCH THIS ….. our parents were all there!

Love the work they do at UoN Archives.

Rob and my legacy is  going there to support Hunter Living Histories.



Loves ya Gionni, Ann and everyone at HLH

“ – Marilla North (3/3/20) re: 


“I feel so incredibly privileged to have worked with the GLAM X lab.  It was a pleasure.  And you guys would have seen how vital your archive was to the making of the series. It’s an amazing historical record you hold there of your community.  It really is. Thank you for being a part of it!!” – Michelle Boukharis, Researcher ABC Revelation Series. (6/4/20)


How amazing!! That is my grandma front and centre on the cover image!” – KJ (1/5/20) re: 


“ Edward, This is brilliant. More than I could have hoped for. I will study the rectory photo perspicaciously. many thanks” – Peter F Smith (11/5/20) from USA


“45 minutes before midnight, and my children have been obsessed with the illustrations of animals and plants of Australia. Fortunately the ink cost of my Epson EcoTank is very low, because we’ve printed more than a dozen of posters for them! Thanks! Panos” – Panos from Greece (22/5/20) 


“Thank you so much Edward M. Bridle, Ph.D., for being so prompt with this reply to my search request. I am so impressed and cannot thank you enough. Sincerely” –  Lorna Darwen (2/6/20)


To Fortress Newcastle team and interested others,

You have to admit, Gionni Di Gravio and his team work wonders in short time.

Below is the link to Living Histories website just created. It’s great.

Thanks Gionni.

 WORTH LOOKING AT!!” – Bob Cook (12/6/20)


Hi Ann, Thank you for your email, much appreciated. I’m very chuffed about the scholarship, it’s quite an honour!  Also, you might be interested to know that one of the four portfolio pieces I submitted came from the work I did at GLAMx. I’ve attached it here. Thanks again, “ – Rachel Klyve (18/6/20)


“I would be very happy to discuss what we are doing, however think that University of Newcastle are doing some amazing things with the historical society in providing digital content in innovative ways.  We are a partner in a state wide project to digitise our cultural collections so that is something exciting to discuss.  Perhaps there is something in a shared show and tell for Libraries Tasmania, Utas and Uni Newcastle?” – Janette Burke University Librarian. UTAS (1/7/20)


“I would like to thank the University for making available all of those parish registers. To see the original document was amazing for me and it confirmed the identity of my great great grandmother
and her rather unusual name Mary Ann Brisbane Coleman. 
Regards ”  – Lyn Glover. (8/7/20)


“Gionni I love you. If it was biologically possible I would have your children” – Eddie O’Reilly, Multimedia Officer UON (27/7/20)


“ (To Edward) I am very grateful for all the time you have spent on this subpoena. It will be a travesty to not have someone of your knowledge and expertise in such an important role. We will be quite lost without your vast knowledge of the archives!“ – Jenny Partlett Anglican Diocese (30/7/20)


Thank you very much for all your help –  who needs the Genius’ at Apple when we have the Genius’ at “Special Collections”.” – Lesley Gent (18/9/20)


Absolutely brilliant and I’ve only had time to look at a few of these. Can’t wait to tell others about it! Well done you wonderful people!!!” – Anne Morris (8/10/20) re: 


“Very proud to be part of this story. Thank you Gionni Di Gravio, OAM for your amazing work in bringing our history to life” – Dr Bernadette Drabsch (4/8/20) re: 


“WOW! what professionalism, thank you so much. You are worth more money.” – Michael Szabath (12/10/20)


“(To Ann Hardy) Congratulations once again on being Highly Commended in the 2020 WIL Staff Member of the Year Award. It has been a pleasure to work with you, and to witness your enthusiasm for WIL and the work you do in enhancing the WIL offerings at the GlamX Lab.” – Dr Kylie Twyford UON WIL Co-Ordinator (15/10/20)


Firstly, congratulations on receiving your OAM, Gionni! You must be super proud and it’s certainly well deserved. Having worked (briefly) at the National Archives it’s been a delight to see how incredibly engaged and generous you are in terms of access and engagement.” – Dr. Peter Hobbins Artefact Heritage Services (26/10/20)


“Thanks for the final files. Your archives are a real treasure trove of information. There is a lot of useful stuff in there for me to read and understand.” – James Friel, Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (28/10/20)


“Totally brilliant job executed by all. Congratulations to the donors and those involved in all aspects of the presentation, both sight and sound. Thank you!!!” – Anne Morris (29/10/20) re: 


“[Zane gave us] a lightning quick response to a last minute question” –

Ian Kirkwood, The Newcastle Herald


“You’re too helpful[, Zane]. I sing your praises to everyone who comes in here.” –

Doug Lithgow, Conservationist, Freeman of the City of Newcastle


[About Special Collections:] “I am very grateful for the interest and research given to gain insight into the history of my family.” 

Anonymised patron #1


“I wanted to thank you for all your assistance during most recent visit to the archive.  I found it a very rewarding day and was very grateful for your assistance and advice.  I hope to return some time so our paths may cross again.” – Dr. Leslie Kilmartin, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, La Trobe University


“The help you’ve rendered to me has been absolutely incredible. I would be left in the dust without you.” – Bruce Marich, custodian of Bridge House, Maitland


Thanks for all the support and inspiration across the year,
Best wishes to you and your families

Gionni Di Gravio, OAM
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories

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