Hunter Living Histories 2021 Annual Report

Hunter Living Histories Annual Report 2021 Title
Hunter Living Histories Annual Report 2021 Title



Colourized Snowball Glass Negative Image
Snowball Glass Negative of a Picnic Scene at Toronto 18th September 1901 Colourised

At a glance (as at 6 December 2021)

  • Hunter Living Histories Blog Site – 128,892 Views
  • Living Histories Data Platform – 4,378,345 Views
  • Special Collections Flickr Site – Over 66 million views
  • Special Collections YouTube – 61,306 Views for 2021, Over 400,415 Views since 2008 with 727 Subscribers
  • Over 40 posts published during 2021
  • HLH meeting attendance increased by 22% during 2021

Top Three Posts 2021

Top Three Posts of All Time
(Outside of our History/Dreaming Pages)



The Digitisation of the NBN Television Magnetic Tape Archive 1982-2019

Photograph of NBN digitisation volunteers
Three volunteers Messrs Steve Legge, Phillip Lloyd and Gary Magnay in the GLAMx AV Lab Auchmuty Library.

University of Newcastle’s GLAMx Lab in the Auchmuty Library have managed to safeguard approximately four decades of local Hunter Regional news stories and programmes dating the early 1982 to 2019.

The magnetic tape content was stored on:

  • BVU Tapes (1982 – 1989) totaling 381.5 Hours,
  • BETACAM Tapes (1986 – 1999) totaling 1575 hours, and
  • DVCAM Tapes (1999 – 2019) Tapes totaling 1743 hours.

Together a total of 222,000 mins or 3,699 hours of magnetic tape containing over 112,000 local stories recorded by NBN Channel 3 has now been digitised.

Over 370 videos have been uploaded – 200+ available on UONCC Youtube

The Dr Bob James Fraternal Societies Collection

Image of Ancient Order of Foresters, blank Past Chief Ranger certificate
Ancient Order of Foresters, blank Past Chief Ranger certificate

As launched, this Collection was donated by Dr Bob James, University of Newcastle Alumnus, in 2015.

We are proud to announce that the Dr Bob James Fraternal Societies Collection is available to view in digital form, thanks to the work of University Library interns, WIL students working with specialists in the Special Collections Team at the Auchmuty Library.

View the beautiful collection here:

Stories of Our Town Project

Display crowd attending Fortress Newcastle Life Under Threat Premiere
Chit Chat addressing crowd attending Fortress Newcastle Life Under Threat Premiere, 11/11/2021.

The Stories of Our Town Project is a series of documentary films that tell Newcastle’s key historic stories through Novocastrian eyes and points of view.

Our partnership with film makers Glenn Dormand (a.k.a. “Chit Chat Von Loopin Stab” and “Glenn from Waratah”), and Tony Whittaker has created an astonishing fifteen films so far, far exceeding the twelve we thought we’d achieve.

This year 2021 has seen the release of

Funded, in part, through the Department of Regional NSW Newcastle Port Community Contribution (NPCC) fund, it is a great partnership between the film makers, the University of Newcastle, and Newcastle’s major Cultural Institutions and community organisations.

Breaking news is that SBS Television will screen the Lycett and Wallis film nationally, and the Foxtel’s History Channel will screen the Fortress Newcastle film across their international network. Both films (as all the rest) remain free to view on the Stories of Our Town YouTube Channel.

In production at time of writing: Threlkeld and Biraban Documentary; Petrol (Newcastle’s car culture); Nobbys Documentary.

Title for the Lycett and Wallis Film (2021)

Tony Whittaker filming from the top of Town Hall Tower
Tony Whittaker in the Town Hall tower


Image of the members of the Castanet Club
The Castanet Club


The Fortress Newcastle Project

Logo for Fortress Newcastle Life Under Threat Film (2021)
Fortress Newcastle Film Logo

In early March 2020 representatives from the University of Newcastle’s Special Collections and the Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association (NIHA) met to discuss potential collaboration in a Fortress Newcastle project involving a number of heritage groups.

In 2021 two successful grant applications provided the funding to make a film as part of the Stories of Our Town Project, and prepare an exhibition for 2022.

The film was launched on Remembrance Day 11 November 2021 and has achieved 8.6K views in just three weeks, the second most popular film in the series. As stated above, the History Channel has paid for the rights to screen the film across its networks.

During 2021 Rachel Vaughan, UoS Museum and Heritage studies intern has created a collections page to make resources more accessible – for 2022 exhibition.


Wollong Historic Weather Journals of the Hunter Valley

Photograph of the Wollong archives on loan from Cessnock Public Library
Wollong archives of the Wyndham Family on loan from Cessnock Public Library

In 2016 series of historic Hunter Region weather journals came to light and were donated to the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections. (Now Special Collections)

A set of these journals were recorded from 1891-1907 on the Wollong Station on Mount Vincent, owned by the Wyndham Family. The recorder was Marion Wyndham. Marion lived until 1928, so what happened to the rest of the data?

During 2020 COVID lockdown, the remaining archives were uncovered by in the basement of the Cessnock Public Library, and lent to the UON’s Special Collections for digitisation and transcription.

Personal Diary 1949 Mona Arline Wyndham (1893-1963)
Personal Diary 1949 Mona Arline Wyndham (1893-1963)

Two interns, Alison Kelly and Kathrine Sentas, were employed by the Auchmuty Library to work on the digitised content supplied by volunteer Belfield Team Dr Ken Thornton.

Drawing of Rain Gauge and its proximity to built structures at Wollong
Drawing of Rain Gauge and its proximity to built structures at Wollong

The second COVID lockdown in 2021 curtailed efforts to complete all three boxes, but what has been achieved including all the weather journals and most of the diaries is located here:

In addition all the Hunter Valley Journals dating from 1843 which came to light in 2016, were digitised and successfully scientifically transcribed and made accessible in 2021, as well as the Maryland Station Journals from the NSW/Queensland border.


Wyong & Districts Anglican Church Records 1838 – 1987 project

On 1st December 2021, the Wyong Family History Group Inc. launched a number of new publications including the Anglican Church Records 1838-1987 digital resource.

With the aid of our digitised images, the Group were able to process 15,284 records across twenty (20) physical Parish Registers containing 61,479 names which were split into 44 separate and manageable sections. Transcribers spent 895 hours or 37 days entering the data

The very next day a delegation traveled up from Wyong to personally deliver this Certificate of Appreciation Awarded to the Archivists and Staff of Cultural Collections (Archives) in the Auchmuty Library of the University of Newcastle, in gratitude for our advice and ongoing support of the Project.

Digital Image of Certificate of Appreciation Wyong Family History Group
Certificate of Appreciation Awarded to the Archivists & Staff, Cultural Collections (Archives) Auchmuty Library, UON from the Wyong Family History Group, 1 December 2021


Parish Register Transcriptions A Poem
by Rex Toomey [8 November 2021]

Each register was made in script, a challenge to be reading,

With eyes that wearied to the task, did make it more misleading,

But from the start the volunteers, they would not be defeated,

They saw importance in their work, and now it is completed.


They found the words across each page, were writ in ancient writing,

That marked the milestones of those lives, events that are uniting:

The births, the deaths, the marriages, they spoke to all in chorus,

And marked the symmetry of time, of those who’ve gone before us.


Now, finally, the world can see, from dusty tomes are flowing,

The lives of those who went before, their struggles we are knowing,

And in respect we contemplate, then join in celebration,

Their spirit of the distant past that helped to build our nation.


This year Special Collections hosted 6 WIL students and an Indigenous Intern.


Many thanks to university researchers and alumni who have presented/participated in HLH meetings in 2021:

Dr Justin Ellis and Assoc. Prof Kate Senior – (Merv and Janet Copley Collection)
Dr Irene Perez Lopez (Hunter River Mapping research)
Assoc Professor Heather Sharp – Military historian.
Assoc Prof Howard Bridgman. Climate scientist.
Dr Garrett ‘Chip’ van Dyk – Hist/heritage lecturer
Dr Ken Thornton – Industrial Historian.
Dr Ian Eckford – Architectural historian.
Assoc Prof Nancy Cushing – Presentation ‘Newcastle’s Time Ball’


International Publication

BOOK CHAPTER Visual Heritage: Digital Approaches in Heritage Science (2022)
“Visualising Deep Time History in Context Using Accessible and Emergent Technologies: The GLAM Sector Experience”
By Ann Hardy, Gaute Rasmussen,, Gionni di Gravio

HLH Instagram  (Kieran Sturt, UON B Comms)

Many thanks to Kieran who created the HLH Instagram whilst a WIL student, he has continued to volunteer on the project. We greatly appreciate Kieran’s professionalism and sincerely thank him for all his work.

Visit of Arnhem Land Elders

Elders Daphne Daniels and Karen Rogers, on their research visit, speaking with visiting Indigenous school students
Two descendants of Dexter Daniels, Elders Daphne Daniels and Karen Rogers, on their research visit, speaking with visiting Indigenous school students (Yakka), 22nd April 2021. (Click for larger image)

“Great Escape” World War II Wartime Log Ronald Baines

War Service medals for both Richard Baine's Mother and Father, as well as his father, Ronald Baines' Diary. 28 May 2021
War Service medals for both Richard Baine’s Mother and Father, as well as his father, Ronald Baines’ Diary. 28 May 2021

Richard Baines, on behalf of his family, has kindly provided the University of Newcastle’s Hunter Living Histories Initiative permission to publish his father’s World War 2 Prisoner of War Wartime Log and related items.

Record (2020)


Record (2020) by Professor Joanna Callaghan (University of Sussex, 2017 UON Visiting Fellow/Artist in Residence Lockup Museum) had its international screening 18 November 2021 through the Menzies Institute in Kings College London. Her personal story about living in England, and returning to Australia to Singleton NSW to where she grew up and a trip through her memories and archives. She used some of the 1962 film we digitised, “We Live In This Valley” and wants to use more in forthcoming productions.

New Special Collections Reading Room

New Special Collections Reading Room


Terry Stanmore (Store Oral History Project)

Aunty Nola Hawken (Awabakal Descendant)

Dr Vera Deacon OAM (Our Benefactor)

Ian Sim (Recorder of Aboriginal Sites 1960s-1970s)

Mr Richard Belfield (Belfield Climate Records)

Martin Babakhan (Belfield Climate Records)

Uncle Bill Smith (Aboriginal Elder)

Uncle Ron Gordon (Aboriginal Elder)

Mr Richard Udy (Fortress Newcastle Project)

Dr Bernard Curran AM (University and Community Leader)


Best Wishes, Merry Christmas,
and have a Happy New Year


Image for Hunter Living His/Her/They/Stories
Hunter Living His/Her/They/Stories Annual Report 2021

Leave a Reply