HUNTER LIVING HISTORIES
2021 ANNUAL REPORT
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
- Robert Syron’s The Kabook and Watoo People of the Gringai Barrington River Gloucester, N.S.W.
- Asheigh Duncan’s The Rise and Fall of the Newcomen-street Corporation Baths: Newcastle’s White Elephant
- The Fortress Newcastle Project
Top Three Posts of All Time
(Outside of our History/Dreaming Pages)
- Robert Syron’s The Kabook and Watoo People of the Gringai Barrington River Gloucester, N.S.W.
- A Bird’s Eye View of Newcastle and Suburbs 
- The Many Names of Newcastle Mulubinba
BIG WINS & IMPACTS
The Digitisation of the NBN Television Magnetic Tape Archive 1982-2019
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
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: https://livinghistories.newcastle.edu.au/pages/fraternalsoc
Stories of Our Town Project
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
- Lycett and Wallis: Unlikely Preservers of Aboriginal Knowledge (April 2021);
- The Islanders: Chats with Vera Deacon (May 2021);
- Architecture of Newcastle 8 Film Documentaries (June 2021);
- The Castanet Club Story (October 2021) and
- Fortress Newcastle (November 2021)
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.
The Fortress Newcastle Project
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
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 byin the basement of the Cessnock Public Library, and lent to the UON’s Special Collections for digitisation and transcription.
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.
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: https://livinghistories.newcastle.edu.au/nodes/view/110511
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.
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.
UON WORK INTEGRATED LEARNING (WIL)
This year Special Collections hosted 6 WIL students and an Indigenous Intern.
- Chris Leishman (HASS2000) – Oral History ‘Stockton Centre Welfare Association’
- Erin Boxsell (HASS2000) – Zara’s House Archive & Oral History interview with Sr Diana Santleben
- Jeffrey Freeman (HASS2000) – Life and Times of the University Of Newcastle’s Central Coast Campus. Shortlisted from University WIL student for 2021. Reflection Video
- Ashleigh Duncan (Uni of Syd, Museum & Heritage Studies intern) – The Rise and Fall of the Newcomen-street Corporation Baths: Newcastle’s White Elephant. The post received the second highest views for 2021.
- Shelly Smith, Indigenous Library intern working on the Haslam Collection
- Rachel Vaughan (Uni of Syd, Museum & Heritage Studies intern) working on the Fortress Newcastle project and has had the opportunity to work physically at the GLAMx Lab during end Semester 2.
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’
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
“Great Escape” World War II Wartime Log Ronald Baines
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.
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