Poetry Takeover – South Australia’s History Festival

South Australian students engaging with history through poetry

Change – It’s the only constant! Now that COVID-19 is with us, we’ve had to adapt to new habits and make new plans.

The Poetry Takeover Challenge was originally meant to be a new young people’s component to South Australia’s History Festival. Even though the festival won’t be going ahead, the Poetry Takeover will be!

During May 2020, the History Festival team invite young people to take inspiration from the collections of the History Trust and other museums and galleries across the state of South Australia. Students will be encouraged to engage with objects, think creatively, connect those thoughts to the theme ‘change’ and then develop a poem of any kind.


How can museums get involved?

Originally, one of the aims for the Poetry Takeover Challenge was to provide a way for museums to connect with their local schools during South Australia’s History Festival. While most museums and galleries are currently closed, and in-person visits are not possible, here are some ways you can still participate in the Poetry Takeover:

  • Send the History Festival team a link to your online collection to add to the website poetrytakeover.com.au
  • Add collection images to the Poetry Takeover Flickr group 
  • Create an album of collection images on Facebook (don’t forget to tag @historyfestivalpoetrytakeover)
  • Contact your local school and work with them directly using photos of objects from your collection.

Also, be sure to let your social media followers know you’re taking part and invite them to check out your online collections.

Poems and the objects of inspiration will be displayed on the Poetry Gallery on the website poetrytakeover.com.au and shared on social media. Entrants will also go in the running to win one of six $50 Dymocks vouchers.


The Poetry Takeover Challenge will open for entries on Friday 1 May and close on Sunday 31 May.


All South Australians students in years 4 to 11 can enter the challenge. Museum staff, parents, carers and teachers can provide support – resources are available on the Poetry Takeover website.

Museums, galleries and other collecting institutions can get involved by making objects in their collection available to students as inspiration.

Families, friends and communities are encouraged to share their favourite poems on social media and vote for the Community Choice prize.


For more information and resources visit the website: poetrytakeover.com.au
Like Poetry Takeover on Facebook
Contact the History Trust if you have any questions: historyfestival@history.sa.gov.au

A Toast for Sturt’s Birthday

28 April marks the 225 anniversary of the birth of Charles Sturt, one time owner of The Grange homestead, managed by the Charles Sturt Memorial Museum Trust.

For many years the Trust has celebrated Sturt’s birthday with a big event on site at Grange. Not possible this year but the Trust has shared some images from past events to give a sense of the pomp and ceremony that usually accompanies the annual event.

Charles Sturt (1795-1869), explorer, soldier and public servant, was born in India, eldest of eight sons and one of thirteen children of Thomas Lenox Napier Sturt, a judge in Bengal under the East India Co. His regimental posting to NSW in 1827 was the start of his career in exploration through the southern interior of Australia, and a period as surveyor-general for South Australia. A brief biography of Sturt is on the SA History Hub and, when museums reopen later this year pop down to visit the Charles Sturt Memorial Museum.

Thanks to Charles Sturt Memorial Museum Trust for sharing Sturt birthday images with us




Museums and Collections at Home

How is your organisation adjusting to the new world of isolation?

Managing collections ‘behind closed doors’ presents new challenges for engaging your communities. Are you looking for ways to innovate, keep collections visible and share local histories over the next few months? Now is a great time to bump up your social media and/or website activity, share short videos of highlights from your collections, set up a Facebook page or reinvigorate one that has been on the back-burner.

We thought we’d share a quick round up of ideas and initiatives to inspire you. We’d love to see your contributions too!

Training opportunities

If you can’t get into your organisation to continue your usual work, there are some great opportunities for upskilling online.

South Australians stay home

There are some great initiatives already online that you can enjoy at home.

Keep connected with people around South Australia through Social Media

Hahndorf Walking Tours have come up with a neat idea – sensory boxes home delivered with historical storytelling over Skype. Check out the short promo video here.

Contemporary collecting

The FAHS (Federation of Australian Historical Societies) is promoting history organisations contributing to collecting materials relating to the current pandemic. They suggest collecting hard copy items, and/or form a digital archive for future reference and research. FAHS also recommend groups add digital material to A Journal of the Plague Year: an Archive of COVID-19, which is a collaboration between universities worldwide, including the University of Melbourne.

Still missing your local museums?

You can see thousands of images from museums and collections throughout our state and the people who work with them on the South Australian History Network Flickr page. https://www.flickr.com/photos/communityhistorysa/albums

Of course we’d also love you to stay in touch with us at the History Trust of South Australia.

Let us know what we’ve missed!



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