Grants Survey Gets Results

The History Trust of South Australia (History Trust) would like to thank the SA history and museums community for your feedback. Hearing directly from you is vital for evaluating where we are today, and how best to proceed into the future.

The Grant’s Survey was sent to 1,000 members of the South Australian History Network (SAHN). The History Trust received 166 responses, which came from both small and large organisations, as well as individuals.

The survey focused on awareness of the History Trust grants programs. This included access to grants, and the level of satisfaction of previous grant applicants. It asked about the needs and requests for future grant rounds. Particular focus was on levels and frequency of funding as well as the promotion of completed projects that were funded.

‘The History Trust grants have been crucial to our ongoing development. It is always a daunting prospect to write a grant application as many of us do not have extensive experience in this area however, being able to ask questions of History Trust staff has been very beneficial and they have proved very helpful’ (anonymous respondent)

We asked both applicants and non-applicants

Approximately 69% of responses came from past grant applicants, and 22% from those who had not yet applied.

Of those who had applied, 61% had applied for the South Australian History Fund (SAHF) and 43% had applied for Museums and Collections (MaC) grants, or its predecessor programs.

We are pleased to see that many different members of the SAHN have applied for a grant at some time. Most, including those who were not successful, felt very satisfied with their interactions with History Trust and the quality of the information provided.

Awareness of History Trust grant funds is something to work on

The majority of survey respondents said they received information about History Trust grants via email (63%). The remainder found this information on the History Trust website or via social media.

Among those who had never applied for a History Trust grant, 37% said the primary reason was that they were unsure if their project would fit the grant guidelines. Another 30% said they unaware of the grant funds.

The most satisfied grant applicants had contacted the History Trust for advice, assistance or feedback

Applying for grants is a detailed process, and a majority of past applicants were very satisfied with their experience. This was especially true for those who spoke with a Grants Officer.

Just under half (45%) said it was quite likely they would apply for a grant in the future.

The majority, 72%, of responders were very satisfied with the grant guidelines and other information provided about applying.

Of those 67% of respondents were very satisfied with the advice and assistance they had received from the History Trust. Those who did not contact the History Trust for advice were less satisfied with the experience. Another 57% of those who responded were not aware of the assistance offered by the History Trust.

Some 60% of respondents were satisfied with the follow-up advice they received about their application, and another 60% were satisfied with the application process itself.

Almost 52% of those who responded reported that they would have been unable to undertake their projects without their History Trust grant.

‘This is an invaluable resource providing support/incentives for Historical Researchers to undertake in-depth research into the rich histories that tell the story of this unique Australian state. South Australians are rightly proud of their history and want to tell its stories locally, nationally and internationally.’ (anonymous respondent)

Printed program for a social event
Smoke Social program, one of 100 Treasures items preserved online by the Norwood Football Club.

You value access to History Trust grants for many different projects and want us to share your achievements

The three top in demand project types for History Trust funding were publications, interpretive signage/physical display and events/public programs. Other popular responses included research, collections management, including cataloguing and storage and digitisation.

80% of survey respondents want the History Trust to promote grant-supported projects. They felt doing so would give grant recipients additional publicity and promotion as well as encouraging new applicants to seek funding.

Small grants, bigger grants…and grants more often

62% of survey respondents recognised the importance of very small grants (up to $2,000). They acknowledged that while the amount may be small, it could be what ensures a project is completed.

Assistance with grants of $10,000 or more was very important to 49% of respondents. They commented that for larger projects including interpretive projects, research and publications, larger grants are sometimes required for the projects to be successful.

The SAHN is also keen on more grant rounds being offered throughout the year and grants being available on a rolling basis rather than at strictly set times of year.  The History Trust has implemented staged opening and closing dates for MaC grant rounds and will look at how we can innovate the running of and access to the SAHF.

Where to next

The grants survey has given us a lot to think about and your feedback and suggestions are gradually being considered by the History Trust.  Thank you again for taking the time to take the Grants Survey. We are listening and as we continue to plan and shape the existing programs we will keep you informed through newsletters, social media and on our website.

Support from the History Trust is available by phone and email for all grant applications. You may always contact us for advice, support, guidance or information.

Regional Visit Wrap-up for 2022

After a couple of years of being largely Adelaide-bound, 2022 saw a welcome return to the road for History Trust staff working with the SA History Network.

Amanda and Catherine visited the mid-North in March to meet with the Orroroo Historical Society about collections digitisation projects and with the Melrose Districts History Society & Heritage Museum to complete their five-yearly review as a MaC Accredited museum.

In May Amanda visited the four Museums and Collections (MaC) program members in Port Lincoln – Port Lincoln History Group, Axel Stenross Maritime Museum, Port Lincoln RSL Museum and the Port Lincoln Railway Museum – as well as the Port Lincoln Library. Travelling with film maker Tom, the main purpose of the trip was to make a series of short films as part of the Digitising SA Collections project. The Port Lincoln Museum are very active in the MaC program so there were plenty of projects and plans to talk about too.



Then it was a trip to the south-east in June for Amanda and Matt to help with projects that MaC member groups have on the go or in planning. They worked with the Sheep’s Back Museum at Naracoorte, Mount Gambier History Group and Beachport Museum. They also caught up with Port MacDonnell Maritime Museum, Millicent Museum, SA Volunteer Firefighter’s Museum at Naracoorte, and the Nangwarry Forestry Museum, all of whom we hope will be joining MaC in 2023.


All the rain through winter and spring led to a big problem for the Barmera National Trust Museum at Cobdogla, the Mannum Dock Museum, Renmark Paringa Museum and the Loxton Village Museum. The History Trust was able to support these museums with disaster planning. Amanda, Amy, Tony and Emma, along with Ian and Anne from Artlab, helped these groups plan and prepare for possible flooding of their museums. All four museums have had to take actions to pack collection items, move items to higher ground, or in the case of Barmera and Mannum, completely relocate from their museum sites.



Other visits throughout the year included the Mount Compass Archives, Yankalilla Historical Society, the SAJC collection at Morphetville, the Marion Village Museum and Angaston Penrice Historical Society to see the display about St John Cadet Camps jointly produced by the Society and the St John Ambulance Museum.

And finally it was back to the south-east in December. This time Amanda and Adam visited the Sheep’s Back Museum as part of the five-yearly review as a MaC Accredited museum. They also caught up with the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre and the Lucindale Museum.


History Trust staff look forward to seeing and working with more of our MaC members and members of the wider SA History Network in 2023!


Digitisation Grants Apply Now

The History Trust is excited to announce special funding for the digitisation of South Australian historical collections!

Digitisation Project Grants is an initiative aimed at enabling more collections and stories to be gathered, preserved and shared.
Funding will support a small number of projects that make a significant contribution to the volume, scope or accessibility of South Australian digitised collections.

Applications are invited from communities, groups and individuals that own or manage a significant South Australian historical collection. Collections may be archival, images, objects or a mix of collection types.

Aims of funding
Funds are available for
• New digitisation – purchase of equipment and/or engagement of a digitation officer or commercial service to undertake digitisation of analogue collections
• online projects that make an existing digitised collection widely accessible
• A combination of new digitisation and an online project.

Grant amounts
Grants of between $3,000 and $10,000 will be considered for assessment. Smaller amounts may be considered depending on needs and demands. Costs that have already been incurred cannot be funded.

How to apply
Applications are open now and close on Thursday 26 May. Applications are submitted through the SmartyGrants management system:

Grant guidelines are available here and you are warmly encouraged to get in touch to discuss potential projects. Please email to


MaC Membership 0 to 80 in three years

The History Trust’s Museums and Collections (MaC) program is celebrating three years since inception early in 2019 and reaching a milestone of 80 MaC members!
From the very first two members – Angaston & Penrice Historical Society and Mount Torrens History Group – to 80th member Beltana Progress Association, MaC members represent the breadth of community organisations that are a key part of the SA History Network.

MaC is the History Trust of South Australia’s development and funding program focused on supporting communities in the collection, development, preservation and sharing of significant statewide history. Membership establishes purposeful connection between the History Trust of South Australia and community organisations around our shared interest in history, museums and collections. Through advice, assistance and grant funding MaC helps raise the profile of history and collections and encourages best practice as communities build their physical and digital footprints in these areas. Advancing the contemporary role and function of community history organisations and expanding the impact and reach of their projects and programs is at the core of MaC.

A wide range of South Australian community organisations are eligible to join MaC – you can see the current list here.

Information about joining MaC is available here.

Buildings at Beltana property

Collections, Projects and a New Exhibition

As 2020 progresses into the final quarter plenty is happening in the SA History Network!

Big splash after months of closure

The Tea Tree Gully Museum recently held their first public event in six months, welcoming around 500 people to the outside areas of the museum site only and opening the museum’s latest exhibition ‘Pioneers to Producers’. A hugely successful day! During Covid closure the museum team has been taking the time to paint the entire Old Highercombe Hotel Museum, pack and store collection items, and will now gear up for reinstating the various displays.

Hands on station part of new display at Tea Tree Gully Museum

History for the very young

In Naracoorte the development of the Children’s Museum at the Sheep’s Back Museum is coming along well with lots of work being done to repair the building and verandah area.  Working with artist Rod Bax, the museum has held community workshops with students, teachers and care givers as part of the process of developing this new section of the museum.  The model native birds (pictured) are the result of one of these workshops.

Aimed at the 0 – 7 years age group the Children’s Museum will include a making space and themed areas where local history can be introduced to the very young in age appropriate ways. From its extensive collections the museum has selected a range of duplicate/unprovenanced objects that will be used for activities such as identifying shapes – a clever entry point for younger audiences.

Display of old household objects on a table
It’s surprising how many different shapes can be found in collection objects!

Boost for family history in Moonta

Meanwhile in Moonta, the Moonta Family History Research Centre is busy responding to recommendations in their recently commissioned Significance Assessment. Extensive organising, cleaning up of spaces and the purchase of a fabulous new compactus are already making a difference to the accessibility of local history archives and images.

Members of Moonta Family History team

Racing towards 150th

Did you know the Onkaparinga Racing Club has an historical collection at the Oakbank Racecourse?  The Racing Club committee is preparing well ahead of time for the club’s 150th anniversary in 2026 and are planning a coffee table style history book. They are also looking into setting up a publicly accessible small museum and running tours of the racecourse site with its heritage listed grandstands, dedicated casualty room and own former police station that operated just on race days!

Artefacts from the first Great eastern Steeplechase, 1876



MaC Funding and Membership on the Rise

A further $42,886 for eight MaC Projects grants was approved last month.  The projects each reflect the priorities of MaC members at the moment and include digitisation, storage, collections management, conservation, web development and audio interpretation.   A great range of projects and many from some of our newest MaC members!

The full list of all project grants supported in MaC Projects round 3 is available here.

Membership of the History Trust’s MaC (Museums and Collections) program is continuing to grow and all community groups that manage an historical collection and/or operate a museum are eligible to join. In July we welcomed Marion Historic Village Museum (pictured) to MaC.

MaC membership is a great way to be recognised as part of the SA History Network as well as being a key source of funds for collections and history projects of many types. MaC program information is available here – where you can also see the current MaC membership list – and interested groups are welcome to contact the History Trust to find out more.

MaC Funding for Community History Projects

MaC members are benefitting from the MaC projects grants fund, with a little over $70,000 being allocated for eleven projects in June.  MaC funding will enable a variety of projects to go ahead including major new interpretive walking trails for the Mary Mackillop Museum Adelaide and the Port Milang Railway Museum.

Mary Mackillop Walk will start at the Museum in Kensington and encourage visitors to discover the impact of St Mary Mackillop in the Kensington Norwood area. At Port Milang ‘Nugget’s Trail’ will traverse the railway yard precinct and is named for the long-serving railway horse (seen in image).

Significant archiving and collections management work will also be undertaken by the Mount Gambier History Group and the National Railway Museum at Port Adelaide.  Both collections contain thousands of archival items and both of these groups have been making the most of MaC funds in recent grant rounds.

Capitalising on their location adjacent the primary school, Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum will be working with teacher Hugh Benger to map their collection against the curriculum and start to plan for innovative education programs at the museum.

Upgrades of essential equipment, security improvements, interpretation at a cemetery and a publication about Coober Pedy history are other ways that MaC members will be telling and preserving history with MaC funds this year.

The range of grants this year promise to add a great deal of value to community history around the state and the History Trust looks forward to seeing the outcomes of the latest funded projects!

A list of grants allocated in June can be seen here.


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




Be Connected Digital Mentoring Opportunity

The FAHS is offering Be Connected Digital Mentor Training to South Australian historical societies and community museums.

Be Connected is a set of fantastic easy to use resources covering a wide range of digital skills including using apps, setting up wifi, online safety, social media and using all sorts of digital devices, such as smart phones, tablets and computers. Community organisations can become Be Connected Digital Mentors and access grant funds for equipment or other purchases that help them to share digital skills within their communities. $2,000 is offered to sign up 30 people (or 15 if in an outer-regional area) to the Be Connected Learning Portal

On Friday 27 March the FAHS’ Online Outreach Officer, Sophie Shilling, will be in Adelaide to introduce the Be Connected resources and show you how to access funding and sign–up your organisation to be a digital mentor in your community.

Click here for more information and to register to come to the workshop.

Grants Awarded for SA History, Museums and Collections

The History Trust distributed $150,000 in grants at the end of 2019, supporting 39 separate SA history focused projects in communities throughout the state.

The 23 recipients of annual South Australian History Fund (SAHF) include clubs, societies, local government, community organisations and individuals.  Approaches to SA history that we have been able to support this year include research, digitisation of collections and archiving, publications, performance, preservation and exhibitions.  You can see the list of successful projects SAHF Grants List December 2019.

Round Two of the MaC (Museums and Collections) grant fund is supporting 16 projects being undertaken by community and historical societies that are members of the History Trust’s MaC standards and funding program.  Through their grants MaC members will be using research, historical stories and objects in a variety of ways to connect to aspects of local history.  Topics include Eyre Peninsula railways, trees, Lutheran missions and soldier settlement on Kangaroo Island.  You can see the list of successful projects MaC Project Grants round two December 2019.



Funding for Communities and History

The History Trust of SA has its two main grant funds open NOW and applications to both are welcome until 28 October.

The South Australian History Fund (SAHF) is the Trust’s annual publicly accessible competitive grant fund that supports publications, research and projects that enable communities to explore, interpret or preserve aspects of their history and make South Australian history accessible to the public.

MaC (Museums and Collections) Project grants is a closed competitive grant fund specifically for community collection organisations and museums that are members of the MaC standards and funding program. Grants support strategic, innovative projects that help sustain and promote the value of South Australian community-held historical collections.

Further information and application details for both funds can is available here and you are welcome to contact us to discuss project ideas or check-in about applying.



Images: top right – historic scene of Semaphore relating to the Semaphore Mainstreet Association’s historical walking tour app (SAHF); left to right – selection of recent publications that received some SAHF funding; part of the Little River display at Bay Discovery Centre (MaC); MaC funding also supported the development of a community history research room and temporary exhibition space for Angaston & Penrice Historical Society.



Project Grants Around the State

The History Trust of South Australia is delighted to share the range of projects that have received funding in the innaugural Museums and Collections (MaC) Project grant round.

A touch over $205,000 has been awarded to 26 projects.

Special congratulations to the Sheep’s Back Museum in Naracoorte, which has received the largest grant of $25,000 for an innovative and exciting children’s museum project.  More news will be shared about this project as it progresses.

The focus for MaC Project grants is:

  • creating sustainable collections
  • presenting collections in relevant and accessible ways
  • demonstrating current standards for collection management and care practices
  • engaging communities, wherever they be, with collections

Projects this year traverse all of these areas and many relate to more than one.  There is a strong focus through the grants on enhancing access to collections, telling historical stories in engaging ways, developing collection storage and community history spaces and meeting high standards for safeguarding South Australia’s distributed collections.

See the full list of grants awarded.


The Angaston & Penrice Historical Society (Left) have funding to transform two rooms of this main street cottage into a local and family history research centre and temporary exhibitions space; (centre) the Beachport Museum will be following their successful railways exhibition to tell the story of the Bevilaqua family who were central to the grain store building where the museum is located; (right) the Port Milang Railway Museum will be rolling on from light railways and diesel engines to focus on the steam era in South Australian railways; (below) The SA Police Historical Society will be creating digital products online and at the museum site in order to better share their extensive object and archival collections.











MaC Membership on the Move

The last three months have seen plenty of activity around the History Trust’s Museums and Collections (MaC) standards and funding program for historical groups that manage collections.  Between March and May we welcomed eight new MaC Member groups and several museums in the outgoing Community Museums Program also made the switch to MaC.  We are getting some very encouraging feedback from members about using the MaC membership process for a bit of a ‘check-in’ about how and where they are heading.  It is great to see such a variety of community history groups taking an interest in MaC and wanting to discover more about standards for collections practices.

For more about our latest MaC members, take a look at their profile pages on this website.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network Heritage Office

Clare National Trust Museum

Macclesfield Community Association History Group

Mount Pleasant District Historical Research Group

Peterborough History Group

Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society Archives

SANFL History Centre

Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum

The MaC program is relevant to South Australian community museums, history groups and collecting organisations at whatever stage of their development.  Community history groups that would like to find out more about MaC membership are very welcome to contact us.

The collection of the Macclesfield History group includes many images like this one showing the opening of the swimming pool.
The collection of the Macclesfield History group includes many images like this one showing the opening of the swimming pool.
Part of the Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum’s Legendairy display


Robe Welcomes Tombstone Tourists

Tombstone Tourists has been created by the Robe community to celebrate the stories of people who have lived and died in the popular seaside town and historic port of Robe. The name was inspired by the media headlines the project generated during its development in 2017.

The project combines a website and a smart phone app which make it easy to access information about people buried in the town’s cemetery, including both the heritage-listed historical section and newer sections established since the 1950s.

Visitors to the cemetery are encouraged to download the app so they can listen to the stories and see the faces of those buried, as they explore the graves, gaining fascinating insights into the lives of the men, women and children who have been part of the Robe community since the township was proclaimed in 1846.

Funded under the auspices of the Robe Local History Group, the project was supported by the District Council of Robe and the History Trust of South Australia. The content continues to expand, with stories and images relating to more graves being added. The History Group is also encouraging council to place markers on unidentified graves, which have been mapped using available records.

The cemetery is open every day so there are lots of opportunities to be a Tombstone Tourist in Robe.

People with family members buried in the Robe cemetery are encouraged to get in touch, and provide information so their stories can be added.

Communities interested in using the same digital framework to create a website and app for their cemeteries are also welcome to contact project coordinator Kim Kelly or call 0419 855 537 for further information.



We Welcome Our First MaC Members!

The History Trust is excited to announce that Angaston & Penrice Historical Society and the Mount Torrens and District Community Association are the first two organisations to join the Museums and Collections (MaC) program.  Both quickly put their hands up to complete the MaC membership process. Angaston & Penrice Historical Society is well established in managing archival and object collections and presenting the Doddridge Blacksmith Shop as a museum and for tours.  Mount Torrens is in the process of establishing a community archives and interested in pursuing ways to make their collections accessible in digital formats.  Both organisations are eligible to apply for a MaC project grant this year and we wish them every success.

The MaC program is relevant to South Australian community museums and collecting organisations at whatever stage of their development.  Community groups that would like to talk about MaC membership are very welcome to contact us.

Old Coach House Mount Torrens – the archives will soon be moving to a purpose built building.

Among many activities, Angaston & Penrice Historical Society maintains the Doddridge Blacksmith Shop.

Grants to support Museums and Collections

The inaugural grant fund aligned with the History Trust’s Museums and Collections (MaC) program has opened.  Applications for project grants will be accepted online until Friday 12 April.  Organisations need to be members of MaC to be eligible to this grant fund.  Applications must be made online.

The History Trust’s Community History Officers (Amanda and Pauline) are very happy to talk about applications, and MaC membership, with you.  Give them a call on 08 8203 9888 or email to


Grants for Heritage Places

Owners of State Heritage Places may be able to secure funds through the Department for Environment and Water for projects that contribute to the longevity of these places.

To be eligible the project has to relate to a place that is on the State Heritage Register, or located in a State Heritage Area.  Throughout South Australia there are many community museums and societies located in such places, so if there are some building works that need doing this may be an avenue to fund them.

Grants can be for conservation projects including conservation of significant building fabric or reinstatement or protection of significant features, such as verandahs.  New roofs, guttering, window frames, damp treatment, underpinning and repointing are all activities that could be eligible for funding.  Details and the application process are available here.

SA Heritage Grants also has a focus on community projects, such as works that support adaptive re-use of heritage places, or that promote the development of heritage tourism or skills in heritage trades, so the fund is a good fit for historical organisations.

The History Trust’s community history officers are always very happy to talk with community organisations about grant funding opportunities and making applications.  We can be contacted on 08 8203 9888 or

Museums and Collections Program Launched

The History Trust’s Museums and Collections (MaC) program is up and running!  MaC is a standards and funding program for incorporated historical societies, community museums and community archives.  It replaces the long running Community Museums Program (CMP) and offers greater opportunities for a wider range of participants.

The purpose of MaC is to recognise and support the development, sustainability and community impact of South Australian community history organisations.  Expert assistance from History Trust staff, online resources (coming soon), workshops, and substantial annual grant funds underpin MaC and support the work of MaC members.

The process of joining is the first step on the MaC journey, and involves completing a self-review.  The self-review prompts reflection on developing, caring for and sharing collections, governance, sustainability and future planning.  It is an accessible format and recognises the individuality of the community history and collecting groups that make up the dynamic South Australian History Network.

MaC embodies the principles and benchmarks of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries (NSAMG) and is an active program that will evolve over time.

Organisations that manage community history collections are warmly invited to work with the History Trust through MaC.  Information is here or contact Amanda James or Pauline Cockrill at the History Trust on 8203 9888 or .

Stay tuned for an announcement about the inaugural MaC grant round soon.



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