Yankallila Scanfest

For the 2023 History Festival this May the Digitising Collections the Yankalilla and District Historical Society (YDHS) held scanfests at Myponga and Inman Valley. We sent some of the Digitising Collections loan equipment and were keen to hear how things went. YDHS President Sue Speck shares the experience below.

The Yankalilla and District Historical Society (YDHS) held scanfests at Myponga and Inman Valley this year. The events involved setting up a display relevant to each venue, setting up four scanning stations and offering refreshments and help to people wanting to digitize their documents and images. In doing so the Society was able to add it its collection of local history and participants could take away their digitsed images on a USB stick for a small donation.


computer screen and family history books People looking at a person scanning photos


The four stations were an A4 scanner, an A4 scanner that can scan slides and negatives, an A3 scanner and a camera set up on a tripod to photograph items that couldn’t fit on the scanners. We also had people to meet and greet as well as document and ensure the appropriate donation permissions and identifiers were captured.

The events were successful in that we were able to scan everything we were presented with and some people left albums with us to scan later. We could not easily have coped with large numbers but some people came to see what we could do and we expect to make bookings for one on one sessions at later dates.

The camera, which we borrowed from the History Trust, was used to capture images of framed material and an album which was old and fragile so could not be scanned. The images captured thus are not of high quality, shadowing from the tripod legs was an issue and the album images were quite dark and will require digital enhancement.Benefits to our society include development of skills within the society, valuable additions to our collection of images of the district and the digitisation of a set of minute books, on loan from Inman Valley, for our community archive. In addition we have publicized the society’s scanning ability and have since been asked to scan a burial register held by our council.


Bunting in front of a town hall tables with computers and scanners in a large hall

The two events were a lot of logistical work, getting the equipment to the venues and setting up the displays but next May YDHS will be holding its Heritage Festival launch at Inman Valley and this was a valuable opportunity to work with that community and establish better lines of communication. We will launch the booklet Old Inman Valley there next May and some of the images scanned on the day will make it into the new publication.


Flyer with Scanfest details

Digital Collections at Henley and Grange Historical Society

John Hannay from the Henley and Grange Historical Society shares here what he and other volunteers have been working on. After participating in the 2022 Digitising Collections SA training online the Henley and Grange Historical Society have borrowed the loan equipment purchased as part of the DPC funded pilot project. John shares some of the results below. 

Two men in a storage space with shelves full of archive
The Henley and Grange Historical Society collections storage area.

After a pause of several years Henley and Grange Historical Society volunteers are working to complete categorisation of our extensive history collection of some 3000 items. We are updating our system of cataloguing which involves creating a paper record and a database entry for each item with digital additions.

Photographic, computer and lighting equipment loaned by the History Trust has enabled us to make a start on generating digital images of the objects and larger items, not previously accessed or viewed.

Woman and man bending over table and arranging objects on photo paper
Digitisation of the Henley and Grange Historical Society Collection

Once our volunteers had mastered the technology a ‘production line approach’ worked best. This requires several volunteers, a camera operator, another recording, and another preparing objects, re-cataloguing and labelling them afterwards.

Japanese style paper fan printed with image of a beach with a jetty and tram.
Souvenir fan printed with an image of a horse drawn tram at Henley jetty. Henley and Grange Historical Society Collection

This digitisation works with our updated Henley and Grange Historical Society website which we hope will provide easier access to our collection for our members as well as the wider community.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts John! We look forward to seeing more of the Henley and Grange Historical Society digitisation work. 

Congratulations Ardrossan Museum

We are thrilled that one of our Museums and Collections (MaC) members from South Australia’s diverse network of museums and historical groups were announced as winners of the Visitor Services Information Award at the Tourism Industry Council South Australia (TiCSA) awards night on Thursday, 3 November!

The History Trust is proud to work with Ardrossan Museum and Visitor Information Centre, plus more than 60 other MaC members, 300+ community museums and historical societies across the state. Since the 1980s we have awarded Ardrossan Museum a total of $73,710 in History Trust grants to conserve and display their collections and showcase their history. In fact, it is one of our priorities to help care for South Australia’s distributed historical collections. Community museums are essential to bring history to both young and old and deliver great visitor and tourism experiences in our regions.

Well done to Ardrossan Museum and Visitor Information Centre on their TiCSA award!

You can read more about the Museum and plan your visit over on their page.

Digitising Collections SA

The History Trust of South Australia is excited to be working on a new digitisation project!

Department of Premier and Cabinet, Arts South Australia has provided funding to develop training, resources, and a community of practice for digitisation of collections across South Australia. With support from a Digital Access Consultative Group (DACG) made up of collaborative collecting organisations, Digitising Collections SA is a short-term project that aims to help increase the knowledge, capacity and understanding of the digitisation process, and provide long-term resources for any individual or organisation embarking on their digitisation journey.

What’s happening in SA

We’ve conducted a survey to establish existing digitisation practice and needs across the SA History Networks collecting organisations.

We received 39 responses from a wide variety of collections and we are already planning some digitisation training and resources based on the outcomes.

Thank you to all the organisations who have participated. If you missed the deadline and would still like to contribute, please contact us. Your information will still be valuable even after the closing of the survey.

Our analysis is not yet complete but here are a few initial findings we thought you might like to see.

Reasons for digitising

The main reasons reported for wanting to digitise a collection are preservation, ease of access and collection management, and better opportunities for research. 73% of respondents have already begun actively digitising their collections.


The biggest obstacle to digitisation is insufficient time of staff or volunteers followed by lack of knowledge, and/or lack of resources.

The majority of responding organisations do not have a budget for digitisation and digitisation is undertaken by one person in the organisation.

90% of surveyed organisations do not have a long term storage solution for the preservation of their digital collections and are currently using external hard drives or USB thumb drives to store and back up their image collections.

What can we do?

The top three areas in which organisations would like more support were in:

  • preparing processes and procedures that adhere to digitisation standards
  • selecting items for digitisation or documenting digitisation strategy
  • digital collection storage and management.

Graph showing digitisation requirements

Watch this space, we’ll be sharing more findings from the survey, and letting you know how we plan to use this information to provide more support.

Competition Winners

We can also announce the winners of the two $250 Diamonds Camera gift cards. Congratulations Orroroo Historical Society & Port Milang Historic Railway Museum!

Meet the team

Head shot of young womanEleanor Adams

Hi I’m Eleanor. I have been working in collecting organisations for the last ten years. My focus has been on digitisation, most recently overseeing the Aboriginal Material Cultures volunteer digitisation project at the South Australian Museum.

I currently split my time between the History Trust of SA and Artlab Australia where I work as the photographer. I also spend some of my time working in school archives, and I also teach at Flinders University. My particular areas of interest are anthropology and archaeology collections, as well as history, art, medical and science collections. I look forward to supporting you on your digitisiation projects!


Headshot of young woman

Erin Bridges

Hello! I’m Erin, originally from the Yorke Peninsula, and so far really enjoying my time at the History Trust of South Australia! I am currently studying my Masters in Museum Studies & Cultural Heritage with Deakin University, a library officer at Tea Tree Gully Library and volunteering at The David Roche Foundation whenever I get the chance. I also have more than ten years experience in photography and editing, which means I love helping to digitise.

Thanks for all the warm welcomes I’ve received so far, I’m excited to see where this project goes!




Head and shoulders shot of a woman posing in a museum

Catherine Manning

Some of you may have met me already – I’ve been working at the History Trust for (almost) 20 years now! First as a curator at the Migration Museum, then in Online Programs, and now as Digital Curator.

I’ve worked with the Community History team in the past to run workshops on digitisation, digital access for collections, and digital storytelling. I’m really excited about the opportunities this project offers to create better resources for our collecting community, and build on the skills already out there in the SA History Networks to work towards digitising and sharing even more of our collections.

Grants Roundup

We know it can be tough keeping body and soul together in small collecting organisations and history groups. Knowing where to look for grants and funding is half the battle, so we’ve put a few together here to get you started.

AMaGA CHART grants

green background with government logo and text 'AMaGA CHART

$3000 up for grabs

This is another reminder that the one-off federal Cultural, Heritage and Arts Regional Tourism (CHART) grants have just become available.  Your organisation may be eligible for up to $3000. Check the details below regarding eligibility and how to apply.  But don’t delay: the round will close on or before 29 April 2022 once the funding allocation has been expended.

The Culture, Heritage and Arts Regional Tourism (CHART) program is a $3 million Australian Government program that aims to support community cultural, heritage and arts organisations in regional Australia as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19. A wide range of projects are eligible for funding including signage and equipment.

The Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) is administering the CHART program on behalf of the Australian Government.

Visit the website to view the guidelines, FAQ and scenario examples and to test your eligibility. We have regional coordinators ready to take your enquiries.

SA’s regional coordinator:

Justin Croft

M: 0488 732 766 or E: jcroft@amagavic.org.au

You can find more information and apply on the AMaGA website.

Historical Society of South Australia Grant Scheme

The Historical Society of South Australia is pleased to announce resumption of its Grants Scheme in 2022 for research, publication or promotion of South Australian history.

Closing date for applications: Monday 28 March 2022.

Successful applicants will be announced at the lecture meeting during the annual History Festival on Friday 6 May and all applicants will receive notification by Monday 15 May 2022. Payment of the monies awarded in grants will happen in June 2022.

Applications should be addressed to:

The Convenor, HSSA Annual Grants Scheme

PO Box 519, Kent Town SA 5071

Contact Dr Bridget Jolly, Secretary, Historical Society of South Australia

Email: brimar@esc.net.au

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalSocietySA

More information and application details on the Historical Society of South Australia website.

Black and white image of two women in front of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Palm House

Small tourism grants now available

Two additional grant programs are now available to support tourism operators to activate nature-based and heritage-based tourism initiatives: the Nature-based Tourism Small Grants Program and the Heritage Tourism Grants Program.Many operators may be eligible for both grant programs – and can choose to apply for both grants or only one.

These grants are only available for a limited time – applications close on 2pm, Friday 3 December 2021.

More on the National Parks and Wildlife Service, South Australia, website.

History Trust Grant Funds

We hope by now you’re all familiar with the South Australian History Fund and the Museums and Collections (MaC) grants offered through the History Trust of South Australia.

The History Trust is seeking feedback on these two grant funds, and we’re keen to hear from you whether or not you have ever come across or applied for one of our grants.

The survey will take just 5-10 mins to complete. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Closing date: Tuesday 30 November 2021

Some of you may have already received an email about this survey, and we really appreciate those who have already completed it. The information you provide will help us support you and your organisations in more meaningful ways in the future.

Complete the survey online now.

Online Training and Resources

Back in April we shared a few thoughts about working with museums and collections from home. While here in South Australia we’ve been able to get out and about a bit more under current COVIDSafe conditions there are still plenty of great opportunities to get online and up-skill, or just learn more on topics of interest. We thought we’d do a quick round up here while we work on a few things ourselves (more on that another time).

Oral History Australia SA/NT are always a great resource, and they have an online ‘How to do an oral history interview’ workshop coming up. Bookings close 5pm Monday 24 August so get in quick for this one!

The Australian Copyright Council are running Webinars in September. If you’re confused about copyright the Copyright Fundamentals workshops are a great place to start, and if you need more there are focus workshops for museum and gallery professionals, library and archive professionals, educators and administrators in educational institutions.

The Marsden Szwarcbord Foundation have a YouTube series called ‘Make History at Home’, a free ‘how to do your own history’ series presented by historians Susan Marsden and Sandra Kearney. They say:

Through the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve posted videos, photos and advice, so you can use the time at home to arrange your records and photos, and share your own histories.

Session one below for an introduction.

Of course there’s always something to see, hear and more on the History Trust website as well, and we’ll be talking to you soon about what else we might offer there!

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

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!



Recent Posts

Recent Comments