Community Museum Wrap-up for 2023

2023 was yet another busy year of travel for History Trust staff as we ventured out of Adelaide to visit some of our MaC members and other regional museums.

In January we visited the Riverland to check in with Loxton Historical Village following their near miss with flood water in late 2022. Loxton had so many boxes to unpack after their temporary re-location, and the team used the opportunity to re-imagine some of their displays and storage options. We were also glad to support the Village as they marked their 50 year milestone in July.

With funding from SAFECOM, the History Trust and Artlab were able to deliver Disaster Resilience Training and assistance with four MaC member groups. St John’s Museum at Brighton was first cab off the ranks in March, followed by The Hahndorf Academy in April.

In June we headed to the Mill Cottage Museum in Port Lincoln to facilitate training with volunteers from Port Lincoln History Group and Axel Stenross Maritime Museum. The fourth and final workshop was held at Clare National Trust in July/August.


It was again wonderful to see so many regional museums participating in the History Festival. However, we were pleased to attend a few of 2023’s offerings. Brinkworth History Group arranged a visit to see the Brinkworth RSL collection, while Peterborough History Group launched their project to commemorate the historic Parnaroo Hall.


In the latter part of 2023, we worked closely with Melrose Museum as they organised some display change overs. Moonta Branch National Trust of South Australia also gave us insight into their object biographies project, activation of the Miner’s Cottage space, and an exciting 3D printing history project done in conjunction with local schools and Maker’s Empire…


… new MaC member Mannum History Group launched their photographic display about the 2022 floods…

… and we were also excited to see that Hollywood has left its mark in Cambrai! Cambrai Museum acquired a fibreglass rock used in the making of Mortal Kombat, which was partly filmed in the area.

November was an especially busy month as we headed to Whyalla Maritime Museum, Mount Laura Homestead Museum, Port Pirie RSL Museum, Crystal Brook Museum, and Kimba & Gawler Ranges Historical Society Museum. Mount Lara Homestead Museum, Whyalla, is also home to some of the Telstra Collection that used to be located in Electra House on King William St Adelaide.

We also spent some time with prospective new MaC members, Crystal Brook History Group.

Of course, no trip to Kimba and the South East is complete without a stop at The Big Galah, which has recently been repainted and looking as vibrant as ever.

What a busy year it was! Thank you to all the museums and groups that welcomed us in 2023. History Trust staff look forward to working with more of our MaC members and members of the wider SA History Network in 2024!

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.

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. 

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!


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.

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

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.

Reopening of Rejuvenated Latvian Museum

On Saturday 11 December, the History Trust of South Australia’s Community History Officers, Amanda James and Pauline Cockrill attended the reopening of Adelaide’s Latvian Museum, which has been closed to the public for around 5 years.

Visitors view examples of national costume and ceramics, representing Latvia’s cultural heritage, displayed in new cabinets.

Located at 36 Rose Terrace in Wayville, the museum was officially reopened by His Excellency Marģers Krams, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to the Commonwealth of Australia, along with Ilze Radzins, President of the Latvian Association of SA.

Housed in a 19th century stone-fronted villa, the museum aims to reflect the heritage of the post WW2 immigrants who brought their culture and art to South Australia from Latvia.  Prior to COVID and some necessary building renovations, the History Trust had been closely involved in the rejuvenation of the museum, with both funding and expert advice. In 2017-19 Community History Officer, Pauline Cockrill worked with the museum volunteers to clean, catalogue and review the displays in preparation for Latvia’s centenary celebrations taking place 2017-2021. In 2018, Latvia celebrated a hundred years since it became an independent state.

The Latvian Museum has had close connections with the History Trust for many years, being part of its Community Museums Program, (now the Museums and Collections (MaC) Program), the development and funding program for community museums and historical groups that manage collections.  We should like to acknowledge the many years of sterling work undertaken by previous volunteer curator Mara Kolomitsev who sadly passed way in 2020.

Fascinating memorabilia relating to Aldona Laurs (nee Muizniece) born in Riga in 1911. She was a Red Cross nurse during WW2 and afterwards worked at the DP Camp Insula, near Berchtesgaden in Germany. She migrated to Adelaide in 1948.

We look forward to the Latvian Museum joining MaC and being able to assist them in incorporating into the museum displays, the many oral histories of the Latvian community being ably gathered by Marija Perijma.

Saturday’s event was a memorable occasion for the local Latvian community, and many of the hardworking volunteers involved in the museum’s rejuvenation were in attendance.  After an opportunity to view the museum’s displays, attendees were invited to the Latvian Association’s meeting rooms next door for refreshments including traditional Latvian  specialties: Piragi (bacon filled buns) and Klingeris (a sweet bread served at birthdays and other celebrations).

L-R: Ilze Radzina, Marija Perejma, Pauline Cockrill, His Excellency Mr Margers Krams and Mrs Sandra Krama

Gifts were exchanged between the Ambassador and the Latvian Association, and the museum also received a fascinating donation to the collection from a local member of the Latvian community in the form of a pair of binoculars belonging to his father. They had been requisitioned from a Russian soldier during the reoccupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union in 1944 following the withdrawal of Nazi German troops.

HE Ambassador of Latvia, Margers Krams looks on as the President of the Latvian Association, Ilse Radzins is presented with some WW2 memorabilia for the museum.
Slices of celebratory Latvian cake (Klingeris) are passed around at the reception afterwards

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:

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


Facebook page:

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.

Visiting the City of Adelaide

On 22 September the History Trust of South Australia’s Community History Officers, Amanda James and Pauline Cockrill were delighted to be given a personal tour of the Clipper Ship, City of Adelaide by Director Peter Christopher.

The City of Adelaide is currently berthed in Dock 2, Honey Street in Port Adelaide. The volunteer not-for-profit organisation which preserves this historic vessel, Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd (CSCOAL) recently joined our Museums and Collections (MaC) Program, the History Trust of South Australia’s development and funding program for community museums and historical groups that manage collections.

Peter talking about the composite hull – wood and iron frame.

The ship was purpose-built in Sunderland in the north of England to transport passengers and goods between the UK and South Australia and was named after its capital city.  The world’s oldest composite clipper ship (wooden hull on iron frame), and one of only two to survive, the other being the famous but younger Cutty Sark.

The City of Adelaide’s maiden voyage was in 1864 and for over 20 years she played an important part in the immigration of Australia. Later she worked as a cargo ship, then an isolation hospital near Southampton before being taken over by the Royal Navy.  The ship was left to rot on a private slip on the River Clyde in Scotland before being rescued by a group of Australian volunteers headed by Peter Christopher and brought to Port Adelaide in 2014.

Peter and his volunteers gave a fascinating tour of the ship and we discussed the restoration and future plans for interpretation.  Their aim is to make the ship the centre-piece of a seaport village in Port Adelaide’s inner harbour.

The area of the vessel that tells the story of when it was an isolation ship

We are pleased to learn that the group are already taking advantage of their MaC membership, applying for a MaC Small Project grant to assist their upcoming Descendants Day in November. The History Trust looks forward to assisting this enterprising group in the future.

Amanda with volunteer Ian inside the storage container that is the museum shop
Ann Margaret Bickford supplied 3 casks of lime juice cordial for each of the 23 voyages of the City of Adelaide as a medicine to avoid getting scurvy.

New Interpretive Trail launched at Milang

Last Sunday 30 May, as part of South Australia’s History Festival, a new interpretive walking trail at Milang on the Fleurieu Peninsula was officially launched by Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie MP. An initiative of the Port Milang Railway Museum, the trail was funded by the History Trust of South Australia through our Museums and Collections (MaC) program.  This is a development and funding program for community museums and historical groups that manage collections.

Visitors walking Nuggett’s Trail can read about the history of the tramway and the lakes on the 10 interpretive signs

The History Trust’s Community History Officer Pauline Cockrill was delighted to cut the ribbon and meet champion Clydesdale Wheelabarraback Hugh Barry aka Harry who, with his owner Mike Connell of the SA Working Draught Horse Association, took the lead along the new trail down to the jetty.  Harry was taking the part of Nuggett after which the trail is named.  Nuggett was the last horse that was used for over two decades, until his death in 1934, to transport goods to and from the jetty.

In the form of ten signs constructed along the 400m route from the railway station to the jetty, Nuggett’s Trail tells the story of the tramway. The jetty was built in 1856 and for many years horses were the motive power to convey goods, later replaced by a 1923-4 Chevrolet car until the tramway was removed in the 1960s.

The Port Milang Railway Museum is free and open from noon to 4pm at weekends, with Devonshire teas and free train rides available on Sundays.

Launch of the Rejuvenated Round House

Welcome to Country at the beginning of the launch

The CEO of the History Trust of South Australia (HTSA), Greg Mackie OAM launched the rejuvenated historic Round House on 5 May during South Australia’s History Festival.  The launch had been postponed from the previous year because of COVID.


Since early 2019 HTSA has been working with the Rural City of Murray Bridge (RCMB) who own the Round House to assist in the rejuvenation of this State Heritage and National Estate listed building. It is one of Murray Bridge’s oldest surviving buildings, completed in 1876 during the construction of the first bridge to span the Murray River.

HTSA and RCMB team

The project utilised skills of the History Trust’s Public Engagement branch led by Community History Officer Pauline Cockrill.  HTSA undertook several tasks on behalf of RCMB: a review of collection records; a significance assessment of Round House collections; an Interpretation plan for the Round House and the development of museum and collection skills of volunteers.

Taking a selfie with bridge engineer Henry Parker – Bec Turner, Christeen Schoepf and Pauline Cockrill

When the project commenced very little was known about the collections at the Round House, the many previous uses of the building, or the many people who had lived and worked there throughout its almost 150 year history. Professional historian Christeen Schoepf was subcontracted to do further research into residents of the Round House. Council received a $5,000 grant through HTSA’s South Australian History Fund to engage Christeen to undertake oral history interviews to support best practice interpretation, encourage community participation and to incorporate into the new display.


Implementation of the Significance Assessment and Interpretation Plan developed by has been led by Bec Turner and has involved a team of volunteers and collaboration/consultation with other organisations such as the National Railway Museum, museum design company Synthetic Creative Services, landscaping design company  WAX Design, the National Trust of South Australia and HTSA

The newly rejuvenated hallway of the Round House

The Round House project demonstrates successful collaboration between HTSA and a local council.  First occasion of such a collaboration and we are now working with Adelaide Hills Council on an exciting interpretation project at Fabrik, the former Onkaparinga Woollen Mill site.

The newly revitalised Round House stands as an excellent example of meaningful collaboration between state and local governments, of how it is possible to tell authentic, significant stories through connecting well-researched history with best practice, creative methods of interpretation, on a relatively low budget.

The RCMB’s short promo trailer about the Roundhouse can be seen here 

Trees: Who Gives a Root?

Who Gives a Root? is the engaging title of a new fun, informative and interactive exhibition about our humble leafy friends – trees – which opened at Unley Museum last Thursday 28th January. The launch party was held appropriately in the shade of a large tree on the village green at the back of the museum.

Innovative way of displaying information in this exhibition about trees

This new exhibition takes up the main display area in the centre of the building, once Unley’s old fire station.  It has been transformed into a forest setting with replica trees, soft green lighting and the sound of birdsong.  Information is innovatively communicated using overlays of printed paper on the walls (like photocopies – a clever reminder of the way sadly many trees end up these days). However, we are told that the entire exhibition is printed on Carbon Neutral Paper and utilises reused materials. You can learn fascinating facts such as one established tree can provide enough oxygen for ten people to breathe each year; as well as schemes such as Unley’s Tree Tag project, and  Trees for Life’s  Trees for Carbon project. Using the Eye Jack App, obtained by scanning a QR code, you can also search for 10 native Australian, tree-dwelling animals hidden around the room. There is also a large interactive table top touchscreen that enables visitors to find out about Unley’s significant trees.  Did you know that within the council area lives a River Red Gum on Wilberforce Walk, Forestville, believed to be the oldest living thing in South Australia! Estimated at 800 years of age, it is also one of the largest, with a circumference of seven metres. Before leaving, visitors can write thoughts or comments about the exhibition on ‘leaves’ to attach to a tree, while later joining in on a photo challenge, involving taking a selfie with your favourite tree and bringing the photo back to add to the wall.

Visitor using the touchscreen within the exhibition

Designed by Exhibition Studios, the exhibition was part-funded by the History Trust through their Museums and Collections (MaC) standards Program.  Unley Museum is one of eight Accredited Museums within this program.  Unley’s curator Karen Paris was assisted by researcher and self-confessed ‘tree hugger’ Marian McDuie, GIS lecturer at TAFE SA – Regional Urrbrae Campus, who was also the guest speaker at the launch.  As well as talking about the importance of trees, Marian also told us the fascinating origins of the phrase ‘tree hugger’, which dates back to an event involving several hundred Indian villagers in 1730. City of Unley’s Mayor, Michael Hewitson also gave an impassioned speech.  This council is serious about its trees. It has a Tree Strategy and in 2020, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation recognised the City of Unley with Tree Cities of the World designation for the care and planning of urban trees and forests. This international program celebrates cities across all continents that meet core standards.

Exhibition researcher and guest speaker Marian McDuie giving presentation at the launch

Delayed by almost a year because of COVID, the exhibition will remain open for the rest of 2021. It can be seen Monday to Wednesday 10am – 4pm, Thursday 10am – 6pm and Sunday 2-5pm. It is closed on Public Holidays.

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.

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!

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.


Vale Margaret Tiller

The Community History team of the History Trust of South Australia are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Margaret Tiller on the night of Sunday 31 May at the Mary Potter Hospice.

Margaret in discussion with Amanda at the Succession Planning workshop in 2018 – the last time we were able to catch up.

Margaret was a much valued member of our South Australian History network, a long time committee member and volunteer at the Mallala Museum.  An untiring advocate for the museum, she still carried on an active role there despite being ill for some time.  The success of this mid north community museum has been largely due her tireless enthusiasm and dedication. She was a school excursion volunteer at the museum and as a former, education was always central to the museum ethos.  She is remembered as Miss Field teaching at Mallala School in the late 1950s. She was not afraid of embracing new ideas and skills playing an important part in the establishment of the Mallala Now and Then community heritage wiki website in 2010, which helped put Mallala on the map. We also made great contributions to our Once Upon a Time: Stories of South Australian Childhoods travelling exhibition, and the subsequent pop up display during the 2014 History Festival.

Margaret’s ingenious display case for protecting precious ‘Thread Bear’.

We shall miss the welcoming country hospitality that she always gave us when we arrived after the long drive to Mallala for a meeting or workshop. And we shall fondly miss her enthusiastic lengthy phone calls to keep us up to date with museum news or to run past innovative ideas for new displays.  The use of Cheap as Chips aquariums for making quick and easy display cases for small objects is something we still cite in our list of tips for small museums. We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues at the museum and within the Mallala community.

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
  • 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 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:
Like Poetry Takeover on Facebook
Contact the History Trust if you have any questions:

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.

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!



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


Ethical Storytelling Workshop

Around ten participants gathered in the Hetzel Theatre at the State Library’s Institute building on Monday 18 February eager to learn about Ethical Storytelling. It was Oral History Australia (SA/NT branch)’s first workshop for the year, and the beginning of a very special year for the organisation, being its 40th anniversary.  Catherine and I from the were amongst the attendees of the workshop which was led by freelance Adelaide-based writer May-Kuan Lim.

Many of us were working or had worked on projects that involved interviewing people and telling their stories, sometimes poignant, sensitive stories – to relay in a publication, website or exhibition. How can we ensure we do this ethically?

With the help of a power point presentation as well as some sample published passages to provoke small group discussion before reporting back to the main group, May-Kuan guided us through the duty of the writer and oral historian.  We considered what made a good story as well as the ideals in relation to the subject before outlining the process for fact finding, and what one should bear in mind when searching for the story.

May-Kuan recommended that we should always have in our minds when telling a story ‘Would I want myself/my children portrayed in this way?’  Her main take away message was that it should always be ‘people before projects’.

May-Kuan graduated in Computer science from the University of Melbourne. She was working as a broadcast engineer in a small regional TV studio in Sarawak, Malaysia in the late 1990s when she realised she would rather be writing stories than broadcasting them.  Since 2010 she has been teaching part time at Port Adelaide TAFE. Many of her students were former refugees and she was drawn to their stories particularly in light of the then current boat arrival debate. She started interviewing and writing refugee stories to try to understand why people fled and what life was like for them now.  Her book ‘Australia: Island of Refuge’ was released serially online from 1 March. Her presentation also drew on her experience helping her father write his life story, Fish in the Well: A memoir of faith and aspiration in which he recalls his early years around the Malaysian tin-mining town of Ipoh, and his search for a way out of poverty.

You can contact May-Kuan Lim via her website The Curious Scribbler or her Facebook page

Additional resources




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


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