Author Archives: University of Melbourne Archives

Centenary of Japanese language teaching at the University of Melbourne

In early 1917, the call for Instructors of the Russian and Japanese languages at the University of Melbourne was advertised in several Victorian newspapers.  The roles were not salaried, but instead paid a portion of student tuition fees. An Instructor of Russian was appointed; however, it was not until the following year that a suitable […]

We’re Not Nice Old Ladies: Records of the Alma Unit for Women and Ageing

by Susan Feldman – Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash University. University of Melbourne Archives recently acquired records relating to the establishment, work and achievements of the Alma Unit for Women and Ageing  a ground-breaking scholarly endeavour at the University of Melbourne that sought to shed new light on the connections between gender, ageing, health and wellbeing. The […]

The story of how ‘Corroboree’ by Indigenous artist Tommy McRae came to the University of Melbourne Archives

The story of how Tommy McRae’s Corroboree came to the university is told from documentation at University of Melbourne Archives (UMA), telling one side of a complex history. UMA looks forward to meeting with  McCrae’s descendants later in the year to show them more of his artwork and to learn more of the human story […]

‘Salut Comarada’’ An Australian experience of the Spanish Civil War

The 17th of July marked the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Despite taking place on the other side of the world, a number of Australians left their homeland to join what many observers saw as a war of ideologies. War erupted after a failed military coup by Nationalist forces (later led […]

Secrets and Signatures

Rebekah J. Harris – PhD Candidate in History at the University of Melbourne School of Culture and Communications The most alluring aspect of an archival family collection is its honesty – its documentation of a family’s success and failures. Unless someone has deliberately removed something, personal papers hide very little. In this respect, the Bright Family […]

Epic drive from Melbourne to Adelaide “exceptionally unpleasant”

Motoring enthusiasts Russell Grimwade and G.P.Smith completed the first motorcar trip between Melbourne and Adelaide taking place over 5 days from May 30th to June 3rd 1905. Driving a 10 horsepower double cylinder Argyll car, the pair experienced trouble crossing the Coorong owing to the poor condition of the pipeclay roads. Grimwade stated that he […]

Business as usual: correspondence from the Bright Family Papers

Nell Ustundag (PhD Candidate in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne) Nothing is quite like handling and reading original hand-written correspondence. Letters, particularly those written by hand, are intimate, tangible evidence of relationships between and amongst people; autobiographical evidence of the perspectives and lives of their writers. Most people cherish and […]

Textual personalities: the letters of Mary and Dorothy Bright

Francesca Kavanagh (PhD Candidate in English and Literature in the University of Melbourne School of Culture and Communications) The Bright family papers comprise one of the most significant collections of artefacts pertaining to Jamaican and English trade in the mid- to late-eighteenth century held in Australia. Housed in the University of Melbourne Archives, this collection […]

“Single men from Scotland keenly sought”

“Single men from Scotland are keenly sought” writes James Butchart to his father on his arrival in Port Phillip, where he expects his exercise of the three virtues, “patience, prudence and perseverance”, will enable him to thrive. (James Butchart, Melbourne, to father, 15 February 1842, 1990.0083.00005). Recently digitised correspondence reveals the journey of one man from […]

125 years of horticultural education – celebrating Burnley Campus

Jane Wilson Volunteer Archivist, Burnley Archives Friends of Burnley Gardens The last few weeks have been very busy for me, the Volunteer Archivist for the Burnley Archives Collection. The Burnley Campus is celebrating this year 125 years of continuous horticultural education and it has been 25 years since the Archives were formally set up. The […]