Author Archives: University of Melbourne Archives

Unexpected journeys through POW records

Dr Seumas Spark Dean of Arts Research Fellow, Monash University My first encounter with the Australian Red Cross (ARC) archive was in 2012. The return home of Australian prisoners of war (POWs) during the Second World War interested me, and I wanted to write an article on the subject. From 1942 to 1945, the Allies […]

War and Peace: Stories of endeavour from the Australian Red Cross Collection

Chelsea Harris Public Programs and Audience Engagement, University of Melbourne Archives Within the University of Melbourne Archives’ 20 kilometres of records sits a relatively new acquisition, some 347 linear meters of records of the Australia Red Cross. Comprising 1,405 boxes across 36 series, these records relate to both the National Office as well as the […]

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 […]