Category Archives: Collections in focus

Bright pink poster with white outlines of people protesting, some are holding up placards. Orange "La Mama Company" written at top of poster

Revolutionary theatre is a risk worth taking

Looking back at La Mamas’ 50-year history, from inception in 1967 when Betty Burstall created an ‘immediate’ theatre space in Melbourne inspired by New York’s La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, reveals not only the rise of an Australian theatre nurtured by local talent, but a larger portrait of Australian society and culture. As challenges to cultural […]

Blue Art Nouveau design of a women holding a lute, surrounded by birds.

Philip Sousa marches out of town

In 1911 Australian music lovers were treated to a lengthy tour by American composer and conductor Philip Sousa, along with his 55 piece band.  The band toured the world for 352 days, and was at that time, the most extensive tour made by such a large band. Most have likely heard Sousa’s distinctive style; mostly military and patriotic marches, although could […]

A life in 22 boxes

Jane Beattie, Assistant Archivist – University of Melbourne Archives Sophie Garrett, Assistant Archivist – University of Melbourne Archives Two pairs of ballet slippers used by Juan Cespedes are preserved in the John Harvey Foster collection, along with research material and personal effects such as Foster’s diaries and a notebook of recipes written by the pair. These […]

Geneva Bureau

‘A Humane and Intimate Administration’: The Red Cross’ World War Two Wounded, Missing and Prisoner of War Cards

Fiona Ross Senior Archivist, University of Melbourne Archives Private Rawson’s mother first contacted the Red Cross in early April 1942, six weeks after her son was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore. For her, and thousands of other Australian mothers, fathers, wives, sisters and brothers, this began three and half years of […]

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 […]

Nurse Ooi Soh Im (left) and Nurse Alice Chia

The AIF Malayan Nursing Scholarship

Professor Christina Twomey, Monash University Alice Chia and Ooi Soh Im arrived in Australia in 1947, the first recipients of the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) Malayan Nursing Scholarship. Australian prisoners of war (POWs) from the 8th Division of the AIF devised the scholarship scheme in honour of the assistance given to them during the Second […]

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 […]

Women's Liberation: March on March

Women’s Liberation and Feminist Sources at UMA

Sue Fairbanks, Acting University Archivist When Germaine Greer visited Australia in 1971 to see her family and promote the paperback edition of The Female Eunuch, the Australian women’s movement was gearing up for one of its most important interventions in Australian politics. The Women’s Electoral Lobby, convened by Beatrice Faust, was formed to survey all […]

Nobel Prize Winners Notebooks Windows on Laboratory Life – PART I

by Katrina Dean, University Archivist In the Melbourne winter of 1935 Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Head of the Virology Department at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) felt himself coming down with a cold. Instead of drinking a cup of tea or going home to lie down, he took a sample of his nasal mucous and […]