Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Local history groups hold keys to uncovering the past

Speedy Purchase, Quick Return: The small settlement of Kookabookra lay south east of Glen Innes, one of many now vanished country settlements.The records of the Kookabookra Court of Perry Sessions are just one of the records held at the New England Archives and Heritage Centre,

I hope that you had a happy Christmas. May the New Year be peaceful, successful, wet and fire free!

I published my first Express column in December 2009. Since then I have written 474 columns. This year, I hope to take you still deeper into the remarkable tapestry that is our history.

Last year, I wrote a short series on the cultural, social and economic importance of family, local and regional history. This post focuses on some of the historical resources available in Armidale. Later, I will deal with resources outside Armidale.

Armidale has a number of historical societies. The peak societies are the Armidale Family History Group and the Armidale and District Historical Society.

The Family History Group focuses on family history, but can provide broader information to provide an historical context. The Historical Society focuses on history, but can also provide information relevant to particular families. The two societies work closely together, with many common members.

Both maintain growing collections of historical material. Both have reading rooms open to the general public manned by volunteers who can provide advice on the topics you are interested in or direct you to other sources of information.

The Armidale and District Historical Society is located at 114 Faulkner Street, the old Dumaresq Shire Council Chambers. It’s open Monday to Friday, 10.00 to 16.00.

The Family History Group reading rooms in the Kentucky Street museum precinct at the Dangar Street end are open Monday 14.00 to 17.00, Wednesday 10.00 to 16.00, other times by appointment.

Just across the road from the Family History Group in the Newling library building lies the University of New England Archives & Heritage Centre, the jewel in Armidale’s historical resources crown.

The Centre has a large collection of primary and secondary materials relevant to New England’s history and is a great resource for students, locals and family and regional historians. The Centre is open Monday to Friday 9.00-17.00.

Down Kentucky Street from the Heritage Centre you will find the New England Regional Art Museum (open Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-16.00) and the Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place (open Monday to Friday 9.00-16.00, Saturday 10.00-14.00).

Two other resources are the Armidale City Library (Rusden Street) and the Dixson Library at the University. Apart from its general material, the City Library has a small local reference section upstairs, while the Dixson is a major library that Includes a specialist collection covering New England.

This post provides just a taste of local resources. Later this year, we hope to release a full resource guide for use by students, teachers, locals and visitors.

Note to readers: This post appeared as a column in the Armidale Express Extra on 8 January 2020. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 


Johnb said...

This photo also to my eye Jim illustrates the quality of the build given the materials available to these first timers. No evidence for Jerry building and impermanence, it is only history that has reflected its ultimate fate.

Jim Belshaw said...

That's a fair point, John. Consider Hillgrove where the same thing happened on larger scale