At every Family History Feast, a presentation is delivered about a different State Library collection. At this year’s event, Sandra Burt, Librarian in the Australian Manuscripts Collection presented On the record: Archives for family historians which introduced the Library’s Manuscripts Collection.

In the first part of her presentation Sandra talked about the different types of material the Library’s Manuscripts Collection collects, including the personal papers and unpublished records of individuals, groups, businesses and other political or social organisations. A wide range of formats are collected including handwritten material such as letters, diaries, journals and notebooks, typescripts, electronic and born-digital records, plus other classes of unpublished records or productions. Some collections also include printed and published ephemera.

Sandra then highlighted a selection of collections she thought would be of interest to genealogists. Including:

Welfare collections– the State Library holds records of the Melbourne Orphan Asylum, Gordon Homes for Boys and Girls, Children’s Protection Society and the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum. Sandra noted that due to the confidential nature of these records, access restrictions do apply. Consult the Library’s catalogue or ask staff for more details.

Church records– a selection of early Victorian church records are held in the Manuscripts Collection. Including St Stephen’ s Church in Richmond and the Christ Church in South Yarra.

Shipboard diaries– the Library holds a collection of shipboard diaries documenting individual accounts of the voyage into Victoria. Sandra showed an example of a wonderfully illustrated diary, which includes humorous drawings of other passengers.

R. K Cole collection of hotel records – compiled from various sources such as post office directories and newspaper and trade journal notices, the Cole collection lists names of Victorian hotels, the licencee and dates when the licence was held. An index to these records known as the Cole- Tetlow Index is available to search on the State Library’s website.

Sandra concluded her presentation with some administrative remarks. She encouraged interested users to search the catalogue to find information about relevant collection material. Many of the collections in this area have an online descriptive list which can be viewed via the catalogue record. Material that is stored onsite is retrieved 3 times during the day Monday – Friday, 10am (order by previous day), 1pm (order by 12pm) and 4pm (order by 3pm). To view material on the weekend, a request must be submitted by 3pm on Friday.
Requests for Heritage material must be made through a library staff member. Contact staff at the La Trobe Reading Room Reference desk on (03) 8664 7009 to submit a request. Access restrictions to some records do apply, due to the confidential nature or the fragile condition of the material. Some material can not be copied due to copyright issues (staff in the Manuscripts Collection can advise about this).

This article has 2 comments

  1. Hi, thanks for the great day. It was well worth attending and the information given out was extremely useful. I look forward to next years event.

    Great idea with providing podcasts too!

    Where can the podcasts be downloaded?

    • Hi, thanks for your terrific feedback – we are glad that you enjoyed this year’s feast so much! The podcasts will be available on the audio & video section of our website, hopefully by the end of next week.

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