Royal Australian Historical Society

Knowing your history


December 10, 2020

Coogee Beach c.1931 [RAHS Postcard Collection]

Merry Christmas from the RAHS

The Royal Australian Historical Society wishes all our members and friends a happy Christmas and a safe holiday. We would like to thank you for your support throughout 2020.
Throughout this pandemic we have faced challenges we did not anticipate at the start of 2020, but in spite of these difficulties, we have found ways to continue bringing you history-related content in new ways – including moving our events calendar online.
So, in the spirit of this festive season, we would like to announce that our Members Only area is now online and all members with a valid email address can access this membership benefit.
To access your account and start viewing member-exclusive content, click members password reset under the Members Only tab at the top of our website’s navigation bar. Then use the email address that you have registered with your membership to create a password. That’s it! Once you have set your password you should be able to login to the Members Area.
In the Members Area you will find member-exclusive content, including:
  • High-resolution digital images
  • Digital copies of JRAHS and History magazine
  • Digital publications, including Much Writing, Many Opinions: The Making of the Royal Australian Historical Society 1901 to 2001.
We also have more good news: Playing Their Part: Vice-Regal Consorts of NSW can now be purchased and downloaded from our website as a digital book. Members can buy a digital copy at the special price of $15 (non-member price $20). To access this offer, you must be logged into the Members Only area.
We hope you enjoy these benefits of membership to the RAHS and we look forward to bringing you more history-related content in 2021.



As well as receiving our quarterly History magazine and bi-annual Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, if you join the RAHS before the end of the year you will also receive:
  • Copy of Shady acres: politicians, developers and Sydney’s public transport scandals 1872-1895 / Lesley Muir; introduction by Elizabeth Farrelly
  • Royal Australian Historical Society Pen
  • Collection of Macquarie Street A4 posters 
(Offer available while stocks last)
Other benefits of becoming a member
  • Free access to the RAHS
  • Research advice from RAHS Librarian
  • Free Members Events and Event Discounts
  • Connect with the History Community
New members will also have access to the Members Only area and the members-exclusive content and discounts mentioned in our previous story.

Learn more about the benefits.
STUDENT DISCOUNT: One-year membership from $47


2020 Transport Heritage Grant Recipients 

The 2020 Transport Heritage Grant recipients were announced on Transport Heritage NSW’s YouTube on Monday 1 December.
The Transport Heritage Grant Program is an annual program designed to bring transport heritage projects to life across NSW and aims to help the NSW community rediscover the culture, events and people that helped shape transport heritage in NSW over the past 165 years. This program is made possible through the NSW Government and Transport Heritage NSW.
Andrew Moritz (Chief Executive Officer, THNSW) announced in the video that this year’s program received a record number of submissions. The RAHS wishes to congratulate all recipients of the 2020 Transport Heritage Grants – we wish you all the best for your projects and hope to hear from you soon.
You can watch the entire awards ceremony
 online where you will also learn about the successful projects. To keep updated on the progress of these restoration projects, we recommend you follow THNSW’s social media.
RAHS Events
RAHS Summer Book Sale

Last week's Summer Book Sale was a success! Thank you to everyone who participated and made this a safe and enjoyable event. We currently have plenty more books to sell, so if you would like to come by and have a look, please book ahead by calling (02) 9247 8001.

The book sale will run between 10am-2.45pm, with a limit of ten visitors per each one-hour session. In line with current COVID-19 safety recommendations, visitors will need to sign-in and follow social distancing guidelines.
RAHS Day Lecture - On Foot in Australia: Walking as a Path to Knowledge

Presenter: Melissa Harper
When: Wednesday, 3 February 2021 @ 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: Free

From the earliest days of European settlement, colonists found pleasure in leisurely strolls through the bush, admiring the scenery, collecting flowers, sketching, bird watching and picknicking. Over time, walking for the sake of walking became the dominant motive for many. Bushwalking – serious walking – was invented. In this lecture, Melissa Harper will explore the development of bushwalking as one of Australia’s most popular recreational pursuit. Where and how did people walk? And why did they do it given all the potential discomforts and even dangers? I argue that bushwalking became a means for people to better understand and to know both themselves and the nation itself.
RAHS/WEA Workshop - The Street Where They Lived: Every Street Has A Story to Tell

Presenter: Christine Yeats, Jenny Sloggott and Angela Phippen
When: Wednesday, 17 February 2020 @ 11.00am - 1.00pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: Members $32 / Non-members $35


Why not extend your research beyond learning about your ancestors’ story and the houses where they may have lived to delving into the history of their street? Perhaps you have wondered who once lived in the street, who was nearby and how has it changed over time? You may believe that there is nothing out of the ordinary about the street and the surrounding suburb or locality but every street has a story to tell. Join Christine Yeats, Jenny Sloggett and Angela Phippen as they discuss the available resources and how to go about finding out more about the history of the street where they lived.

Affiliated Societies News

A Window into Liverpool's History 

The City of Liverpool & District Historical Society’s new exhibition space inside Liverpool City Library is now open by appointment.

The new room is located on the third floor of the Liverpool City Library. It has large windows to peer in to view the historical items on display.

The exhibition space has been named the Havard Room, after local historians Ward and Olive Havard. Ward was the Liverpool Historical Society’s foundation President in 1959 and his wife Olive the inaugural Research Officer. Olive went on to succeed Ward as President after his death in 1965 until 1985.

The main ongoing exhibition is The History of Liverpool in 60 Objects - a display that tells the story of Liverpool's social development. The magic number of 60 was chosen to commemorate the society's 60th birthday in 2019 and Liverpool's declaration as a City in 1960.

The Havard Room was opened by the Mayor of Liverpool Wendy Waller on 7 November, Liverpool’s birthday. To arrange an appointment please ring the President Glen op den Brouw on 0403 107 496.

One (multicultural) Nation 1972 to 2020 -
Chinese Australian Historical Society

Speaker: Michael Williams
Date: Wednesday, 16 December 2020 @ 4.00-5.00pm AEST
Where: Online. Please RSVP HERE to receive the webinar link.

This is a period of great change as Australia transforms itself into a multicultural nation and then begins to wonder what that means. It also transforms itself into a global economic free trader and then wonders what that means when China does too. As Australia’s trade with China grows exponentially, China’s trade with Australia remains proportionally the same. Students, tourists, and even powdered milk all begin to have an impact as Chinese Australian history not only begins to reflect back on itself but also add new dimensions in art, culture and even shopping as November 11 becomes Double 11! The final lecture in this reflective history asks what does Chinese Australian history tell us and what is the present trying to tell history?

Please join us in the final of this informative and ground breaking series. You can catch up on previous lectures here.

A Sydney Wild Man: The John Norton Story

Speaker: Dick Whitaker
Date: Saturday, 12 December 2020 @ 2.00pm
Where: Club York, 280 Pitt Street ($5 admission)
Bookings Essential: (02) 97164775 or 

Cyril Pearl’s book, The Wild Men of Sydney, follows the stories of John Norton, Patrick Crick and William Willis – all crooked politicians who were heavily involved in the land scandals of the 1890’s and 1900’s. In addition to his political activities Norton achieved notoriety in a very different way. He became extremely rich through his media ownership of Truth newspaper, a weekly scandal sheet. His story is a tragedy, that saw him become one of Australia’s first populist media figures, but despite his enormous wealth ended with the wreckage of his family as his descent into alcoholism inexorably took over. In this look at the life and Times of John Norton, amateur historian Dick Whitaker draws on several sources, including Cyril Pearl’s book, The Wild Men of Sydney, and articles from contemporary newspapers – including the writings of Norton himself and cartoons that were used in Truth under Norton’s direction.

ISAA Newsletter no.67 Dec 2020

The December 2020 issue of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia (ISAA) National Newsletter is now available on the website. This issue features the new Scholarly Reflections section.
History News
Convicts and Convict Administration Guide

NSW State Archives has digitised and made available online its now out-of-print Guide to Convicts and Convict Administration (2006).
The Guide includes indexes of records created by the British Government and the Colonial administration that can be found in the State Archives collections, and covers the period between 1788-1842 when approximately 80,000 convicts were transported to NSW.
The Guide is divided into 18 chapters which covers a diverse range of subjects, including ‘trial and transportation’, ‘health and welfare’, ‘families of convicts’ and ‘colonial trials and court records’. The Guide also provides helpful explanations that place the records in their historical context.
Family historians, students and researchers with an interest in the convict system in NSW, will find this guide an invaluable resource for their research.
Convicts and Convict Administration Guide can be accessed online from the NSW State Archives website, where it can also be downloaded as a PDF.
SLNSW Exhibition - Coming Out in the 70s

Gay and lesbian life went public in the 70s. Speaking up and standing out, gay men and women took to the streets proudly demanding to be seen, heard and accepted.
Drawing from the State Library of NSW’s little-known collections of gay and lesbian posters, photographs, personal papers, oral history and ephemera, it pays tribute to the people and events that drove this profound social change, offering a rich and compelling context for continuing debates and issues around LGBTQI+ life today.
Where: State Library of NSW, Exhibition Galleries
When: Saturday 28 November 2020 to Sunday 16 May 2021
Cost: Free Admission

Find out more on the SLNSW website where you can also learn about related events and visit an online virtual version of the exhibition.
Other News

NSW Heritage Grants 2021-23 
Funding Round Now Open 

 The 2021-23 NSW Heritage Grants program funding round is now open. Funding is available under three competitive grant categories:
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Grants 
For projects that increase understanding, conservation, celebration and cultural participation in Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. 
Caring for State Heritage Grants
For projects that support management, maintenance, conservation, activation and interpretation of items listed on the State Heritage Register.  
Community Heritage Grants
For projects that identify, conserve and promote heritage, including:
  • Community Engagement Projects: actively engaging community in celebration and promotion of heritage, and
  • Local government only projects: to prepare heritage studies, to run a grants program for local heritage, and to contribute to the costs of a professional heritage advisor.
Funding Round Closes 5pm Monday 8 February 2021
For more information:
·         See the funding guidelines

·         Contact us
Library Pick

This last Library Pick of 2020 has been selected in celebration of the upcoming Christmas / New Year season.

NSW Railway and tramway magazine: an organ devoted to the interests of the railway and tramway services Vol.1 No.1 Christmas number 1917.

The NSW Government Railway and Tramway Institute Council published this periodical between 1917-1921.

This 110-page magazine is illustrated throughout with photographs and advertisements and includes: biographies; articles, stories and verses; features on specific stations and depots throughout NSW; rail & tram workings and services; women and children pages. Employees of Services were encouraged to submit contributions to future issues.

The RAHS Library has several issues of this periodical as part of Mrs Foster’s extensive Pamphlet Collection.

Digital Pick
The Built Form can Reflect the Community

Shady Acres: Politicians, Developers and Sydney’s Public Transport Scandals 1872-95

This edition’s Digital Pick comes from the RAHS YouTube channel.

Between Christine Yeats and Joy Hughes is a fascinating discussion about the work, Shady Acres by Lesley Muir. Throughout the interview, Hughes takes significant care in detailing her editorial decisions to complete the work done by Muir (who passed away in 2012) as well as how she translated an academic work into one for a general readership. The heart of this interview and indeed the work itself is its brilliant content. The glimpse into Shady Acres afforded by this interview reveals a historical Sydney landscape removed by time yet so familiar. Transport infrastructure became the plaything of political factions, insider trading and political favours bought and sold right up to the highest bidder, which in pre-Federation NSW was none other than Sir Henry Parkes himself. This portrait of the so-called ‘Father of Federation’ provided by Shady Acres and the political world in which he inhabited is tantalising and this interview entices you to want to find out more.

This interview can be found on the RAHS YouTube and copies of Shady Acres can be bought in the RAHS Shop.

Written by Maximilian Reid, RAHS Volunteer
'The Aeroplane Honeymoon Trip', n.d. [RAHS Postcard Collection]
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