Today in The Age: A new start for Australian history

The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald  newspapers (17 July 2021) published Richard Broome’s plea for Australian History to be given a ‘fair go’ but was unable to fit in this important paragraph:

“Fifteen teachers, academics and Cambridge University Press mounted a rescue mission, creating a four volume series, Analysing Australian History (2021), to provide texts for the new Year 12 Victorian Study Design in 2022. Some proceeds go to the Indigenous Reading Project.”

You can read Richard’s article below or by clicking on this link to The Age.



We hope to be back in the Drill Hall on Wednesday 21 July but this will depend on Government directives.

Our History Victoria bookshop will continue to send out on-line book orders – check out the bookshop here. Our phones will be switched through to our Administrator, Rebecca Toohey, and she will pass messages on to other staff. Our post-box at 239 A’Beckett Street is sufficiently large to take parcels so deliveries can continue and other mail will not be affected.



The RHSV acknowledges the importance of NAIDOC week 2021 and its theme of ‘Heal the Country’. First Nations peoples have been caring for country for over 60,000 years, but their custodianship has been made difficult at best, and almost impossible at worse, when access was hindered or denied by colonisation.

We urge all our affiliates and members across many traditional lands of Victoria to remember the importance of healing country recently ravaged by fire,


Houses and sailing ships from a long-gone Melbourne

Cheryl Griffin’s latest history article in CBD News examines a photo of a dilapidated house just about to be demolished. The photo was taken in 1915 when the house was already 74 years old.  Located in Bourke St west not far from the corner of William St, it was one of the few buildings left standing from the CBD’s earliest days. Built in 1841 by Dr Farquhar MacCrae, brother-in-law of the diarist and artist Georgiana MacCrae,



The RHSV and the whole community history movement welcomes the federal government’s decision in response to intense lobbying to end its inaction on NAA funding. It will provide $67 million of addition funding over 4 years to redress the deterioration of vital records and cut waiting times for users as recommended in the Tune review of January 2020.

Special thanks to author Gideon Haigh, Professor Graeme Davison (RHSV member), the 150 signatories of the open letter and to all our members and friends who responded added their voices to the campaign.


Want to submit an entry in the VCHA? Here’s how:

Every year, we host the Victorian Community History Awards, a chance for local community history to shine! But, like any award process, there are lots of questions about how to submit your entry, what category does my piece fit into, and again, how do I actually submit my entry? So our VCHA project officer has set out to answer some of the most pressing FAQ’s she gets.

We hope these help, and if you have any other queries about your submission,



The Royal Historical Society of Victoria acknowledges that today is Sorry Day. We need as a community to remember the pain and trauma experienced by Indigenous families across the nation caused by the removal of over ten per cent of children in many jurisdictions across Australia during the twentieth century. We need to also acknowledge that inappropriate removals of children from First Nations families and communities still occurs in some jurisdictions and urge that this matter be solved urgently.


The National Archives of Australia Struggles to Protect our Heritage

The National Archives of Australia Struggles to Protect our Heritage

14th May 2021


Politicians of all hues like to appeal to history, but few want to pay for it. History has been at the centre of the culture wars for the past 30 years, and each politician has a view of the past. However, History is not valued when it comes to paying to protect the archives. Yet without archives,


Gateway to the Docks

Ashley Smith’s latest monthly story for Docklands News has been published. Based on photo of some impressive gates built in 1927 into Victoria Dock, Ashley’s story looks at the unpalatable truth behind the gates.

“For as long as there have been ports, wharves or docks, there have been opportunistic thieves who have taken advantage of unwatched cargo, and Melbourne was no exception. The Argus in 1918 (August 21) identified that stolen items ranged from beer,


The Parade that Nearly Didn’t Happen

Cheryl Griffin’s latest story in CBD News has hit the streets. To tie in with our current exhibition, Tales from the MacRobertson International Air Races, Cheryl has looked at the adulation piled high on these daring young men in their flying machines (only one woman made it from England to Australia and despite being a pilot herself she travelled as a passenger, knitting all the way). Her story focuses on marvellous photo of the winners being mobbed as their vehicles move from Bourke Street into Swanston Street.


PORTABLE BUILDINGS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: a proposal for World Heritage listing

On Thursday night, 15th April 2021, Dr Barry Jones launched the Portable Buildings World Heritage Nomination Task Force, which aims to persuade Australian governments, state and Commonwealth, to seek world heritage listing for the more than 100 19th Century prefabricated or ‘portable’ buildings still standing in Australia. The RHSV supports this exciting bid. We are represented on the Task Force committee by RHSV Heritage Committee Chair, Emeritus Professor Charles Sowerwine. The proposal contains terrific photos of these buildings.


Queens Bridge over troubled water and the Red Cross to the rescue

Cheryl Griffin’s latest article for CBD News gives the low-down on the Red Cross in the CBD during WWII and shines a light on Vera Deakin’s work for the Red Cross – check it out here (scroll down to page 21)

Ashley Smith’s latest article for Docklands News can be read here . A terrifying look at the Yarra in Flood.




New COVID rules for venues from 6pm, 26th March 2021

The RHSV has just received the email below from Andrew Abbot, Chief Executive of Creative Victoria, with updates to the COVID restrictions that come into force tomorrow night (6pm Friday 26th of March, 2021).

In summary:

  • Face masks will no longer be required in retail settings, but Victorians will still need to carry one with them at all times and wear it on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis and in sensitive settings such as aged care facilities and hospitals (unless a lawful exemption applies).

St Vincent Hospital’s new building threatens integrity of UNESCO World-Heritage listed Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building.

Charles Sowerwine, Chair of the RHSV Heritage Committee, has been busy over the holidays defending the integrity of the UNESCO world-heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens from intrusive and inappropriate development. A very comprehensive article from The Age can be read here or you can listen to Professor Sowerwine being interviewed by Tom Elliott on Drive at 3AW.

Anger over modern, ‘look-at-me’ design for historic site