The Minister for Government Services, Danny Pearson, today announced the shortlist for the 2020 Victorian Community History Awards. The full list can be viewed here. The RHSV heartily congratulates the shortlisted entrants and all other entrants – the work by the individuals and groups behind the 176 entries is impressive and to be commended.

Richard Broome, President of the RHSV commented, “It is astonishing that such a difficult time has produced the second largest number of entries to the Victorian Community History Awards in 22 years;


Brainstorm History Month event ideas

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and that is what the RHSV is doing – we are re-imagining our future and, in October, we’ll lay the groundwork for how we intend to continue in the future. 

The RHSV has a full program of webinars, online book events, on-line clinics and talks in October but we want to see every one rise to the challenge. We are old dogs but we can learn new tricks.



Sunday 2 August 2020

With level 4 restrictions coming in to place tonight from 6pm we have decided that all staff will work from home for the next 6 weeks or the duration of level 4 restrictions. Our phones are switched through to Rebecca’s mobile and we are still accessible by email. Our Zoom events and meetings will go ahead as planned. The bookshop will still be operating however, apologies in advance, we will only be posting books once a week so deliveries will be slower than usual.



The RHSV’s Heritage Committee has just made a submission to the Draft Heritage Management Plan for the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. More can be seen here. In this submission, we noted the lack of a single responsible authority for the world heritage site. In our response to the Discussion Paper preparing the Review of the Strategy Plan for the World Heritage Environs Area, we noted the betrayal of promises to protect the surrounding areas from high-rise building.



Cheryl Griffin looks at an early 1950s Melbourne streetscape – more pointedly it is of the Commonwealth Bank Building at 219 – 225  Bourke St.  This 11-storey building dwarfed the Victorian buildings around it but the word ‘skyscraper’ wouldn’t be used for another 5-6 years when the breathtakingly tall 19-storey ICI House was built.

Cheryl’s full article can be read in the August 2020 CBD News.


RHSV makes a submission to Juukan Gorge Inquiry

22 July 2020

Read our submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the destruction of the 46,000-year-old caves at the Juukan Gorge (link below). We argue that it demonstrates profound failings in the legislation to protect Australia’s heritage, not only in WA, but also in the Commonwealth, which was missing in action.

Commonwealth Environment Minister Sussan Ley justified doing nothing on the grounds that there was no application for protection, but it emerges today that when the traditional owners of the Shenhua Watermark site on the Liverpool Plains did apply for protections,


RHSV Protests Minister’s Short-Circuiting Heritage Listing of GMH Site

The iconic GMH site at Fishermans Bend, where Ben Chifley launched the first Holden, was on track to be listed on the Victorian Heritage Register until, in February, Planning Minister Richard Wynne called in the nomination. The Minister is short-circuiting the heritage and planning processes to facilitate a development that will destroy much of the historic fabric before the site is registered. We have written to the Minister to urge him to follow proper process.


We most strongly protest the misguided government policy and demand the penalty on studying the Humanities is removed

Friday 19 June 2020

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the peak body for local and community history in Victoria for over a century, is astonished that Humanities students in Australian universities are being burdened with an unprecedented rise of up to 113% in student fees. This is an impost on one of Australia’s most creative sectors at a time when creative solutions are needed to help Australia emerge from an economic shock of unparalleled dimensions.


What to do with our statues and monuments?

What to do with our statues and monuments?

A Policy Statement from the Royal Historical Society of Victoria

23 June 2020

The Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted the ways the past impacts heavily on us today. Our predecessors’ values were in many respects appalling. Attitudes we would describe as racist, misogynist or anti-Semitic were embedded in past cultures. We are beginning to question them but we have a long way to go.


Queens Birthday Honours Congratuations

Heartfelt congratulations to our affiliated society member Helen Gobbi, of History Monash, who was awarded an OAM for service to community history. Helen is a very worthy recipient and last year was awarded an RHSV Award of Merit. Her citation for the Award of Merit can be read on our website here.

And to Arthur and Lurline Knee who were both awarded OAMs for the service to the community of Tatura. 


Scrapped newspapers were communities’ heart and soul, say historians

Caroline Webb had a great article in today’s The Age (Fri 29 May) about the demise of local newspapers and the loss to historians. Wonderful quotes (and photos) from Heidelberg Historical Society secretary Janine Rizzetti, Camberwell Historical Society president George Fernando and our own President, Richard Broome.




At our AGM on Tuesday 26 May 2020, the RHSV membership elected two new Fellows, Elisabeth Jackson and Dr Rosalie Triolo.

We also honoured some high-achieving volunteers who work for historical societies across Victoria – from Ouyen, Bendigo, Malmsbury, Knox, Richmond & Burnley, East Melbourne and Croydon –  and from the RHSV itself.

The citations for all our 2020 awards can be read on our website (the menu is at the bottom of our Home Page) or use these links:



Thinking of re-opening? Some advice for historical societies.

In Victoria, it is mooted that by 1 June galleries, museums and libraries will be able to re-open and we’ll be able to have small gatherings. This is conditional on there being no second wave of course – our future plans must remain flexible and contingent. The RHSV has pulled together some advice, using our own experience, for historical societies wanting to re-open their museums and research facilities. We are happy to modify and amend this advice if you have some good ideas to add.



The lastest CBD News has hit Melbourne streets and it contains another corker of an article from Cheryl Griffin. Inspired by a photograph, taken in about 1924, which represents a time capsule of Melbourne as it was just after World War One – and on the cusp of great change. The old Myer buildings in Lonsdale St just about to be demolished to make way for the Myer we know today. Read Cheryl’s article here.