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RHSV History Writers’ Group inaugural meeting

February 25 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm


Writing can be a lonely occupation and there are only so many drafts one’s partner is prepared to read!  

Our RHSV History Writers’ Group will meet monthly at the RHSV to peer-edit and share feedback with other writers of history. It is always helpful to be able to chew the fat with others on the same path and we all want to be better writers. Your writing project might be short or long, academic history, family history, memoir, community history, creative non-fiction or even historical fiction. There will be occasional guest speakers who will cover subjects like research, use of images, publishing possibilities and professional editing. 

At the first meeting we will nut out the nitty-gritty of just how this group will operate and its program for the next few months. Some preliminary reading will be sent out prior to the first meeting. If you’d like to ‘check-it-out’ do register below and come along. Everyone is more than welcome to bring their lunch and we’ll have tea/coffee for all. Meetings will then be on the 4th Tuesday of each month.

We are thrilled that Cheryl Griffin will be the convenor. Cheryl has posed questions/issues below that could be discussed at the Writers’ Group:

Respecting privacy. We gather information from many sources and roll them into a story, but in doing so, we may reveal secrets that have been hidden for years or expose ‘shameful’ episodes in a family or community’s lives. How far should we go to tell the ‘real’ story?  I delivered a paper at a Female Convict Research Centre Seminar that touched on this in 2014 – https://www.femaleconvicts.org.au/docs/seminars/Journeys_CherylGriffin.pdf

Dealing with culturally sensitive material. Some things will be considered culturally inappropriate in 2020 but were acceptable at the time. I’m thinking of racist, sexist, religious utterances. And, in using this material, will we be inciting further racism, sexism etc. Or be seen to endorse the attitudes of the time? I’m working on a project with my niece’s husband relating to his paternal great-grandparents and a journey they made in Northern Rhodesia in 1930/31. We’re trying to decide how to negotiate the ‘minefield’ of the racist comments in his great-grandmother’s account of that journey and stitch together a story that doesn’t shy away from the issue but places the racism of the time into context. It’s a tricky one!

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. There’s a piece of mine on Wikinorthia on my street that might provide an example. I use the historic present tense and speculate and imagine – that might spark some conversation. Don’t mind if it’s ripped apart, as long as it provides a talking point – https://wikinorthia.net.au/the-extraordinary-in-the-ordinary-the-story-of-piera-street/ And there’s sure to be other work that would provide the same stimulus.

Honest History. http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/ Now this website and the focus of the Honest Historians would definitely provide a talking point. Or we could go off at a tangent and address the question of how we provide balanced and honest history in the internet age when so many of the local histories, for example, were written in the pre-WWW, pre-TROVE age?


CHERYL GRIFFIN attended La Trobe University where she majored in history and English. She later completed a Master of Education and a PhD in the field of the history of education. She worked as a secondary teacher for more than thirty-five years. She has wide-reaching historical interests and since her retirement has volunteered at the Female Convict Research Centre in Hobart, at Coburg Historical Society, at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and at the GSV. She has written articles and presented papers on a wide variety of historical topics, contributed to a number of books on the lives of Tasmanian female convicts and in 2017 wrote The Old Boys of Coburg State School Go to War for Coburg Historical Society.


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February 25
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
03 9326 9288


RHSV, Gordon Moffatt Room
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia
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9326 9288