This page contains an online archive of RHSV Annual Reports going back to 2011.
These are available for download in PDF format.
113th Annual Report
Inside the 2022 Annual Report
President’s Annual Report 2022
Executive Officer’s Annual Report 2022
RHSV Council Annual Report 2022
Collections Committee Annual Report 2022
Events and Outreach Committee Annual Report 2022
Heritage Committee Annual Report 2022
Historical Societies Support Committee Annual Report 2022
Investment Committee Annual Report 2022
Publications Committee Annual Report 2022
The Victorian Community History Awards Report 2022
RHSV Treasurer’s Annual Report 2022
RHSV Financial Statements 2022
Become a member of the RHSV
RHSV Councillors and Staff
The Jessie Webb Society
President's Annual Report 2022
The third year of COVID was in many ways harder than the previous two. Community fatigue set in, some continued to rebel, and deaths from COVID variants—shocking to all in the first year of the pandemic—accelerated and approached 8,000 by year’s end in Victoria. This was ten times those first stunning statistics of 2020! The RHSV began to open during 2022, but we continued to employ Zoom for most events, having, by necessity, perfected its use during the pandemic. However, in the past year, we have worked to combine Zoom with live activities and have hired dedicated casual staff to achieve this. The RHSV even helped to record the momentous events enveloping us by devoting a special issue of the Victorian Historical Journal in December to the pandemics of 1919 and 2020+.
By the end of 2022 the RHSV was stronger in most respects than in 2021. We have wonderful human capital in the form of patrons, 4.1 FTE paid staff, many volunteers and committee members, and donors.
The RHSV is supported by our patron, Her Excellency, the Hon. Linda Dessau AO, CVO, governor of Victoria; our civic patron, the mayor of the City of Melbourne, Sally Capp; and former RHSV president Bill Russell, our ambassador. During the year the Hon. Steve Dimopoulos succeeded Danny Pearson as minister for creative industries. We thank the government’s funding body for the arts, Creative Victoria, under CEO Sam Strong, for our end-ofgrant transitional funding. Rob Heath, our honorary legal adviser, continued to provide excellent pro bono advice. Personal Financial Services, our financial advisers, merged with the Yarra Lanes Group and gave important advice to diversify our investments. Financial support for the Victorian Historical Journal is provided by an important group of patrons who are acknowledged in each issue of the journal. In addition, our reciprocal connections with almost 350 affiliated societies throughout Victoria continued to keep the community history movement strong in a difficult year.
Our full- and part-time staff are led by our energetic and creative executive officer, Rosemary Cameron, who has orchestrated many wonderful events, exhibitions and developments over the year. She has enabled the RHSV to emerge successfully from COVID lockdowns. Our part-time collections manager, Jillian Hiscock, continues to enhance our collection and has been focusing especially on the important work of identifying material on Indigenous people, to whose presence cataloguers
of the past were largely blind. Jillian and her volunteers then load up the fruits of their labours to TROVE to enhance our global profile. Helen Stitt is employed three days per week to manage the images collection. Both Jillian and Helen work with volunteers to advance work on our collection.
Our administrative staff includes Christina Browning, our part-time marketing officer who began work at the RHSV in early 2022. She has maintained our profile on the web, Facebook and other social media, which has assisted attendance at our events and directed traffic to our bookshop. Emily Maiolo began as our administrative officer in December 2021 and has provided excellent service on the front desk as the face of the RHSV and in back-of-house work, including the bookshop and scores of other administrative matters. Our part-time bookkeeper Noha Ghobrial resigned in April, causing difficulties for our audit-in-process; Rosemary Cameron, our executive officer, stepped into the breach before a replacement could be found. Our new bookkeeper, Kristin Adnams, a qualified accountant bringing professional skills and efficiency to the task, has enhanced our financial reporting immeasurably.
The RHSV is assisted by a wonderful team of volunteers numbering close to 80 people. During 2022 they enhanced our digital and paper collections and ran our committees. Each of them gave many hours weekly to further the work of the RHSV, whether in preparing for exhibitions, cataloguing, and sorting our own archives, or in helping with the bookshop and the mails-outs. In particular, I must acknowledge the work of Margaret Fleming and Greg Buchanan, who continued our commercial site searches, thus bolstering our income; and David Thompson who worked on exhibitions and the image collection. Ashley Smith and Cheryl Griffin prepared monthly articles for Docklands News and CBD News respectively, and Cheryl Griffin wrote articles for the Genealogical Society of Victoria’s magazine, Ancestor. Cheryl also prepared a most significant exhibition, Kaleidoscope, celebrating women of the RHSV, and her assiduous research will appear in many articles on our website into the future.
Adrian Jones, formerly associate professor of history, La Trobe University, chaired the 2022 Victorian Community History Awards panels, assisted by Gary Presland and Helen Doyle. Together they led an impressive team of fifteen judges for the twelve awards, namely: Jessica Bram, Alicia Cerreto, Keir Reeves, Jo Clyne, Lucie Paterson, Jessica Ferrari, Amanda Lourie, Seamus O’Hanlon, John Petersen, Jill Barnard, Carolyn Rasmussen, and Alistair Thomson. All judges worked
conscientiously to assess the 133 entries across these twelve award categories.
Thanks also to our many partners. The Victorian government has funded the Victorian Community History Awards since 1998; Public Record Office Victoria, led by its director Justine Heazlewood, cohosted the awards with the RHSV; and the Oral History Association partnered on the Oral History Award. Special thanks for the hard work yet again by Tara Oldfield of PROV and Jade Koekoe of the RHSV who administered the awards. Judy Maddigan, president of the Public Records Advisory Council, again presented the awards in her inimitable style. The major award, the Victorian Premier’s Prize, was presented to Janet McCalman for her book Vandemonions: The Repressed History of Colonial Victoria. Most of the VCHA entries can be bought at our bustling bookshop.
Our committees also do much of the work of the RSHV. The Collections Committee, led by Elisabeth Jackson, oversees the work of our two paid collections staff and their volunteers. The Heritage Committee, headed by Charles Sowerwine, has raised the profile of the RHSV in working to protect our built, cultural and natural environment in the Hoddle Grid and other places. The Publications Committee, led by Richard Broome, continues to publish quality material on behalf of the RHSV, including regular issues of History News and the Victorian Historical Journal. The History Victoria Support Group (now Historical Societies Support Committee) headed by Pauline Hitchins (first half year) and Rosalie Triolo (second half) continued to work for our affiliated societies to enhance their skills and knowledge. The Membership Committee, headed by Rosalie Triolo, was closed down at the end of 2022 when Council decided our computer databases had largely replaced its work. Its remaining activities will be taken up by the enhanced Events Working Group led by Andrew Lemon. Finally, our new Investment Committee began operating to oversee our financial planner’s decisions and performance.
I urge you to read about the work of the committees in the 2022 annual report, for much of the impressive work of the RHSV is done by these hard-working and creative teams. I also recommend reading my chairman’s report of the Council’s activities.
Our donors, large and small, continued to assist the work of the RHSV, and a full list appeared in the April 2022 History News. Special mention must be made of Allan Myers AC KC and Maria Myers AC and our ambassador, Bill Russell, who gave generously.
There were a number of new initiatives in 2022. Among them were two distinguished annual lectures, now added to the RHSV calendar. These were: the Indigenous History Lecture, presented in February by Professor Julie Andrews of La Trobe University. Julie Andrews, a Yorta Yorta woman, spoke about Indigenous women’s activism in Victoria. In August the Hugh Anderson Lecture was given by Professor Frank Bongiorno of the ANU, who spoke of the work of Hugh Anderson, a former vice-president of the RHSV and noted scholar of Australian folklore. Both lectures were sponsored and subsequently published in the December 2022 issue of the VHJ.
In October we held a two-day conference to celebrate the sesquicentenary of the Victorian Education Act of 1872, which established a state-wide system of schooling based on the transformative aims of free, compulsory and secular education. The conference was organised by a team headed by Dr Andrew Lemon and included Drs Deb Towns, Rosalie Triolo and Judith Smart. Emeritus Professor Kwong Lee Dow, an eminent educationalist and former vice chancellor of the University of Melbourne, opened and sponsored the conference. The Department of Education agreed to fund publication of the conference papers in a special issue of the VHJ in June 2023, to be edited by Andrew Lemon.
Financially, the RHSV posted a small deficit in 2022 for the first time in years, created by a downturn in our equities investments. However, our operational results were solid, and our assets and overall financial position are both strong—as revealed in the treasurer’s report. However, there will be structural challenges to our operating costs in the years ahead that we must face. First, for the last decade we have received an annual grant from Creative Victoria, currently equivalent to about 12 per cent of our income, but in the latest funding round of 2021 we were not successful owing to a change in funding criteria. We fortunately received some lesser interim funding, tapering off over eighteen months and due to end in late 2023. Also, a long-term income stream from dedicated volunteers doing commercial site-search reports for development projects in the CBD, equivalent to 5 per cent of our income, is being eroded due to competition from private providers aided by State Library Victoria’s digitisation of the Sands & McDougall directories. Furthermore, our building lease continues to remain in limbo, throwing our long-term future and rental costs into some uncertainty. These challenges will be confronted in 2023.
Richard Broome AM, President