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    The Royal Historical Society of Victoria acknowledges that Friday 26 May is National Sorry Day in recognition of the Stolen Generations in our history. We acknowledge the trauma experienced by Indigenous families across Australia, caused by the invidious policy in all jurisdictions for generations of removing Indigenous children from their families in the wrong and vain hope of separating them from their cultures. In some circumstances this continues making the need change and reconciliation even greater.


    The Birchip Regional Seminar last weekend (May 19th – 21st) was a great success!

    The weekend began on Friday with a warm welcome from the Nullawil Historical Society Heritage Museum, where visitors were treated to a carefully curated display of their museum and collection, along with afternoon tea and a marvelous dinner attended by Helen Laffin and historical society representatives from as far as Geelong. The evening included an ‘overall positive’ discussion of the Nullawil Silo Art project,

    RHSV Council Declaration on the Referendum on the Voice

    The Council of the RHSV stands for the principle of diversity. It affirms the RHSV’s continuing efforts to reflect the diversity of cultures in our contemporary society through our various collections and their catalogues, our publications, our events and other aspects and endeavours of our Society.

    The Council acknowledges Indigenous Australians as Traditional Custodians of Country; is enhancing our Indigenous history in our catalogues, lectures and publications; supports the aspirations in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and the Uluru Statement from the Heart (2017) and believes Australia’s First Peoples should be recognised in the Constitution.


    The famous Robur Tea House on Clarendon Street, Southbank faces another attempt to reduce its heritage value and architectural significance. A proposal has been submitted to redevelop the site, including the partial demolition of the Tea House and construction of office, retail and residential buildings, including a 25 story apartment and hotel complex.

    The proposed Tea House Hotel will be more than 100 metres tall and will dwarf the six storey original building.


    We loved this review of our History Victoria bookshop from Lachlan in Google: “Great selection of books at their quaint bookstore. Staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. What’s more is they were conveniently located opposite the Flagstaff Gardens – perfect place to sit down and read your new book!”

    Our bookshop focuses on Victorian history and has 800+ titles. We try to stock all Victorian history books whilst they are still in print and we are the only stockist for many titles.


    Each year the RHSV engages a project officer/s to work on History Month (October) and the Victorian Community History Awards (the key event of History Month). Both projects require similar skills and the fee is $5,000 per project. Both projects could easily be worked concurrently by one person or they could be handled by two different individuals.

    The closing date for applications is 5pm Monday 24 April 2023. With a mooted start around Monday 15 May 2023 –


    16 March, is National Closing the Gap Day. Ever since the Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008 governments have pledged to Close the Gap on a set of agreed socio-economic indices concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. For ten years progress was slow, which was to be expected given the gap to be bridged, the slow movement of change over each year, and also that First Nations peoples were not fully consulted on the programs.


    Today, 8 March, is International Women’s Day. The RHSV honours the contributions of women to Australian society and to our history. Women are extraordinary volunteers across all spheres and in particular within the community history movement. At the RHSV, women form a majority on our Council, committees and amongst the volunteers. All of our paid staff are also women. This is Women’s History Month and to celebrate that we have a distinguished lecture by Iola Mathews on Flos  Greig,


    The RHSV is seeking a part-time Archivist to work on project for 89 days, across 2023.

    In late 2022 the RHSV took ownership of a large social history collection, the Jones Collection. It is a wide-ranging, deeply rich collection that documents a century of one family’s life in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg from the 1920s as well as from earlier generations. Its significance centres around the unusual survival of a relatively intact collection relating to the day-to-day lives of a family of modest means,


    Well Built: Simmie & Co Master Builders 1924 – 1978

    Simmie & Co was a prominent building company in Melbourne (1924-1978) and in Canberra (1926-1969).  In Melbourne the company was highly successful and built many iconic buildings, churches, monasteries, schools, housing, factories, defence works, the Shrine forecourt (1939-45), offices and theatres including some heritage-listed constructions (one designed by Robin Boyd). The founders were three Victorian brothers, all born in the last decade of the nineteenth century and all worked at the Sunshine Harvester factory before World War One – William, Jock & George. All were World War One veterans (two were Gallipoli veterans). All were wounded and survived. Two were closely involved with the Master Builders Association in Melbourne. Discover their story of a pioneering building company of the early to mid-twentieth century, of World War One veterans, of courage and a willingness to take a risk, of the beginning of the capital city of Australia and the workers, the unsung heroes, who made it all happen.

    Altona Homestead Devonshire Tea

    The Altona-Laverton Historical Society members and volunteers invite you to drop into the Altona Homestead on the first Sunday of the Month (February to December) to enjoy a serve of our famous Devonshire Tea or Cream Tea or Cornish Tea, anyway you look at them they are delicious.

    Book launch at Elwood: Enchanted Beneath the Bluff

    Authors Heather Arnold and Isaac Hermann invite you to the launch of their book, Enchanted Beneath the Bluff, Agnes & Geraldine’s Pursuit
    of Elwood’s Elusive Black Diamonds.

    Within a place of love, sorrow and salvation, where Elwood’s Swamp met St. Kilda’s Red Bluff, two ardent women – Agnes Simmons and Geraldine Minet – with their Victorian Coal Mining Company, challenged providence and geology.In the days of Suffrage and Spiritualism, these two daring Theosophists sought to bring prosperity to Colonial Victoria of the 1890s in the midst of the Depression.

    ‘Springtime for hymn singing: the growth of congregational singing in the 19th Century’

    Rev. Dr. D’Arcy Wood will explore a phenomenon that began with the large open-air rallies held by the Wesley brothers in the mid-18th century and developed into the stirring tunes and expressions of devotion that became the bedrock of congregational singing in the nineteenth century. Here is your opportunity to sing along with a guest choir to the accompaniment of pianist Bruce Macrae.

    Venue: Auburn Uniting Church, 81 Oxley Road, Hawthorn. You can attend in person or by Zoom.


    Christina Browning, the RHSV Marketing Officer, leads these forums which each month tackle a different aspect of marketing for historical societies – they tend to concentrate on social media as it is very available and is free to use, however, Christina will tackle any aspect of marketing which you want to raise. Christina will prepare a topic each month and she welcomes questions and feedback and suggestions for future topics – these sessions are relaxed and interactive.

    ‘Love of a crowd, a band, and “a gardens’’’: Music, Recreation, and Gardens at Nineteenth-Century International Exhibitions

    Australian Garden History Society presents

    ‘Love of a crowd, a band, and “a gardens’’’: Music, Recreation, and Gardens at Nineteenth-Century International Exhibitions

    Winter online lecture by Sarah Kirby

    International exhibitions were some of the most significant cultural events of the nineteenth century, drawing together displays from across the world that (supposedly) demonstrated the breadth of human achievement. These vast events, held in enormous buildings and filled with objects to dazzle the spectator had,

    The Wilson History Oration INUNDATED: FLOODS, HISTORY AND HIGH WATER An oration by Dr Margaret Cook

    Join the Professional Historians Association to hear eminent environmental historian Dr Margaret Cook at the second annual Wilson History Oration, environmental historian, Dr Margaret Cook will explore the ways history can engage with the public, the media, other professions and policy makers. In discussing her work on floods, she will highlight how her
    role and training as a public historian shapes her scholarship and historical practice. Join us as we consider these themes during one of our greatest crises in history: the climate emergency.

    Stories Stitched in Fabric

    👗 Stories Stitched in Fabric

    Are you interested in costume history and design? Then join the Brighton Historical Society at the PMI Victorian History Library for a talk about their specialised costume collection. Where the diversity of items in the collection is highlighted and a few in depth stories shared. Jess, our speaker for the night will be highlighting some feature items that have been made by many hands or passed between many people.


    Join Jillian Hiscock, the RHSV Collections Manager, each month is this informative and easy-going Zoom forum on all aspects of cataloguing collections for historical societies. Jillian has a different topic each month and is happy to be guided by those who attend as to what they would like covered in upcoming clinics. This is an interactive space where questions are encouraged. The RHSV does not endorse any particular cataloguing software – we believe it is horses for courses –

    From our Shop

    Beechworth: A titan’s field by Carole Woods

    Beechworth: A Titan’s Field  describes the Ovens River district from the 1840s concentrating o the 19th Century. ‘A titan’s field’ was how a vising journalist in the 1880sa described the environs of Beechworth: the worked-out goldfield with its huge mounds of earth looked as though it had been churned up by a giant.  The term encompasses other aspects of the Beechworth district.  The profusion of boulders and sleety sheets of granite have the phantasmic appearance of a Titan’s realm, and the craggy ranges of the Woolshed Valley were one of the haunts of the Kelly gang.

    Cattlemen and Huts of the High Plains by Harry Stephenson

    Second Hand Book

    The early development of Victoria’s alpine regions by pioneer cattlemen. They came from the Monaro in the 1830s to reach the “Plains of Omeo”, others advanced up the Murray and its tributaries to discover the Bogong High Plains in the 1850s and the Gippslanders moved their herds to alpine pastures in the 1860s. The cattlemen, snow-plain pastures, mountain scenes and bush huts are described and illustrated in this volume, compiled by a mountain lover,

    Facts and Figures by William Henry Archer

    Second Hand Books

    Facts and Figures or, Notes of progress, statistical and general, was registered as a newspaper in May l857 and eleven issues appeared before its demise in l857. It contains much material relative to early Victoria and its settlement.

    Hardcover, Good condition, published 1977.

    The Store on the Hill by Keith Dunstan

    Second Hand Book

    Georges of Collins Street, Melbourne, has a reputation for superior quality equal to that enjoyed by Harrods or Fortnum & Mason of London, and Bergdorf Goodman of New York. This is the story of Georges first 100 years and its remarkable battle to serve and prosper.

    hardcover, fair to Good condition, 1980

    Colonial Casualties: Chinese in Early Victoria by Kathryn Cronin

    Secondhand Book.

    More than 25000 Chinese men, and 5 Chinese women emmigrated to Victoria in the three years following 1854. For them, Victoria was Dai Gum San, the New Gold Mountain. Their bachelor settlements, with temples, clubs, tea shops and theatres were scattered throughout the mining districts. A vivid portrayal of a lively, self sufficient community, with illustrations.

    hardback, 175pp, 1982.

    Carisbrook History Timeline by Elaine Murphy

    Goldfield Heritage Books bring alive our heritage and give accounts of life on the goldfields.  This series of books is presented by Ballarat Heritage Services in the promotion of local history.  This volume provides a history timeline for Carisbrook.