Archival Access VictoriaThe Victorian Archives (PROV) holds Victoria’s history in 9 kilometres of shelving in their repository at North Melbourne. The problem is, these records are hundreds of kilometres away from the folks in country Victoria who are keen to discover more about their town’s past, let alone those that live interstate or overseas. Now apart from the distance being an issue for many, even knowing what gems the Public Record Office Victoria hold that relate to your town of interest can be a challenge.

Now Archival Access Victoria has come up with an initiative that will help everyone. Their plan is to digitise these records for country Victoria, and to get them out to those who find them useful. Sounds good, doesn’t it … well, keep on reading!

They have chosen to start off with the town of Wodonga in Victoria. This town is right on the Victoria/New South Wales border and is about 300 kilometres away from Melbourne where many records relating to this town are. The aim for this initial Project is to digitise the court records from the Wodonga Magistrates Court that date from the early 1900’s through until the 1970’s. As you can imagine these records reveal so many stories from the towns past, and provide a valuable research tool for the community. And let’s face it – who wouldn’t like to find out if your reli got in trouble ‘back in the day’!

So the end product will be high quality digitised copies of the records which will be in the hands of those most interested in them – the people of Wodonga. Copies will be given to the family history and general historical groups in the area.

Now Archival Access Victoria are no stranger to digitising, having made digital copies on a variety of archival records on demand for family historians and community groups, but this is their first Project, and crossing fingers that it proves so successful that there will be many more for more Victorian country towns in the future , and in doing so lots more records can be made accessible to researchers in regional areas.

This is a Project, and projects need help. To aid with this Archival Access Victoria have created a pledge page which allows you to ‘donate’ or pledge money to their Project. Now you may ask what are the rewards for pledging? Well, apart from the warm fuzzies of helping out a worthy Project, you will receive your very own copy of the digitised records. The biggest cost in this map - WodongaProject is the man hours it takes to photograph every page of the twenty BIG volumes which are earmarked for copying, and then throw in editing, DVD production and posting to the intended recipients and those receiving rewards.

Will these digitised records be available online? Now I did check this with Archival Access Victoria, and they the answer is NO. So if you are interested in them pay a few dollars towards a worthy Project, and you’ll receive a copy.

If you to wish to pledge to the Project, you can head on over to their page here:

[Kudos to Mark at Archival Access Victoria for this creative idea, and for letting me spread the word on this amazing Project]