Earlier this year the Royal Australian Historical Society requested applications for their 2020 New South Wales Small Heritage Grants program. They offer grants of up to $5000 are available and help support the work by local historical societies, community organisations and individuals across New South Wales. This grants program is administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government through the Heritage Council of NSW.

The criteria was that “Projects should be relevant to understanding the history of New South Wales and its people and places”.

A few days ago Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) President Christine Yeats announced the recipients of the 2020 grants.

‘History matters and it doesn’t have to be history on a global or national scale to be important. Focusing on history from the ‘ground up’ is the best way for communities to understand and appreciate their place in the world,’ said Ms Yeats.

She says ‘this year the recipients of the Royal Australian Historical Society Cultural Grants cover a diverse range of projects including research, publications, and conservation of historic material, and digitisation projects’.


Albury and District Historical Society, Digitising Border Morning Mail Albury, 1946-1947, $3,696 – to digitise this border district newspaper and make it available on Trove – an online service created by the National Library of Australia that offers free public access to digital reproductions of newspapers, journals, books, maps, and other published and digital content.

Barnados Australia, Barnados Australia Photographic Collection Management Plan, $5,000 – Barnardos Australia has a collection of over 4,000 photographic prints capturing historical events, i.e. child migration as well as shifts from defunct care practices in NSW (in particular, training schools and larger-scale residential care). They have never been catalogued, very seldom accessed or displayed and are deteriorating. We propose to have them digitised to ensure preservation, facilitate and further access and research, as well as connect and engage with our care-leaver cohorts and the greater community.

Chinese Australian Historical Society, Chinese Australian Voices, $5,000 – To publish a landmark oral history project by Australian-born Chinese author Mavis Yen. An opportunity to posthumously realise a unique insight into Australia’s Chinese history told by immigrants from China or their first-generation descendants in their own voice. This work will change and advance the understanding of Chinese Australian history.

Effy Alexakis & Leonard Janiszewski, In their own image: Cassette digitisation project, $5,000 – The project is the largest and most comprehensive documentation of Greek-Australians nationally. The interviews have been conducted since 1982, and the aim is to begin to digitise the analogue cassette tapes from the collection. The collection comprises of over 2,000 interviews.

The Infants Home, Digitising the Infants Home Historical Records, $5,000 – to digitise and index a priority range of the organisation’s historical records (1930-1990) stored at the State Library of NSW. This will ensure that we can expedite free records searches for the children and mothers who spent time in care with us from 1874 to 2002, and preserve the records to improve access to our organisation’s history.

Our Chinese Past Inc, Chinese Template Heritage of the New England NW Region, $5,000 – to photograph/digitise and research Chinese language inscriptions on artefacts from at least five 19th-century Chinese temples of Uralla, Tingha and Emmaville preserved at 5 museums in New England North West. To create a website to publicise the digitisations, translations and research of the museums’ temples heritage.

Roslyn Maddrell, Braidwood District Hospital 1850-2020, $5,000 –The photobook is intended to capture the changing history of Braidwood District Hospital. It includes descriptions and photographs of the experiences of employees, patients and visitors who came from all over the world between 1858 and 2020.

Fort Street Archives, Fort Street Digitsation Project 1849-2019, $3,640 – to digitise a deteriorating collection of approximately 30,000 images of photos and school information from 1849-2020. They will not only be scanned for preservation of this public asset but also as a digitised resource to assist the community in its research of the history and heritage of NSW .

Book Collectors Society of Australia, Digitisation of Biblionews, $5,000 – to digitise Biblionews, the journal of the Book Collectors Society of Australia for the years 1947-2019. This would enable a global audience to access, appreciate and utilise 73 years of articles, editorials, book reviews, and other forms of contribution including notes and queries.

Olivia Nigro, Behind a Migrant Lens, $4,500 – Lucio Nigro is one of Sydney’s first migrant photographers employed in the media industry in 1969, and has over 1,000 unpublished photographs. This project will explore through the visual evidence and oral history, his migrant experience over 3 decades in NSW.


Congratulations to all recipients. It’s wonderful to know that more of New South Wales’ history is being recorded by them all. And thank you to the NSW Government, the Heritage Council of NSW and the Royal Australian Historical Society for supporting small heritage projects, as without these fund I’m sure many wouldn’t happen.