Australian Genealogy and History Snippets – March 2023

From time to time I come across all sorts of interesting history and/or genealogy related tidbits that I want to share with you, so I’ve collected them together to make up a Snippets post.

These aren’t meant to be comprehensive, but rather they are just bits that I’ve found and wanted to share. Mostly it is Australian news, but I have tacked on some overseas snippets on the end for you interest too.

Discovering Anzacs website “Decommissioned”
News on Twitter is that the National Archives of Australia have “decommissioned” (deleted) the Discovering Anzacs website. This is a perfect demonstration of why the community are hesitant to engage with and contribute to institutional projects. How many hours of work and contributions of material has been thrown away? –  via on Twitter. More info on the NAA website.

Are you interested in helping to research and preserve the history and heritage of the WEA (SA)?
Are you interested in helping to research and preserve the history and heritage of the WEA? The WEA are in their 110th year, and they are launching an exciting volunteer-led project to ensure their  history is properly recorded and preserved for future generations. The project will include a research component as well as cataloguing, digitising, and storing our vast treasure trove of documents, photographs, and objects. Initially we are seeking 3 enthusiastic Volunteers to take on the role of WEA Volunteer History Project Team Leader for our three categories: Research; Cataloguing; and Digitisation. Once our Team Leaders have been appointed we will also be calling for general volunteers to assist with the project. If you’re interested, CLICK HERE for more information or to apply.

Sydney Jewish Museum Major Expansion
News from the Sydney Jewish Museum … “We’re thrilled to announce that we’re embarking on a major expansion project to transform the Sydney Jewish Museum into a state-of-the-art, tech-enabled museum precinct by 2027. The new precinct will be home to two museums: a Centre of Contemporary Jewish Life and a Sydney Holocaust Museum. It will offer new exhibitions and programs that celebrate Jewish life and culture, whilst strengthening our position as Australia’s leading Holocaust museum, and responding to a changing world with programs that actively challenge racism and antisemitism. This expanded Museum will allow us to almost double our capacity by 2032 – so we can grow our reach, extend our impact and meet the existing high demand for our programs. [via the @sydneyjewishmuseum Facebook page]

Volunteers Wanted for the South Australian Schools Admission Project
GenealogySA are asking if you can you spare a few hours a week to help with their project? The Schools Admissions Project has just experienced a massive influx of records and needs your help with both data entry and checking to prepare these records for their online databases. Work can be done at home or in the society library at Unley.  For those working from home arrangements can be made for work to be collected and returned to the library. If you are interested can you please contact the Schools Team Leader, Meryl Stephenson on or R&D Chair, David Ballinger on [via @GenealogySA Facebook page]

Wanted … an Events Coordinator for the History Trust of South Australia
Are you looking for an opportunity to have a meaningful impact on South Australia’s major historical events? The Events Coordinator is a crucial member of the team that develops, produces and manages the major events of the History Trust of South Australia. The Events Coordinator assists with the successful delivery of South Australia’s History Festival, the Bay to Birdwood and the History Trust’s named orations program. More information on iWorkforSA:
[via the History Trust of SA Facebook page]

Find and Connect’s New website being tested for usability
The Find and Connect website is a resource for “Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and anyone interested in the history of child welfare in Australia”. Their website has grown exponentially over the past few years, and they have undertaken the task of redesigning their site. But rather than go ahead and launch it, they are asking you, the users for join in and give feedback on how you find their new site. For more information and to join in as a usability tester, head to their blog.

Ancestry Australia looking for a Digitation Operator
If you’re in Sydney, and are looking for a short term contract (4 months), Ancestry Australia are after a digitation operator for a new project. For full details head to:

SLSA wants 2023 Adelaide Fringe and Festival ephemera
The State Library of South Australia has been collecting ephemera from Adelaide’s iconic festivals since the 1960s. And they are after your help to keep collecting. They’re looking for flyers, programmes, leaflets and posters produced or collected during the Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival 2023.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Don’t throw out your NSW election ephemera
The New South Wales State Election is on tomorrow (25 March 2023), and the State Library of NSW are asking you to send them the election material that you’ve received. They are collecting brochures, postcards and leaflets to document the New South Wales election. You can drop off your material in person or via the post: Election Ephemera, State Library of New South Wales, 1 Shakespeare Place, Sydney, NSW 2000. [via @statelibrarynsw on Twitter]

Temporary change to NLA collection access
News from the NLA is that “as part of major improvements to our heritage building, the National Library is replacing elements of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. The building roof is also being replaced due to the severe hail damage in 2020. Access to parts of our collection will be temporarily impacted from June 2022 to November 2023. This means that some requests for deliveries of Library material to the Reading Rooms will not be fulfilled during this period. Orders for copies through Copies Direct will also be affected.” CLICK HERE to read the full details out the temporary changes.

The Lutheran Archives needs donations to digitise their collections
Accessibility is key for archives. If researchers cannot access material, then what is the purpose of preserving the material?  The Lutheran Archives is actively trying to make its collection more accessible through digitisation, but it’s a long, slow and expensive process. As well as our ongoing digitisation of Registers of Pastoral Acts (baptisms, confirmations, marriages etc) they have begun digitising our collection of church periodicals. This date from the late 19th century up to today and contain not only general church news, theological discussion, and spiritual direction, but also personal details, photos and local community news. Digitising each year of a periodical costs $100 of digitising time, and there are over 500 annual volumes of material across all synods and districts. Donations to complete this work can be made at:  and identifying that it is for digitisation of periodicals. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.
[via @LutheranArchivesANZ Facebook page]


British Newspaper Archive Gets a Makeover
Have you noticed the brand new look on the BNA website? To celebrate the ongoing partnership between Findmypast and the British Library, which brings you The Archive, the BNA has splashed out and given themselves a bit of a makeover. Enjoy as you search through over 60 million newspaper pages. And remember behind every news story, is a family story. Check out their new-look website.

Updated and Redesigned FamilySearch Help
Based on user feedback, FamilySearch engineers have reorganised the help material in order to make some great help resources more visible. The biggest difference that users will notice is the refresh of the graphics and new navigation for the pages. Clicking on “Find help by topic” will display major topics that will help narrow a search. What are your thoughts on the new update? [via FamilySearch Facebook page]

Canadian 1931 Census to be released on 1 June 2023
FamilySearch is working with the Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC) and Ancestry to make the 1931 Census of Canada freely searchable online. In this collaborative effort to increase access to the 1931 Census of Canada, LAC has digitised all 234,687 pages of the census and Ancestry will apply its state-of-the-art handwriting recognition technology to the digital images to create a full index of the entire census. More information on this major release on the Press Release. [via FamilySearch press release]

If you have any Australian genealogy and/or history related news that you’d like me to share, please feel free to send me an email with the info, and I’ll put it in my next Snippets update.  

Australian Genealogy and History Snippets – January/February 2023

From time to time I come across all sorts of interesting history and/or genealogy related tidbits that I want to share with you, so I’ve collected them together to make up a Snippets post.

These aren’t meant to be comprehensive, but rather they are just bits that I’ve found and wanted to share.

Call for expressions of interest for new editor/s of the Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
The Council of the RAHS is seeking expressions of interest for the position of editor of the Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society (JRAHS). The current editor Adjunct Associate Professor Carol Liston AO and our proof reader Mrs Joy Hughes are stepping down after many years of distinguished services in their respective roles. [via their email newsletter]

Billionaire fails in bid to partially demolish historic goods shed in Victoria
A $750 million twin office tower project has been turned down in a move by Heritage Victoria to preserve the state’s largest and most architecturally elaborate 19th century railway goods building. [via The Age]

New Records at Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
New records alert!  The Queensland Registry now has 107,603 new records available to search on their BDMs website. These include BDMs from the following years: 1923 Births, 1948 Marriages, 1993 Deaths. Start searching today! [via Facebook post]

Labour History Society South Australia
Did you know that there is a society dedicated to the history of labouring in South Australia? No, nor did I until I found it mentioned on a website. So if you’re interested be sure to get in touch with them, or if you’re local, pop along to one of their meetings. [via Experience Adelaide site]

41,000 Burials for the ‘Adelaide Plains’
Recently the Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Group (ANDFHG) added the Adelaide Plains Burial Register to their records. A searchable (onsite) database consisting of some 41,000 names for Burials across the whole of the Adelaide Plains. It includes many of the Burials not listed in the Council districts, from the smaller lesser-known cemeteries. [via their email newsletter]

Happy 167th Birthday to the State Library Victoria
On February 2023, we celebrate another Library birthday. At 3pm #OnThisDay in 1856, State Library Victoria (then known as the Melbourne Public Library) opened its doors for the very first time. Upon opening, the Library was one of the first free public libraries in the world with a humble 3000 books in the collection. While the Library has remained on the same two-acre allotment since 1856, the structure you see today is made up of around 24 individual buildings that have changed dramatically over the years. You can learn more about their history here. [via Facebook post]

The History Trust of South Australia has a new home
The History Trust of South Australia is delighted to announce our new home at 233 North Terrace, ‘Security House’! You can find them Level 2, 233 North Terrace, from May this year. They say “we are grateful to our community for being so patient with us throughout this transitional period; we welcome you into our new home”. [via Facebook post]

Keith Conlon to leave state heritage council after criticising WCH site decision
Keith Conlon is stepping down from the state heritage council after publicly sharing disapproval of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital project. The state government on Wednesday said Mr Conlon, 78, would leave the position in March. It comes after Mr Conlon criticism of the state government’s decision to build part of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital on a site consisting of parklands at the heritage-listed Thebarton Police Barracks, near the Old Adelaide Gaol. The barracks will be torn down to make room for the new hospital, which will cost up to $3.2bn. “When we did get the chance to oppose it, it was all too late,” he told The Advertiser. “It makes you concerned for the future of state heritage.” [via The Advertiser, Saturday, 11 February 2023]

If you have any Australian genealogy and/or history related news that you’d like me to share, please feel free to send me an email with the info, and I’ll put it in my next Snippets update.  

Society of Australian Genealogists …. the Beginnings

Most Aussies who’ve been doing genealogy for a little while will be familiar with the major genealogical societies in each state: QFHS, GSQ, AIGS, GSV, WAGS, GSNT, GST, SAGHS, HAGSOC and SAG. Today’s story focusses on the Society of Australian Genealogists in Sydney, which we commonly refer to as SAG.

While recently browsing on Trove (as you do on cold, almost-winter evenings), I came across the following article which tells of the beginnings of the Society …

the Sydney Morning Herald, 30 August 1932, p. 8

the Sydney Morning Herald, 30 August 1932, p. 8

So as you can see the Society of Australian Genealogists was formed way back in 1932. This made me go looking to see when the other state societies were formed, and here’s what I found:
1941 – Genealogical Society of Victoria
1964 – Heraldry & Genealogical Society of Canberra (also now known as Family History ACT)
1973 – South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (also now known as GenealogySA)
1973 – Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies
1978 – Genealogical Society of Queensland
1979 – Queensland Family History Society
1979 – Western Australian Genealogical Society
1980 – Genealogical Society of Tasmania (now known as Tasmanian FHS)
1981 – Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory

A snippet from the above 1932 article states…

“Mr. H. J. Rumsey, said he was convinced that no country had more complete records from the time of its occupation by civilised people than Australia. Mr. Rumsey indicated the various sources of information available for research work, both in Australia and Great Britain … To help one another in genealogical study, Mr. Rumsey advocated the use of a card index system, so that members could be supplied with standard cards to record their investigation. Ultimately, he said, it was to be hoped that a genealogical reference library of their own would be formed, and that a small magazine, covering the activities of the society, and other general items of interest, would be published quarterly.”

Now fast forward two years to June 1934, and we read about the coming “Genealogical Exhibition” which they are holding …

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, GENEALOGY. 14 june 1934, p. 6 2017

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 14 June 1934, p. 6

To quote a portion from the above article it starts off with a little history of the society …

“It is the first society of its kind formed in Australia. One of the main objects is to create in individuals a personal interest in their own family histories, to encourage in them the study of the science of heraldry, and such other subjects as relate to personal genealogical research, and to give them every possible assistance in the collection of their own family archives.”
Then it gives details of the coming Exhibition …
“… holding a Genealogical Exhibition during the first week in July, and the assistance of all those who are interested in the history of their families … The exhibits will be limited to genealogical, heraldic, and other family matters, including pedigrees, portraits, wills, bookplates, family documents, diaries, family Bibles, and other books containing genealogical entries, coats of arms, crests, books of press cuttings relating to genealogy, articles of apprenticeship, marriage, licences, land grants.”

That would have been fun to attend, don’t you think?

Now fast forward another 83 years to 2017, and the Society of Australian Genealogists is still going strong, with over 4000 members from all round the world, and is totally moving with the times.

SAG have proved themselves to be one of the most innovative groups in Australia. Not only do they have a very spiffy website ( , social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), apart from having local meetings online, they also host webinars, have members only section on their site, run a bookshop, and have a number of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for those who want to focus on something more specific such as writing, DNA, English research or a particular software program, all very valuable ways to keep a society active and members interested.

SAG is also the host society for the next year’s Australasian Congress. So from organising the big exhibition in 1934, to organising Congress in 2018, they’re still going!

I just wanted to say to the Society and their volunteers … you should all be incredibly proud of yourself for the many thousands of people you’ve helped near and far, over the years. And here’s to many more years of helping genealogists find their families! Awesome work guys.