Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ballarat Adventure - Day One

The train left Spencer Street (yes, I know it has been renamed Southern Cross) Station at 9.08 for Ballarat where a group of local studies librarians from various parts of Victoria were to meet for two days of exploring organisations with local history related collections in that city.

Five of us travelled together in the first carriage on the train and the first topic of discussion was "Have you created your blog, yet?" Blogs and Library 2.0 crept into discussions a number of times during the two days.

At Ballarat Station we were met by Edith who drove us to the public library at Ballarat where we met other members of the group who had arrived on other trains or had driven to Ballarat. The streetscape of Ballarat is impressive including a number of the buildings dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century.

At the library Edith showed us the Australiana Collection with its extensive collection collection of books on Australian history as well as the library's local history for the Ballarat region, including correspondence and documents, notes used by Weston Bate when writing his book on the history of Ballarat, scrapbooks of articles, as well as a collection of military history, the Richmond Collection of photographs and the MV Anderson collection of art books.

Betty and Joan from the Genealogical Society then spoke about their extensive collection of items stored in the Australiana room as well as the projects undertaken by the society.

After lunch we visited the Old Ballarat Cemetery where Neva was our guide introducing us to some of the stories relating to the grave sites that help recall Ballarat's history.

The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery was our next stop where we saw some of the items from the collection of print material held by the gallery as well as the extensive new storage area for paintings and other collection items.

The final visit for the day was to the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute, established in 1859, where Frank provided a guided tour of the library and the magnificent building which is currently being renovated.

Dinner at the North Britain Hotel provided further opportunity for discussing what we had seen during the day, the variety of projects being undertaken in regard to local history and genealogy in Victorian public libraries and generally networking in a friendly, relaxed environment. Libraries 2.0 was mentioned once or twice during the evening as well.

Day One had demonstrated that collections of material relating to Ballarat's history are distributed in many collecting institutions in the city and the exploration of such collections continued on the second day.

1 comment:

Pauline said...

A really interesting account, Vicki, and some great photographs! I'm glad you work at Nun. I'll be after a few pointers.