Archives Outside

For people who love, use and manage archives

Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage  archives

Unknown soldier

As we commemorate ANZAC Day, a WWI related photographic mystery from the archives.

This studio photograph (NRS 214 c.1914-18), was found amongst old records at 10 Quay Street, Sydney. It had no identifying information accompanying it. The office at this address had been used for many years by meat inspectors employed on the Metropolitan Meat inspection circuit.

Of the two subjects in the photograph one appears to be a member of the Military whilst the other appears to be dressed in a civil uniform, including a cap with insignia.

Can anyone identify what type of military uniform the man on the right is wearing?

Perhaps even more challenging, can anyone identify the uniform worn by the man on the left? Given where the photograph was found, could it be a meat inspectors uniform?

What could be the significance of the two men being photographed together in their uniforms? What could be the relationship between the two men? Perhaps a father and son? So many questions!

Let us know what you think!


NRS214[11-14158A]_001 cropped




What are your Easter memories – church, show bags and chocolate eggs? [Easter Encampments]

In the late Nineteenth century Easter also meant military training at the ‘Easter Encampment’. Volunteers in the NSW military forces came together for mass training utilising the public holidays. Encampments were held from 1873 to 1900, although not every year. Camps for the infantry were held at Hamm Common near Richmond (1873), near Campbelltown (1874, 1891), Victoria Barracks at Paddington (1879, 1888, 1895, 1897), Windsor (1883, 1884), Middle Head and South Head (1885), the Royal National Park (1886, 1887, 1889, 1890), and Rookwood (1898, 1899). In 1900 a number of smaller camps in and around Sydney ended with a parade at Centennial Park. While the 1884 camp was attended by 1500 men, the 1898 camp hosted 5000 men.

Sergeants of the 2nd Regiment of the Voluntary Infantry. Easter Encampment

State Records NSW has a number of images of volunteers training and we believe these images are all from the one encampment at Windsor, in either 1883 (22-28 March) or 1884 (11-16 April). One of these images has definitely been identified as the encampment in 1884 by Bob Meade. Thank you, Bob. However other images have been identified as troops training for the 1885 Sudan contingent. We know that these images are taken after February 1883 when the new helmet plate was issued. This helmet plate featured the colony’s badge on a red background. The badge is still at the centre of the state’s coat of arms.

State Crest

Examples of the helmet plate can be found at the Australian War Memorial. (e.g OR’s white cloth covered helmet: New South Wales 1st Infantry Regiment ; Helmet plate : Sergeant S Holmes, 4 Regiment New South Wales Volunteer Infantry )

Colour Sergeant Milton

Work: Colour Sergeant Milton

 Weekending at Windsor

The Windsor camps were held at an area variously referred to in newspapers as Gosper’s Paddock, Windsor Farm and Fitzgerald’s Farm. In 1883 the area was described as a quarter a mile from the railway on the east of the town of Windsor, in a valley bounded on the north by the railway line, on the east by South Creek with its willow trees, and on the west by a common. The 1884 camp was held in approximately the same area but ‘its position is changed with advantage. It is on the crest of an elevation dipping at about 300 yards from the railway …’(SMH 11 Apr 1884, p6).

Photographs are known to have been taken of both Windsor encampments. In June 1883 it was reported that Mr Edward Day had been presented with an album of photographs of the 1883 camp, prepared under the direction of Major Richards, the Government Printer. Day was given the album for allowing his land to be used for training.  We know that Joseph Bischoff, the Public Works photographer, took images of the 1884 camp.

The newspapers of the time describe in detail the activities captured in these images – drill, parades, family day, and war games or mock battles. On Easter Sunday in 1883 four trainloads of visitors (estimated at 4,000 people) arrived and settled down to picnics while watching the mock fight. The 1884 camp attracted several thousand visitors on Saturday and Monday and featured mock attacks on Saturday and Monday in practice for a final battle on Tuesday. I wonder if the 30 rounds per man given to each soldier in 1884 for the mock battles means they were using live ammunition. Picnicking Victorian style, watching live bullets being fired!!!

Believed to be NSW volunteers Easter Encampment at Windsor April 1884 - spectators watching soldiers

Can you help us confirm that these images are at Windsor in 1884? Perhaps the lay of the land, the buildings in the distance, the type of rifles or artillery guns speaks to you? Any information welcomed!



What’s the bigger picture?

Whose up for another round of What’s the bigger picture? our guessing game using photographs from the State Records NSW collection.

Let’s hope this one tests the brain cells!

Where do you think this might be? What’s the bigger picture?!

20224_a038_001399 blocked 1, 2 and 3

20224_a038_001399 section 1

20224_a038_001399 section 2

20224_a038_001399 section 3


Ashfield Park, Parramatta Rd, Ashfield

Series: NRS 20224 Photographs of metropolitan, country roads ferries etc., and miscellaneous operations, New South Wales

Digital ID: 20224_a038_001399


Looking for Miss McKenzie

While continuing with the digitisation of NRS 15051, Photographs collected by the History Department of the Department of School Education, we came across this photo which noted on the back that the older woman in centre was Miss McKenzie who worked at Canowindra School for an astounding 48 years!

Caption: Staff at Canowindra District Rural School - Miss McKenzie centre front taught at the school from 1902-1950 Digital ID: 15051_a047_002502.jpg  Date: year only 31/12/1950

Caption: Staff at Canowindra District Rural School – Miss McKenzie centre front taught at the school from 1902-1950
Digital ID: 15051_a047_002502.jpg
Date: year only 31/12/1950

A quick look at Miss McKenzie’s personal file revealed her full name to be Isabel Elithan Flora McKenzie. She began service as an Assistant Teacher at Canowindra School on 25th August 1902 at the age of 16 and remained at Canowindra until her retirement on 31st December 1950 at the age of 64. (NRS 4080 [10/37442] I. McKenzie)

Given her long service at the school it occurred to me Miss McKenzie could appear in other photos from Canowindra. Searching the photos I came across this image.

Caption: Canowindra Public School - pupils and staff  Digital ID: 15051_a047_002489.jpg  Date: c. 31/12/1900

Caption: Canowindra Public School – pupils and staff
Digital ID: 15051_a047_002489.jpg
Date: c. 31/12/1900

No names of the people in the photo have been given and only a circa 1900 date has been noted on the photo.

Could Miss McKenzie appear in this photo?

The young woman seated on the right looks to be the right age (around 16) and may share some of the facial features of the older Miss McKenzie?

15051_a047_002489 cropped 15051_a047_002502 Miss McKenzie 1950

What do you think? Could we have found the young Miss McKenzie?

Follow this link to see all photos related to Canowindra School.

What we’ve been digitising in the #Archives

There are several digitisation projects happening here at State Records – some have been recently completed, others are long-term and will continue well into next year.

Recently completed

1954 Royal Tour

The Royal tour of Australia by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh began in Sydney on 3 February 1954 and finished two months later in Fremantle, Western Australia on 1 April 1954.

This album shows images from the Sydney part of the tour, dated 3-18 February 1954, showing the Royal couple and decorations and illuminations of public buildings and parks.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh are greeted upon arrival at Farm Cove, Sydney for the Royal Visit, 1954 Sydney Streets decorated for the Royal Visit, 1954

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of NSW Parliament - Royal Visit, 1954 Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated for the Royal Visit, 1954

Gloucester Police Station

Images are available in Archives Investigator.

showing for each day the type of duty in which each policeman, and where relevant his horse, was engaged. The special occurrences column records such details as visits from senior police officers; transfers of staff; stores received; reports of crimes committed; warrants and summonses issued.
description from Archives Investigator

Diary of duty and occurrences at the Gloucester Police Station during the week ending the 10th day of July 1880

Long term projects

School photos

The History Unit of the Department of School Education collected these photographs when preparing school histories, research for public relations, or giving presentations. The collection consists mainly of photographic prints showing school buildings, pupils, teachers, or educational activities. Most include an identifying caption and date.

There are c.900 photos available in Photo Investigator and many more to come. The photos are arranged in alphabetical order by school and we are currently up to “C”.

Note that only material out of copyright will be available online.

Chakola Public School - Education Gazette - rough plan of school area at Public School Chakola showing plantation of trees and shrubs, 1 Feb 1922. Digital ID 15051_a047_002775  Adaminaby Public School c.1905. Digital ID 15051_a047_000019

Alma Public School - opening of new playground for infants department. Digital ID 15051_a047_000142 Balmain Trade School - engineering workshop. Digital ID 15051_a047_000625
We’ll have another digitisation update soon.

Link love in the GLAM sector

Queen’s historic tour heralded a new era for the royal family (via Tim Barlass @ Sydney Morning Herald)

“in 1954 the 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth made the first visit to Australia by a reigning monarch. That visit is now the subject of exhibitions by the Parliament of NSW and soon also State Records NSW.”

Teaching effectively with primary sources

“Welcome to a new, innovative way to teach in the archives! Based on an award-winning project at Brooklyn Historical Society, shares our teaching philosophy and findings with a global audience of instructors, administrators, librarians, archivists, and museum educators.

Approaching Principles for Independent Archives

“…. I’ve collected some basic principles for an independent archiving project. These are some of my thoughts on approaching the project and an open invitation for thoughts from others which I’ll collect and weave in. The more projects support each other to develop their ideas and practices, the more effective we can all be—

No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.   Joy’s Law

When it Comes to Keepsakes, What’s the Difference Between Physical and Digital?

“Now, I affirm that all keepsakes vary in the degree to which they resonate in our hearts. But there is something slippery and uncanny about a digital object as a memory token. First and foremost there’s the question about where and what the object is. Unlike my poster, a digital file can’t sit in plain sight. It requires a machine to view. The object also can be hard to find in the first place because it likely lives with thousands of others in a virtual environment that may be difficult to navigate. There can be multiple copies, some identical, some not.”

Valuing mud

“Australian Museum mineralogist, Thomas Hodge-Smith was asked to report on a collection of Deep Sea Mud samples.

Later, in 1929, he was asked to put a value on the samples.”

Super sleuthing in The Commons

An exhibition inspired through community engagement

Power to the people!

“…#HoodsHarbour represents the power of our Flickr followers, who have returned each day to our feed to comb through the collection and unlock its secrets…”

Exhibition at Australian National Maritime Museum

Exhibition at Australian National Maritime Museum

Local Treasures : Newcastle’s Public Infrastructure in 1829

“Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist of the University of Newcastle and Dr Ann Hardy discuss their recent trip to NSW State Records to photograph three bundles of hitherto lost documents of Newcastle in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The documents relate to an inventory of public buildings in the township that were being readied for what appears to have been the first privatisation prior to the Australian Agricultural Company take over of the Government Mines. They provide a digitised copy and transcription of one of these documents, and the importance of this information to the creation of the 3D early Newcastle model currently being constructed by artist Charles Martin for the University’s Coal River Working Party.”

Sir Thomas Mitchell’s 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013

Sir Thomas Mitchell’s 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013

145 minutes in Wagga: The 1954 Royal Tour

“February 13, 1954, has long been regarded by many as one of the most important days in Wagga Wagga’s history – the day Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited our city as part of their 1954 Royal Tour.

A special exhibition has been arranged between State Records NSW and the Parliament of NSW to commemorate 60 years since the 1954 Royal Tour and is on display at Parliament House in Sydney and the Western Sydney Records Centre until March 31.

At CSU Regional Archives, we too are revisiting the Royal Tour (from Wagga’s perspective) with an exhibition of material from both our own Collection and the Museum of the Riverina. The exhibition, which includes photographs, commemorative items, and a 15min film of the visit, will be on display in the Archives on CSU’s South Campus until 31 March.

1-rw43-39 Queen Wagga Wagga