Newsletter Noel Butlin Archives Centre

November 2014

Current news
November 2014

2015 Eric Fry Labour History Scholarship

The closing date for applications for this scholarship is now the end of March each year. It is open to honours and postgraduate students who intend using collections in the Noel Butlin Archives Centre in their research. 

Database launch

The Director-General of the National Archives of Australia, David Fricker, launched our database on 6 June 2014, the 30th anniversary of the operation of the Archives Act. The database is accessible from the home page of our website at

We have just upgraded to version 2.1 of the Access to Memory (AtoM) software which includes some small enhancements which we contracted Artefactual Systems Inc to develop to make it easier to input our data. We now have 45% of item lists on the database.

At a ceremony in University House on 24 November, the ANU Archives team was awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Innovation and Excellence in Service for our work on the database, providing access to collection information and digitised material online as 'an integral part of the historian's toolkit, regardless of location'.

Annual lecture

Professor Joan Beaumont of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific delivered our annual lecture on 23 September on the topic 'The Real War? Battles on the Australian home front 1914-1919'. A vodcast is available on the ANU Channel on YouTube.

Move to Birch building

More than 22,000 boxes of records were relocated from the upper level of the Archives repository in Acton Underhill (the Tunnel) to the Birch Building, the old Research School of Chemistry building. The move took place over three weeks without disruption to public services but required meticulous planning so that we could reuse existing shelving: boxes were placed on trolleys, shelving dismantled then re-erected in the new location, ready to be filled with boxes again.

We now have a circular courier run from the Menzies Building to Acton Underhill to Birch and back to Menzies each day. The bulk of the collection (17 kilometres) remains on the lower level of Acton Underhill. The move was completed in time to hold a Halloween Party in the repository for students at the end of October.


Archives out and about

University Archivist Maggie Shapley delivered a paper at the International Council on Archives conference in Girona, Spain reporting on the implementation of the ICA Principles of Access to Archives at the ANU Archives. Archivist Helen Hopper gave a presentation at the Australian Society of Archivists' conference in Christchurch, New Zealand entitled 'Sugar, Science and Super Smiles', reporting on the use of the CSR Limited collection to launch a new product which had first been developed and tested in the 1970s.

Two very different books have been donated recently to the Archives by researchers illustrating the breadth of our collections: David Lawrence's book The Naturalist and his 'Beautiful Islands': Charles Morris Woodford in the Western Pacific, published by ANU Press ( and Salute to the Hudswells: The story of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company's Hudswell Clarke locomotives in Queensland and Fiji, by Ian Stocks,David Mewes and John Browning, published by the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society (

The ANU Reporter recently featured an article about the Archives treasures, some of which are currently on display in the Archives reading room. These include the medals of Professor Frank Fenner and Sir John Crawford and correspondence of some of the early University academics such as Manning Clark, Noel Butlin and Keith Hancock.


Students from the Practical Skills in Exhibition Design and Delivery course in the College of Arts and Social Sciences have curated a small exhibition in the Archives reading room. 'A biography: The story behind the story' is about Laurie Fitzhardinge's biography of William Morris Hughes.

Toad Hall is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. There's an exhibition in the foyer of the Menzies Library building which draws on research in the Archives and students' own records.

New acquisitions

Noel Butlin Archives Centre:
Research papers of Dr John Ballard (1930-2014) relating to AIDS in Australia
The 7 August 1891 agreement between the Pastoralists' Federal Council of Australia and the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia relating to the employment of shearers, signed by WE Abbott, New South Wales pastoralist and member of the Legislative Assembly and WG Spence, trade unionist and later member of the first Federal parliament

University Archives
Annual reports from Mount Stromlo (1956-1975) donated by June Faulkner
Minutes of meetings and reports from the Electron and Ion Diffusion Unit, 1961 – 1991, including the papers of Professor Robert Crompton
Papers relating to a survey of British migrants by Reginald Thomas Appleyard in the Department of Demography in the 1960s

Pacific Research Archives
Edward Adley Owen's photograph albums of the CSR Limited Labasa mill from 1909, donated by Barbara Sheppard
Professor Mervyn Meggitt's Enga genealogies resulting from his research in the Papua New Guinea highlands in the 1950s.