This is a treasure trove of local (in this case, Canberra and A.C.T.) history as found in files in the A.C.T. Archives. The idea is simple: pull out a file and present the story it tells, complete with facsimiles of documents from the file and relevant photographs. It is the archives profession packaging and presenting its holdings in a particularly fetching way.
Find of the Month got under way in June 2008 with a story on the preservation of Canberra’s 1927 rate book. Then, after a break of a few months, there was a piece on the armorial bearings of Canberra. The feature has continued pretty much continuously ever since, with topics like kerosene heaters, Vladimir Petrov’s 1951 Skoda, the sale of Christmas trees, the Rabbit Destruction Ordinance, hedge trimming during World War II, Canberra’s first bicycle path, office furniture, bus shelter painting and wheelie bins.
Some of this history will be arcane to non-Canberrans but much of it will bring smiles to the faces and exclamations of ‘gosh, that’s interesting!’ to the lips of readers, local and distant. One would imagine it would be particularly fruitful as a resource for school classes and would give them a simple introduction to the use of archives. The most recent ‘Find’ links to all of the earlier ones and each find can be printed off as a pdf.
The find of the month for November 2015 is appropriate to the time of year, being a story about the development through the dedicated work of Campbell resident, the late Honor Thwaites, of the Remembrance Nature Park on the slopes of Mount Ainslie, behind the Australian War Memorial. The park was declared in 1978 and cleared and revegetated by local residents and students of Campbell High School. In 1987 a plaque commemorating Indigenous service personnel was erected in the park.