Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hard core, hard copy, *old school* : the Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery's Arty Facts, 1989 - 1993

Cover : Chen Liu, A little mischief, 1988, woodcut.

Back in the day, before the interwebs, before email, blogs, twitter and facebook, how did cultural institutions share information ? One way was the printed newsletter or journal, (still around today) and tucked away in  Wagga Wagga City Library local studies there is a set of newsletters produced by the Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery between 1989 - 1993. 
The newsletters, published twice a year, during this five year period, were produced with the help of a grant from the New South Wales Ministry of the Arts. Information includes national touring exhibitions, locally curated exhibitions, workshops, performance art and installation art, as well as articles on teaching and experiencing art, gallery tours and talks. General image quality isn't great but woodcuts ( a favourite of mine) turn out well.The newsletters are a valuable historical and cultural reference. 
We're not sure if this is a complete set of newsletters for this period of time or if there was another version of the newsletter before or after 1989 - 1993. We'd love to hear if you have any information to share about Arty Facts - email is wagga.local.studies@gmail.com or drop into the library . Or if you would like to read the newsletters, and you are a member of the library, they are available for viewing within the library. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

World War W

If you have an interest in world war two and would like to get an idea of what it was like in Wagga Wagga around this time , the local studies collection contains some compelling memoirs, factual accounts and formal biographies . There is also a copy for loan in the general collection, in biography.

One of these is Ray Kelly's Tail of a Gunner : a WOAG from Wagga Wagga, covers Ray's childhood and teen years before the war, growing up in Pleasant Hills and moving to Wagga, enlisting, and then his wartime experiences as a Wireless Operator Rear Gunner in the RAAF. This book is a moving and memorable chronicle of a difficult time, and the book closes with an afterword on the survivors of the 463 Lancaster Bomber Squadron :
Courage is something about being cool, calm and collected. It is what makes a man feel warm inside and confident, but nagging at his mind ( and thus at his physical self) is that gremlin that sits on his shoulder waiting, just waiting, for the thin line to be crossed and his spirit to be broken. No one can really speak about courage unless he has to test his own.
No matter what your stance on war, this book is a powerful read and personal, showing what it feels like to move from childhood to the dark and frightening time of world war.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Telling stories : Treasures from the local studies collection

These three books are in the literature section of the local studies collection. Each story is of its time ; space travel, shipwrecks, strange lands with strange creatures.And stories are a great way to connect to to times and places past. Come in and discover many other literary treasures the local studies collection holds..

Cybertales - an anthology of fantasy and science fiction by young writers, published by Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, 1999. "Back on Xyron..."

Bertha and the silver suit - a lovely tale about Bertha the astronaut, her moon cat Monty, and Bentley the space dog. 2006. A production of Kurrajong Warratah.

Shipwrecked on a mysterious island - written by the third and fourth grade pupils of North Wagga School 1966. All the elements of a great story...a journey, delays, a storm at sea, a shipwreck and..a volcano?!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Elizabeth Wescombe and Diane Gamble's Graveyard books

Elizabeth Wescombe and Diane Gamble are local historians specialising in researching and recording cemetery sites across the Riverina, and they have donated copies of their valuable and unique work to the local studies collection at Wagga City Library.
Elizabeth started researching her own family history and branched out from there to help others with their research. As part of her family history work, Elizabeth visited grave sites and at one site they visited, the stone had so badly deteriorated that she got the idea of photographing the grave stones mainly to preserve an image of the headstone as many obscure or remote gravestones are in danger from the effects of time and weather, and if not recorded, this information is lost forever. As part of the process Elizabeth and Diane started collecting obituaries and other information.
Elizabeth and her co - researcher Diane Gamble follow a procedure for photographing and researching gravestones and for researching the obituaries, so their work is well organised, clear and methodical. This research is then produced as books ( Brookong Cemetery is illustrated here ) which are now available to view in Wagga City Library.
This is an ongoing project so so if you have any information on remote or isolated gravestones or graves that you feel should be recorded , drop me a line via wagga.local.studies@gmail.com and I will pass on your details.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New resources in local studies....

The local studies collection has some new books - check these out :

The Hampden Bridge Wagga Wagga , by Sherry Morris.

Handy, concise history of the Hampden Bridge.

Bomen Axe Quarry and Manufacturing Site : Assessment and Statement of Significance for an Aboriginal Place Declaration . A report prepared for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage June 2011.A meticulously researched report.
- produced by Go Green Services.

Australia Bound : the emigration journey of Theo and Pia Lightfoot, edited by Dinah Lightfoot. 

A diary of Theo and Pia's long journey to Australia, with moving and sweet details like this : "...the roll of blankets we have carried in our onboard luggage now comes in very handy. { Fifty years later when I wrote this, Pia still had this blanket on her bed. She just couldn't part with it as she found it cozy. We still have this blanket in the family today." }

These books are ready for viewing in the library- as they are part of the local studies collection they are not for general loan but if you have a library card you can borrow them to read for two hours within the library. These and many more books and other materials in local studies could hold the one piece of information you are searching for...come in and have a look!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beginnings : Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens

This image was kindly donated by Graeme Hanlon. Not a great deal is known about this photograph or the words on the sign. It would be great to hear from anyone who has information or memories about the early days of the gardens - email wagga.local.studies@gmail.com if you would like to share your knowledge!

The official opening ceremony for the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens was held on Saturday 24 August in 1968, starting at precisely 2.30 pm. According to Gary Croker, in Willan's Hill , Wagga Wagga (2000) , the gardens had unofficially been open for business since 1963.

The planning and work for the Botanic Gardens started in the 1960s, Trees were planted on Willans Hill in the 1950s by councillors, and Council staff , particularly Tom Wood, developed and grew the gardens into the beautiful and well maintained, well used, and well loved place it is today.

Graeme Hanlon also donated a copy of an article , "Wagga Wagga ..a city to crow about" , from a 1967 issue of " Your Garden" on the gardens of Wagga Wagga, describing the inland city as having a legitimate claim to being called a "Garden City" : "With it's tree clad streets (over 30,000 have been planted ) , its many parks and playing fields, one feels like entering an oasis when visiting this city" . Although slightly badly written, (implying perhaps, in that first sentence,  that visiting makes the writer wish they were entering an oasis) , the article is a quaint snapshot of civic Wagga Wagga in the 1960s. A full copy of the article is available to view in the library.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

not -so-dull family history

Many people put their years of family history research into book form and Wagga City Library has a number of  these for loan, some in the local studies collection.
Members of the library can look at the items from local studies within the library- and borrow the family histories from the general collection.
Here's a sample of three histories :

The story of Mary Wade starts in England , 1778, when Mary was aged 10, and sentenced to death for taking some clothing. In 1789 her death sentence was changed to transportation to Australia aboard the ship the Lady Juliana.It was another year before the ship set sail, and finally arrived in New South Wales in 1790....

Uranie Figaro was born in Mauritius in 1816 , the 
child of slaves (her parents  names are not recorded) , who then became a servant, at the age of fifteen, to a Miss Blanchard, soon to be Mrs Manton. Uranie then accompanied the now married Mrs Manton  and her husband to land near the Yass River...

The Lindsay and Facy families start their story on the Marianne, on a whaling trip in the South Pacific in 1846. Drunkeness, more exotic boat journeys involving wool or timber, smuggling, and more weave their way through this tale and end up in Big Springs just fifty kilometres out of Wagga Wagga...

As you can see from this small sample family histories are far from boring. Come into the library and get some inspiration for writing your own family history! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

House history

Are you interested in exploring the history of  your house ?
Perhaps you live in a heritage area ? Or you live in an older style house and you would like to know more about the history of the house ? Not sure where to start ?
The New South Wales Land and Property Information website is a great place to start - especially if you don't have copies of the original property deeds.
Click on Historical searching under " I want to learn about" . There are heaps of searching tips and links.
New South Wales State Records is another fantastic resource that has ideas and advice about researching the history of your property.
The local studies collection has Parish maps and the Wagga Wagga City Council Valuation and Rate books for 1908 through to 1931 are on microfilm. Come in and book the microfilm reader to start your research today!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Local studies resources : Indigenous resources

Local studies has a very good selection of resources around local area Indigenous history, geography, language and more.
The featured book, Survival Legacies : Stories from Aboriginal settlements of southeastern Australia , by Peter Kabaila, is a valuable resource which includes information on the Cootamundra Girls Home, various settlements along the Murrumbidgee , Macquarie and Lachlan rivers and a wealth of other meticulously researched information.
There is also a copy of Survival legacies in the general collection for loan, but if someone gets that out before you do, ask for the copy from local studies so you can have a look at this excellent book in the comfort and cool of the library.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's your line ? : how to use local studies resources

What's your area of research ?
The local studies collection is catalogued in exactly the same way as our general non - fiction collection by the Dewey decimal system - for example, Wagga Civic Theatre history is in the 700s, local sport and sporting heroes around 796.
Council documents are to be found in many different subject areas, depending on the subject matter. For example, salinity is in the 630s, and social planning 300s.
Family histories are to be found in the 929 area, and Indigenous history in 994.
If you are a member of the library, items from local studies are issued onto your card as a short loan and the item can be read or viewed within the library for two hours.
Not a member of the library or from out of town ? Ask at the information desk on how we can assist you to view items.
And to save time , you can access the library catalogue online and make a list of the items you wish to look at - and if you're not sure if we do have an item ask at the information desk - the friendly staff will be happy to help you with your area of interest !