Stories in 100 Words

Workers at the Duck River Butter Factory (from the Collections of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office)

Encapsulating the history of a place in 100 words has been the task of three historians assisting the Tasmanian Heritage Council's move to provide online access to information on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.

The Tasmanian Collection will be a new digital platform that draws together the history collections of all sorts of cultural institutions across Tasmania. It is the initiative of the Tasmanian Heritage Council who are collaborating with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, and Tourism Tasmania. It is hoped that once these organisations have put some information online that others, including the smaller regional museums and depositories, will follow. Links will be made between the different entries, so that as the platform progresses, it will gradually make increasing numbers of connections across the different collections. The project is driven by the Heritage Council's 2015-2020 Strategic Plan to put their datasheets, that is information about registered sites, online, making the Heritage Register 'a living resource'. The website is to be launched later this year with information about an initial 300 sites.

Dr Kathryn Evans, Dr Caroline Evans, and Michelle Blake, all members of the Professional Historians Association of Victoria but working in Tasmania, have drawn information from each datasheet to write a catchy 100-word story about the site it concerns. The idea is that the synopses will attract tourists, students, academics, and anyone else interested in Tasmanian history, to delve further into the topic.

This project is a fascinating way to gain an insight into an eclectic Tasmanian history from 1803 up to the late twentieth century. There are quite a number of schools, churches, bridges, cemeteries, parks, government buildings, and signal stations, all with their own unique stories and associated voices. Convict buildings and archaeological sites are well-represented too. Less frequently depicted topics include gas works, butter factories, whaling stations, boatsheds, flour mills, a memorial avenue, a hut from which thylacines were hunted, a quarantine station, a canal, a rammed earth kiln, and Hobart's water supply system.

Kathryn and Caroline, who have been researching and writing Tasmanian history for many years, are mentoring Michelle, who is an honours graduate and an emerging public historian. Kathryn is the coordinator and Caroline the overall editor.

With thanks to Caroline Evans for supplying this news item.

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