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Our meetings are held on the second Tuesday
March, May, July, September (A.G.M), November.
Great Southern Room
4th Floor - State Libra
ry of Western Australia

12 September
Annual General Meeting

Speaker - Dr Kate Gregory is the Battye Historian at the State Library of Western Australia, where since 2013 she has been in the fortunate position of exploring, developing, and sharing the rich collections of the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History. She worked previously as an Historian with the National Trust of Australia (WA), as well as Curator at Claremont Museum, and at Fremantle Prison helping curate the exhibition Escape! Fremantle to Freedom. Kate has a PhD in Art History from the University of Melbourne and has served as a Trustee of the Western Australian Museum from 2012 - 2018. Her book From the Barracks to the Burrup: the National Trust in Western Australia (University of New South Wales Press, 2010) co-authored with Andrea Witcomb, was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. You may hear her on regular radio interview segments with both the ABC and 6PR, discussing the collections of the State Library and many facets of West Australian history. 

Topic - Cracking the Code – sharing the story of John Boyle O’Reilly’s 1868 Book of Poetry Held within the State Library’s collection is an original handwritten book of poems by Irish Fenian poet, writer and political activist John Boyle O’Reilly dated 1868, when he was a convict in Western Australia. Bound in vellum with stenography shorthand code written across the front and back cover, a brass clasp opens to reveal a dedication to Father Patrick McCabe. When it was donated to the State Library in 1989, although signed by O’Reilly, its authenticity was verified through extensive research, ultimately leading to the stenography code being cracked and enabling it to be partially deciphered and without a doubt establishing O’Reilly as the author. In this lecture, I will explore the story of this little book of poetry, and how its significance came to be recognised, and the ways in which it creates a tangible connection to John Boyle O’Reilly and his time in Western Australia. 

21 November
End of year function

Speakers - David Whiteford is an Archivist in the State Records Office of WA. He began his career as a Library Board of WA cadet in 1975 and has largely worked in the Battye Library / State Records Office ever since (with a few years in other occupations). David has worked with almost all formats in the Battye Library and SRO as the responsible Librarian / Archivist and arranged acquisition and cataloguing or processing of items within each format. David has a personal interest in railway history within WA and has been involved in many published books and articles varying from the salt industry in Port Gregory, to the Mauds Landing jetty, and to the Donnybrook to Katanning railway. David is planning retirement in 2024. 

Andrew Black is a Collection Liaison Librarian at the State Library of WA. His interest in maps started during his time in the 1st Barry Sea Scouts in the UK, which included hiking and learning about map symbols and navigation. Andrew went on to do a university degree in Hydrography (sea surveying) and Maritime safety at the University of Plymouth, UK, and later Information and Library Studies at Curtin University. Andrew has been working with the State Library as a Librarian since 2000. He was involved with the Historical Records Rescue Consortium (HRRC) project, identifying negatives for digitisation due to a risk of vinegar syndrome. Since 2006 he has worked as Collection Liaison Librarian and has developed a special interest in the map collections. Andrew has made significant map acquisitions for the collection and assisted with the introducing processes for legal deposit of maps, selected maps for digitisation and contributed to the  Cartographic Materials Collecting plan, which is part of the State Library’s new Collection Strategy for Heritage materials launched in October 2022.

Topic - WHERE IS KWAKKALUP? : Research using maps and plans in the State Records Office of Western Australia.

Learn about SRO’s collections of townsite maps, railway plans, Group Settlement maps, sewerage plans, cancelled public plans, mining leases, lands and more. Find out just how many towns named Melville and Lakeside have existed in W.A. and see how other names have been duplicated throughout the state. Learn how to navigate changes in place names, and finally, find out just where Kwakkalup is!

A Tour of the J.S. Battye Library of West Australia History collection through maps.
The Heritage Map Collection is part of the J.S. Battye Library of West Australia History in the State Library of WA. It comprises maps, charts, plans and images, both individual and in series form, representing land, sea and the urban landscape in Western Australia and other geographic areas with strong connections to the state. There are over 44,000 sheets and includes hand-drawn, print and digital editions. This presentation to highlight some examples of recently acquired, digitised and interesting maps have in the collection and show some of the different types of maps we have that may help with future research.

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