Colonialism and its Aftermath

State Library of Tasmania Projects 2007

The Iron Pot Rebellion

The State Library of Tasmania (Launceston) hold an illustration by an unknown artist of the Third Norfolk Island Uprising, also known as the Iron Pot Rebellion. The successful candidate will be expected to use a range of material held by the State Library, the Archives Office of Tasmania, and the UTAS library to place this illustration within a wider context. The project will analyse the causes and contexts of the rebellion, with a view to understanding the forces that shaped this peculiar representation of the uprising.

Frederick Vaudry Robinson and the weekly Courier/Examiner Annuals

Robinson was one of the best photographers to work in Launceston. He was a regular contributor to the Christmas Annuals (published c 1900-1950) produced by the Weekly Courier and Examiner newspapers which feature some of his finest work. The successful candidate will be expected to investigate the role of the newspaper annuals as showcases for commercial photographers and promoters of an appreciation of the Tasmanian environment (including early wilderness photography) and prepare a catalogue of Robinson's work published in the Annuals.

Panoramas of Launceston

The Launceston Library holds an interesting collection of photographic panoramas of the city by Stephen Spurling and others. These panoramas required cutting edge techniques and equipment, considerable effort on the part of the photographer, and created great public interest. The most famous include Spurling's 1881 panorama from Cataract Hill and his circular panorama from the Fire Tower c.1886. There was also a lithograph produced from this and published in the Tasmanian Mail . The successful candidate will be expected to make an investigation of the panorama phenomenon including the techniques and photographic equipment used. They will also be required to identify and document newspaper reports of the creation, publication and sale of the panoramas and create a descriptive list of known panoramas of Launceston.

Tasmanian Popular Fiction

The Tasmaniana Library of the State Library of Tasmania and the Morris Miller Library both house significant collections of popular fiction by Tasmanian authors, and in some cases unpublished papers of these authors. While convict fiction of the nineteenth century and the fiction of late nineteenth-century colonial women authors like 'Tasma' have received scholarly and critical attention, very little research work has been done on the popular fiction of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century Tasmanian writers like Louise Mack, Isabel Dick (Charlotte Isabel Atkins), Roy and Hilda Bridges, Louis Kaye (Noel Wilson Norman), Nat Gould, Helen Hodgman, Eleanor Alliston (Minka Jones), and Angela Devine. (Marie Bjelke-Petersen is the exception here, although much work remains to be done on the reception of her work.) The project involves bibliographical and archival work, but also the history of contemporary reception and critical reading.

Literature, Popular Fiction and the Public Lending Library

The State Library of Tasmania has developed a number of "Reader Development Initiatives" with a view to maintaining and increasing the use of their literature collections. These include the 2005 Tasmania 's Favourite Books Survey, regular theme-based displays and promotions, and the Express Service for books in high demand. In addition, the Library's activities generate a range of borrowing statistics. One of the issues which has emerged from these Initiatives concerns the opposition between "high" literature and popular fiction. This project will involve examination of the borrowing patterns of the Library's literature collection together with analysis of the Reader Development Initiatives: What role have the various Initiatives played in determining reading practices of lenders? To what extent does the maintenance and use of the literature collection reflect prevailing ideas about the distinction between high literature and popular fiction?

Entertaining Tasmania

Tasmania has a long and rich theatrical heritage, as one of the earliest Australian spaces for European performance. The State Library of Tasmania houses an extensive collection of performing arts ephemera in its Tasmaniana and WL Crowther libraries. Materials include programmes, handbills, posters, and scrapbooks reflecting nearly two centuries of theatrical activity. A variety of possible projects exist within these collections. Indicative projects could include: a study of nineteenth-century Shakespeare productions by local and visiting companies; a history and analysis of particular local theatre companies; an investigation of the range of entertainments on offer in Van Diemen's Land / Tasmania within a discrete period; an analysis of particular scrapbooks of ephemera put together by theatre enthusiasts.

Warring Poets

Early Australian poetry was a battleground: ambitious amateur and professional poets, publishing in the nascent colonial press, strove to create new forms and voices to invoke the antipodean bard. Yet despite Elizabeth Webby's annotated bibliography of poetry in colonial newspapers and magazines, little if anything has been done to examine the poetry published in Van Diemen's Land serials--its derivation, its reflections on contemporary events, its use in the battles between warring editors and journalists, the identification of the (usually anonymous or pseudonymous) poets, etc. This project offers the opportunity to conduct archival research and to write an original analysis of early Australian literary culture.

Representing the Antarctic

Tasmania has long-standing historical, geographical, and geological connections with its southern neighbour, Antarctica. For around two centuries Hobart has acted as a ‘gateway’ city for commercial and exploratory Antarctic expeditions. All three Heritage Collections in the State Library of Tasmania contain a rich variety of Antarctic and Subantarctic materials, including early published narratives (fiction and non-fiction), as well as diaries, scrapbooks, press-cuttings, pamphlets and other ephemera relating to early expeditions. These materials suggest a number of potential projects, including a contextual analysis of an unpublished or a rare published Antarctic-related text; an examination of attitudes in narratives produced over a defined period towards Antarctic or Subantarctic fauna, such as whales or elephant seals; an investigation of the reception of a particular expedition by the Tasmanian community, as revealed in the press and in ephemera relating to local welcoming events. A successful candidate will be expected to select one of these projects.