Colonialism and its Aftermath

2017 CEH Honours Projects

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

Changes in Sports Journalism

Jack Donnelly (1915-1995) was the Examiner's senior sports reporter and later sporting editor, and worked with them for 35 years. His collection is largely sport-related - mainly AFL but also including cycling, athletics, and wood chopping. This project will examine changes in the practice of journalism over time, and examine attitudes towards sport and sport reporting. Note: Donnelly's notebooks are mostly in shorthand, so some knowledge of shorthand would be useful in conducting this project.

Disciplines: Journalism, Communication & Media Studies

Les Hill and Amateur Film

This is a collection (now digitised) of early film. Hill was a member of the Northern Tasmanian Camera Club, and an enthusiastic adopter of film. His collection contains footage of a trip around Tasmania in 1941 by motor car (including some experimental colour film), a number of self-directed humorous fictional films with special effects, footage of motorbike trials on Baker's Beach and the first Devonport Airshow, and even a collection of some early Hollywood film and animation. This collection is a fascinating picture of private enthusiast cinematography.

Disciplines: History

Independent 20th Century Women

Using the collections of Jane Craig, Isabella Mead and Dorothea Henslowe, this project will examine the activities, attitudes and influence of three influential, educated and independent Launceston women over an 80 year time period following World War I. If wished, this project could also include a comparative study by comparing these women with those recorded in the Sutton and Gibson diaries from the late 19th century.

Disciplines: History, English, Media Studies

Petty crime in Van Diemen's Land

QVMAG holds four Court Record Books covering the years 1886-1892, and another two books covering 1897 - 1902.  The museum also holds some individual volumes from the 1840s & 1850s. This project will will build a picture of petty crime in northern Tasmania by using these books as a starting point. The project will compare the information with  the reports in newspapers available on Trove and in TAHO holdings and gain more detailed corroboration through Launceston City Council Police records. Through the more detailed records in the LCC files, one can trace many of the people back to their conduct records if they were transportees. This project will build a picture of the prevalence, type and nature of petty crime in the North, whether these crimes led to further and greater recidivism, and will ask questions about local attitudes to law-breaking.

Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Reading at Port Arthur

"Account books," writes novelist Hilary Mantel, "form a narrative as engaging as any tale of sea monsters or cannibals." Awaiting attention in the Port Arthur Historic Site archive is the account book for the Port Arthur Subscription Library and Reading Room, covering the period 1860-1877 and including records of library loans, as well as donations and fines. Who was using the library, and what were they reading? Did convicts and officers have similar access to books, and how much would a fine set you back? The successful applicant for this project will transcribe and analyse the account book in order to extract insights about borrowing and reading practices at the Port Arthur Library.

Discipline: English, Creative Writing

Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

Melodrama in the Midlands: the H T Abrahamsen Letters

The Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office holds a small group of letters written by a Danish farmer at Fingal to his brother in America in the early 20th century. The letters, mostly in Danish, give an insight into the minutiae of rural life in north-eastern Tasmania in the Federation period. Notably, Abrahamsen describes a thylacine that he shot, and for which he received a Government bounty. Preliminary biographical investigation of Abrahamsen, in particular searching newspapers on Trove, has confirmed the core facts in the letters and revealed more fascinating details: Abrahamsen's life in Fingal was rich in incident – theft, violence, adultery – the stuff of classic melodrama. His letters are yet to be fully translated: TAHO has partial summaries in English, but there is scope for a Danish speaker to prepare a complete translation. There is also scope for further biographical research to flesh out the story of Abrahamsen's life. The facts that have already been discovered also offer a basis for a creative writing project.

Disciplines: English, History

Women, Writing, and Domestic Life in the Colonial Countryside: the Ellen Viveash letters

In 2013, the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office acquired a collection of letters between Ellen Viveash, a settler in Campbell Town in the early 1830s, and her family in England. Charles and Ellen (Eleanor) Viveash arrived in Hobart in February 1831. They obtained a grant of land on the Macquarie River near Campbell Town. Ellen's brother William Tanner married Charles Viveash's sister Hester, and they also settled in Van Diemen's Land, on the East Coast near Swansea. Ellen's letters give a detailed picture of colonial life: she writes of shortages of food, equipment, medicines and other supplies; difficulties finding servants; unreliable post and shipping; financial troubles; as well as observations on flora and fauna, and the differences between the two regions where she and her brother lived. They also reveal much about mental landscapes: Ellen was a woman of strong and often unconventional opinions. This collection offers several potential avenues for research, including detailed investigation of the Viveash and Tanner families and their connections both in England and Australia; and the minutiae of domestic life on a pastoral property in the northern midlands of Tasmania in the 1830s. It might also form the basis of a creative writing project.

Disciplines: English, Creative Writing

Morris Miller Library Special and Rare Collections

Catherine Penwarne Mitchell's scrapbooks

Catherine (Kate) Penwarne Mitchell (1847-1878) was the eldest daughter of John Mitchell, who arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1837 as a surveyor, and settled at Lisdillon, near Swansea. Catherine Penwarne Mitchell's sketchbook (compiled by Catherine's sister Sarah between 1928 and 1933) spanning 1860-1875, contains fine detailed ink drawings and accompanying dated journal-style descriptions. The sketchbook is a fine example of 19th-Century Tasmanian artwork and record-keeping. It contains images of daily life on the East Coast of Tasmania from a young lady's perspective: picnics, boating, social events, shooting, dancing, riding horses, and depicts other individuals from prominent Tasmanian families such as the Cottons, Merediths, Lynes, Giblins, Maysons, Shaws, and Glovers.

The sketchbook complements the writing within Sarah Mitchell's diaries (mentioned above), and could be explored as a project either discretely, or in in conjunction with the diaries. The sketchbook could be explored as a unique portal into late 19th-Century Tasmanian natural and cultural history, with a unique connection to Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage.

Disciplines: English, History, Creative Writing

Sarah Mitchell Diaries

Sarah Mitchell's diaries and scrapbooks provide a window into everyday life in Tasmania over an unusually wide timespan. Sarah started recording her activities at age 13 around 1866 and continued until 1946. Her collections in the Royal Society of Tasmania's archives are described as an 'interesting but haphazard collection of news clippings, photos and family letters'. She kept very detailed notes, which include her account of a trip to England in 1900-1901. These materials could provide a unique view of Tasmanian life through this period.

Disciplines: English, Creative Writing

George F Story Collection

George Fordyce Story (1800-1885), a medical practitioner, settled in Van Diemen's Land in 1828 at Kelvedon, near Swansea. He became a Quaker and undertook several missionary visits around Australia between 1849 and 1870. Story worked as assistant district surgeon at the Waterloo Point Convict Station in Swansea, and assistant surgeon to the Probation Party at Rocky Hills until 1848.

In addition to his medical work, Dr Story acted as secretary to the Royal Society of Tasmania and Superintendent of the Society's Botanical Gardens from October 1844 until November 1845. He was a keen naturalist and collected many samples of Tasmanian flora for Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, botanist of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, between 1867 and 1875. Story's interest in scientific matters and technology led him to experiment with photography in the 1860s-1870s and he kept meticulous meteorological records for Kelvedon between 1869 and1872.

The collection contains letters, notebooks, photographs, medical case notes, meteorological reports, observations, and writings on his encounters with Aboriginal people and the bushranger 'Dido'. These materials could form the basis of a unique investigation into topics ranging from convict and Aboriginal treatment, to medical work and local politics in the community, natural history, and Quakerism.

Disciplines: English, History, Creative Writing

Henry Hellyer

Henry Hellyer (1790-1832) was an explorer and surveyor who arrived in Van Diemen's Land to work for the Van Diemen's Land Company in 1826. He explored and surveyed districts between Port Sorell, Valentine's Peak and Black Buff. In 1827 he was sent to lay out a road from Emu Bay to the Hampshire Hills. He later surveyed most of the district from Black Buff to Mount Bischoff, the Cripps Range, Cradle Mountain and the Murchison River.

His diary records observations of life in the Tasmanian bush, as well as illustrations of flora, fauna and daily life. In light of Hellyer's suicide in 1842 at age 42, it could be used as a vehicle for exploring the impacts of an isolated Tasmanian colonial life on relatively new settlers, as well as the progress of the Van Diemen's Land Company, and exploration and surveying in Van Diemen's Land.

Disciplines: English, Creative Writing

John Maule Hudspeth Diaries

John Maule Hudspeth arrived in Tasmania after a voyage on the Minerva(1822-23) with his wife as a free settler. His diary describes the voyage and includes much of scientific interest. It continues with an account of his settling at 'Bowsden' near Jericho, his choices of where to settle (on 600 acres), what to plant, and his activities as a medical officer and deputy constable. This could be examined in a wider context of other available Hudspeth family documents in our Royal Society archives (RS2/2).

Disciplines: English, Creative Writing

Clive Sansom papers

Clive Sansom (1910-81) was a poet and speech educator who migrated to Tasmania in 1949. UTAS archives has a large collection of his papers, including his pre- and post-migration period as well as his published and unpublished works. His diaries, correspondence and other papers could provide a new view into an important period in the literary and social development of Tasmania. His wife Sarah (a Quaker) is also interesting and her papers could also be examined to provide greater depth to such a study if necessary. (Private Deposit DX18)

Disciplines: English, Creative Writing