Saturday, September 25, 2010

This weekend I am grateful for... the National Library of Australia

Time for the next installment in the Maxabella-inspired Grateful Post, and this week I thought I'd put all my eggs in the one grateful basket and mention the National Library of Australia's Newspapers Service. Not that there weren't other things to be more grateful for this week, but when I discovered it I was swept up in how cool and simple a service it is. Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1954 have been digitised and can be searched online. Obviously there are a whole heap of educational applications (did anyone else spend hours after school searching through old newspapers in the library to find "primary sources" to photocopy for school projects?) But my grateful stems from the fact that it's complete newspapers that can be searched. When I discovered it this week, I quite easily found:
- birth notices for my father and my great grandfather
- my grandparents' matriculation results
- my grandparents' wedding photo
- various mentions of my grandmother's social activities, back in the days when who-played-bridge-with-whom, who-attended-whose-hour-of-music and whatnot were newsworthy. It's hardly rivetting reading, but it's fun to imagine Granny aged 16 wearing a "taffeta dress embroidered with tiny blossoms".
- mention of my great uncle's later called-off engagement (which wasn't a family secret, but it's a half-interesting story)

I barely learnt anything new- though there is plenty to learn elsewhere in the newspapers- yet to see the way these little snippets of life were reported does make something a bit more real about the Before-Me Era.

7 comments:

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Sounds amazing! i do love digging into the past.

Gifts of Serendipity said...

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon...thank you for sharing.

Felicity x

_vTg_ said...

Thanks- hope you find some interesting stuff too! I found it when googling to find some information about one branch of my family which lacks the family historians which the other branches have (without much success: appears that grandmother wasn't such a socialite as my other grandmother!)

Maxabella said...

You find the best stuff! This is so cool I can't stand it - I'm going to get lost for hours searching for stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Grateful to vTg for her fabulous finds. Thanks for linking up! x

Our Park Life said...

wow, sounds very cool...I would love this too!

Kelly said...

That sounds like lots of fun, I'd love to learn things about the past.

allison tait said...

I love the NLA. Is just a great place to go and soak up the words, the pictures, the past. I didn't know about the Newspaper Service, though. Thanks for sharing!

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