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A Record of Australia's Suburban History Lives in This Archive — and It Was Nearly Lost

22 May 2023 7:47 AM | Anonymous

An article by Esther Linder published in the web site describes how historians, genealogists, and others almost lost a valuable collection of records:

A historical society in Melbourne's east is racing to preserve thousands of photographs that were almost destroyed in a freak accident.

The Box Hill Historical Society's collection came close to destruction in April last year, after rewiring works in the town hall building caused a humidifier to malfunction, increasing the humidity levels within the archive's rooms to nearly 90 per cent.

Lead archivist Helen Harris had stopped by the archive on a Saturday and found condensation dripping through the building and paint beginning to melt.

"It's every archivist's worst nightmare, to open a door and find condensation running down the walls," she said.

"We had stuff spread out in other rooms [to dry]. It's an entire archive, it's too much to take out."

Whitehorse City Council paid for a conservator to review the damage, who confirmed how close the archive was to being lost.

Had the fault been discovered a day or two later, the delicate documents, papers and photographs of the archive would have been destroyed beyond repair.

The digitisation drive will become part of Victorian Collections, a state-wide catalogue that is available online, run by Museums Victoria and the Australian Museums and Galleries Association Victoria as a record of the state's past. Funding for the program is provided by the state government through Creative Victoria.

As an area rich in history ranging from the traditional owners, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, early European settlement in the 1830s, to the migration boom of Chinese-Australians in the last few decades, the treasures within the archive are numerous.

There is more to the article at:

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