The Community Heritage Grant program supports local groups to access professional cultural heritage expertise. It provides funding for community organisations to understand the meaning and value of their collections and undertake conservation activities.

Oral History Digitisation Project: Georges River Libraries

The Georges River Libraries Community History Collection has been independently assessed to be of national significance as a unique collection of material about the region. The collection is a combination of the community history collections of the former Kogarah and Hurstville City Councils, which amalgamated in 2016 to become the Georges River Council. 

The Community History Collection documents the history and community life of a region which has a significant Indigenous history as well as a European history dating back nearly 250 years to the visit of Captain Cook. With an increasingly diverse local population, the increased exposure of the collection will provide an opportunity to communicate Australian history to a new and interested audience.

The most important collection preservation priority is the oral history collection which has been recorded on fragile magnetic tape media. These stories present in their own words, a lived experience that captures the transformation of the Georges River region from an outpost settlement to the townships and suburbs we recognise today. The tapes include discussions of Aboriginal history, personal accounts of both World Wars, migration and LGBTQI experiences in the area. Collectively they provide a unique and irreplaceable record of the formation of the region’s identity.

In 2022, Georges River Libraries has been successful in applying for $15,000 through Community Heritage Grants to digitise this unique collection. Georges River Council has matched the funding which will allow the digitisation of the collection and the preservation of the physical media which is now over 40 years old and has its own heritage value. We will be working with Studios 301, a specialist team with dedicated equipment allowing both digitisation and preservation of the physical media.

This project will provide community access to the history and stories of the Georges River area.

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