Coral Bleaching: What have we told ourselves?

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Originality, Accessibility and Significance

I am fascinated by the links between history and communication. How we have perceived events through time has a far reaching and serious impact on an historical event. This was an historiographical concept I wanted to explore in my project. I combined my interest in environmental history and communications to create a project that studied a major environmental focus of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (ACMS) – The Great Barrier Reef – from a new angle.

My online essay, inspired by interactive essays made popular by The New York Times like “Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” and “Thirty Six Thousand Feet Under the Sea” analyses Australian public perceptions of incidents of coral bleaching in the last ten years.

I asked the following questions:

  • When did we understood the seriousness of these environmental events?
  • How did we interact with or approach them?
  • How did large scale media organisations – the press and social media – contribute to our understandings and beliefs?
  • How did industry and government change our perceptions and what role did politics play in dividing Australians on the issue?

My approach to this concept is theoretically original because it looks at a scientific concept through the perceptions of everyday people, making the essay both easily accessible to the average reader and complex enough for the science or history specialist to explore. The project is significant to the scientific community because it broadens their reach and makes a sometimes-inaccessible concept interactive. The ACMS will use elements of my website to further engage their current audience, but I also hope a more interactive study – like mine – will bring new audience members into their database.  

Argument

In my online project, I argue that the media had the largest impact on how we as Australians observed an increase in mass coral bleaching. I argue that the media contributed to the development of a politicisation of the events and created a damaging counterargument arguing that climate change and coral bleaching were not linked. Periodically, I argue that Australians started to recognise the impact of climate change on the reef after successive mass coral bleaching in the summer of 2016-2017. I consider the context of successive bleaching when analysing public perceptions and concur that the motivation to protect the reef was affected in the last five to eight years by competing interests and political messages.

Evidence

My project is based on research conducted by experts in competing fields. I consider the intersection of varying disciplines – scientific, historical and communications – to be the best way to develop a holistic understanding. Resources include the (AMCS’s) extensive collection of newsletters, blogs and social media posts on the issue. I gained a lot of public insight from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the World Wildlife Fund and Climate Council who all hold annual public surveys on perceptions of the environment. There were many key secondary sources that assisted my research including Iain McCalman’s history of the Great Barrier Reef.

By using the “Way Back Machine” an online resource analyses web interactions, I conducted primary research I was able to pinpoint the key times when media focussed on coral bleaching and ask how this concept was being framed. Social media data analysis tools including Meltwater and SemRush also assisted my research. Through these programs I produced a keyword analysis on relevant phrases – “coral dying, coral bleaching” etc and considered how the media contributed to understandings of reefs.  

Themes and Presentation

My project shows how visual representations of coral reefs have impacted our understandings. It is a key theme that I hope to have made clear in the layout of my project. I have included images of coral bleaching, including those from The Ocean Agency[3], and two videos – one sourced from the NFSA titled “Will the Great Barrier Reef Cure Claude Clough?” The drama, filmed in 1967, reflects how old our connection to the Great Barrier Reef has been yet how detached we remain from our impacts on its health. The second video, sourced from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, highlights one of the Great Barrier Reefs most bizarre and beautiful moments: coral spawning. Ironically, this process, a sign of coral health, has been used by conservative media to diminish coral scientists’ warnings. I hope these clips also reflect my second major theme: that coral aesthetics have been one of the most important aspects of public perceptions of bleaching since the 1990s.

My final major theme is the relationship between industry, scientist, communicator and the public. I analyse how these competing groups, with their own opinions and agendas have reconstructed the zeitgeist around coral bleaching. Such a framework is the only way to understand who cares about coral bleaching and why so many still refuse to connect it to climate change.

Need

This project will certainly broaden the number of people who interact with this issue. There have been almost 40 surveys completed on public perceptions of environmental change and degradation in the last five years and many are hidden in digital archives. My combined analysis of all these scientific and social research projects will bring a younger audience of university and high school students – not only interested in science but also in history and communication technology – to this issue. The ACMS existing database of the “Fight for the Reef” campaign has 75,900 subscribers and followers. By using this database as a launch-point, and incorporating visuals into existing research. I think this project will be hugely beneficial to the general public already interested in coral bleaching patterns.

Creativity and Sustainability

Though I was unable to develop oral histories around this project, I think the visual nature of this concept I’m exploring makes an interactive essay website the best possible platform for it. I would like to continue to build this project with the Marine Conservation Society and produce an accompanying Oral History series that would complement my existing research. I also thought a soundscape would make the project even more interactive. The AMCS are happy for me to continue to develop this project moving forward.


A Working Website! Solomon Islands Canberra Community Association

SICCA children hanging out during an event with the Solomon Islands flag flying to their left

As 2021 draws to a close, I am excited to announce that the Solomon Islands Canberra Community Association (SICCA) officially has a website in time for their 20 year anniversary next year! Helping to create this website has been a challenging and highly rewarding task. In the process I have conducted archival research, oral interviews, community consultations, filmed videos and sifted through dozens of photos, and I so am grateful for how supportive SICCA members have been in providing me with resources and sparing time for my questions.

The website includes six tabs: Home, Our Values, About Us, Our Future, Get in Touch and a link to SICCA’s Facebook Group. Each tab leads to a page containing text and multimedia related to the topic.

I had two aims for  my public history project. 

The first was to implicitly investigate what role SICCA plays in identity formation for Solomon Islanders based in Canberra and regional New South Wales (NSW). The second aim, which developed as my website evolved, was to explicitly show the active involvement of SICCA members in their local communities, and potential to expand in the future.

Creating a website or online platform for an organisation is by no means an original feat, however, for a minority ethnic community it represents an innovative opportunity to publicise the involvement and actions of community members in a digital age and at a time where climate migration and the Pacific Labour Scheme is intensifying Solomon Islanders permanent and temporary migration to Australia. My target audiences- past, current and future SICCA members and government and business organisations- can see what activities are occurring and how they might get involved.

My project came about through discussions with the SICCA President who was keen on developing a website. I had originally suggested the creation of a collaborative cookbook, where I had hoped to ask members to contribute a recipe and detail the history of a dish alongside their history with SICCA. While this would have benefited the community directly, it would unlikely have had a wide-reaching impact. Rather, creating a website directly aligns with SICCA’s future goals:

  • to increase community engagement (with a focus on local government and business partnerships); and 
  • for SICCA to become a voice for their community.

The website is beneficial to SICCA community members pursuing their future goals who may need a platform to promote and demonstrate their achievements, including to access potential grant programs, government or business partners, and to solidify their legitimacy to speak on social issues. For example, agencies looking to collaborate with a reputable and engaged Solomon Island community can contact SICCA using the new email address created for the website that is linked on the ‘Contact’ page. This centralises and efficiently streamlines future communication, which previously was undertaken in an ad hoc and random manner. It will also give the Solomon Islands High Commission staff a direct line of communication to SICCA members which aligns with the community values.

Therefore, the presentation suggested by SICCA’s President enabled me to reach my goal of uncovering SICCA’s impact on identity formation while promoting their community contributions to Canberra and NSW on an accessible, meaningful platform. 

The website was created with sustainability in mind. The SICCA President was involved in every step of the project, including teaching him how to create the gmail account, log into google drive, access the website, transfer ownership of the website so that he may be in control and share this information with all community members in leadership positions. He was also filmed speaking to the community values and helped select which images were used on the website.

The originality of the website is tied to the evidence used to create it. For example, primary research involved the creative use of archived documents, facebook images, oral interviews and community consultation meant community voices and goals were prioritised and my methods of analysis challenged. For example, the original ‘founding document’ was used and its values updated for display on the website. Furthermore, my original goal was to create a timeline on the website, yet discussions and interviews demonstrated that SICCA members did not remember or consider dates and numerical timelines important, rather they remembered and valued emotions and people involved in certain events. This inspired me to create an ‘About Us’ page on the website that demonstrated SICCA’s history in a less prescriptive, more community-oriented way. It illustrates the existing partnerships we have in our community – from our local partnerships with Pacific Islander groups, to national partnerships with Solomon Islands state-based communities, and international links to Solomon Island based groups such as the national futsal association. The website also uses plain English, lots of images and videos to demonstrate these actions in ways that all SICCA members can access- and there are ongoing discussions on whether to also translate site content to Solomon languages.

I am so grateful, not only for this experience which helped me build so many new skills and learn the importance of collaboration, but for the SICCA members who made this possible. There is a long and exciting road ahead, but I genuinely believe this website provides a great foundation to build off and am so excited to continue my engagement with this wonderful and loving community!

Tagio Tumas (Thank you so much) SICCA!

Pulling Up Stumps: Finalising my Project with Mount Colah Cricket Club

Over the course of this semester, I have worked with Mount Colah Cricket Club (MCCC) to produce a history of the club for its new website. The sources of information pertaining to this small club in Sydney’s north have been scattered over its 90-year history, and it has been a rewarding journey assembling this data into a cohesive whole. This will be the first compiled history composed focussed specifically on MCCC, which means that my project will play an important role in centralising the club’s records and publicising its past successes.

George, Andy and Ted Beattie in cricket whites, taken on the lawn of Sydney Adventist Hospital. The Beatties were part of the Mount Colah Cricket Club’s first team in 1933. Photo retrieved from Hornsby Shire Recollects.

Throughout this project, I have threaded through the argument that community-focused sporting organisations like MCCC provide a valuable public service in developing local talent and fostering a sense of community. The history of MCCC is a story of resilience, documenting a small club that has returned from dissolution on two separate occasions thanks to the efforts of local volunteers. Resonating throughout its history is thus a sense that the club is constituted by the Mount Colah community, which is in turn enriched by its work.

The primary evidence I use to support this argument has been the hard copy set of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai & Hills District (HK&HDCA) annual reports from its inaugural 1926-27 season to the present day. The argument that the club fosters local talent is overwhelmingly supported by the prevalence of Mount Colah players in association statistical records. Tracking such records illustrates the growth and development of MCCC players throughout their local cricketing career, as supported by the club’s coaching and curated opportunities. The argument concerning community spirit is substantiated implicitly by these reports, which include some qualitative anecdotes about MCCC, yet only in passing. Qualitative evidence of the community spirit fostered by MCCC could be sourced more efficiently within the testimony of past player and current executive member, Bruce Kimberley, whose reminiscences are scattered throughout my MCCC timeline.

One theme I tried to focus on throughout my project was the pre-eminence of women in MCCC throughout its history, and the many roles undertaken by such women over time. I first tied this theme to my argument by tracking the close association between women’s participation in cricket at a local level and changing social attitudes towards women more generally throughout the 1930s, using the 1934-35 English Women’s Test as a case study. This argument draws attention to the broader national significance of the community spaces created by such organisations as MCCC. Highlighting the social and administrative roles undertaken by women throughout the club’s history, using the examples of Lyla Rae and Joyce Edmunds, further ensures that my narrative is centred on both the community-building and competitive aspects of local cricket.

“Australian batswoman, Miss R Monaghan, steps out to a ball, cracks it to the boundary, at the Sydney Cricket Ground,” photo taken in 1934 at a women’s Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, retrieved from National Museum Archive.

The executive committee of MCCC have expressed the necessity of recording their club history while its distinguished players from the 1970s and 80s remain involved. My project’s timing coincides with these pressing constraints, as I was able to draw from living memory in my discussion of MCCC history. My use of HK&HDCA annual reports further cements the necessity of my project for the club, as I was working with documents that present and future club members would either not have access to, or not have the time to properly consult.

Publishing my project on the MCCC website broadcasts the club’s achievements and culture in a way that could encourage community members to register and become involved. This project also serves the needs of the local community, whose faith in trusted institutions has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The story of MCCC provides a necessary reminder of the cultivated resilience of our local organisations, which have endured through the many crises of the twentieth century. The significance of my work rests on this narrative of strength, especially as it centres the many women whose efforts have been previously overlooked and under-valued.

The process of presenting my work online was challenging, as it encouraged the use of photographs to make the project more visually interesting, which were not easy to find due to the scarcity of local records. I decided to include significant detail about match and season statistics within the timeline, as I recognised that one use for the website would be for past players (or their family) to read about their achievements. This detail also serves a vital persuasive function for future registrants browsing the website, as it stresses the achievements possible when registered as a MCCC player. However, as a compromise to those seeking a more general overview, I included yellow highlighter whenever I advanced to a new season, which would allow readers to easily follow the chronology even while skimming. I also split up my timeline into seven periods, typed up “snapshot” summaries, and included thematic sections on individuals or contextual developments to further break up the detailed chronology.

Hornsby Ku-ring-gai & Hills District Cricket Association 1993-94 Annual Report, scan of front cover. Shows photos of the HK&HDCA demonstration of Kanga cricket at the England Test Match. The development of Kanga cricket in the early 1990s is an example of contextual historical information relevant to MCCC history.

My work will be accessible on the club website, which is used by curious community-members considering the organisation and present players consulting recently posted news. This website is also linked on the MCCC Facebook page, which becomes increasingly active over the summer season. While the new History pages have not yet been marketed, this could be achieved through a Facebook post once the last two decades are finalised. My choice to cut off my work at the 1999-2000 season was made by necessity, as I needed to meet the project deadline while not compromising on quality and detail. Completing 2000-2020 over the Christmas break will finalise my involvement with the club’s history at this stage. However, the sustainability of my project is ensured by my decision to use the club’s website (which future members will be able to edit and access) rather than my own platform. Furthermore, future HK&HDCA annual reports will be accessible online, ensuring that finding sources to document player performance going forward will not require the laborious consultation of physical documents. These factors all indicate the survival and continuation of my project beyond the life of this unit.

My project encompasses each page under the “History” section of the MCCC website. The statistics tables I typed up and compiled from the annual reports are included on the “Overview” page as PDF attachments.

You can check out the MCCC website here.

Women Support Women: An Exhibition for the Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre

Women Support Women: Feminism and Social Movements in Sydney (1970s-1980s), screenshot from the digital version of the exhibition

During these past few months of uncertainty, WAGEC and I have collaborated to create an exhibition reflecting on the organisation’s roots in second-wave feminism. The establishment of the centre is rooted in the Women’s Liberation Movement, brought by our American sisters to Australia. Sydney’s inner-city quickly became a hub of activism, where students, Indigenous communities, and women would gather to share their experiences and hopes for the future. 

Women Support Women: Feminism and Social Movements in Sydney (1970s-1980s) is a two-fold project. The first part is a collection of photographs, posters, brochures, and archives from WAGEC and the city of Sydney, shedding light on the grassroots historical background leading to the creation of the centre. The second part of the project is a historical recollection of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, the impact of the Whitlam administration, and the suburbs of activism such as Glebe and Redfern. 

Feminist since my childhood, my grandmother has always been a source of inspiration to pursue my interest in feminism throughout my university degree. Our discussions around the feminist movement in Paris have always fascinated me. As a young gynaecologist, Elizabeth Sot protested for birth control and helped women with illegal abortions, before the Veil laws in 1975. Despite her religious faith, my grandmother believed that women were entitled to control their bodies. Along with my research for this project, she has stayed in my heart.  

My conversation with WAGEC started in late August. The project was decided as a historical steppingstone for WAGEC’s new offices. In an earlier discussion, WAGEC expressed the desire to have a visual project showing its history amid the period of activism in Sydney. My first thought was to create history panels as we can find in parks, or at the front of heritage buildings. However, after discussing with my supervisors, I realised that history panels would not be appropriate for the workplace environment. 

Inspired by the exhibition Know My Name: Australian Women Artists: 1900 to Now, the visual project Women Support Women was born. The exhibition will be displayed at the entrance of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land building, where WAGEC recently moved to. Women Support Women can be understood as an illustrated timeline, retracing two decades of social change and women’s activism in Sydney. Further, the historical analysis places WAGEC in a wider context, showing how its creation brings many histories and movements together. WAGEC appears to be at a crossover between Radical Sydney and the values upheld by Women’s Liberation. The project aims to emphasise how the organisation, despite its growth, remains grassroots and feminist in essence. WAGEC emerged in 1977, a few years after the establishment of the first women’s refuge, Elsie’s Refuge. A lot has changed since then: government supports and provides funding for accommodations; the conversation is opening on domestic violence and, feminists continue the struggle towards equality. Yet, a lot remains to be done. Nonetheless, Women Support Women is a tribute to Jeanne Devine’s work and the historical background that brought WAGEC together, making it the incredible organisation it is today.  

You can find out more about supporting WAGEC on their website.

WAGEC also holds a volunteering program to support women and children, you can find out more here

Telling the Stories of Remarkable People

A twice escaped convict who became an urban legend. The man who designed some of Parramatta’s most iconic buildings. An abandoned widow who became a successful businesswoman and the matriarch of a famous family. And the first white farmer of Australia who helped the colony survive. These are just a few of the stories I have uncovered and included in my project with Old Government House in Parramatta. My project is a coffee table book that aims to tell some of the well-known and less well-known stories of remarkable figures in the early colony of New South Wales. The work is based on a previous publication by the Friends of Old Government House, which I have adapted and edited to update existing stories and include a few new pieces. The result is a collection of ten stories that provide ten snapshots of what life was like in early Sydney and the sort of people who lived there.

I wanted to focus especially on women’s stories in my work. Spaces such as Old Government House are often closely tied to male figures such as the Governors and, in many ways, the early colony exists in the public imagination as quite a male-dominated space. Yet, women were an integral part of the early colony from its inception and their stories deserve to be told with the same ease and understanding as key male figures. With this in mind, I tried to center women within my project, especially within their own stories, and discuss them not in relation to who they were married to or the mother or daughter off but as who they were as individuals.  In this, I was trying to argue that the role of women in history, and in the colony, is not to be remarkable through their relationships to men but in their own actions and intentions. The story of women in the colony deserves pride of place alongside the men and although their impact was different, it was no less significant.

Upon reflection, my work also argues for the individuality of historical figures. This was not something I set out to focus on but as I continued to research and uncover family stories and hidden details it dawned on me that I was writing about remarkable people, not just the remarkable things they did. I began to realize that in their own time the figures I wrote about were not, ‘John Watts ‘aide de camp’ and the first architect of Australia, but Watts, maybe even just John. A young man who had followed his father into the army before being given the chance to pursue something he loved. Because of this, all the figures in my project are referred to primarily by their first names, from perhaps the most well-known governor to a twice sentenced convict. I am not naïve enough to think that social standing and power did not enable influence, but I tried to discuss the figures in my work as the individuals they were before they became ‘remarkable’ in history.

The front Cover

The task of making a coffee table book out of these stories was quite daunting. I had never done something like this before, but I enjoyed the challenge of thinking not only about the information I included but what people would be interested in. Many times, I debated on whether to include a small detail here or there or to add a family rumor that couldn’t be rigorously fact-checked to make the story more engaging as well as informative. The inspiration to make a coffee table book came from my own family and my parents’ habit of flicking through them at breakfast. I decided I wanted to create something that people could read casually or bring up to friends revealing a section they found particularly interesting. One of my favorite things about Old Government House is the fact that I get to talk about history with people who also love history and I wanted to facilitate that a little bit in my project.

Hopefully, should all go well, the book will be available in the Old Government House gift shop. In doing so it will raise money for the House, something that is always needed in a charity organization. I hope it will be interesting to everyone. The work fundamentally tells the story of individuals and I hope that people will see a little bit of their own history in the pages, maybe something that reminds them of their own family here or their own journey to this settler colony. I do hope it will be especially interesting to female visitors or guides and remind them that there is a space for women’s history everywhere, even within ‘male dominated’ historical spaces.

 I have had an amazing time working and volunteering at Old Government House, and I hope this book gives back some of the joy I have received from making it. Old Government House is open to visitors again and I encourage everyone who can to visit their website for more information and to book tickets!

The Norman A Hunter Collection – Penrith Library

Norman Hunter bowling at Howell Oval, Penrith

I have spent the last few months working with the Local Studies department of Penrith City Library, researching the Hunter family of Emu Plains. The project started as a documentation of some home films that the library is preparing to upload to their website, but pretty quickly I realised I also wanted to do a write up about the family for their website. My work hasn’t yet been uploaded to the website, so for now I’ve attached it as a PDF at the end of this post.

In my research I drew mostly from the resources available in the library’s Norman Hunter collection. The library also had a number of secondary sources which I was able to use. I found the book Penrith: The Makings of a City by Lorraine Stacker to be particularly helpful. Additionally, I used Trove to find newspaper articles concerning the family. I ultimately split the information I found into five key themes:

  1. The orchard on Norman’s property “Yodalla” at Emu Plains,
  2. Norman’s role as the managing director of the Aerated Bread Company,
  3. Norman’s contributions to the development of sport in Emu Plains and Penrith,
  4. The contribution of Norman’s wife, Ellie Hunter, to the local Country Women’s Association, and
  5. The family’s role in the community of Avoca Beach

In my view, these five themes best encapsulate the Hunter family’s contribution to their communities. These areas are also where their legacy can still be seen today, and thus I believe focusing on them is the best way to contribute to historical writing on Penrith and Emu Plains.

This is where I believe the significance of my project lies. The scholarship on the Hunter family is limited, and what information is accessible is mostly limited to primary sources. Thus my project is significant in its synthesis of existing primary sources.

My project satisfied an immediate need for Penrith Library. As they have digitised many of the home films made by the Hunter family and are preparing to make them available on their website (a process I contributed to by providing annotations for the films) it is necessary to provide some historical background and situate the films in their context. In doing so, I have also increased the accessibility of information about the Hunter family to the wider public. Most of the information I drew from is available in the Norman Hunter collection at the library, but it is not easily accessed by everyone, for various reasons including if they are located outside the area.

Overall I found the process of working with the library to be a good experience. They provided me with a lot of information about the Hunter family, including secondary sources along with their archive sources. I also felt that I was able to create the project I wanted. I was limited somewhat by the standards of their website, but I didn’t find to be too constraining. I also had plenty of images to draw from for the final project, and I feel that the ones I chose complement the text well.

Moving forward, my project is largely self-contained so I don’t foresee myself needing to be involved in the future. However, I would be open to maintaining the project if necessary.

Quong Tart Scrapbooks Go Live!

Working with the Quong Tart collection held by the SAG archives has been a fantastic experience. There have been challenges to face and overcome, but on the whole it has introduced me to an aspect of Australia’s history that I am keen to continue to explore and help the public come to understand.

The bulk of my project’s work has been uploading and adding descriptive information (metadata) to the first scrapbook of three which document the social life of Mr. Quong Tart. These scrapbooks contain invitations to sporting, social, political and religious events held mainly in Sydney from the 1880s- early 1900s. Working with this collection during the latest COVID lockdown fuelled my imagination. In my mind’s eye I pictured the numerous banquets, concerts and sporting fixtures attended by Sydney’s prosperous middle class. Although time has constrained me to only work with the first of three scrapbooks, you can catch glimpses into Tart’s relationships to other Chinese businessmen in Sydney and his role as an advocate, mediator and figurehead of Chinese in Australia more broadly.

One inconspicuous invitation card, addressed to inspector Hyem of the New South Wales Police was sent in gratitude after the 1888 Afghan crisis, where Chinese immigrants aboard the SS Afghan were barred entry to Melbourne and Sydney ports. Tart and other merchants led deputations to the colonial government to allow the immigrants to disembark, but their efforts were in vain. Against the backdrop of rising public anti-Chinese sentiment and politicians willing to exploit white resentment for their own gain. The outcome of this crisis was the expansion of policies to restrict Chinese immigration to Australia, broadly referred to as the White Australia Policy. What does this invitation card add to our understanding of this historic event? I would argue that it shows that Tart and the Chinese businessmen of Sydney worked to ingratiate themselves into the social world of the white establishment to further their political aims and to represent the interests of Chinese workers.

This is just one strand of history that can be unraveled from this collection. In the future, I hope that a talented researcher could draw upon this collection for their own research projects (historians interested in sports and athletics in Australia would be right at home in the collection!). Using the platform Omeka, I have been able to use the index of names which appear on invitation cards (for instance: performers, dignitaries or recipients of awards) so that a family historian could search for their surname and discover their role in the Sydney’s social world. In this way, what was simply a personal archive for the Tart family has been expanded to be valuable for many more.

As I was limited on the amount of time I had to develop a functional website, I was unable to spend as much time as I would have liked on providing descriptive information to assist in organising the scrapbook collection. In the future I would love to continue working with the scrapbooks- uploading numbers two and three, and perhaps finding new ways to display and promote the collection to wider audiences. I would like to experiment with using a timeline or perhaps breaking the collection down to a “browse by month” section to give a novel insight into the Tart’s social calendar.

I’d love for you to take a look at my project at this link!

Chinese Firm in Australia

The whole building of 82-84 Dixon Street

What is novel or innovative about what I have done?

For me, doing translation work is not something novel. As an English learner, translation is part of my life, and my ‘translation career’ starts at that time. I think the novel and innovative part for me in this project is that I can work with an organisation and do something that can directly contribute to society. I can submit the translation as my major project in this unit instead of a regular academic essay. It is different and innovative for me because I can participate in society but not sit in the library and write something that I do not know whether it contributes to the organisation instead of contributing to my credit point and helping me graduate.

Who will benefit from this work/project?

Preservation of this shop, actually the entire building, is essential for studying Chinese Australian history, and it provided the history of Dixon Street. So I think the public and the scholars will be benefit from this project. The historian who studies Chinese Australian history has a place for them to research Chinese Australian history. For the Chinese Australians, they have a chance to learn and look at the cultural relic about their ancestor’s past. For the others, this is a place to learn the Chinese life and learn about Chinese culture.

What is significant or important about my work?

My work is essential because the evidence I provided can help the Society to negotiate with the developer. I have to do it because I can read Chinese characters and understand traditional Chinese content, which allows me to have more sources for collecting evidence. Moreover, the Chinese cultural background helps me understand some cultural material and I can do a better translation and explain the newspaper to the audience.

Braised Fish Maw and Shiitake Mushroom
A common dish that the Chinese will have in Lunar New Year.

How to present my work?

I will be presenting my work in document style, a newspaper article or advertisement at the top with the translation of the content below the newspaper.

Furthermore, I have made a form for the import list of Kwong War Chong and attached a good explanation and some recipes for the non-Chinese culture background to understand how the Chinese will use or eat the goods that appear in the import list. This presenting form will be the most straightforward way to show the information I want to tell. Trove is my media and an excellent helper to search for the newspaper content I need to access the newspapers from the past. My work will show the audience life of history, Chinese economic history, and the social history of the Chinese Australian society, which can prove the uniqueness of Kwong War Chong.

“Hi, and welcome to Coastie Stories!” – The Amplification of Queer Experiences on the Central Coast

At long last, my project with Naughty Noodle Fun Haus has finally come to fruition in the form of a podcast. The recording of queer oral histories in the Central Coast fills an obvious gap in queer history outside of Sydney in regional and remote areas.

The podcast, aptly titled Coastie Stories follows the journey of five members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and how they have lived and loved on the Central Coast. And that’s just the beginning! Naughty Noodle and I discussed many different ideas for the project, from YouTube video interviews to a written, essay-style record of queer history on the Central Coast. The personality and subjectivity of an oral interview appealed to us because of the emotive and accessible elements. Growing up queer on the Coast is not always a happy experience, and so we wanted our guests to have the opportunity to tell it from their perspective; hardships and all.

The project was born from the desire for promotion for the upcoming Coastal Twist festival of January 2022, and will be available soon on all streaming platforms. A bitesize version will also be aired on ABC radio – how exciting! The five stories I’ve had the pleasure of documenting speak glowingly about Naughty Noodle, and will hopefully encourage listeners, whether queer or ally, to come and participate in the magic. The podcast will continue beyond the festival, featuring more guests and of continued use for the organisation in promotion, exposure and historical documentation.

Myself, Min and Glitta on the Coastal Twist instagram page promoting the event.

The questions asked of my guests are loosely based on a set list, created by myself and Glitta Supernova:

  1. Where did you grow up?  If not on the coast, how long have you been here?
  2. Why are you here?
  3. What is it like being LGBTQIA+ on the Coast? Are you out? If so, what was it like coming out? If not, why haven’t you come out?
  4. What changes or progress have you seen in the community?
  5. Have you got a bad experience story?
  6. Have you got a positive experience story?
  7. What needs to change for LGBTIQ youth so they feel they can create, love, and celebrate at home?
  8. Is there a standout iconic story from the LGBTIQA history on the Coast?
  9. What has been your journey to self-acceptance? 

We wanted the questions to be broadly applicable and still allow for self expression, customisation, and more often than not, a charming anecdote or two. We have found that these questions, whilst broad by nature, allow the guests to open up and often divulge incredibly personal and moving stories about their journey as a queer person. The conversation often turns to the youth of today, and connects well with the Naughty Noodle purpose of education, celebration and representation.

I hope that, if anything, the podcast reaches someone who feels they have been represented in mainstream media, and encourages them to be brave enough to accept, and love, who they are. Creating the podcast has been very challenging, mostly due to my lack of editing expertise, but also a rewarding and enjoyable experience. From my study, I had the privilege to help create something that will hopefully have a lasting impact on the Central Coast community.

My podcast recording set-up.

Coastie Stories presents a message of hope to local listeners and beyond; being a queer person is a tumultuous journey, but you will find your way. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can listen here.

Project Links:

Bitesize Podcast Episodes

Full Length Podcast Episodes

A home at Old Government House

The first time I saw Old Government House it was like stepping back in time. I had missed my stop at Parramatta and was walking in a park for longer than I thought possible in Sydney. It was after climbing yet another hill that I was suddenly struck by a Georgian style house rising out of the landscape. And yet, over the last three years, approaching the house has felt a little bit more like coming home, as I have come to be familiar with its layout and its many wonderful volunteers.

Old Government House, Parramatta

Old Government House has been managed by the National Trust since 1967. As the former country residence of Australia’s first ten governors and the oldest public building in Australia, the house is a significant relic of Australia’s Colonial past. Through the National Trust visitors are able to walk through the restored house and grounds whilst learning about life in the early colony and the role of the first governors. This is all information I learnt during my first information session as a volunteer. Yet, as I have continued to volunteer at the House, I have learnt so much more about the role of the National Trust and the difficulties and significance of maintaining history in Australia.

I have learnt more about the early governors of New South Wales and their influence on the Colony.

I have continued to confront the difficult truths of the early colonial period in the Sydney region.

I have learnt more about the National Trust and the role they play as a non-governmental organization preserving and maintaining Australia’s history.

I have met Mr Fopp the butler, who is usually only seen during formal dinners, and  the old schoolmistress who still teaches lessons with slate and chalk.

I have felt phantom pushes on my back when leaning out to lock the top windows at the end of the day.

I have opened hidden panels and looked at thousand-year-old shells built into the walls.

I have learnt how to wind and re-set a two-hundred-year-old clock.

And I have learnt what someone’s face looks like when they can see and sense the history of a place that continues to be looked after and cared for.

Perhaps most importantly I have come to know and admire the many volunteers at Old Government House who all bring their own knowledge and stories to the House. I have also come to know the many paid staff who work tirelessly to maintain the house whilst also organizing the volunteers and exhibitions. As a result, I consider myself very lucky to be able to contribute to this amazing organization. My project with Old Government House will involve creating a booklet of stories about significant figures in the early Colony, with a particular focus on female voices and experiences. I hope to be able to bring all that I have learnt whilst volunteering to this project and include the voices of the many volunteers and staff who have taught me so much about Australia’ Colonial past.

Although Old Government House is closed presently, it will be reopening soon! For more information about the property and information on how to visit please visit the Website.