From the Geelong Advertiser web site:
The Geelong Advertiser is Victoria’s oldest morning newspaper, the first edition being published on November 21, 1840.
A mere 171 years ago today, the Geelong Advertiser included a supplement to the (then) standard 4-page issue. The supplement was this amazing “Map of the Town of Corio (or Geelong) including the Suburbs, the Bay, and the River, 1841 … printed and published for John Pascoe Fawkner by Harrison & Watkins, Corio”.
And what a huge amount of history is in the map and the names associated with it – not least of which is James Harrison a true pioneer of our region. [Do yourself a favour and actually click on the link to read the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for this truly amazing man!]
So why am I writing this blog today? There are TWO reasons …
- Today I published a blog to announce that we had achieved more than one million records in our Geelong & District database. This amazing effort is due to a heap of volunteers who have just one aim – to help others research their family and local history – a totally unselfish attitude by all involved.
- I’m CROSS – and it’s time I got on my soap box.
ANYONE with an ounce of history running through their veins knows how much history exists in our region. I have given presentations all over Victoria and also in New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Many have been on Geelong and Point Henry (the place of arrival of so many ships bringing immigrants to our shores) but the majority have been on other local and family history subjects. Without fail the majority of the audience had ancestors who arrived in Geelong / Point Henry. In June 2011 I gave four presentations to the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory [GSNT] – almost 100% of the audience had Geelong connections!
Using the National Library of Australia catalogue, I have confirmed the following places where people can access the “full” Geelong Advertiser, either on microfilm or hard copy, to do their research:
- Geelong Heritage Centre
- Deakin University, Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library, Waterfront Campus [Geelong]
- State Library of Victoria
- and possibly the National Library of Australia, although it doesn’t appear in their list of libraries holding the Geelong Advertiser!
Of course, being the LONGEST RUNNING morning newspaper in Victoria AND the newspaper covering not just Geelong but all of the western district of Victoria [and across the border into South Australia] you would think it would be a high priority to be included in the wonderful Digitised Australian newspapers web site.
Have a look at this amazing list of places already included in the Victorian newspapers that have been digitised or are on the 2011-12 list to be digitised:
So what’s missing? GEELONG !
If the Geelong Advertiser was digitised this list of places would double as it covers so many towns and districts in Western Victoria.
Verbally we’ve been told that if the Geelong Advertiser was digitised it would gobble up the annual newspaper digitising budget for the State Library of Victoria and that wouldn’t be fair on every other area of Melbourne and Victoria. But is that fair on Geelong and half of the rest of Victoria?
What pre-1850 Victorian newspapers have been digitised for the NLA site?
- 1842: Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser
- 1846: The Argus
And what about 1850-1860?
- 1855: The Star [Ballarat]
- 1856: Williamstown Trade Circular and Williamstown Chronicle
That’s it! The Port Phillip Herald was digitised some years ago and is available [not free] as part of the Paper of Record web site, hence the reason it’s not included on the NLA site.
Did you know that the Geelong Advertiser published lists of people who shipped gold from the gold-fields to the port of Geelong in 1851-54? We have 6,624 entries in our Geelong & District database for the gold shipments. In fact our database includes 29,413 entries transcribed from various editions of the Geelong Advertiser on a variety of subjects.
There is no argument … the Geelong Advertiser should be digitised as part of the National Library Digitised Newspapers project.
What can we do about it?
If you look at the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program for 2011-12 you’ll get an idea from the bottom of the page about the funding sources to get some newspapers into the program. Of course there is no limit to where funding and/or support can come from:
- the newspaper [Geelong Advertiser] and associates
- the local council [City of Greater Geelong] and nearby and western Victorian municipalities
- private individuals and organisations
- Federal and State funding including heritage / history type grants
- other sources for grants / funding
- petitioning the State Library of Victoria
- petitioning State and Federal members of parliament
- contributions from local societies and organisations
I’m an individual – I can’t do it all [apart from working 5-days a week] – but let’s get something moving!
OK – that’s my soapbox all worn out for now – come on everyone, come up with ideas and actions to help get the Geelong Advertiser digitised for the benefit of ALL researchers.
P.S. I almost forgot to mention that some issues from the first five years of the Geelong Advertiser were digitised as part of the Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 project. It’s available online as single page downloads however it’s not searchable.