The National Archives of Australia and the Australian Historical Association are weighing in behind support for postgraduate archival research into little-known aspects of Australia's history.
The organisations have announced the latest winners of their twice-yearly joint scholarships: PhD candidates Isobelle Barrett Meyering from UNSW and Michael Kilmister from the University of Newcastle.
The scholarships, at $650 each, help talented postgraduate scholars with the cost of digitising records held in the National Archives' various locations, when the cost of travel may be prohibitive. For example, scholars may be based in one city or another country and want to investigate archival records located elsewhere that are essential to their research.
Michael Kilmister's project investigates Australia's Eastern Mission in 1934, the nation's first overseas diplomatic mission. Described to the House of Representatives as 'a Mission of friendship to our neighbours', it investigated opportunities for expanding Australia's trade to Asia, and promoted Australia's interest in friendly relations with Asian nations, as well as tracking down facts on other countries' culture, economics and politics.
Isobelle Barrett Meyering's project traces the contested place of children and childhood in the Australian women's movement from 1969 to1979. It examines the development of new feminist politics of children's rights, emphasising children's liberation as much as their protection.
'These projects were chosen for the scholarships because they will add significantly to our knowledge of Australian history,´ said Louise Doyle, Acting Director-General, at the National Archives. 'The work of both researchers will also provide benefits to other archival researchers interested in similar topics.'
Joint partner, the Australian Historical Association is also committed to encouraging post-graduate research into Australian history.
'These scholarships provide significant boosts to the work of postgraduate historians,' said Professor Angela Woollacott, President of the AHA. 'The topics of these two winners reflect the health and vibrancy of research in fields as diverse as diplomatic and feminist history.'