Prison hulks: Australia’s floating prisons

There is a classic narrative in Australia that convicts spent their days in penal colonies like Port Arthur and Norfolk Island, which struck fear into the hearts of convicts and settlers alike. But many convicts weren’t even lucky enough to end up there. With prisons overflowing and nowhere to put the convicts who were continually … Read on

Researching your convict ancestry

According to Ancestry, one in five Australians descends from convicts. The stories of penal colonies and their convicts are considered a fundamental part of the rich tapestry of the Australian story, and the history of individual families. Now, more people are eager to uncover their convict past than ever. For some, the stories of their … Read on

The battles and the blood of the Salvos

By Roy Maloy The Salvation Army (Salvos) have been in Melbourne since the early 1880s, when its work erupted into the streets of Melbourne. Today the Salvos is seen as a benevolent charity and welfare provider, however, that wasn’t always the case. The Salvos was also the subject of ridicule and torment from a large … Read on

An unfortunate accident (part two)

The following letter to the editor was received as a response to ‘Cycling through time’, the cover story of Traces Edition 6. In the second part of the letter, Susan Weisser further shares her family’s unfortunate history with 19th century transport. Click here to read part one. Tragically, this was not the only brush with new forms … Read on

An unfortunate accident (part one)

The following letter to the editor was received as a response to ‘Cycling through time’, the cover story of Traces Edition 6. In her letter, Susan Weisser shares the story of her family’s own history with 19th century bicycles, and reminds us that it wasn’t all fun and games. Dear Editor, The article ‘Cycling through … Read on

Victorian ‘insanity’ in the 19th century

Why did Victoria have such a high rate of insanity? A new book illuminating the world of Melbourne’s early lunatic asylums recently won the Victorian Premier’s History Award. Jill Giese, clinical psychologist and author of The Maddest Place on Earth, spoke with Tracesabout an intriguing slice of colonial history. When I stumbled on an 1876 eyewitness account of … Read on

Tupaia’s map of the South Pacific

On Cook’s first voyage across the Pacific, Tupaia became an invaluable ‘supernumerary’ aboard the Endeavour, helping to reach far-flung islands, and communicating with other Polynesian cultures. Tupaia also drew a map for which he is long remembered. A view in the island of Ulietea [Raiatea] with a double canoe and a boathouse, 1773. Pl. … Read on

What will your family legacy be?

No matter what stage or life you’re at, you might find yourself pondering these existential questions: ‘Who did I come from?’ and ‘How will my family remember me after I’m gone?’ Producing a family history book can help you figure out the answer to the first question, while a personal photo memoir will let you … Read on

WW1 Remembrance Event

The Centenary of the First World War Armistice is of great significance to our nation, as it represents 100 years since the end of the First World War. With so many brave WW1 servicemen and women interred or memorialised within our grounds, Rookwood General Cemetery embarked on a four year project to research the servicemen … Read on

The 1975 Tasman Bridge disaster

At 9.27 pm on Sunday 27 January, a star-crossed bulk iron ore carrier, the Lake Illawarra, struck Hobart’s Tasman Bridge, knocking over two of its concrete pylons along with 127 metres of road that they had supported. The incident The consequences were devastating and immediate: five people in cars plummeted to their deaths in the … Read on

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