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Local Aboriginal history goes digital

Armidale Regional Library staff have been busy digitising local Aboriginal history items after receiving a State Library of NSW grant.

The Local History Digitisation Project is focused on collecting and digitising local material relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other people who are culturally and linguistically diverse.

“Digitising these important resources mean they can be accessed for generations to come, when physical items may no longer be available,” Armidale Regional Council Project Librarian Elizabeth Thomas said.

“Each file is fully searchable, making researching much faster, and being available online means these resources are not just accessible to people visiting our library, but anyone can access them regardless of their location.”

With the permission of one of the authors, the book ‘Ingelba and the Five Black Matriarchs' by Patsy Cohen and Margaret Somerville, has been digitised and made publicly available through the library website. 

Ingelba is the story of Patsy Cohen who discovered her Aboriginal identity at 9 years of age when she went to stay with her grandparents at Ingelba, a once thriving Aboriginal community about 80kms south of Armidale.

“Ingelba is a place of considerable importance to the Aboriginal people and the original home of five matriarchs through whom many Armidale Aboriginal people trace their kin networks,” Ms Thomas said.

Approximately 60 issues of the Armidale ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation) Newsletter are also being digitised, starting with its first issue in 1998, up to the present day.

Library staff are reviewing items held in the Guyra Library Local History collection and talking with local community groups to prioritise the digitisation of records from the area.

The Library is hoping to partner with other organisations and individuals across the Armidale region to further expand the collection and ensure any rare or fragile items remain accessible.

The grant from the State Library of NSW provided staff with a portable digitisation kit and training and the project aims to increase access to local history content across a number of regions within NSW.

Ingelba on library catalogue.

ANTaR records.

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