2019 RAHS Conference
Royal Australian Historical Society Conference Illuminating the Past West Tamworth League Club 14 – 15 September 2019
On 9 November 1888, Tamworth became the first city in Australia to have its streets lit by electric streetlights. Elizabeth Piper, the wife of Mayor James Piper, turned the power on with a golden key and Tamworth’s residents saw 52 electrical lights illuminate twenty-one kilometres of their city’s streets. The celebrations included another historical event – the heats and finals of a 130-yard running race which took place under the glow of four giant arc lights, making it the first outdoor athletics event to be held under electric lights.
It is therefore fitting that Tamworth is the location of the 2019 RAHS Conference as our theme this year is Illuminating the Past. Our speakers will explore topics that look at what different historical records reveal about our past; how do we share our history with new audiences in an enlightening and informative way; what must we do to protect and share historical sources so that the vivid insights they provide don’t disappear into darkness. RAHS President, Christine Yeats, explains that both local participants and those who travel from across the state will enjoy ‘a mix of talks with a focus on practical how-to explanations that will inspire those interested in participating in local and community history projects’.
Tamworth Historical Society members will be spotlighting Tamworth’s history in a number of presentations and tours. ‘Tamworth has a rich history that is unique and this provides a variety of places to see and experience,’ says Jennifer Porter, Tamworth Historical Society President. ‘The Australian Agricultural Company played an important role in developing the city of Tamworth and surrounds. Calala Cottage was built for Philip Gidley King who was the superintendent of Peel River Land and Mineral Company and the first mayor of Tamworth. It is now a museum complex which showcases the influence of the A.A. Company and displays items of interest relevant to the history of Tamworth. In 1888 Tamworth became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have its streets lit by electricity from a municipally owned powerhouse. The city is well known for many types of music including the internationally recognised Country Music Festival held in January each year. Tamworth has something to offer all members of the family making it a great destination for a holiday’.
As well as Tamworth’s history, the program features fascinating topics on the UNESCO Memory of the World project; managing local community and family collections; using Historical Land Records Viewer (HLRV) – an online tool that you can use to explore parish and historical maps; early cinema and travelling picture showmen; and the impact of electricity on domestic and family life. Professor Martin Gibbs, whose research interests are in the historical and maritime archaeologies of the Australia- Pacific region, will be delivering the conference Lesley Muir keynote address.
The RAHS conference is also an opportunity to honour achievements in local and community history, with presentations of history and heritage grants, as well as the RAHS Certificates of Achievement and Appreciation, which recognise the invaluable contribution made by individuals to historical societies throughout NSW.
For more information and to book online https://www.rahs.org.au/2019-rahs-conference/ For media enquiries contact RAHS General Manager, Suzanne Holohan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call History House on (02) 9247 8001.