Successful grant bid for library newspaper digitisation project

Mildura Rural City Council Libraries has started a new project to make a key period in our region’s history available to people across the globe following a successful Victorian Government funding bid.

The library service aims to digitise its collection of Sunraysia Daily newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s, which are currently stored on microfilm.

Once digitised, the collection will be available on the National Library of Australia’s TROVE website, allowing anyone locally, nationally or internationally to access them from one central location.

Council Chief Executive Officer Sarah Philpott said Mildura Rural City Council Libraries successfully applied for a $14,994 Local History Grant from the Public Records Office of Victoria to help make the project a reality.

“Newspapers are a valuable source of information for researchers and historians, providing a snapshot of the events, feelings and local opinions of our community during a given period in our history,” Ms Philpott said.

“They’re also classed as a primary source of information, making them very useful for researchers of important points in our region’s past.”

The Sunraysia Daily issues of the 1920s and 1930s coincide with the return of World War 1 soldiers to the region, and the soldier settlement scheme that was instrumental in shaping and growing our municipality.

“For researchers of this pivotal time in our municipality’s past, newspapers of the day will provide a unique insight into the people who took up land grants as part of the soldier settlement scheme,” Ms Philpott said.

“It will also shed light on how the lack of horticulture knowledge at the time, drought, and the Great Depression, all had a bearing on the success or failure of our region’s early pioneers.”

Once completed, this project will provide a free online resource, with an easy-to-search database, available to everyone from local residents through to people across the world.

The Mildura Rural City Council Libraries team will work with the National Library of Australia in coming months to digitise and upload the Sunraysia Daily newspapers to the TROVE website.

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