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Finding Your Ancestors: Researching Aboriginal Family History in NSW (Session 5 – August 2021)

August 3 @ 19:00 - 20:00

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Join Paul Irish and Michael Bennett in our monthly online series as they answer your questions about the best way to research your family. Each month they will be joined by special guests from Aboriginal communities, libraries and archives who have expertise in collections that could shed light on your family’s past. So turn off the TV, put your mobile on mute & log on to Zoom to get advice on finding the information you are looking for. There is so much to find if you only know where to start.

About the hosts:

Paul Irish is a historian and archaeologist with Sydney firm Coast History & Heritage. For over ten years he has been piecing together the history of Aboriginal families from coastal Sydney with researchers from the La Perouse Aboriginal community, including the 2015 NSW History Fellowship exhibition This Is Where They Travelled: Historical Aboriginal Lives in Sydney and his 2017 book Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal people of Coastal Sydney.

Michael Bennett is a Sydney-based historian who for the last 20 years has worked with Aboriginal communities throughout NSW on native title claims, heritage projects, genealogical research and oral history recordings. He manages the Pathfinders website which explores the history of NSW Aboriginal trackers. The book of the same name was published earlier in 2020.

About the special guest:

Rebecca Bateman is Assistant Director of Indigenous Engagement at the National Library of Australia.

Rebecca is a Weilwan and Gamilaroi woman with family from Warren in North West NSW and connections to the Gunnedah region of NSW and Charleville in QLD. She worked at AIATSIS for 12 years – 10 of them in the Family History Unit at AIATSIS.

Since 2012, she has worked at the National Archives of Australia as an Indigenous Project officer and then Manager of Indigenous services. During her time there, she created the Archives’ first RAP, worked on the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strategy, wrote an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocol for the organisation and provided advice on a range of areas such as exhibition content, permissions, identifying and using sensitive material and providing services to Indigenous Australians. Rebecca joined the National Library in 2018 as Indigenous Curator and in 2019 took up the position of Assistant Director of Indigenous Engagement.

Rebecca is passionate about reconnecting people with their ancestors, their culture and language and, ultimately their identity, and considers it a privilege to be a part of that journey for so many people. She is also passionate about connecting First Nations people up with records that hold their stories, histories, culture and language and for the libraries and other organisations that are custodians of that material inviting and welcoming our mob to visit.

Want to know where to start with your TROVE research? In the below video, Paul and Michael will show you some tips for narrowing your searches and how to search for images and newspaper articles in TROVE.

Want to know more? Find out more about Finding Your Ancestors by downloading a special article by Paul Irish and Michael Bennett published in History Magazine, or by visiting the website and watching our YouTube videos.

Please note these sessions are for Aboriginal community members


August 3
19:00 - 20:00
Event Category:


Royal Australian Historical Society
(02) 9247 8001
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