Sunday, July 29, 2012

Australian Women’s Archive Project

Women assaulting Strike Breakers in Broken Hill

One of the things that I enjoy most when researching my family tree, is that nearly every day I discover a new resource, blog or web page that leads me to discover whole new dimension in understanding our past and identity.    I have recently started another blog, "The Other Half of My Family Tree: stories of my female ancestors" in which I plan to write stories about the women in my family tree. 
Dust Storms in Broken Hill

As most genealogical researchers  know, due to a number of factors, it is harder to find information on our grandmothers and great aunts than it is to research our male ancestors.  Yesterday, I was searching the Internet for a story on my maternal grandmother Edna Palin, (1910-1957) when I came across a new web site. 

 I was looking up “women’s history, Broken Hill” and  came across the Web Page Unbroken Spirit, Women in Broken Hill.  Imagine my delight! This site is dedicated to telling the story of the women from the mining city of Broken Hill, the city that I, my mother, my grandmother were born in.  The women of Broken Hill lived in one of the harshest environments imaginable.  They lived through dust storms, droughts, extreme temperatures and a volatile political environment that saw years of strikes and picket lines. Yet they managed to raise their families, support their husbands, establish health care, schools, and even theatre groups.    

Women's Memorial - Broken Hill

Along with a large collection of images from these times, the site provides a list of Women in Broken Hill.  This list includes the story and details of Dr Franziska Schlink (1910-1965 who not only was  my mother and grandmother’s doctor, but was the doctor present at my birth at the Broken Hill Base Hospital.  Dr Schlink’s story is fascinating, and I must write a story on her at a later stage.

As I found my way around the Unbroken Spirit, Women in Broken Hill web page I discovered that it was linked to the Australian Women’s Archive Project.  How had I not come across this before??

 For anyone who is looking to research and gain a better understanding of the legacy and history of Australian Women this is a wonderful resource.  The purpose of this Project is to preserve The History of Australian Women as outlined by the site.

Records about women provide the basis of all the work of the Australian Women's Archive Project. To ensure records are available in the future, AWAP promotes the keeping and care of personal records and encourages individuals and organisations to deposit records appropriately in available archives and libraries.”

I hope my new discovery is of help to other family tree researchers and perhaps you will consider contributing to the evergrowing resources of the Australian Women's Archive Project.


  1. That's brilliant! Thank you for highlighting another great resource :) I'm also delving into the female line of the tree and finding it very challenging.

  2. Happy to share, please let me know if you discover any useful resources for researching the females in our family tree.

  3. I just found your blog courtesy of GeneaBloggers. You have a good point in your explanation about the difficulties--and void of silence in some cases--in researching our women ancestors. While I'm not located in Australia, I applaud your focus and plan to follow your progress in future posts.

  4. That picture of the dust storm looks truly frightening. I sure wouldn't want to see that coming at me any time soon.
    Welcome to the geneabloggers family.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  5. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  6. I can relate to that photo of a dust storm. I grew up on a grazing property south of Cunnamulla, and sometimes we had to shovel (not sweep) the verandahs! As for researching the lives of women... a 'must read' for historical context is Weevils in the Flour: an oral record of the 1930s depression in Australia (Wendy LOWENSTEIN).

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, and the resource. Yes I spend the first 10 years of my life on a property near White Cliffs, and remember the dust storms rolling in. Thank you so much for the tip on Weevils in the Flour: an oral record of the 1930s depression in Australia (Wendy LOWENSTEIN).
      Do you know where you can access this?