Thursday, 26 January 2012

Australia Day

Marking Australia Day (the 26th of January) we wish to highlight two archive collections which reveal how Australian's have celebrated their history in the past. Both collections relate to the 1988 celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the founding of Australia.

ICS 113 Australian Bicentennial Celebrations comprises of a selection of leaflets and other publicity literature for events in celebration of the Australian Bicentennial, including material produced by the Australian Bicentennial Authority, the New South Wales Bicentennial Council, the Bicentennial Festival of Sydney and for events in the UK.

ICS 144 Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee comprises of the records of the Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee (BABC) which was set up in 1984 by the British Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to supervise the British involvement in the Australian Bicentennial.

One of the tasks of the BABC was to make a recommendation for the UK gift to Australia for the Bicentennial. Several ideas were put forward for consideration, notably a re-enactment of the voyage of the First Fleet under Admiral Arthur Philip, This was decided against, although the re-enactment fleet did sail from the Isle of Wight, 13 May 1987 and arrived in Australia 26 Jan 1988, without the support of the BABC. The UK gift to Australia was eventually decided on as the sail training schooner STS Young Endeavour, proposed by Arthur Weller. The building of STS Young Endeavour, was supervised by the Schooner Trust, supervised by Weller. The Bicentennial events in the UK were widespread including balls, banquets and church services, notably at Westminster Abbey led by Archbishop Robert Runcie, 14 Jul 1988.

The collection includes administrative and strategy papers of the Britain Australia Bicentennial Committee (BABC), from 1984-1990, including early minutes, agendas and minutes for BABC meetings 1985-1988; weekly reports of the Executive Secretary, newsletters, 1986-1988 and related papers and correspondence. Also included are papers of National Task subcommittees, minutes of the Schooner Trust and details of the proposal for the First Fleet re-enactment; and papers of regional committees including the City of London committee; Bath and West Country committee; East Anglia committee; Midlands committee; North East committee; Northern Ireland committee; Lincoln committee; Liverpool committee; Whitby committee and Scotland committee. Papers relating to other events to celebrate the Bicentenary including a banquet at Guildhall, London; an exhibition to be held at the British Museum (Natural History) entitled 'First Impressions: the British discovery of Australia', 1988 and the Mansion House Hawke dinner, 21 Jun 1989.

This latter collection is not fully catalogued but a handlist is available on request.

No comments: