Archivists converge on Hobart for annual conference

Archivists from around the country gathered in Hobart for the annual conference of the Catholic Diocesan Archivists of Australia in August 2017.

Called Making Connections: sharing the story, the conference included presentations on social and oral history, three dimensional articles, insurance matters and the work of volunteers.

Archdiocese of Hobart archivist Dr Pru Francis described the conference as “a wonderful opportunity of learning together”.


L-R: Rachel Naughton from the Archdiocese of Melbourne with Dr Pru Francis and Archbishop Julian with a 14th-16th century chalice believed to belong to Bishop Robert Willson.

“We share a common purpose, and it is the only opportunity that many of the participants have for a professional get-together,” Dr Francis said.

The presentations were complimented by site visits to the historic church of St John’s in Richmond, the Josephite Mission and History Centre in Newtown and a tour of St Mary’s Cathedral crypt by Archbishop Julian.

Donna Bailey from the Sandhurst Diocese said she found the presentations valuable.

“The speakers that spoke yesterday were speaking about a lot of issues that are pertinent to our day-to-day work, so that was really beneficial,” she said.

Archivist and Museum Manager for the Archdiocese of Melbourne Rachel Naughton used the opportunity of visiting Hobart to return a chalice that is believed to have been owned by the first bishop of Hobart Town, Robert Willson.

The chalice dates from between the 14th and 16th centuries.

It had been kept at St Joseph’s in Hobart, but in the 1960s or 70s was given to a goldsmith in Melbourne to recycle as it had been slightly bent out of shape. Fortunately, he recognised it as a significantly historical item and it was donated to the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission.

Ms Naughton says that the chalice was always regarded as very important.

“It’s been such a treat to be able to hand that back, because you know in your heart when you think, ‘Oh, that really belongs to the Archdiocese of Hobart,’” Ms Naughton said.

“As archivists, we have to be very conscious of the provenance of things, the background, the history, and where things really do belong.”

Tags: Archdiocese, Archives & Heritage Collection, Sandy Bay, Southern Deanery