SLWA on ABC Radio

Tuesday 27 October 2020

“Lungeous lauthanum Russian innermost sanctitude islander…” *

In March 1885, the Colonial Secretary of WA received a coded, top-secret telegram warning of impending war with Russia. This week, Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office, looks into the matter and how Russian spies had been sent to WA in preparation for war.

More details on The War That Never Was
Tuesday 20 October 2020

The State Library holds thousands of newspapers, but this week we focus on early West Australian newspapers, predominantly focussing on the first commercially printed West Australian newspaper, with the ungainly masthead of The Fremantle Observer, Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, published for the first time in April 1831.

More details on The Fremantle Observer, Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal
Tuesday 13 October 2020

“I thought the ground was going to open up and that I would fall into it … it was horrifying” (resident of Meckering, reporting his experience of the earthquake to The West Australian, 15 October 1968).

More details on The Meckering Earthquake
Tuesday 06 October 2020

This week we talk music, specifically the private archive of John Exton, who taught at the University of Western Australia’s Music Department between 1966 and 1988.

More details on John Exton Recordings
Wednesday 23 September 2020

This week Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office, discusses steps taken by the State government in 1962 to ensure the Empire Games held in Perth in that year were a “no-fly” zone.

More details on The Great Fly Menace of 1962
Tuesday 15 September 2020

This week we focus on a range of separate but connected collection items and tell the story behind them. The Georgette Rescue and the role of Sam Isaacs and Grace Bussell within it has become part of West Australian folklore and mythology.  

More details on The Georgette Rescue
Monday 07 September 2020

This week Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office, talks about a secret language used by convicts that allowed them to converse without authorities understanding what they were saying. Convict slang – or 'flash' language, as it was known – was imported by convicts arriving into Western Australia during the mid-1800s.

More details on “The Everlasting Staircase…”
Tuesday 01 September 2020

This week Dr Kate looks at a collection that is widely acknowledged as one of the State Library's treasures – the Freycinet Collection.

More details on Freycinet Collection
Tuesday 25 August 2020

This week Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office, discusses something a bit unexpected in the State archives collection: banned bumper stickers. These stickers used to be vetted by the WA Censorship Office.

More details on Banned Bumper Stickers
Tuesday 18 August 2020

This week,  just in time for wildflower season Dr Kate immerses us in the beautiful photography of Hilda Wright. Although she taught dressmaking professionally, between 1936 and 1950 Hilda was also a keen (and very skilled) photographer, focussing primarily on Western Australian wildflowers.

More details on Hilda Wright’s Wildflower Photography
Tuesday 11 August 2020

This week Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office, talks about the Secession Movement and how in 1933, we almost split from the rest of Australia to become our own independent dominion. The idea of secessionism has never really gone away and remains topical and a media-worthy debate to this day (these days, secession is known as #Waxit).

More details on Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Tuesday 04 August 2020

This week, Dr Kate highlights the State Library's incredible (and extensive) oral history collection, and focuses on the role that oral history can play in telling the stories of everyday West Australians and in highlighting and describing those aspects of our social history that are often ignored or left out of more official documentation of the past.

More details on Oral History - Althea Dorris Barber
Tuesday 28 July 2020

The Police Department records held by the State Records Office cover a lot of territory, both in geography and in subject matter. As well as investigating and reporting on criminal activities, the records can also document more unusual matters.

More details on The Truth Is Not Out There, It’s In Here, at the State Library Building
Tuesday 21 July 2020

This week, Dr Kate talks about a small collection of photographs from the Gilchrist collection, depicting protesters from the Union of Australian Women marching against the development of a US military base in WA in 1962. 

More details on May Day 1962 Protests
Tuesday 14 July 2020

Almost 100 years after the event, the murder that took place at Government House Ballroom in the early hours of 27 August 1925 continues to intrigue and fascinate. This week Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office of WA, delves into the State archives collection to talk about the case.

More details on The 1925 Murder at Government House Ballroom
Tuesday 07 July 2020

This week Dr Kate discusses John Hutchinson’s remarkable collection of recordings documenting Western Australian birds across several decades in remote areas across the state, including parts of the Kimberley, Pilbara and South-West.

More details on John Hutchinson Birdsong Collection
Tuesday 23 June 2020

Today, Dr Kate is talking about some promotional wedding magazines published by three prominent Perth photographic studios in the 1930s and ‘40s.

More details on The Bridal Magazine
Tuesday 16 June 2020

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are advised that this page includes photographs and names of people who are now deceased.

More details on Mary Montgomerie Bennett and Ada Bromham Collection
Tuesday 09 June 2020

This week, Dr Kate talks about the Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography collection – a collection of over 25,000 corporate and advertising images, ranging from 1965 – 2008.

More details on Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography Collection
Tuesday 26 May 2020

Today, Dr Kate discusses the opening up of the South West as a tourist destination, and showcases an attractive, illustrated, handwritten booklet recounting a trip to Augusta in 1921.

More details on Katherine Shenton Travel Log – Augusta 1921
Tuesday 19 May 2020

This week, Dr Kate talks about a more recent piece of Western Australian social history: a scrapbook containing mementos of a Perth café that was around from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The Coffee Pot was a popular hangout for many, offering style, sophistication, and a welcoming atmosphere.

More details on Coffee Pot Scrapbook
Tuesday 12 May 2020

This week, Kate talks about a very early letter from the Pilbara, written just as this area was opening up to the pastoral industry. The letter is digitised and can be viewed online through the State Library catalogue.

More details on 1864 Letter from William Shakespeare Hall
Tuesday 05 May 2020

Dr Kate discusses the recently digitised watercolour paintings and ink sketches produced by Rica Erickson for her 1958 book Triggerplants. 

More details on Rica Erickson Illustrations for 'Triggerplants'
Tuesday 28 April 2020

ANZAC day was on the weekend and in light of that, this week Dr Kate discussed Joseph John Talbot Hobbs who kept five diaries throughout World War I. 

More details on J J Talbot Hobbs
Tuesday 21 April 2020

This week Dr Kate discusses the manuscript book of poetry by John Boyle O’Reilly, famous Irish-American author and Fenian.

More details on John Boyle O’Reilly’s Manuscript Book of Poems
Tuesday 14 April 2020

This week Dr. Kate discusses Raymond Stanley Stewart’s diary written on toilet paper while he was a prisoner of war in WWII.

The diary covers the period of 27 July 1942 to 12 September 1942 and details the day to day life as a POW in the desert camps of North Africa to the camps in Italy.

More details on Raymond Stewart’s Toilet Paper Diary
Tuesday 07 April 2020

This week Dr. Kate discusses Mary Ann Friend’s journal, an account of the settlement of the Swan River 1829-1831. Of great cultural significance to Western Australia, the journal is one of the many treasures of State Library.

More details on Mary Ann Friend's Journal