La Trobe University has begun the massive job of listing and assessing a valuable collection of Greek archives which captures the life, culture and history of the Greek Diaspora in Australasia, Oceania and South America over the last 100 years.
The archives, donated by the Greek-Australia community over the years, are in 5,500 boxes containing more than seven million documents once housed in University’s former National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research.
The collection includes 80 metres of bound newspapers, costumes, newsreels, films, art objects, computer equipment and other assorted materials. 150 framed artworks, posters, drawings, photos and T-shirts have also come to light.
Professor of Greek Studies and Head of Humanities, Chris Mackie, who is also Chairman of the Greek Archives Project Committee, said the project to preserve the extraordinary collection and make it available to researchers for the first time would take more than three years.
He said the ambitious project – known for many years as the Dardalis Archive of the Hellenic Diaspora – has been made possible following an agreement reached with the University and former holders of the archives.
‘The University has assigned a three-member bi-lingual team to classify the archives, including the Dardalis Archive of the Hellenic Diaspora, and has provided $500,000 to complete the work,’ said Professor Mackie.
Feature films to newsreels
‘The librarians will be classifying the collection into “scholarly, cultural and and low-value” categories,’ Professor Mackie said.
To date, 384 boxes have been listed, which amounts to nearly five per cent of boxes. This includes the listing of 35mm films including 92 feature films, with production dates from 1943 to 1982, and 314 newsreels, made in Greece to be shown overseas.
‘The unbound newspapers are still being listed and these include papers published in Greece, Cyprus, Australia and Turkey. The La Trobe archives already hold the best collection of Greek language newspapers in Australia’ said Professor Mackie. – Penny Underwood