Friday, 22nd February, 2019
By Emily McInerney
Historian Karen Coote is back in the city and has started undertaking the preservation of the Barrier Daily Truth archives and the Trades Hall archives.
Ms Coote has been to the city a number of times to help with the preservation of historically significant items including the 1909 lockout and the Silver Tree.
She was asked to come back by the Barrier Industrial Council in order to look over their archival items as well as the BDT’s significant archives.
“I’m conducting a significant preservation assessment of the contents of the Trades Hall,” she said.
“A decision was made to assess the whole collection and that included the BDT.
“I’ve discovered the BDT collection is of national significance as it is the only locally produced newspaper that has consistently printed since it began until today as well as being six-days a week.
“It is the only union-owned paper, which makes it internationally significant from that point of view.
“And it’s all in one building, the whole collection is in the building.”
Ms Coote said she was informed the local Library had a full set of the BDT papers but now understands that might not be the case.
“The State Library and National Library don’t have a full set either.
“The BDT has consistency from the beginning.”
She said the collection needs to be put all together.
“There are printing materials which reflect the three different stages of printing newspapers that have transpired throughout the BDT’s history.
“All of that is still in the building.
“As a historian, this is very significant and exciting.”
Ms Coote said the Trades Hall also offered exciting finds - as she repairs banners by trade.
“The Town Employee’s Union has a very early banner that needs a lot of help.
“It is in very poor condition and I will be looking for funds to help restore that and ensure it is stored correctly.
“There is so much in the Trades Hall’s collection; there are banners, archives, photographs, medals, ribbons, paraphernalia and furniture that dates back to the origin of the Trades Hall.
“It’s a heritage-listed building.”
Ms Coote said she will go back to Sydney and create a report on the Trades Hall and BDT archives.
“The good news is that I’ve been here before and I’ve got a good idea of what is going on.
“But the BDT is brand new for me.
“There are many simple techniques that are common sense solutions that will benefit the BDT archives.
“But to look after the archives will be a long term project.
“There needs to be an audit of the BDT archives and the library archives to ensure there is a full set or see what’s missing.
“And we will be looking for grant funding for the BDT and Trades Hall.”