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Volunteering for History: Australia

Unlike Europe, Australia does not have many great structures that need protecting or preserving. It’s ancient history lies in the natural and social worlds. The Australian Indigenous people’s culture stretches back over 20,000 years. Making them one of the oldest living culture on earth. There are museums and heritage institutions across Australia that help to preserve that culture.

Diggers
Volunteers doing digging work. Photographer: Daniel Thornton (CC BY 2.0) https://goo.gl/RcW5v

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in the field and make professional connections. Though people volunteer for many other reasons.

Websites like Go Volunteer.com.au. provide a general overview of the type of volunteer position available. But if you want something more specific have a look at the following lists:

Indigenous and National Heritage

  1. National Trust
    The National Trust of Australia is committed to promoting and conserving Australia’s indigenous, natural and historic heritage. The National Trust accepts volunteers as tour guides, in administration, exhibition design and conservation.
  2. Indigenous community volunteers (ICV)
    Being invited to live and work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a rare privilege. By volunteering with ICV you can help to preserve Indigenous culture for future generations.
  3. Cultural Information exchange
    Want to find out if cultural development projects could interest you? Volunteer with the team at the Cultural Information exchange.

Archaeology

The two biggest fields of Archaeology within Australia are marine and indigenous. In Australia a lot of archaeologist find work in Museums, Government departments or Universities. The following examples are the type of institutions where you can volunteer.

  1. Australian National Maritime Museum
    Maritime archaeology requires a wide range of technical skills and abilities. This gives individuals who wish to volunteer on a project a wide range of options such as: marine sciences, photography, boat and model building, vessel handling, geophysical survey, scientific and grant writing, construction and mechanical, digital and traditional drafting, website development, chemistry and diving.
  2. Flinders University
    Flinders University is an Australian University with one of the largest Archaeology programs. They cover the fields of Indigenous and Marine Archaeology.
  3. Department of Environment and Heritage
    Volunteering for a government department is a good way to see the strategies behind Australia’s current heritage and land laws.

Libraries

All the state libraries in Australia have volunteer programs. Even if you are not close to your state library, it is a good idea to contact them. They could direct you to a local library with a good volunteer program. University libraries also offer volunteer programs to studying students.  Libraries are a great places to gain experience in rare book conservation, digitisation and transcription projects.

  1. State Library of NSW
  2. State Library of WA
  3. State Library of QLD
  4. State Library of VIC
  5. State Library of TAS
  6. National Library of Australia
  7. The University of Melbourne Cultural Collections Projects Program
Digistisation projects
Operating a scanning device for digitisation projects. Photographer: Jade Koekoe

Museums

Like libraries, many museums have volunteer programs. State museums sometimes offer Internships.

  1. Museum Victoria – Volunteering
  2. Museum Victoria – Student Research Projects
  3. ACMI
  4. Australian National Maritime Museum
  5. Museum of Applied Sciences – Volunteering
  6. Museum of Applied Sciences – Internships
  7. South Australian Museum
  8. Western Australian Museum
  9. Australian Museum
  10. Museums Australia
  11. National Museum Australia

Digital Volunteering

Digital volunteering means learning to be a transcriber. Transcription can be done from the comfort of your own home.

  1. DigiVol
  2. TROVE
  3. State Library of QLD Digital Volunteer
Types of books that volunteers can transcribe. Photographer: Jade Koekoe

 

If you volunteer somewhere we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

By Jade Koekoe

Jade is editor of Ancient History et cetera. She is an aspiring librarian with interests in Roman and Greek architecture, Middle Eastern culture, open access to information and digitisation as a method of preservation.