Professor Gary Foley surrounded by objects from Aboriginal History Archive
Professor Gary Foley surrounded by objects from Aboriginal History Archive

Victoria University’s leading-edge Aboriginal History Archive (AHA), which documents almost a century of history of Aboriginal activism, has received a $15,000 State Government local history grant.

The AHA contains more than 400,000 objects including news clippings, essays, journals and posters. It is built around the collection amassed by VU Professor Gary Foley through his 50-year career as an activist, performer, historian and teacher.

Professor Foley said he started the collection more than 15 years ago when he realised there were few primary documents in mainstream collecting institutions detailing the self-determination struggles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He received an Australian Research Council grant to catalogue, index and digitise, and create an educational resource of his collection.

The AHA will partner with Aboriginal community organisation Dardi Munwurro to record community stories relating to the AHA’s extensive collection of photos of Victoria’s Aboriginal community.

The AHA supported two other successful applications in the same grant scheme: the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service on a project to digitise videos; and First-Nations theatre company, Ilbijerri on a pre-archiving assessment project.

The archive is the centrepiece of VU's Aboriginal research, conducted within the Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit.

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