Our Story

History of the formation of the Armidale & District Historical Society:

The Armidale Folk Museum Committee called a meeting in August 1959, when a suitable planning committee for a possible historical society was elected, a group including members of the University, those interested from the City and the pastoral community, and various others—these groups (i) prepared a draft constitution, and (ii)agreed to call a public meeting for 3 November 1959 to discuss the formation of such a Society, and, in the event, to adopt the Constitution.

Life Members Board

Thirty-eight persons attended this formal meeting and twenty-seven apologies from other interested persons were received, and it was then resolved, on the motion of the retired Royal Navy Admiral and honorary archivist, Sir Richard Lane-Poole and Professor M. Williams (Department of History, UNE), that those present constitute themselves the ‘Armidale and District Historical Society’, with E.W. Dunlop (Armidale Teachers’ College lecturer and Vice-Chairman, Folk Museum Committee) becoming the first president.  Symbolically and significantly, local pastoral families would be well represented on the first committee as would the Teachers’ College by E.W. Dunlop, and by its Principal, Dr G.W. Bassett; the secondary schools, by Miss Loyalty Howard, and Mrs Elizabeth Warburton, the foundation secretary—both from the New England Girls’ School; and the City—by the University Councillor/editor of the Armidale Express, R.L. Blake, and Alwyn Jones.

The Photograph on the left, depicts the Life Members Board, which hangs in the Armidale Folk Museum.

This foundation Committee, once duly elected, then arranged for 1960 what would prove to be a most acceptable—and enduring—pattern for any year’s activities, namely eleven meetings or excursions.  The first formal meeting and address were held in the Music Room of the Teachers’ College on 15 February 1960, with about seventy people present, when Mr A.V. Cane (1902-1983) read a paper on the early history of ‘Ollera’ Station.  This was a trebly symbolic offering in that the deliverer had been an early researcher at the University, had taught at The Armidale School—he would be there from 1945 to 1971—and was reporting to the new Society on a foundation pastoral family of the ‘nearer area’, the Everetts of ‘Ollera’ Station, to the west of Guyra.

J.S. Ryan, Armidale and District Historical Society Journal and Proceedings, No 50, 2008,  ‘Armidale and District Historical Society: Its First Fifty Journals’.

The Society is a Branch Member of the Royal Australian Historical Society and maintains close liaison with the University of New England Regional Archives and Heritage Centre, the Armidale Family History Group Inc and the Armidale Folk Museum.

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