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Deakin finds own space at Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library
Alfred Deakin officially acquired his own space – fittingly for the 21st Century in both the online and physical worlds - with the opening today (Tuesday, March 29) of Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library by the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development, Local Government and Minister for the Arts the Honourable Simon Crean.
The ADPML is the latest addition to an informal association of Prime Ministerial Libraries around Australia.
“When Alfred Deakin was Prime Minister, there were no National Archives of Australia to collect and manage the official records of his terms of office,” Deakin University Librarian Anne Horn explained.
“Therefore, the ADPML brings together, in a virtual space, some of the more important documents from the periods just prior to, and when, Deakin was in office.”
Ms Horn said the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library grew from the very humble concept of a 'Deakin Room' at the University, the first Australian university to be named after a politician,in 1994.
“The concept of the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library developed throughout 1997, identifying the fact that physical archives on Alfred Deakin were scattered throughout Australia, primarily located at the National Library of Australia, but with materials also being held in the Victorian Parliamentary Library, the Public Records Office, Victoria and the National Archives of Australia as well as the myriad of private collections still held by the family and others,” she said.
“However it was the Centenary of Federation in 2001 that provided the focus for a major joint project between Deakin University Library and the National Library of Australia (NLA) to digitise Alfred Deakin’s extensive collection of personal papers.
“These papers provide a unique and intriguing insight into one of Australia’s most complex and intellectually diverse Prime Ministers.
“The digitisation of the papers has enabled online access to thousands of pages now easily viewable via the websites of the ADPML and the NLA.
“Since this time the ADPML has continued to collect materials owned and used by Alfred Deakin, and materials to support research into his life and times. ’’
Ms Horn said the ADPML also acted as an access point for Deakin University Library’s collection of over 70,000 rare books and special materials. These valuable items are stored in a secure and climate-controlled archival storage facility.
“The ADPML provides high quality research facilities for scholars attached to the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, other Deakin University staff, students and the wider community, including a publicly accessible reference collection containing materials on Australian social and political history and family history,” she said.
“Numerous newspapers and government resources are available via microfilm and online.”
Ms Horn said the ADPML also hosted exhibitions from cultural institutions from around Australia, as well as displays from Deakin University’s own art collection.
“Last year we hosted Mrs Prime Minister – public image, private lives as well as There's A War On!World War II at home and Gathering Places,” she said.
“The latest touring exhibition 'Ambush: Ned Kelly and the Stringybark Creek murders' a Victoria Police Museum touring exhibition, is currently on display until 6 May 2011.
“This exhibition focuses on one of the Kelly Gang’s most horrific crimes: the murder of three policemen at Stringybark Creek in October 1878.
“A number of never-before-seen objects are on display – including Ned Kelly’s blood-stained cartridge bag and a hand-drawn map of the Stringybark Creek ambush site – allowing you to investigate this case through the eyes of the only surviving witness.”