Presidents Report – August 2022



President’s Report

It is always intriguing to review the year and this annual report is certainly no exception.  At this time last year, we were impacted by COVID restrictions and the 2021 AGM was held by ZOOM.  The Centre was closed, planned outings cancelled and our planned Christmas in July was eventually held as a wonderful Christmas lunch in December at historic Abercrombie House with Christopher and Xanthe Morgan our perfect hosts. By popular request we will return to Abercrombie House for our 2022 Christmas lunch on Saturday 10 December.  We also held an enjoyable Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Seniors Centre Hall, the first real get together after months of isolation.

Despite the confusion and hesitancy surrounding COVID, we have managed to achieve a lot over the past twelve months with ZOOM becoming our new best friend!  Whereas previous to COVID we utilised the technology for our monthly catch-up sessions to link with members away from Bathurst, we now also conduct our committee and general meetings in the hybrid mode.

Research Collection

In September 2021 we made a presentation to SAG in which we gave an overview of our resources and activities.  A key realisation was that we have a remarkable collection of resources and this has promoted a concerted focus to organise and develop our collection to make it more accessible to our members and researchers through searchable databases.  With the help of SAG, we are cataloguing our books in a new format and these will soon be organised on new library shelves in the research room.  Early in the year we purchased a map box which now houses a remarkable collection of county, parish and topographical maps. 

Website and “Carillon Chimes”

BFHG is incredibly fortunate and proud to have an award-winning website which is constantly being developed by Graeme Hill. In 2021 it was awarded the “Dorothy Fellowes Award” at the 2021 NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Conference for “the best website designed by a professional designer and administered by a society member.” BFHG had previously received the award in 2011 and 2018. Graeme also sends out the monthly newsletter to keep members abreast of upcoming activities and new resources. Our quarterly magazine, “Carillon Chimes”, provides members with a wealth of wonderful stories as members take the opportunity to share their research by contributing articles. These are collated by our Editor, Barbara Knox, who always does a fantastic job producing an interesting magazine which members receive in electronic and printed form.

Guest speakers

Through our ZOOM sessions and General Meetings we have had the pleasure of hearing from a number of wonderful guest speakers who have presented on a wide range of topics: Rob Hamilton – “The Freemason and his records”; John Judge “Milltown Cemetery”; Frank Colzato – “The Colzato Collection of Photos” which is held by BFHG; Dr Juanita Kwok – “This is our history, not just niche History”, the Chinese in Bathurst and district; Joy and Allan Murrin – “Why Can’t I Find Them”, case studies in hard to find entries in the BDM Index; Graham Lupp – “Hector Lupp – The Piano Man”.

Autumn Colours

This year we conducted three well-attended tours during the annual Autumn Colours program.  Beautiful Machattie Park has a fascinating history and our tour presented some of the intriguing stories behind its development, events associated with the Park and some of the people associated with its development or recognised on the many memorials.  The ever-popular Cemetery Wander, conducted twice, highlighted diverse stories including Ben Chifley, Bathurst Migrant Camp, railway accidents, nurses and early postmasters.  Over the years the stories behind well over 100 graves have been researched and these will be collated as part of developing our resource collection. “My Block” – exploring the block in which our Centre is located – unfortunately had to be cancelled but will now be held during the Family History Month program in August.

Research Centre

Our rooms are open three times a week, dependent on availability of volunteers, for members to drop in for research or a social catch-up.  We recommend that members seeking research assistance phone in advance to both ensure the centre will be open and to assist the researchers in preparing for your visit.  Research assistance is also available at Bathurst Regional Library on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

August, Family History Month, will see the long-awaited restart of outings and we look forward to members enjoying the many activities that our outlined in the calendar.  The success of the past year, despite the many challenges, has been the result of a team effort and is due to the commitment of our committee and members who have contributed in so many ways.  I would like to thank all our dedicated committee members who have worked on our resources, contributed to planning, conducted activities as well as undertaken the many behind-the-scenes tasks.  Thank you to our members who have assisted in making our Autumn Colours tours so successful; to our researchers who respond so thoroughly to members’ research requests; to our members who make it possible for our Centre to be open and those who have contributed to Chimes and participated in activities.  We look forward to another wonderful year for Bathurst Family History Group.

Jan Page