Boost for Australian archival research

Media release: Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The National Archives of Australia and the Australian Historical Association (AHA) are continuing their joint commitment to encourage postgraduate archival research into Australia's history.

The organisations have announced the latest winners of their twice-yearly joint scholarships:  PhD candidate Christoph Ellssel from the University of Munich and Master of Philosophy candidate Wai Yan (Vivian) Kong from the University of Hong Kong.

The scholarships, at $650 each, help talented postgraduate scholars with the cost of copying or digitising records held in the National Archives' various locations, when the cost of travel may be prohibitive. For example, scholars may be based in one city or another country and want to investigate archival records located elsewhere that are essential to their research.

Christoph Ellssel's research project is the impact of the Colombo Plan, which was seen in part as a tool to open up South-East Asia to Western influence during the Cold War period. Students who attended Australian universities under the Plan had a major impact on South-East Asia's political development. Mr Ellssel's research deals with the Australian position in the negotiation of the Colombo Plan and its connections to ANZUS and SEATO.

Wai Yan Kong is researching the forced evacuation of British women and children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940. Her research will examine the impact of the largest evacuation policy in Hong Kong history on the lives of those affected. Sources in the National Archives of Australia will help provide a picture of evacuees' experiences after they left Hong Kong – especially how they tackled the difficulties of living in a foreign land without their husbands and fathers.

'Both projects will add significantly to our knowledge of Australian history and will also benefit other archival researchers,´ said Louise Doyle, Assistant Director-General, Access and Communication at the National Archives. 'It is exciting to see aspects of Australian history being studied by students located beyond our shores.'

Joint partner, the Australian Historical Association is also pleased to encourage international post-graduate research into Australian history.

'It is very pleasing that this collaborative scheme is providing direct, tangible assistance to meritorious postgraduate students overseas,' said President of the Australian Historical Association, Professor Angela Woollacott. 'At the same time, these awards expand the online availability of National Archives records.'

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Dr Karen Downing (Australian Historical Association)
    t (02) 6125 0426 e karen.downing@anu.edu.au
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014