Australia: La Trobe assures progress on Dardalis Archives
La Trobe University is making significant progress on classifying key elements of – and making accessible – the Dardalis Archives of the Hellenic Diaspora. The Dardalis Archives are a unique collection of millions of documents relating to Greek settlement in Australia.
Concerns have been raised in Victoria’s Greek community as to what resources have been (and will be in the future) provided by La Trobe University to manage the archives. The vast archive of newspapers, photographs and personal documents dating back to the 1880s has the potential to provide a unique resource for researchers and authors. But before it can operate as a fully-functional and accessible resource, considerable work has to be undertaken to classify the archives, identify the most important documents and establish an effective database to enable proper access. The archives have been in the care of the university since 1992, when their management was the responsibility of the EKEME National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research, that was part of La Trobe until it was abolished by the university in 2008.
The university has confirmed that two Greek-speakers with expertise and familiarity with the archives have been employed to begin cataloguing the collection. «Consistent with LTU’s recognition of the significance of the Archives to the Greek community of Victoria and Australia, the aim is that [its] contents be carefully sorted and listed into usable and non-usable categories.» The university says that identifying key documents within the archives would be based on judgements exercised by the governing body established to oversee the project – the Greek Archives Project Committee. The LTU spokesman added: «As an end result, remaining materials will be placed in permanent storage within the university, or re-housed at other public collections outside of LTU such as a museum, historical centre, Hellenic society, or other body that wishes to be the custodian of the Dardalis Archives.»