15 June 2023

More than five kilometres worth of irreplaceable archives relocated to Charles Sturt library

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Charles Sturt Regional Archives Manager Wayne Doubleday

Charles Sturt Regional Archives Manager Wayne Doubleday said the archives contained items of great historical significance for the university and Wagga Wagga. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) Regional Archives has officially relocated to the university’s library on the main campus.

CSU undertook the mammoth task of relocating 5000 metres worth of its irreplaceable historical collection of 22,000 boxes, 120 bays of volumes and registers and 40 map cabinets.

Previously located on South Campus in Turvey Park, the archives include irreplaceable artefacts, historical materials and artwork, and are now located on level four of CSU’s William Merrylees Library.

The archives consist of three main collections, including the history and records of CSU and its precursor institutions, state archives from the Riverina and Murray regions and archival material from community organisations, businesses, politicians, sporting groups, and other entities and individuals from the regions.

The opening event was attended by dignitaries including CSU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Renee Leon, manager of the Charles Sturt University Regional Archives and University Art Collection Wayne Doubleday, Wagga Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout, Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr, Museums of History NSW Director of Collections Dr Penny Stannard, Aunty Cheryl Penrith and former member for Riverina Kay Hull.

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Mr Doubleday said the archives were important to the region.

“The records created in the region stay in the region,” he said. “It is quite difficult for regional people to travel to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on a regular basis to access archival materials and records.”

Mr Doubleday said the main reason for the move was because the university had made the decision to divest itself of the South Campus building.

“We had been in that building since 1973 (when the archives were first established), and we would have grown out of it,” he said.

“We were getting big and bursting at the seams and needed to grow and with the relocation we’ve got more space to continue growing the archives.”

Professor Leon said the archives provided vital education and cultural opportunities to the region.

“Charles Sturt is a university of the land and people of our regions,” she said.

“Our mission is to build skills and knowledge, to shape resilient and sustainable regions for the future.

“Though we all know the future needs to be informed by our past, most importantly people must have the opportunity to access their history, and that is why investing in and anchoring the Regional Archives in the Riverina is a priority for Charles Sturt University,” Professor Leon said.

Mr McCormack said CSU had long been the keeper of all manner of historical records for the Riverina and Murray which had been enhanced by the opening of the Regional Archives.

“It’s a museum of all things Riverina, keeping the records of the National Party of Australia, the Country Women’s Association, the Wagga Wagga City Council and so many records dating over the years,” Mr McCormack said.

“Congratulations to Wayne Doubleday and his team … I know it’s been a huge effort to move from the south campus to the north campus.

“I commend this organisation and this facility and highly recommend it to the people in Wagga who are looking up their family histories,” he said.

Mr McCormack said Mr Doubleday had been part and parcel of keeping the archives, records and memories for many decades.

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CSU announced in 2017 the relocation of the archives, and the logistical planning began in 2020 and early 2021.

“Logistically it was a massive job and the vast majority of the actual move took place in about three months,” Mr Doubleday said.

Mr Doubleday said he would love to welcome more community members to the archives to help create more vibrancy within the campus.

He said 70 per cent of the archive usage was by the general public.

The Charles Sturt Regional Archives are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. No appointments are needed.

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