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Victorian Archives Centre public opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
(excl. public holidays)
The second and last Saturday of every month

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Q: How much funding can I request?

A: Applications for grants of up to $15,000 will be considered.

Q:  How are the awarded projects/applications selected?

A: An independent judging panel is formed to assess the merits of each application and the merit of the application against all other applications in that round of grant program. Once the judges have reached their decision, they make recommendations of successful applications for approval by the Minister for the Arts.

Q: Who are the judges?

A: The judges are professional members from the cultural heritage sector and possess a wide range of skills and expertise. They work in Victoria’s leading cultural institutions; have sound understanding of undertaking and implementing projects, as well as an extensive knowledge of history.

Q: What do the judges like to see in the applications?

A: The judges would like to see projects that:

  • — have community involvement and enable new skills to be gained
  • have been broken down into manageable stages with intent noted if applying for future funding to complete subsequent stages
  • a clearly defined end product and outcome
  • clear budget details and quotes as well as acknowledgement of any professionals/specialist consultants who might be engaged for the project
  • recognise group contribution as in-kind labour

Q: What type of projects will most likely receive funding?

A: Projects that:

  • will benefit a community strongly but which will also communicate local historical information beyond that community
  • strongly meet the assessment criteria
  • are efficient in their use of funds. The LHGP receives a lot of applications, and the assessment process tries to spread the available funding as widely as possible.

Q: Who can apply?

A: The Local History Grants Program accepts applications from community organisations that meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • The organisation is based in Victoria.
  • The organisation is not-for-profit.
  • The organisation has a legal status of either:
    • incorporated body;
    • cooperative;
    • association; or other legal status
    • has a funds manager that has a legal status of either incorporated body, cooperative or association.
  • The organisation has an Australian Business Number (ABN) or provides a ‘Statement by Supplier’ form from the Australian Tax Office that no withholding tax is required.

Applications from organisations affiliated with, or funded through State or Federal Government will be considered for funding provided: the project is undertaken in partnership with a community based organisation that fits the aforementioned criteria; and the project demonstrates strong community involvement and lasting benefit. These may include:

    • Statutory authorities
    • Municipalities
    • Universities
    • Libraries
    • Fire Brigades
    • State Schools

If you are not sure about your organisation’s legal entity status, consult your Treasurer or Financial Officer.

Q: I have a project but I’m not part of an organisation! Can I apply?

A: Individuals are ineligible to be beneficiaries of grant money in their own right. If you are an individual wishing to initiate a project you must seek the support of an incorporated body willing to auspice your application. Suitable organisations include not for profit community groups like historical societies and community museums. You will need a letter of support from the sponsoring organisation to include in your application. The grant will be made out to that organisation if your application is successful.

Q: Is your organisation not for profit?

A: A non-profit organisation is an organisation that is not operating for the profit or gain of its individual members, whether these gains would have been direct or indirect. This applies both while the organisation is operating and when it winds up. Any profit made by the organisation goes back into the operation of the organisation to carry out its purposes and is not distributed to any of its members. Examples of not for profit organisations include:

  • Schools
  • Religious groups
  • Community child care centres
  • Cultural societies
  • Environmental protection societies
  • Neighbourhood associations
  • Public museums and libraries
  • Scholarship funds
  • Scientific societies
  • Scouts/guides
  • Sports clubs
  • —Surf lifesaving clubs          
  • Traditional service clubs
  • Archives
  • Art Galleries
  • Public libraries
  • Historical Societies
  • Genealogical societies
  • Indigenous groups
  • Cultural groups
  • Migrant community groups

 For further information visit the Australian Taxation Office website

Q: What will not be considered for funding?

A: Funding is not available for organisations or projects that:

  • are primarily commercial organisations or bodies established for profit-making  purposes
  • are federal or state government departments
  • Local governement authorities that do not partner with a community based organisation
  • have an existing unacquitted Local History Grant funded project 
  • are seeking retrospective funding for projects or programs that have already started or have been completed
  • Projects related to history outside the state of Victoria.
  • Capital works or infrastructure projects for example:
    • construction and repair of buildings to house objects;
    • conservation of building fabric; and
    • the purchase of shelving or other building assets.
  • seek funding to support cash prizes or commercial gifts
  • seek funding for significant building or restoration work
  • seek significant funding for equipment which the project does not require for its ongoing life
  • Funding to supplement ongoing operational costs for example salaries for ongoing positions, rent or utilities.
  • Funding for launch events, catering, marketing and media.
  • Projects that are to be completed prior to 1 July 2015 and after 30 June 2018.
  • Applicants who do not meet the Eligibility Criteria outlined in the grant guidelines.

Fees for the hire of skilled or professional labour for specialist work are counted as a project cost, rather than as a salary cost. Funding for such costs can only be provided for a limited and specific project (for example, conservation work done on 100 photographs in a single collection) rather than for ongoing employment.

Q: What if I have an existing project underway funded by a previous round of the Local History Grant Program?

A: To be eligible to receive Local History Grant funding any previous projects funded through the Local History Grant Program must have been formally acquitted.

If you can complete your project and forward the acquittal paperwork to Public Record Office Victoria, a new application will be accepted providing all the documentation is received before the closing date of this current round.

Q: How much detail must I provide in the budget section of my application?

A: The application form suggests ‘categories’ of spending, to make the budgeting process easier, but try to be as specific as you can. If you have multiple items that come into the one category on the form, you can detail your spending in the How will the grant money be spent section of the form.

Wherever possible, obtain a quotation from a supplier and attach it to your application (eg. a printer’s quote for a book). The more precise and well-documented your application, the better. Remember, you cannot later ask for more funds because you did not accurately cost your project initially.

Q: I need to buy a computer / scanner / modem / software package / microfilm camera or reader / digital camera / printer, in order to complete my book / CD ROM / preservation project. Can I apply for these costs?

A: You can apply, but equipment funding is not a high priority for the Local History Grants Program. You may not succeed in your application. Applications of this type which are more likely to be considered for funding are those that demonstrate ongoing use of the equipment past the life of the project; demonstrate that this is the most effective way of meeting the aims of the project; consider how volunteers in the organisations will be trained to use the equipment as well as addressing all the other criteria outlined in the application form.  

If you are thinking about applying for database software please be aware that a free collection management system called Victorian Collections is now available through Museums Australia (Victoria). For more information visit the Victorian Collections website.

Q: Should I include GST in the project budget?

A: If you are registered for GST you must not include GST in your income and expenditure figures.  You will be paid GST on top of the amount requested.

If you are not registered for GST you must include GST in your income and expenditure. This is the total amount that you will be paid.

Q: What if I don’t have an ABN?

A: If your organisation or Funds Manager does not have an ABN then you will need to supply your tax status via a ‘Statement by Supplier’ or ‘Evidence of Legal Entity’ before your grants payment is made.

Q: How do I calculate In-Kind labour?

A: In-Kind labour is calculated by determining the monetary value of work undertaken by your volunteers then multiplying it by the estimated hours you consider this work will take. In-Kind labour is considered both an income and an expense, so therefore should be added to both sides of the budget (income and expenditure) in your application.

Q: Before submitting my application should I get someone else to check over my application?

A: We highly recommend that you get another person to read over your application so they can check that all required information has been included, the information is clear and concise and most importantly, that the project budget figures total/balance The judging panel need to see evidence that you can appropriately manage your budget and project objectives.

Project advice and helpful tips for particular types of projects

What type of project are you doing? Is it digitising, recording oral history, publishing a local history or a conservation project? or recording oral history? Scroll down to look at some helpful tips to consider if proposing these types of projects.

Digitising projects

If your project involves digitising newspapers, view this link for the Australian Newspaper Digitising Program Discuss your project with Newspaper Librarian at the State Library of Victoria for further information.

When digitising from microfilm seek the master copy for better results. If you are seeking funding for a service provider to undertake the digitisation on your behalf, we encourage you to obtain quotes and include these with your application. This will help the judging panel  

Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program

Q: Can I contribute to the Australian newspapers digitisation program?

A: The National Library of Australia invites local libraries, historical societies and other organisations to contribute to Digitised newspapers and more on Trove. 

Q: How will my digitised newspaper be made accessible?

A: Having newspapers digitised and accessible on Trove is the best way to ensure they reach a national audience. Already Trove is providing free online access to over 10 million pages from over 500 Australian newspapers. The newspapers are digitised in a standard format which supports long- term preservation and ongoing access.

In Trove all newspaper content is text-searchable. Readers can refine their search results and enrich the newspaper content through subject tagging, text correction and annotations. By searching in Trove, users can also find related information in a range of other formats such as books, pictures, maps and sound recordings. The coverage and quality of newspaper content, and the innovative delivery and infrastructure supporting permanent access, has already made Trove an indispensable national resource for historical research.

Q: What are my next steps?

Read the Contributor Guidelines. These guidelines provide information to help you plan your project.

Contact the Newspaper Librarian at the State Library of Victoria to ensure the master microfilm will be available for your project:

Chris Wade, Newspaper Librarian, Information Services Division, State Library of Victoria, email:, (03) 8664 7218.

Contact the National Library to discuss your project. The National Library can advise you about specialised requirements for contributing to Digitised newspapers on Trove. You can email the National Library of Australia at or contact us on (02) 6262 1005.


Publishing Histories

When proposing to undertake a publishing project, outline in your application information that will describe the type of publication you want to produce. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Approximately how many pages?
  • What size and quality of paper?
  • Soft or hard cover?
  • Will colour or black and white photographs be included?
  • How many are being published?
  • What will happen with the money from the sale of the publications? Is it being put towards future projects?

Make sure that your decisions about the type of publication are included in your application. Obtain a quote from the publisher or printer to verify and justify the funding request for your project and attach it to your application, and remember if using specialist services in your project identify the consultants and provide their quotation or value if it is in-kind labour.


Have you considered producing an E-publication? Electronic publishing is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional printed books. E-publications can be distributed over the internet and through electronic bookstores, and consumers can read the published content on a dedicated E-book reader, mobile device or computer

Contact the Wheeler Centre at the State Library Victoria to discuss electronic publishing options.

Oral Histories

When undertaking an oral history project consider the outcome/end result of your recording or data gathering.

  • Will you produce some audio or podcast file for inclusion on a website?
  • Will you publish the stories in a written format?
  • Will you create videocasts?
  • How will you make the content of the oral history accessible to the community?

Also consider tapping into resources available in the wider community. Look out for education and training workshops related to oral histories or speak to other organisations about their oral history projects, source equipment and investigate what the long term preservation requirements are needed for the sound format of the oral history recording.

Interpretation panels and plaques

If you are planning to submit an application for a project to develop and install interpretive signage, panels or plaques on heritage sites or locations we recommend you first contact Heritage Victoria to discuss your proposal and seek advice.

Digital Storytelling

In recent years, significant new audiences have emerged in the digital/online domain due to the widespread adoption of digital and mobile technologies and growing availability of broadband services. If you’d like to tell your story using digital technology but are unsure where to start, the information below will assist in the planning and putting together of a project and application.

Q: What are the benefits of creating a Local History Project in a digital format for presentation online?

A: The first reason is: ACCESS. Increasingly, people use the Internet as their first port of call to research topics and locate relevant material. This is especially true for younger generations (including Baby Boomers!). If your material appears in the results of a web search it is more likely to be discovered by communities of interest in your local area and across the world.

Additionally, if you have collection items that are fragile or difficult to access because of their location, creating a film about them enables people to have an intimate experience of the object or collection without causing any damage, for example The Diary of Joseph Jenkins and The Dame Nellie Melba Collection.

The second reason is: MEDIUM. Film, audio, text and image are all powerful ways to communicate history and story. With the emergence of broadband connectivity and the rise of cheap audio-visual equipment, these mediums are now readily accessible via desktop computers and portable devices such as iPods and tablets. So, it is worth considering which of these mediums, or combination of mediums, would best suit your material.

Q: What is a digital story?

A: The term ‘Digital Storytelling’ relates to a specific technique developed in the 1990s. It is one way, but not the only way, to present information online.

In Digital Stories people use film and audio to tell their own story. A detailed background on the movement can be found on Wikipedia

The Digital Storytelling technique is a powerful way for people to communicate their personal story. It gives people greater control over how their story is told. Background on a project where Indigenous communities used the technique can be found here: Indigenous Communities and Digital Storytelling. Another example where war veterans use the technique is here: Veterans’ digital stories. These projects were partnerships with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Visit the ACMI website for more information about their digital stories and workshop program.

Q: Is the Digital Storytelling technique the best way to tell my story?

A: Maybe, but maybe not. As Digital Stories consist of short videos relating autobiographical accounts it may not suit your material. For example, you may have a series of photographs from the 1930s that you’d like to present alongside catalogue and discursive text and an interview with a historian.

Just as important is to think about which mediums best suit your material, it’s important to think about how to use the mediums. Things that may influence this are who your audience is, and where you will present the material.

Q: How can I present my material on-line?

A: As with print publications where you need to think about where the book will live and how people will access it, you need to think about where your digital material will live and how will it be accessible to the public – how will you share it with your community?

One option is to build a customised website… but… this will require a significant amount of planning, ongoing maintenance and most likely ongoing costs. Another option is to present the material in an existing website that has the capability to present rich media formats.

The Culture Victoria (CV) website is one option. CV has a ‘Story Builder’ function in the back-end that enables content contributors to upload material via a series of templates.

This type of website provides flexibility as to the mix of digital formats you utilise. For example: Wangaratta Textile Town, Goldfields Stories: A Station with a Town Attached, Jim Simpson’s Knitted Trophy include a range of images from private and public collections and videos that include interviews with experts and locals and images of archival material. Drought Stories provides images from a range of historical societies and oral histories. The Ross Sea Party includes images and essays.

The ‘Story Builder’ also enables you to bring content from multiple providers together, for example the CRAFT: Where is it? project, which documents significant craft collections across Victoria.

If you want to present your material in this type of website it is best to contact the website operators and discuss the project with them prior to making your application.

It is also good, in your application, to specify why you have chosen the specific medium and presentation point.

Q: I want to digitise material. Where do I start?

A: Sector bodies such as Museums Australia (Vic) provide information on about conservation and collection management standards, and information on various grants programs that may support digitisation.  

You may want to purchase a scanner and digitise the images yourself, or you may want to engage a photographer to appropriately document the material.

It is important to check the technical specifications of the website where you wish to present the material before you commence digitising.

Q: I want to make a video. Where do I start?

A: First of all, think about what sort of video best suits your materials and resources. Also think about what will be most engaging for your audiences. For example, including interviews is usually more time consuming and therefore more expensive than running an audio track over a slide show of images. However, including interviews can greatly enhance the depth of ideas covered. Including images of collection material also enhances the visual interest of the video.

Some video options include:

  • A video including only interviews with people
  • A video of images with audio overlay
  • A video incorporating both interviews and images

Secondly, think about whether you have the skills, equipment and resources to create the video in-house, or whether you want to commission it.

If you want to commission it, the Culture Victoria team may be able to provide a list of filmmakers who regularly work with community and collecting organisations. You can contact Culture Victoria via the Contact CV page.

Again, it is important to check the technical specifications of the website where you wish to present the material before you start making it.

Q: How do I budget for presenting my material on-line?

A: Scope the project and content and think about what needs to be done to make it accessible online (eg. do images need to be digitised?). If your content includes video and images the budget might look a bit like this (note these figures are indicative only):




(ex GST)

Story research and development

Research story (5xhrs@$35/hr))


Create story text (3xhrs@$35/hr)


Images (10 images)


Digitize 10 still images ($50/image, subject to access to digitising equipment)

Create text for each image (10xhrs@$35/hr)  $350.00
 Film (2 x 2-3 minute films)