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Tara Oldfield

photo of tara

How long have you been working at PROV?
I’ve been working at PROV since October 2014.

What is your role at PROV?
I work with the Communications and Online Engagement team to promote the valuable records in PROV’s collection through various communications, promotions, media relations, website, social media and events including exhibitions at the Victorian Archives Centre and Old Treasury Building. I also oversee the Victorian Community History Awards alongside the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, and represent PROV on the board of the History Council of Victoria. 

How did you get into your current role?
I gained a Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University, majoring in Media and Communications. My first role out of university was with a public relations agency. I’ve since worked in communications for various State Government and not-for-profit organisations.

Why did you want to work at PROV?
Being able to discover or re-discover stories of Victoria’s past appealed to me. There is a wealth of content here that we can pull from to engage and educate Victorians.

From when you arrive at the Victorian Archives Centre in the morning until you leave in the evening, what does a typical day look like?
What I love most about working in communications is the variety. My day can go from responding to public questions on Facebook and planning events in the morning, to blog post and e-newsletter writing in the afternoon. I also enjoy taking time throughout the day to search through archive boxes to see what gems I can find for our audience. If I find something really special, and it’s timely, that’s when I’ll contact the media. There’s always plenty to do!

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
I most enjoy finding untold stories and unseen images in the archives and working with journalists to share them with Victorians. 

What has been your favourite project to work on?
As part of my role here at PROV I assist the Old Treasury Building Marketing Officer to promote exhibitions that we have partnered on. In February 2015 we opened an exhibition called School Days. I really enjoyed promoting that exhibition as it generated a lot of nostalgia and discussion in the media and amongst our online audience, which at one point translated into queues out the door! It also allowed me to reflect on my own school experience and perhaps appreciate it in a way I hadn't before. I also love working on stories around the Section 9 release every year, being the first in 75 years to delve into some fascinating files previously closed to the public.   

What is the most important skill in your role?
Writing is very important in this role and is the skill you use every day. Efficiency is also important, as is the ability to juggle many projects at once.

What advice would you give to someone entering the field?
What type of background would be most helpful? I always recommend starting out at an agency where you learn a wealth of skills that will see you through your career. You also get to work with many different clients and get a feel for what type of organisations you prefer to work with.


Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples