“Vice Chancellor of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Teresa Brierley, invited me to become involved in the planning for the diocese’s celebration of 150 years since the arrival of Bishop James Murray,” said Frances. “I had two suggestions: a pilgrimage and investigating the possibility of a complete set of The Sentinel being digitised and added to “Trove”. To my delight, both my ideas took off!”
The Sentinel newspaper was the official organ of the Diocese of Maitland for 37 years, from 1 October, 1931 to 1 June 1938. Next was a search of the diocesan archives, where it was realised two editions were missing − October 1964 and May 1968. Funding was of course needed to proceed with the project.
So the word went out in local newspapers, parishes, Aurora – requesting the missing editions. There were many replies but no discoveries.
Returning to the archives, Frances looked again − and found the October 1964 edition in the wrong folder!
Searches had also been conducted at the NSW State (Mitchell) Library and five other libraries but no complete sets were to be found.
With more diligent perusal of the last two editions on record (April and June 1968) it was noted that the June text followed April logically, so the conclusion was that there was no May edition.
Manager, Business and Community Engagement, Barry Unwin, announced in March that project funding had been secured. Adam Dixson from Catholic Church Insurance had generously agreed to fund totally the OCR Digitisation with a grant of $12,000.
Frances takes up the story: “On 28 July, I met with Wan Wong and Hilary Berthon, Director and Assistant Director of Digitisation & Photography at the National Library in Canberra, to hand over the missing edition and watch the digitisation process begin. I was given a tour and was shown a large screen on the Trove office wall capturing actual numbers and location of Trove users at any point in time. Amazing!
“Now the State Library and the diocese’s archive each has a complete set.”
Trove was happy to accommodate the request to have The Sentinel online on 1 October 2016, exactly 85 years since the first edition went to print. A ‘Widget’, soon to be found on the diocesan website, will enable direct connection to The Sentinel.
Please connect to Trove on 1 October, making a spike on the Trove dial. Use the Widget or visit the website – don’t forget to click on Journal. For more on the diocesan pilgrimage on 29 October, see page 21.