Vera Deacon Regional History Fund

Mrs Vera Deacon, photographed on 1 Febuary 2008 at the Launch of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund

Mrs Vera Deacon, photographed on 1 February 2008 at the Launch of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund


Vera Deacon Regional History Fund
Office of Alumni and Philanthropy website.

Vera Deacon OAM

Vera Deacon made Free(wo)man of the City of Newcastle (2019)

“Child of the river, icon of the city” By Scott Bevan. [Courtesy Newcastle Herald Weekender 16 June 2018 ..6-7] Click image for a larger version.

The Vera Deacon Regional History Fund was set up to support and encourage the preservation and study of the University’s regional history archives and collections through acquisition, documentation, conservation and digitisation. And, in so doing providing greater access to the community whilst providing employment opportunities, mentoring and work experience for young people and professionals entering the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) sector.

It was launched on the 1 February 2008 in order to recognise and build on the generous donations provided by Stockton resident, author and historian, Vera Deacon. Since then many people from the wider community have generously donated to this fund, ensuring that many regional archives have now been accessioned and digitised and freely available to the wider research community. Most important of all, it has provided paid employment for people.

Vera over the years has donated to assist the University’s Cultural Collections (formerly Archives, Rare Books & Special Collections Unit) in the Auchmuty Library. This generosity has provided paid employment for over twenty emerging GLAM professionals, who have accessioned over 637 boxes of regional research archives containing many thousands of individual items, digitised over 2.5 kms of Hunter Regional maps and plans, many thousands of local photographic images that have had over 58 million hits on flickr, digitised over 209 hours of oral history recordings, digitised and indexed over 5000 pages of Children’s Homes Records for care leavers, sponsored the creation of a Virtual Reality 3D Aboriginal Newcastle landscape and Colonial Newcastle of 1825, and a NewHistory smartphone app showcasing Newcastle’s important historic places. Not a bad achievement for a pensioner from Stockton, New South Wales. We are forever thankful for this help, and for the cultural riches it has provided for the wider global community.

Who is Vera Deacon?

An original resident of Moscheto Island (now part of Kooragang Island) Mrs Vera Deacon became acquainted with the University Archives during her research work into the history of the Islands of Newcastle, especially her childhood home; Moscheto (or Mosquito Island). Later moving from Sydney to Stockton she became involved in her local community joining the Stockton Historical Society and the Booklovers group that regularly met in Cooks Hill Books. The latter organisation consisted of a number of University of Newcastle academics and staff including the late Professor Godfrey Tanner. A friendship grew and following the death of Professor Tanner, she made her first donation to Cultural Collections to have the published papers of the late Professor collated. This was then succeeded by a steady stream of cash donations to Cultural Collections to have the papers of the late Merv Copley accessioned as well. She as continued to this day to make donations to accession the University’s archival holdings relating to labour history and environmental themes.

Throughout her life she has been involved in a variety of social and political movements; she has written works of local history and fiction, and she is a supporter, volunteer and benefactor to a range of organisations from the Hunter Wetlands Centre to Aboriginal Scholarships at the University of Newcastle. She is not a woman of substantial independent means but has a big heart, a strong sense of civic responsibility, and a passion for history. Her support so far has enabled the processing and preservation of the following outstanding local regional history collections.

What does the Fund do?

The Vera Deacon Regional History Fund is primarily a source of financial support for the conservation and digitisation projects of the Auchmuty Library’s Cultural Collections, and providing occasional paid employment to their dedicated young volunteers who come in everyday to undertake the work under the supervision of professionals.

How can you become a Benefactor?

As we continue to develop as a community and a University it is our hope and wish that one day more generous and public spirited citizens may see fit to endow the University’s Cultural Collections research centre. Such endowments would be appropriate to ensure that the Collections continue to grow, receive conservation treatments and are properly catalogued and made accessible. At a time when Universities are being asked to generate more private funding, the cataloguing of manuscript collections would be quite properly supported by endowments.

If you wish to support the work of the University Library through a donation or gift to Cultural Collections, please:

  • Visit the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund Donation page
  • Type in your gift amount. All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible in Australia.
  • Ensure Vera Deacon Regional History Fund is in the drop-down box.
  • Complete the rest of the information and submit the form.

Alternatively, you may contact the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy on 4921 8612


  • 2019. Digitisation and Indexing of the NBN Film Archive. Joshua Curley employed as digitisation officer for 3 days a week for a fixed term to digitise and index news footage from the NBN Archive, under the guidance and mentorship of Mr Phillip Lloyd and Barry Nancarrow.  All work will be undertaken under the professional supervision of Dr Ann Hardy in the GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation Lab. Series included the Country Report and Valleys People. See:
  • 2018 Coal & Allied Photographs Project. Jessica Waugh was employed for twelve (12) Mondays from 3 September to 26 November working on digitising a selection of Coal And Allied Photographs.
  • 2017  The Children’s Homes Digitisation Project. The Samaritans Foundation successfully applied for a Find & Connect grant for the digitisation and accessibility to care leavers of the Children’s Homes Records held at the University of Newcastle, with particular reference to St Elizabeth’s Home for Girls (1926-1976). Joshua Curley and Chris Bourne (Volunteers/Casuals employed through Vera Deacon Regional History Fund digitised and indexed over 5000 pages of confidential Children’s Homes Records. Both continued to work on the Project as volunteers. To gain an insight into the importance of this Project for care leavers, please watch and listen to this presentation from Frank Golding

  • 2017 “NewyHistory” App To prepare biographies and histories of Newcastle’s most iconic buildings, places and cultural icons for a mobile device application. The Fund has provided a contribution towards the cost of the software architecture. Dr Ann Hardy has volunteered to create the content with assistance from Cultural Collections, Coal River Working Party, and members of wider research community. See: It is with great appreciation that we sincerely thank our UON student, Jarred Casley (Volunteer, GLAMx Lab), the programmer who remastered the NEWYhistory App and prepared it for final launch at the November meeting of Hunter Living Histories Initiative at NewSpace. Accessed by over 11,000 people via Facebook. See:
  • 2016 Royal Newcastle Nurses Association Indexing Project. Over 6,000 entries were indexed relating to the Royal Newcastle Hospital Nurses.

    Graduate Nurses Class, Royal Newcastle Hospital, August 1969.

  • 2015 The Margaret Henry Oral History Digital Archive consisting of 209 audio tracks spanning over 120 hours of interviews recorded with people from across the Hunter Region during the late 1980s has now been completed and is freely available through the UONs Cultural Collections blog and on UONCC’s Soundcloud here…/sets/margaret-henry-oral-history Acknowledgement: Thanks to Marilla North who has also contributed to this project with a donation in honour of “Vad & Viv” i.e., Evadne North (her mother) and Frances Vivienne Jones (her partner’s mother)

Margaret Henry

Scene showing Watch House in centre, 3D rendered by Charles Martin

28 thoughts on “Vera Deacon Regional History Fund

  1. Pingback: Margaret Henry Oral History Archive | Cultural Collections, UON Library

  2. Pingback: Margaret Henry Oral History Archive – digitised sources | Cultural Collections, UON Library

  3. Pingback: The Margaret Henry Oral History Archive | Starving in a Garret

  4. Pingback: Beautiful things created out of our history – Hunter (Living) Histories – Coal River Working Party

  5. Pingback: Ross and Pat Craig Collection – Hunter (Living) Histories – Coal River Working Party

  6. Just found your site by accident….I am looking for an old friend that attended a girls high school at the junction in Newcastle in the 1970’s she would be 56 if she’s still alive…her first name is Louis..and that’s all I have to go by…is it possible that your archieves has pictures and names for this search…I very interested as to what happened to my old friend…thank email is I know it’s a shotmaking in the dark but can never give up hope of finding out what happened to her…thank you.

    Bill trevillian

  7. Pingback: Deep Time Project – Hunter Living Histories

  8. Pingback: 2017 Annual Report – Hunter Living Histories – Hunter Living Histories

  9. Pingback: Maitland in 1861 – Hunter Living Histories

  10. Pingback: Engineers Australia Newcastle Division Oral History Archive – Hunter Living Histories

  11. Pingback: The Knaggs Plan Series of the Port of Newcastle (Australia) 1880-1895 – Hunter Living Histories

  12. Pingback: ‘The Store’ – whats your story? – Hunter Living Histories

  13. Pingback: The Archives of “The Store” – The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd – Hunter Living Histories

  14. Pingback: The Vera Deacon Regional History Fund – Hunter Living Histories

  15. Pingback: The Store Oral History Project – NOW ONLINE – Hunter Living Histories

  16. Pingback: The “Red Books” of Dr Ben Champion Accessible At Last – Hunter Living Histories

  17. Pingback: GLAMx AV: The 2020 Hit-List – Hunter Living Histories

  18. Pingback: Vale Chris Bourne – Cultural Collections Digitisation Officer and Project Assistant dies aged 62 – Hunter Living Histories

  19. Pingback: 5,500 Place Names of Aboriginal and European Origin Across New South Wales Mapped in Google Earth – Hunter Living Histories

  20. Pingback: The Newcastle Tribe (1820) – Hunter Living Histories

  21. Pingback: OAM Investiture Nationally Recognises University Service to Regional Histories – Hunter Living Histories

  22. Pingback: South Maitland Railways Archive Helps Keep “Uranus”, God of the Sky in Train Form, Back On Track – Hunter Living Histories

  23. Pingback: Mrs Vera Deacon, OAM, University of Newcastle Benefactor, Awarded the Order of Australia Medal – Hunter Living Histories

  24. Pingback: Vale Dr Vera Deacon OAM – Hunter Living Histories

  25. Pingback: Super digitisers save four decades of Hunter regional news television from oblivion – Hunter Living Histories

  26. Pingback: Charles Martin Exhibition - Hunter Living Histories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s