Trove is a vital instrument that enables the public to access significant Australian history. It is a pathway to discovering more about Australian history through dates, events and people. I will demonstration how useful Trove is for researching a topic of interest, through my research project of Valerio Ricetti. I decided to write a biography on an interesting Australian, who has contributed to Australia’s history, although very little is known about him. Trove is a valuable tool that that can bring attention to these great unknown Australians. Prior to this project I had not heard of the individual Valerio Ricetti. Little or no information can be found on Valerio Ricetti through an advanced search on popular search engines such as Google or Yahoo, so it is difficult to gain information on Ricetti, using mainstream search facilities.
I was only able to discover Ricetti after looking through many of the public lists created on Trove. These lists were similarly titled famous unknown Australians .Although this is a tautology, it serves the purpose of the project, most people being suitable candidates for an Australian who has greatly contributed to Australian and little are known about them. Lists are an extremely useful tool that can be used for a variety of sources. Trove has the ability to create your own private list to help with your project. Along with the ability to create public lists for everyone to share and contribute information.
After viewing all of the candidates, I selected Ricetti. I discovered that Ricetti had been an Italian-Australian hermit who lived near Griffith in New South Wales. He created his own private utopia, completed beautiful gardens and caves over many kilometres at Scenic Hill. He has left an everlasting legacy that is still there today -a heritage-listed site and a popular tourist destination. I selected Valerio Ricetti because most people do not know his story and the beauty of what he created. I believe his story needed to be preserved and remembered, which is what Trove does and creates.
I found an abundance of information on Valerio Ricetti on Trove. The mediums on Trove that were particularly useful in gaining knowledge and information to help write the biography were the newspapers, images and books. Newspapers are one of Trove’s most used online resources. Trove has an immense collection of historical and present day newspapers, to aid with any form of research. The historical and contemporary newspaper articles found on Valerio Ricetti were extremely useful in providing a background to what it was like during the time he lived, highlighting some of the attitudes towards migrates, particularly Italians. The contemporary articles gave insight into the scale of what he created and how magnificent it really was. Visual aid in writing my biography was given by the numerous collections of photographs found on the Trove website. Photographs can be found easily through a simple Trove search. For my topic, I found numerous photographs of the cave and surrounding areas created by the hermit, along with a photo of him. This assisted with visual understanding what he looked like and gave real-life examples of some of his achievements. Trove’s archived websites were also found to be very useful in writing the biography. Trove provided many reliable and resourceful websites on Valerio Ricetti from various organisations and companies
Undoubtedly one of the most useful results from the Trove search was the book From Broken Hill to Scenic Hill: the story and part of Griffith’s history of the Scenic Hill hermit: Valerio Ricetti, 1898-1952, which was found from Trove’s vast collection of books. This book paints a different picture of the Hermit of Scenic Hill, viewing him in a completely different light, in comparison to the opinions of many other unreliable websites found on general searches that portrayed him in a more negative light. These websites describe Ricetti as a bitter and aggressive man who hated society. In contrast to the book, that depicted the hermit as a kind man who had been mistreated and cheated by the world too many times and therefore distrusted society. Trove gave an accurate insight into who this man really was, enabling me to write a truthful biography about him, reflecting him in a positive light.
Trove is a service that provides free access to Australian history, in an easy way everyone can use. It is a direct pathway to our history and understanding our roots and ancestry, which enables us to understand our own society today. It makes research fun and easy and overall is a fantastic service provided by the National Library of Australia.