Books and more- built by Trove
A selection of comments in blogs, social media, the Trove Forum and other sources confirms the enormous value of Trove as a source of inspiration, research and context for books.
Matthew Condon commented at the recent Writing the Australian Landscape Conference. ‘In recent years I have been enmeshed in works of creative non-fiction, namely my monograph/memoir Brisbane http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/37019522 and my two true crime books about the life and times of former police commissioner Terence Lewis and crime and corruption in Queensland over half a century – Three Crooked Kings and All Fall Down. Trove was a priceless resource in the way it allowed me to bring colour and fact to the social history elements of these books. It allowed me to explore the childhoods and teenage years of various true life characters in the crime books by virtue that they were mentioned, often obscurely, in regional newspapers in the middle of the 20th century. Over the three years of research for the crime books, a day didn’t go past where I didn’t dig around in Trove. I’m not sure I could have given the books the depth they deserved without this extraordinary digitisation program. I see it as a great gift to the nation.’
David Coombe writes that his recent e-book Deaths at Josephine’s Gasworks Hotel:a Victorian Investigation is ‘A story that could not have been discovered without Trove Digitised Newspapers.’ ‘I did not go looking for the story of Josephine, but when I came across the faintest hints of it, I felt compelled to keep exploring.'
Barbara Winter, writes of her book The Most Dangerous Man in Australia? ‘I shall .. just give a few examples of how Trove newspapers have helped me in my work, are helping me in a current project, and could have helped if it had been available earlier. In his home state, Homburg had enough influence to keep the family's dubious activities out of the Advertiser. Material in National Archives Australia claimed that Homburg had connived with his son Renolf to fail to register with Manpower during the war; that could have been an oversight. Without Trove, I would never have found the Canberra Times article that showed that Renolf also had never held an identity card or a ration book. That was no oversight, as the court case showed. It was a deliberate breach of National Security Regulations. Without Trove, I would not have discovered that a criminal family that I am researching went through three different names in three states over the course of more than 100 years, which is turning this work into a whole different ballgame.’
In a review of Bold Palates:Australia’s Gastronomic Heritage by Barbara Santich, the writer comments that ‘Santich’s wonderful book draws on an extensive range of sources including women’s magazines (Trove gets a special mention here), cookbooks, photographs and advertisements and is dedicated to all the librarians and all the libraries throughout Australia’ .
In Lisa Hill’s blog she writes about a workshop, Teaching History through Literature from the History Teachers Association of Victoria Primary Teachers’ Conference. The post notes that ‘the authors actually chose Federation as a topic because it was a bit dry and hard to teach in an interesting way. Set on the day of the Federation Parade in 1901, Dear Oma : a story of federation tells the story of a recent German immigrant to Melbourne, and is based on real people, real events, real places and real objects (using one of the digitised newspapers, The Argus, via Trove as a resource). Karl is a boy and he sells Federation souvenirs outside parliament (i.e. the Exhibition Buildings), and he meets a whole lot of people – which gives the authors the opportunity to show how Federation affects different sorts of people. Using Karl in this way also enables a child’s perspective on Federation as it happens, and the authors have used all kinds of clever ways to bring the period to life.'
In a regular post,‘What I'm Reading’, on the Meanjin blog, Anna Barnes explains that she is ‘working as a script supervisor on a mobile phone app for an arts festival on Cockatoo Island where you can wander the area that, between 1871-1880, housed a school so poorly and inhumanely run, that it was closed down after only nine years, to create an immersive and ‘choose your own adventure’ style audio guide…….’ ‘This brings me to Trove, my second most precious reading buddy for this project. A home of digitised newspapers of the ages, Trove gives me hours of reading about my favourite inmate/student/baller/pebble: Mary Ann Meehan. Mary Ann is the star of many an article due to her propensity to continually try to escape the island. The newspapers followed these antics in the courts pages. Being the feisty pebble she is, Mary Ann represented herself in the courtroom with such ability that even the judge was impressed!'
Do not forget Australia tells the story of Henri and Billy. Billy’s Australian father is fighting the war near Henri’s French hometown, Villers-Bretonneux in 1918.Inspired by a significant battle in World War I, the story doesn’t focus on the despair of war.The authors in an interview for this blog note that they have never been to France and relied on imagination and research , one of them commenting that ‘I found the Australian War Memorial website to be particularly helpful, as well as Trove – the website of the National Library of Australia.’
A fascinating blog about Miss Lemon, reluctant background star of TV series,Poirot, gives Trove a wonderful rap.‘ Do you remember how Miss Lemon knew all the facts about society scandals, marriages, engagements but also happened to read the latest news in the papers? Of course, this is all imaginary, but I like to think she was a regular reader of at least one of the era's women's magazines. Recently I discovered a truly AMAZING source of 1930's magazines online! Trove, the Australian National Library provides scanned issues on their website of the 'Australian Women's Weekly' magazines from the early 1930's until the 1980's. And it is there, free to read for all of us! How great is this idea?'
Alison Booth, author of A Distant Land, was inspired to write her book after realising that ‘There’s been a huge amount written about the Vietnam War, but there hasn’t been all that much Australian fiction in this context. If you search on Trove at the National Library website you’ll see this. I’ve always been fascinated by this war. It involved conscription, which affected consecutive birth cohorts of Australia’s young men – and their families – over the period 1964 to 1972.’
In a blog post about Phryne Fisher, mention is made of an ABC competition to write the opening chapter of a mystery crime novel. The writer gives advice if inspiration is needed. ‘Why not have a look on the wonderful archive of Australian newspapers in Trove. I’ve just had a little peek and discovered mention in The Argus on Thursday 12 August 1926 of opera singer Madame Stralia’s second week of engagement at the Majestic Theatre. Hmmm, there’s definitely potential for murderous dramatics there. Or, if you didn’t want to crowd Miss Fisher’s home turf, what about the promise, in theCairns Post on Tuesday 6 December 1927, of a grand new year ball (a night in Hawaii) at the new Melton Theatre in Gordonvale, being held under the auspices of the Gordonvale C.W.A. Think of the frocks! And the food! And the petty rivalries and jealousies leading, inevitably, to murder most foul! Or, perhaps, most humid….’
'I just happened to be reading a recently published novel "A Stranger in my Street" by Deborah Burrows, a Australian murder mystery set in Perth in WW2. As well as being quite a good story, at the end of the book, there were some acknowledgements including:"One resource that no Australian social historian can afford to ignore is Trove, the marvellous National Library of Australia site, which includes an extensive collection of digitised Australian newspapers". A second comment follows; 'And Deborah Burrow's second novel "Taking a Chance" has yet another acknowledgement to Trove's digitised newspapers. Alas I have had to return the book to the Brisbane City Council library so I cannot quote it in full but the closing words on Trove were: