Historical society appeals for digitisation funding

PRICELESS HISTORY: Orange and District Historical Society secretary Phil Stevenson and president Liz Edwards show off negatives and photographs in need of digitising. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0517dcphotos1
PRICELESS HISTORY: Orange and District Historical Society secretary Phil Stevenson and president Liz Edwards show off negatives and photographs in need of digitising. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0517dcphotos1

EQUIPMENT to digitise Orange’s photographic history has been placed back on the agenda after funding was put off.

Orange City Council placed its draft budget on public exhibition on Tuesday night, but staff recommended to consider Orange and District Historical Society’s request for an estimated $20,000 at a quarterly review.

But councillor Jeff Whitton asked for the donation to be placed back in the mix.

Councillor Glenn Taylor supported the request given councillors passed a motion to find the money two weeks ago.

“My recollection is that council unanimously endorsed council’s contribution to this, it’s greatly needed as far as the community’s concerned,” he said.

“I was surprised that we were procrastinating.”

The funds would cover a scanner to replace the camera system the historical society is currently using to digitise its images, which would save minutes per photograph in scanning time. 

The society acquired 1.25 million negatives from the Central Western Daily in 2010, ranging from 1955 to the 2000s.

Of those, 7800 have been digitised so far. 

The money would also pay for network attached storage, allowing the society to back up the digitised images and other records.

Society president Liz Edwards said the organisation was grateful the council was even considering the funding, but welcomed the support from councillors. 

“The sort of money involved, it’s impossible for our society to raise that,” she said. 

Ms Edwards said they were a treasure trove and “an incredible record of Orange”.

“We’ve found some magnificent images covering everything from hard news to sport to social events,” she said. 

She said images were already being made available on request, but wider digitisation would improve accessibility. 

To make a submission on the draft budget, visit https://yoursay.orange.nsw.gov.au/budget-2018 or email council@orange.nsw.gov.au.

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