Looking to research your ancestors? Want to learn more about the history of your house? Need to find out more about Ballarat’s past for a project?
Researching Ballarat’s past is about to get a lot easier, with the Eureka Centre to become the home of a new shared resource and research hub for the community.
The move will see the Ballarat Libraries’ Australiana Research Collection, Ballarat & District Genealogical Society and Public Record Office Victoria services come together under the same roof as part of collaborative hub aimed at making records and collections more accessible.
The new hub will be open to the entire community and Eureka Centre visitors, who will have an opportunity to access thousands of items, including photographs, objects, works of art, maps, books, paper records and more.
Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said the new hub, which is due to open mid-2019, will improve accessibility for researchers.
“For a long time a number of items as part of the Australiana Research Collection have been inaccessible to the public due to the lack of secure reading rooms at the Ballarat Library,” she said.
“Secure reading rooms available at the new Eureka Centre research hub mean for the first time the community will have access to these.
“The relocation of the Public Record Office Victoria also compliments the Ballarat Libraries’ Australiana Research Collection and Ballarat & District Genealogical Society by providing users access to additional services not previously available to them.”
This hub will extend the visitor experience at the Eureka Centre by providing a research focus alongside displays of fascinating historical publications and documents, a collection point for loans and a welcoming public reading area.
“Many people who visit the Eureka Centre have some sort of connection to the Eureka story, so this hub will allow them to research their own family story and then bring it to life by then exploring the centre’s exhibition,” Cr McIntosh said.
“The move from the Ballarat Library also means users have better access to parking.”
Access to the hub and its research databases, such as ancestry.com, Trove, Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive, will be free.
The project is currently in the design and fit-out stage, with an official opening likely to take place mid-year.