Historians back to work

Kilmore Historical Society committee member Rose King and president Liz Dillon-Hensby sorting and cataloguing 100-year-old editions of the Kilmore Free Press and other publications.

By Jackson Russell

With a COVID-safe plan now in place at the Kilmore Courthouse, the Kilmore Historical Society has been able to get back to the important work of preserving and protecting the history of Victoria’s oldest inland town.

For months, the courthouse doors had remained closed due to COVID-19 restrictions and the society’s extensive collection – which includes a large number of books, textiles going back to the 18th century and editions of the Kilmore Free Press pushing 100 years – has sat inside gathering dust.

Under normal circumstances, visitors would be welcomed into the building to seek help researching their family history or that of their property, but due to current restrictions, the committee is busy cataloguing the newest additions to its collection.

Kilmore Historical Society president Liz Dillon-Hensby said it was good to get back to work.

“The holding cell is where we keep a lot of our archives and I just brought out cardboard box after cardboard box of dirty, filthy documents that had just been gathering dust and God knows what else,” she said.

“It was good to get in there and other spaces to clean it up, sort it and catalogue it.”
With Kilmore’s extensive history, the society has become somewhat of a tourist attraction with members located as far away as Germany.

Committee member Rose King said at a local level, the society received a lot of interest from new residents.

“People make the connection between the age and the history of the town and our buildings and so on, and we get a lot of interest from new residents, particularly if they’re moving into an established house or even if they’re building on property, they come and they ask what was on their property before,” she said.

“I like to think of us as the keepers of community memories.”

The society also helps the RSL research the military history of the town and its residents and has hundreds of records of meetings of various community groups including Kilmore Cricket Club.

While visitors are not currently allowed, Ms Dillon-Hensby said she hoped to welcome people back as soon as possible.

“We have very good guest speakers here once a month and we had certainly a lot lined up for when COVID was on, so hopefully we’ll get them back,” she said.

“We can fit about 35 people in here and it’s a fabulous place for that sort of thing and people like coming here just to look at the building.

“We get so many people just coming off Hudson Park just to look at the building.”