We all have a story to tell… Tasmania’s stories, your stories

Stories aren’t just words on a page. They can be represented by artefacts, records, and photographs. They can be oral accounts that are stored as recordings.

At Libraries Tasmania we are the custodians of millions of fragments of Tasmania’s history – locally told memories just waiting for discovery. Each of these items brings its own unique account of the ordinary and extraordinary people who have lived Tasmania’s stories.

Your favourite stories from our collections

Our community is the curator of the 91 Stories exhibition. This digital and physical exhibition will bring together local objects, images, artefacts and artworks – all from within our cultural collections and chosen by you.

Uncover your own hidden stories in our archives and collections

Did you know that we have a searchable Names Index? The Tasmanian Names Index holds information recorded about people in Tasmania, including immigration, births, deaths, marriage and divorce, over specific periods of time. The knowledge held in these records could help you reassemble the stories of your own Tasmanian ancestors.

Learn to write your story

Our libraries hold activities to help budding storytellers write their own tales. For example, Devonport Library currently holds a fortnightly Young Writers session, for ages 7+ to help young writers strengthen their creative writing skills. Check with your local library to see if they hold similar events.

Local stories at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

As part of the Professional Historians Associations (Tas.) Lecture Series, Dean Greeno will discuss the threat of climate change on traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal shell necklace making practices.

Join us for this special event: Effects of climate change on traditional Aboriginal shell necklace making practice, on 3 June 2021, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Register via Eventbrite.

Tasmanian stories, fact and fiction

Whether it be a retelling of an old story, or an account of a new one, our local libraries hold many Tasmanian stories that are available for our community to borrow as physical or digital books.

Some of our recent favourites include:

Showcasing a year of Covid-19 memories

Libraries Tasmania has launched an online gallery to showcase Tasmania’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year ago, in collaboration with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, we began inviting Tasmanians to contribute writing, photographs, video and objects telling their ‘COVID-19 Story’.

Tasmanians from Strahan to Ravenswood, and Smithton to Kingston responded with wide-ranging submissions, such as photographs of closed businesses, personal accounts of isolation, fear and boredom, poems, and stories of projects aimed at bringing happiness to the community.

A range of submissions is now available to view online via Libraries Tasmania’s online gallery. Some gems include:

  • Lesliee Whittet of Devonport sharing the joy of seeing his granddaughter race out of the airport after arriving from lockdown-restricted Victoria (NS6935).
  • Six-year-old Freddy Farrington of Margate recounting taking his COVID-19 test (NS6971).
  • Hobart based artist Michelle Dracoulis’s photographic explorations of toilet paper hoarding (NS6972).
  • Launceston teacher Jayne Hill and illustrator Courtney Greatbatch’s beautiful booklet ‘But why cant I go to school?’, created to help kinder and pre students understand and cope with the pandemic (NS6953).
  • The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian branches’ videos, photographs and media releases from 2020 (NS6980, NS6981).
  • Images from Westbury pharmacist Kelli Houlahan of the measures taken instore to provide services while protecting clients and staff.

Project coordinator, Libraries Tasmania archivist Jen Jerome, has welcomed the community’s enthusiastic response.

“Thanks to the generosity and creativity of our community, this collection will provide an invaluable record of the journey taken by Tasmanians through 2020 and the ongoing pandemic.”

Jen encourages people to continue to contribute, saying “each submission is like a piece of a puzzle – the more stories, images and items we receive, the more coherent the story will be.”

More information about the COVID-19 Stories Project can be found on the websites of Libraries Tasmania and TMAG: www.libraries.tas.gov.au and www.tmag.tas.gov.au, or by contacting the project team at COVID19stories@education.tas.gov.au.

Submissions will be accepted until the end of 2021.