Don Gibb discusses his journey writing the forthcoming book with Deakin interns: Remembering Melbourne.
During late 2015-early 2016, three great Deakin internship students have been working at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV).
The RHSV was commissioned to produce a book entitled Remembering Melbourne by Queensland Book Depot. It is what I would call an academic coffee-table book to be published in November (for Christmas!) and likely to be priced at about $30 (a price I can’t understand).
It comprises sections on the precincts of the Melbourne CBD and then sections on c20 suburbs. The former has been developed from the resources of the RHSV images collection and covers all the streets of the Hoddle grid plus the Yarra and Parks and Gardens. The role of the three students has been in writing researched captions for the photos selected for the precincts. Clare Ribaux and Brad Underhill each did about 30 captions to meet the internship requirements and did these extremely well. They were so enthused they went on to do more as volunteers and produced a total of around 100 altogether, roughly a third of the total. Elisha Catalano came to the project when the deadlines were closing and contributed another 12-15. The whole project has involved a group of us in an enormous amount of voluntary work in which the students have played a vital pioneering role in working out what captions should look like. All the captions have since been edited but the original contributions with proper attributions remain as part of the archive attached to the images collection. The book contains more than 500 images, introductions to sections written by experts like Graeme Davison, Weston Bate, Richard Broome (the overall editor and whip-cracker), David Dunstan, Andy May, Andrea Lemon, Robin Annear, Don Garden and Miles Lewis.
The suburbs section has been supplied by local historical societies including Canterbury for which I’ve done the captions and introduction but there is an array of talent in the writing of the suburban introductions including John Lack and Weston Bate.
The role of Deakin and the students is noted in the introduction and each caption contains the initials of the writer so there is acknowledgment of their roles.
My role in this has been as a sort of gadfly, somebody who tries to ask questions to ensure that the pedants among others will have little to question and criticise and hopefully much to praise and enjoy. The project seems to have dominated the last nine months and thankfully it is about to go the printers.