President’s Report

After a long period of frustrating technology problems in 2022, the computer system seems to be performing reasonably well. Double screens are attached to each computer and make a lot of our work in database processing much easier. The new book scanner is installed and connected to a nearby computer and is being put to good use.

The Family Files belonging to the Historical Society and the Family History Group are being combined and will eventually be in filing cabinets in the centre of the room, with easy access for all. This is a huge task, so it will be some time before its completion.

We are also merging the two libraries, another large task being undertaken by Robyn and Helen, and, when completed, there will be an orientation session to help us locate the books on their new shelves.

Window Displays: these have continued over the year on different themes, with several members assisting Liz with their ideas and skills. One in particular was the ‘Denning Lolly Shop’, which coincided with the Historical Society’s ‘Colac Cafes’, where many members contributed their ideas and memorabilia, goods and trinkets. It seemed to strike a chord with childhood memories!

The donated original portrait photo of Isaac Hebb, local historian who wrote The History of Colac in the Colac Herald in 1888, later published as a book, has been hung in a prominent position in the family history section of the History Centre.

In October there was a well attended excursion to the State Library, where we were given a guided tour of the various areas of the library and instructions on how to order specific items to view. In the Newspapers and Family History Rooms there was an overview of the collection and a demonstration on how to use the equipment.

Volunteering Victoria: Our group was one of sixteen in the state selected to take part in four, full day sessions in Melbourne. Merrill attended on our behalf and found the information most useful and of benefit to managing the group.

We were also invited to have an advertisement on the back page of GSV magazine, ’Ancestor’, which appeared in the December issue.

Webinars on different topics via the large screen at the general meetings have been well attended, and a DNA discussion group formed as a result.

Regrettably we learnt earlier in the year of the death of Molly Veale, a life member who contributed so much from the early 80s when the group was in its infancy, and until recent years.

Current membership: there are currently more than 100 financial members for 2023-24.

Database entries: approaching 400,000

Volunteer hours: Feb.’23-Feb ‘24 – 3377 (equates to 139 days).

The “Almost Forgotten” Project continues with more than 1000 people having been extensively researched and around 800 left to process. This project is now in the tenth year.

I feel the end is in sight! Many thanks to all the hard-working volunteer members involved, and I wish you another fulfilling year. A busy year of consolidating, it has been!                               Diana McGarvie – President.