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UC lecturer helps community dig out treasure Trove

Palimah Panichit

25 October 2016: A group of Gunning residents has been able to unearth family histories thanks to the guidance of a University of Canberra academic who is teaching them how to use a digital researching tool.

Teaming up with the Gunning and District Historical Society and Gunning Library, Michael De Percy was able to transfer his skills in using the tool ‘Trove’, which he utilises in his research to the Gunning community’s needs.

Trove is an online searching tool launched by the National Library of Australia in 2008. It brings together digital content from the nation’s libraries, museums, archives, repositories among other research.

“Over many years, I have used Trove for my professional research,” Dr De Percy said. “After joining the Gunning Historical Society, I met people in the village who shared my passion for local history. Using Trove, I discovered a number of exciting things about Gunning so I decided to put together a workshop to assist others when they are conducting research about local and family history.”

With Dr De Percy’s help, the participants trawled through Trove’s archives to research their family histories, with some looking into digitised war records of various family members, going all the way back to the First World War.

Others discovered various records of family members who were prisoners of war or Indigenous servicemen. One was even able to confirm a family legend about a relative who performed at the Opera House. Attendees also enjoyed morning and afternoon tea during the class and shared stories and ideas about what they dug up.

The workshop hosted people from as far as Canberra, Ulladulla, Mt Pleasant and Breadalbane. The Gunning and District Historical Society plans to run one of these free community sessions each quarter.

If you are interested in attending a future Trove workshop, please call the Gunning Library on (02) 4845 1231 or email