John Oxley Library Award 2021
The recipients of the 2021 John Oxley Library Award are Tracey Olivieri and Chris Dawson for their work with the group, Friends of South Brisbane Cemetery.
Tracey Olivieri explains her association with the group:
"I founded the Friends of South Brisbane Cemetery in 2005 with two dear friends, Marilyn Paul and Roma Waldron.
The cemetery was unkempt, and I felt I had to do something to help protect this special heritage place. I grew up in the local area and used to spend a lot of time at the cemetery so it became a very special project for me.
We photographed every grave, embarked on re-mapping and compiling a database of the residents; helped family historians locate graves; recorded many known and unknown stories of the residents. This was all done along with trying to clean the cemetery. All of this is still being done on a larger scale today with Chris Dawson working equally hard alongside me. Many amazing volunteers come and clean on our “Guardian Angel” cleaning days. We share many of the stories through publications, tours, public talks, facebook and our website. We have plans for more and new things over the years ahead"
Chris Dawson explains his association with the group:
"Our historical cemetery work in recent years has included recording, mapping and maintaining graves; biographical research; writing; tour guiding; public talks; family history assistance; website and social media development; lobbying for cemetery improvements; and generally encouraging visitation and engagement with the cemetery as a heritage place.
This is very much Public History. One of our proudest achievements has been to build a community of wonderful people around this project, people who we never knew a few years ago but who are now friends and partners in the work. This has probably been our happiest achievement because the underlying principle of everything we do is that the more people know about the place, and the more they engage with it, the more they will care about it and want to protect it into the future. What we have achieved so far has built a strong foundation for us to do even better in the future."