Contact Us links on websites invite interaction, and the Culture Victoria contact us page has received some particularly unusual and wonderful missives.
Often, people contact us trying to make contact with a group or individual, or to find out more about their family history. But sometimes they contact us offering information about one of our stories, and those communications are often are gems…
Recently, waiting in my inbox was a Contact Us email from a man called Peter Bristow. This is the same Peter Bristow who features in the Acquiring the Joseph Jenkins Diaries video – who went to the UK on his own volition, tracked down the original Joseph Jenkins diaries and made contact to buy them on behalf of the State Library of Victoria. Peter had seen our video, and wanted to add some more information to the story.
Peter writes: To add a little bit more to the story, when I was talking to Frances Evans back in 1995 at her house, the original farm of Joseph Jenkins, she informed me as to his final resting place. I found his grave and took two pebbles from it, with the appropriate permission from the authorities, and placed them on his friend’s grave in the Central Victorian town of Rheola.
Or the fabulous story, detailed in a previous blog post, Who was Madame Errazuriz?
In this instance, the Culture Victoria team received feedback from a Chilean art collector about the painting Madame Errazuriz by Sir William Orpen, a significant artwork in the Mildura Arts Centre’s permanent collection. The collector, also a relative of Madame Errazuriz, said that the lady in a painting was in fact Maria Edwards and not Eugenia Huici, though both women were known as Madame Errazuriz.
We passed the feedback onto the Mildura Arts Centre, and the collector has since provided evidence to the gallery to back up his claim.
Sometimes, our stories lead to further research in very different parts of the world for vastly differing contexts. Like a recent enquiry from fashion student from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, wanting to use some images from our Ripponlea story to help aid in creating a historic archery costume design. Or the query from Nagoya University Japan about including transcripts from our bushfire stories in a book about disaster recovery.
Other times, what is unearthed via Contact Us can be a very personal story and create a deep connection. Like this lovely example from Victorian Collections (VC), our sister site. The VC team tell the story that a lady saw the Ballarat Base Nurses images on the VC website, and contacted them. The lady had been a polio patient at the hospital in the 1950s at the age of two, and was looking for more information about this stage of her life. Although her photo was not on VC, the volunteers at the Ballarat Base Hospital were able to find her in another image, and tracked down the nurse who owned the images and had worked on the polio ward. The nurse remembered her as a baby and the two of them are now in contact.
If you have more to add about one of our stories, please Contact Us.