Sapphire Coast History Family Expo in Merimbula

The Women in War theatre presentation will feature Leith Arundel in Radio Silence written by Alana Valentine, a play about the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

The Women in War theatre presentation will feature Leith Arundel in Radio Silence written by Alana Valentine, a play about the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

Leith Arundel will be performing as part of the Sapphire Coast Family History Expo. She is seen here in Last Letters, a play written by Mary Rachel Brown about an Australian nurse during the First World War.

Leith Arundel will be performing as part of the Sapphire Coast Family History Expo. She is seen here in Last Letters, a play written by Mary Rachel Brown about an Australian nurse during the First World War.

AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) access and client services manager Alana Harris.

AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) access and client services manager Alana Harris.


AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) staff will also be at the expo to help people research their family history.

AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) staff will also be at the expo to help people research their family history.

The inaugural Sapphire Coast Family History Expo is set to hit the Valley on August 9 as part of National Family History Month.

The Expo is free and offers a unique opportunity to get tips and advice about discovering your family’s history. 

Bega Valley Shire Council and South East Arts have organised the expo with support from the Mumbulla Foundation. 

“Family history is becoming very popular, especially with an ageing population there seems to be more and more people interested in finding out about their ancestry,” Bega Valley Shire Council local and family history librarian Linda Albertson said.

Everyone attending the expo has the chance to win a lucky door prize including annual subscriptions to Ancestry.com and Find My Past (online resources), copies of the book Norfolk Island Deaths 1788 – 1814  by Cathy Dunn and five annual memberships to a local historical or genealogical society of the winner’s choice.

Highlights of the expo will include a talk by expert genealogist by Ray Thorburn about demystifying family history research and a series of short historical plays called Women in War performed by Leith Arundel.

Ms Arundel will perform Radio Silence written by Alana Valentine about the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and Last Letters written by Mary Rachel Brown about an Australian nurse during the First World War.

Of interest to many will be a presentation by Jennifer Milward from the Australian War Memorial will give a presentation on using Australian War Memorial resources to uncover your family’s Australian military history. 

The Bega Valley Shire Council is also pleased to welcome the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) to the expo. 

AIATSIS maintains and preserves a unique collection of audio-visual materials and holds a large paper-based collection about Australian Indigenous traditional and contemporary life, including culturally important places and events, ceremonies, rock art, community histories, languages, oral histories, stories and songs.

AIATSIS access and client services manager Alana Harris said she was looking forward to helping people research family histories using the organisation’s resources.

“The Far South Coast area has a rich Aboriginal heritage and we are looking forward to sharing information about the resources AIATSIS holds and how people can use those resources,” she said.

Other exhibitors will include Bega Valley Genealogy Society, Bega Valley Historical Society and Pioneers’ Museum, Bega Valley Shire Library, Bermagui Historical Society, Eden Killer Whale Museum, Family History Centre of Church of LDS (FamilySearch), Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra (HAGSOC), Mallacoota & District Historical Society, Merimbula/Imlay Historical Society, Monaro Pioneers, Montreal Goldfields (Bermagui), NSW State Records (John Cann), Tathra Pig and Whistle, Teapot Genealogy and Towamba Valley History. 

The Sapphire Coast Family History Expo will be held on Club Sapphire in Merimbula from 10am to 4pm.

Visit the BVSC’s website at www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au, or contact Linda Albertson on 02 6499 2127 or email lalbertson@begavalley.nsw.gov.au. 

Sapphire Coast Family History Expo program

The program for the Sapphire Coast Family History Expo to be held at Club Sapphire, Merimbula on Saturday 9 August follows:

10.40am: Women in War theatre performance by Leith Arundel giving insight into the human experience of war.  In Radio Silence, written by Alana Valentine, Violet is a radio operator with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) stationed in Britain during the Second World War. Violet shares her thoughts and fears as she anxiously waits for the return of the young airmen on a bombing raid over Europe.

11am: Using Australian War Memorial Resources to Uncover Your Family’s Australian Military History, a presentation by Jennifer Milward from the Australian War Memorial. 

11.45am: Women in War theatre performance by Leith Arundel. Last Letters, written by Mary Rachel Brown, is a moving performance that re-lives the life of an Australian nurse during the First World War. Elsie is returning home after years of service in Gallipoli and the Western Front, recounting the adventure and horror of her experiences. 

2pm: It’s A Wrap, a presentation by Ray Thorburn, expert genealogist, will give an engaging talk demystifying family history research and showing the strong practical extensions of family history. Family history in schools, adoption and genetics will be included using various case studies. 

Exhibitors 10am-4pm

AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies)

Australian War Memorial

Bega Valley Genealogy Society

Bega Valley Historical Society and Pioneers’ Museum

Bega Valley Shire Library

Bermagui Historical Society

Eden Killer Whale Museum

Family History Centre of Church of LDS (FamilySearch)

Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra (HAGSOC)

Mallacoota & District Historical Society

Merimbula/Imlay Historical Society

Monaro Pioneers

Montreal Goldfields (Bermagui)

NSW State Records (John Cann)

Tathra Pig and Whistle

Teapot Genealogy

Towamba Valley History

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