Australia Award Impacts National Archives

A team from Australia is in Fiji to gather information and produce videos on the progress of past recipients of Australian Awards Scholarships. These scholarships and the networks that they open up are a valuable pathway for developing professional ties, and personal relationships between Australia and Fiji.

According to Angus Braithwaite the Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) the National Archives of Fiji is an organisation where the connection between Australia and Fiji is paying dividends. “The Director National Archives is a fantastic example of that. He is in contact with his lecturers and colleagues on a regular basis and continues to foster on-going relationships with Victorian Archives (Public Records Office Victoria) and other organizations in Australia to just keep his knowledge current and to keep Fiji in the forefront of best practices. That is what the programmes about, it’s about linking our two nations and a fantastic example is the Archives and it’s been a pleasure to see it.”

“We have been with the Department of National Archives for one day today and staff have been so warm and friendly and we have been treated with the greatest hospitality and being shown around the different aspects of the work and we really have been following the story of the Director Opeta and it has been heart-warming to see the impact” Braithwaite said.

Lisa Hiller-Garvey from the production company Small World Stories expressed the team’s enthusiasm at witnessing the work being done at the archives. “We have been following this story about how the Archives has been successfully salvaging and rescue 2000 hours of footage and hundreds and thousands of photographs and very important documents which relate to Fiji’s past and it has been a really fascinating experience.”

“We’ve been looking at the different parts of the organization, we went to the restoration section where we saw how the staff there painstakingly putting documents back together, washing them and bringing them back to life and with that bringing Fiji’s history back to life. And we have also been down to the Archives and looked at some of the very important documents including Fiji’s birth certificate (Independence Order) and many other things. It has been a really fascinating journey into the history of Fiji. I really hope that the short video we do end up producing will show more people in Fiji and in the region some of the fantastic work that has been done here and why this work is really important” Hiller-Garvey said.

Capacity building has been key to enabling the archives to take steps forward in caring for Fiji’s heritage, as well as support records management in government agencies. And Braithwaite said that the Archives journey further underscores the importance of sourcing quality education through available scholarships. “It’s an exciting programme to be a part of and Opeta’s story is one of many thousands we see on a daily basis with the Australia awards that’s why we are out here with the film crew making videos, telling people’s stories and helping other people to see the importance of the scholarships.”

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National Archives of Fiji
25 Carnovan Street
Box 2125
Government Buildings
Tel: 3304144
Fax: 3307006