Royal Far West was awarded a $4,500 Federal Community Heritage Grant (CHG) to fund a Preservation Needs Assessment for our Archive and Museum Collection from the National Library of Australia in Canberra in October 2019.

Grants were distributed to community groups and organisations from around Australia to assist in the identification and preservation of community owned but nationally significant heritage collections, including the Naval Historical Society of Australia, the Embroiders’ Guild of NSW and Papunya Tjupi Arts in Central Australia. Inclusion of our collection amongst such significant heritage collections reflects the national value of our collection and the importance of Royal Far West’s work since 1924.

Now in its 26th year, the CHG program has provided funding of more than $7 million to almost 1,500 groups across Australia to preserve and provide access to nationally significant cultural heritage material held by community groups.

The CHG program is managed by the National Library of Australia (NLA) on behalf of the Australian Government, through the Department of Communications and the Arts; the National Archives of Australia; National Film and Sound Archive; and the National Museum of Australia.

It provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, indigenous and multicultural groups, genealogical and historical societies across the country.

Director-General of the National Library, Dr Marie-Louise Ayres, said in the 2019 round, applications were received from 135 organisations across Australia. Of these, 61 grants were awarded, totalling almost $383,000.

Dr Ayres said the National Library was particularly delighted to see the diverse range of groups from all over the country receiving the grants.

Royal Far West received Community Heritage Grant in 2018 for a Significance Assessment, which highlighted what is important and significant in the Collection, and we shared this information with our appointed Preservation Needs Assessment (PNA) curator.

The current grant was used to engage the curator to write a PNA for our Archive and Museum Collection. The PNA evaluates Royal Far West’s policies, practices and conditions that affect the preservation of the collection; assesses the general condition of the collection and how to preserve it long-term; and identifies specific preservation needs and prioritises recommended actions to meet those needs.

The PNA has been written and we are now actively using the findings to preserve and protect our collection so we can share it through many channels including our website, socials, reports, and interviews, for many generations to come.