first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Greek archives project has finally been given a lifeline by La Trobe University and will be properly catalogued and managed. The archives – known for many years as the Dardalis Archive of the Hellenic Diaspora – will be given the care and attention they deserve, while also opening them up to the academic community for the first time. The cataloguing project that has just recently started in the library is expected to take over three years, and will be staffed by three part-time archivists; Leonidas Veikos, Michael Potopapa and Maria Ammazzalorso. The library will have to sift through 5,500 boxes and 73 pallets, filled with newspapers, film, costumes, photos, art, hard drives and many miscellaneous items donated by the Greek Australian community over 20 years. The project was previously in the hands of the now defunct National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research and has seen the archives shut away from the community while sitting idle for many years. The chair of the archives committee at La Trobe and head of the School of Humanities, Professor Chris Mackie, said former holders of the archives had finally reached an agreement with the University that will see the archives have a safe future. “Yes, there was a fairly poor relationship between La Trobe and certain individuals from the community and we as a university have tried to rectify that,” Professor Chris Mackie told Neos Kosmos. “One way of rectifying that is to reinvigorate and catalogue the archive, that’s very important.” After reaching a decision in the Supreme Court to move the archives to the La Trobe University Library, more than half a million dollars has been allocated to complete the archives’ listing and assessment project. As the project is in its early stages, the University isn’t promising anything more than just cataloguing the items. The ultimate goal for the community would be digitising the archive and placing it on the internet. Longtime campaigner Tassos Revis is hoping his calls for digitisation will be heard, yet finding funding for the project will be the most difficult part. Digitising just 45 minutes of film will cost in excess of $1,000. “It’s a fantastic project, it’s got to be digitised and it’s got to be on the internet,” Mr Revis told Neos Kosmos. The archives already hold the best collection of Greek language newspapers in the country, and have already been used by researchers. They even helped in drafting an article about the history of sport in Australia. The archives’ potential in Greek Studies The archives also hold valuable resource material that can be used in Greek Studies in Victoria and around the country. For a program that has seen student numbers falling, the archives could be a way to reinvigorate the Greek language syllabus. “Ultimately it will be very important for undergraduates and particularly postgraduates because they’re doing research that requires things like the Greek newspaper, films, or other documentation,” Professor Mackie says. “We’re hopeful it will be used more as time goes on.” It could be another reason why the university and its library has agreed to take on the mammoth project. Part of the archive committee’s job is to identify items of value, something that the Greek community will be part of. It has uncovered a database of 351 entries that make up a record of deceased Greeks, but which has not been updated since 2001. 150 framed artworks, posters, drawings, photos and T-shirts have also come to light which the university is having trouble verifying. They don’t know where they’ve come from, who created them or where they were obtained and hope to find further clues in the thousands of other boxes they will be sifting through. Associate University Librarian Geoff Payne says the task ahead won’t be an easy one but will at least unearth some treasures. “It is an exciting project, but with it will come a variety challenges,” he tells Neos Kosmos. “I’m delighted with the progress that’s been made on working through the material and we’re looking forward to discovering what else is contained in all those many boxes.” The decommissioned Dardalis Archive of the Hellenic Diaspora was a database named after Dr Zissis Dardalis that was started in 1997. Dr Dardalis was one of the main benefactors of the archive project.last_img read more