It's been three months since the UNE archives and heritage centre re-opened to the public.
Located on the grounds of the old Teachers College in Armidale, the building closed to the public in early 2022 for a workplace health and safety review.
The Heritage Centre is operated by UNE, and holds records and artefacts that cover the entire New England North West, as far north as the Queensland border, including family history records, regional records, NSW state government records, and a large collection of photographs, maps and other artefacts.
UNE Regional Archives and Heritage Centre Archives and Collections advisor Julie McCarthy took The Armidale Express on a guided tour.
Julie is originally from Armidale and both her parents are also local. She attended high school at O'Connor catholic and completed here first degree (history) at UNE and also completed a Conservation of Cultural Materials degree at the University of Canberra.
Julie worked for the national Archives of Australia in Melbourne before moving back to Armidale in 2012 where she began working at the UNE library and also spent about 5 years working privately which Julie said was amazing as it gave her the opportunity to work with family history collections and private collections also.
It's Julie's role to manage the broadscale collection at the archives and heritage Centre.
She is part of a small, committed team who are undertaking significant work on the current collection.
"We have 5km worth of material here including state archives collections, university collection and also a regional collection which goes right back to settlement," said Julie.
"We have donated collections including pastoral records, wage books and journals from the early days of pastoral companies in the area.
"We have an amazing photographic collection, thousands of images from across the New England region.
"Anybody is welcome to come in to look at our collection. What we tend to do is that if it is the first-time people have visited the centre, they can make an appointment to speak to us, that way we can explain how it all works."
Julie said that at the current time, the centre currently does not have a lot of the collection accessible online but that is one of the aspects the team is working towards implementing in the near future.
"One of the big things we are looking into for next year is to trial a new software called 'Atom' which will allow people to search the collection as you would will nationalised archives collections.
"Its web based, open-sourced software", explains Julie, "It's got all the standards we need but it's also quite easy to use."
"We are still actively collecting, also says Julie. We are happy to consider new donations. We are an archive, so we are interested in the unique documentary heritage of the New England region - letters, journals, photographic material, for example.
"Initially people provide us with a written list of the material they want to donate, and that starts a conversation. Provenance [or the history of the items] is really important in archives, so the more context we have around the collection the better it is for our researchers.
"This information helps us assess how these items might fit within our regional collection, before we make a final decision about accepting the physical items themselves.
The UNE Heritage and Archive Centre is open to the public Monday to Thursday 9:30am to 1:30pm.