HistoryAtWork
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Projects & Work

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HistoryAtWork has spent over twenty years working with communities, places and collections.

Please explore our projects below to read about this work.

Our methodologies include oral, digital and interpretive history, assessment of significance and preservation needs, auditing and curating collections, online or physical exhibitions, editing, transcription and digitising, memoir, life story and biography. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about any of these methodologies.

Our clients include individuals, families, professional organisations, community groups, local government, and institutions. Call us or send an email if you would like a client list.

We can provide referees for any projects or roles you read about below, and samples of our work. If our work is online you can see it now by visiting the History for you page.

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The Grand United Order of Free Gardeners. Publication. Interpretive history.

The Free Gardeners originated thousands of year ago in the vineyards and gardens of King Solomon's newly built temple on Mount Zion. As they gradually broke away from bondage and went searching for work they were often helped by colleagues encountered on their travels. Over time a bonded fellowship developed that enabled members to rely on other members for protection, assistance and benevolence. They became the Order of Free Gardeners.

In the 19th century bonded fellowship morphed into a concept known as mutual aid and was regulated by the Friendly Societies Act. They provided medical and funeral benefits, and loans for educational or housing expenses. They were able to help thousands of families throughout the turn of the century, the Great Depression, two world wars and into the 21st century. In 2006 the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority removed all of their financial responsibilities and with that, the majority of their members.

This group remain the only Free Gardeners in the Southern Hemisphere and one of only a handful around the world. In their 150th year in Victoria they are still seeking opportunities to serve the community and continue their history of benevolence, friendship, belonging and community service. 

I hope that the oral history and the history brochure I produced will enable them to fulfil these wishes.

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Emma Russell