Know Your School - Barker College Archives
Friday, 16 October 2015
This week we look back to the origins of the Barker College Archives and its place within the School.

In December 1963, the Barker College Council moved that the Head of Barker, Trevor McCaskill, along with staff members Sammy Seaberg, Bob Finlay and Stuart Braga, collect all available information on the foundation and growth of the School. With the 75th year of Barker College just around the corner, this information would be used to compile a school history.

It was this motion that led to the formation of the Barker College Archives in 1964. As the School’s first Archivist, Stuart Braga sought to document, collect and preserve the day to day running of the School and Barker’s history. Just over fifty years on, the Archives continues to function as the memory vault of the Barker community, protecting records and memorabilia for future generations.

As one of the oldest school archives in New South Wales, the collection at Barker is rich and diverse. Ranging from printed material such as prospectuses, student reports and building plans through to photographs, trophies, uniform items and architectural models, the Archives endeavours to keep this material in perpetuity. The oldest item in the collection is a New Testament published in 1643.  Donated to the Archives in 1986, how this Bible came to be at Barker remains a mystery. This is in contrast to the collecting and archiving of current school photographs and the latest edition of The Barker Bulletin.

The Archives was originally located at the southern end of the Sir Thomas Buckland Library (now Boyce Hall). Some of the collection was housed in the old projection room at the northern end of the Library, with access being via a narrow spiral staircase. In 2002, with the opening of the existing Secondary School Library, the Archives moved to purpose built facilities housed on level one. To mark the School’s 125th anniversary this year, the Archives now also has a small museum on the top floor of Carter House. For the first time in the School’s history, the Archives has a space to tell the stories of Barker’s past and display some treasures from the Archives’ collection.

In 1972, under the guidance of Stuart Braga, an Archives Group was established. Comprised entirely of students, this group was given the task of sorting and classifying the School’s archival collection. Members regularly attended workshops discussing what constitutes archives and how they can be used. The students would also conduct oral history interviews with alumni, prepare displays and write articles. Unfortunately, the Archives Group ceased to exist in the early 1980s.

The history of Barker College is a shared one. The Archives therefore relies on the generosity of Barker’s staff, students, alumni and the wider community for donations of material. This ensures that all aspects of the School’s history are fully documented. Without these donations, the link between Barker’s past and its future will be lost. The Archives therefore guarantees the former days of Barker are remembered into the future.  

Caption: The Archives houses many elements of Barker's history.