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Five Questions With An Archivist

August 25, 2021

The Australian Turf Club along with horse racing has a long rich history so it is important that we look after it. This week we meet Hannah Hibbert, Archivist in the Heritage Centre at the Australian Turf Club. Hannah explains to us what her role involves plus what the strangest thing she has discovered in the in the Australian Turf Club’s archives.


1: What does an archivist do?

At its most basic, an archivist looks after the documentary material produced by a business or other organisation. They describe it, house it and make it accessible for people to understand the history of the organisation. At the ATC, my role also includes looking after the wider collection of artwork, objects, photographs and library of reference material. I make sure it is described, cared for and used in displays. All parts of the collection work together to tell the history of the ATC (and the former AJC and STC) as well as the wider story of racing in NSW.


AJC Committee Minutes

2: what is your favourite memory you have discovered from the australian turf club archives?

I have had many great moments with the archives, discovering all sorts of connections between things in the collection and with wider social history. One that comes immediately to mind was working with the AJC Committee Minutes for World War One. Tracing how the Club reacted and what they did to support the home front was a fascinating dip back into the past.


3: If you could meet any horse or racing personality dead or alive, who would it be?

E. Deas Thomson the first Chairman of the AJC who made the decision to move the club from Homebush to Randwick back in 1860.


4: What is your favourite thing about your career?

I love being able to work with the memories of the past. Bringing back into focus the stories of yesteryear. Working with the ATC Collection, there is so much variety and always something new to learn. I think it is important to keep and understand our history and I am honoured to be able to do this for the ATC.


The Clibborn Illuminated manuscript

5: And… rather importantly, what is the strangest thing you have discovered from the australian turf club archives (pg rated please)?

We certainly have a wide variety of odd and interesting things in the collection. One piece that comes to mind is not strange as such, but instead a rather beautiful item. I was certainly surprised when I opened it up.

It is leather bound book-like item inscribed “T. S. Clibborn, ESQ. Sydney April 1897”. Inside is an illuminated manuscript that is signed by the trainers of Randwick on the occasion of Clibborn, AJC Secretary, taking a holiday. The text says many nice and complimentary things and the signature page decoration includes a drawing of the Official Stand.

Clibborn was an important person in the history of the Club and this piece of his is a beautiful part of our collection.


BONUS QUESTION:  If you were a racehorse, what would you be called?

Dancing Shoes. I love a good boogie on the dance floor!

Want more? Subscribe to our bi-monthly heritage e-newsletter which explores stories and items from the collection.

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