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Transcribing a slice of history

A newly-published two volume set of transcribed colonial journals have been handed over to the Tasmanian Archives.

Volunteers associated with the Narryna House museum have spent the last six years transcribing a selection of journals written by 1800s merchant Captain Andrew Haig, who Narryna House was built for.

The transcribed journals were handed over to the Tasmanian Archives at Libraries Tasmania and will now be available to read at libraries across the state.

“The Narryna volunteers have done an incredible job transcribing and editing Haig’s journals, which were made up of cryptic 19th century handwriting,” Heritage Librarian Ian Morrison said.

“We now have them in modern typeface with explanatory notes. These are now available all over the state for people to read.”

Mr Haig’s journals provide a snapshot of what life was like for merchants living in Hobart during the 1840s.

“There were quite a few challenges in transcribing the text,” Narryna volunteer Felicity Hickman said.

“Even beyond reading the English text, Haig had very idiosyncratic spelling, and also incorporated a lot of non-English words and phrases, and also had a whole series of symbols he used throughout the journals.”

Throughout the journals volunteers noticed how the attitude and personality of Mr Haig developed and changed over time as he matured.

“He has a lot of ups and downs, he is quite emotional about a lot of things that happen to him throughout the periods these journals cover, his descriptions are very interesting at times,” volunteer Karyn Rendall said.

“It is fascinating watching his journey and his development.”

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About the Author: Tobias Hinds

Tobias is a passionate reporter that loves telling stories. He enjoys nothing more than spreading news about the hard work people are doing in our communities.

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