Two decades ago, Tasmanian Supreme Court librarian Dorothy Shea stumbled across some brown paper parcels stacked in the court’s storeroom. Inside were original copies of legislation dating back to 1833. Some are written on vellum and bear the signatures of lieutenant-governors including George Arthur and John Franklin.
Dorothy knew these were important and needed to be preserved.
“They needed special treatment and I thought I’ll just keep mentioning them in the library committee and to the chief justices.
I think gradually they thought, ‘Well, we better do something just to stop her talking about it.'”
Eventually, she managed to initiate a project to restore and archive the documents. With help from a team of volunteers Mrs Shea has worked to ensure that the documents are appropriately recorded and safely stored.
Eventually they will enter the collection of the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office.