The Dardalis Archives, incorporating three buildings of storage for more than 7,000,000 original documents depicting the activities of Hellenes in the southern hemisphere from 1810 to 2006, was established in 1997 at the former National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research at La Trobe University. The main benefactor to the Center was Greek-Australian businessman, Zisis Dardalis.
The Centre closed in 2008 and all the material housed at NCHSR was almost destroyed. However, after many struggles, they were saved and are now in the process of being sorted. The La Trobe University Library has taken on the task of assessing and listing the material which includes numerous newspapers, newsreels, films, art objects, photographs and other assorted documents.
So far approximately half of the material has been listed. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects related to Greek Australian migration, history, religion and culture. The newspaper collection is a good starting point for any researcher as it covers different views of important historical, political and cultural events affecting the Hellenic people, notes the library.
Meanwhile, as the sorting process is underway, the university has organized an exhibition, entitled “Halfway Through,” in order to present their finds in the first half of the archives.
Most of the material is in English or Greek, while some of the content was also written in Arabic, French and German. “Modern Greek is taught at La Trobe and we want to see this archive used for research. I can imagine research being done, particularly in Modern Greek studies, on the origins of the community. I think it will be a very valuable resource if somebody wants to come and do a PhD,” Professor Chris Mackie said to Neos Kosmos.
The “Halfway Through” Dardalis Archives exhibition will be open to the public until December 5, 2015, while a list of the items that have already been sorted can be found here.