Vera Deacon


Lost Newcastle is now a proud supporter of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund. Your purchase will help support and encourage the preservation and study of the University’s regional history archives and collections through acquisition, documentation, conservation and digitisation. 

Through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Founder of Lost Newcastle, Carol Duncan, and the University of Newcastle, a selection of important historical images of Newcastle and its surrounds held by UON’s Special Collections will be made available for reproduction and sale via the Lost Newcastle website with more items added regularly, and donation support provided to the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund.

Lost Newcastle founder, Carol Duncan, said that the success of the huge Facebook group showed just how passionate Novocastrians are about their local history,

“There are nearly 70,000 members in Lost Newcastle now and its success is due to the generosity of people sharing their own photos and stories of their families over decades – living and working right here,”

“I started the group in 2012 based on interest in a regular segment on my former ABC Radio program. I thought perhaps a couple of hundred people would be interested but membership requests rapidly exploded and now has a massive group of regular contributors and storytellers – assisted by a small team of volunteer moderators.”

“Some of the stories that come through Lost Newcastle are extraordinary and include family reunions, rediscovery of long lost loved ones and school friends. The generosity of the ‘Losties’ – as members are known – is phenomenal. If you have a question about Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, local stories, photos, myths or legends – just ask and chances are the Losties will be able to fill in the gaps for you!”

University of Newcastle Librarian, Coral Black, said, “The University Library is very excited to partner with Lost Newcastle on this wonderful project and to continue the University’s collaboration with Lost Newcastle.”


Saving local history stories


“My original aim for Lost Newcastle was for locals to share the old family photos in the shoebox at the top of their grandparent’s wardrobe. Sadly, as generations pass, these photos often lost their context and end up thrown out in the rubbish, yet they have the potential to reveal more of our history to us through their very mundane nature. They’re generally not taken by professional photographers but are simple snaps taken by mum or dad in our backyards or on our beaches,”

“We are lucky to have the phenomenal collections of the University of Newcastle Special Collections and the City of Newcastle Local Studies Library and these are freely accessible online, but what we risk losing is that shoebox of photographic gold. That’s where Lost Newcastle comes in.”

Carol has received offers of quite a few donations of photographs, transparencies or documents but always asks that people offer their donations to local collecting institutions first.

“If there are items that you think should be collected, contact UON’s Special Collections, Newcastle Museum or Newcastle Library’s Local Studies first. They’re the experts and can offer you advice and identify if something should be brought into their collections. However, there are some smaller pieces that have come to me that I’ve scanned and made available for everyone.”


The Vera Deacon Regional History Fund


The purpose of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund is to support and encourage regional history through the acquisition, preservation and study of valuable regional historical resources. Vera’s contributions to the University’s Cultural Collections began in 1995 while she was researching the history of the islands on which she grew up.

“Vera wanted to ensure that current and future generations of Novocastrians would be able to access the records and accounts of those who have come before them. She was passionate about Newcastle’s history and did her utmost to ensure that stories were preserved. I can only hope that Lost Newcastle can continue to contribute to the discovery and preservation of local stories, but also support the fund that helps the University of Newcastle provide employment opportunities, mentoring and work experience opportunities with the work necessary to preserve and safeguard the region’s important historical archives.”

Vera Deacon OAM was made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle in 2019, presented with an Order of Australia in 2020 and passed away on 16 May 2021.




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