The Diocesan Archives Story
Part 2 - First Diocesan Archivist,
The Revd E W (Fr Ted) Doncaster

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Anne Wilson tssf, Acting Diocesan Archivist

Having done some further research of our archival records, I realised that in September edition of the Anglican Messenger I incorrectly wrote that Mr A E Williams was the first Diocesan Archivist. However, it was in fact The Revd E W (Fr Ted) Doncaster who had previously been Diocesan Recorder in Archbishop Moline’s time and Archivist for some years before he accepted his formal role as Honorary Diocesan Archivist in 1980. He continued in this role until July 1985 when he was resigned to take up a position as parish priest in the Diocese of Willochra in South Australia.

During his time Fr Ted advocated for the secure storage and preservation of parish and Diocesan records and oversaw the transfer of significant registers to the Battye Library. Fr Ted has continued to have a long association with the Archives and is much revered by all succeeding Archivists for his knowledge of Diocesan history. He has put together at least 51 histories of parishes and clergy in the Perth Diocese, which continue to be a valuable Finding Aid to point researchers and Archivists in the right direction. These are available as digital copies on request.

The second Diocesan Archivist, A E (Bert) Williams, was appointed May 1985 and continued in an honorary role. As a well-respected and published historian, his focus was on researching and promoting the history of the Diocese. His great contribution was scholarly account of the history of Anglicans in Western Australia from 1829-1929 in the West Anglican Way, which continues to be a useful reference for researchers. The Archives still has a few copies which are available on request. All his publications can be found in the State Library of Western Australia.

Following Bert Williams’ death in 1989, no Diocesan Archivist was appointed for many years. In 1994 Archbishop Peter Carnley became concerned about the organisation of the records and proposed that the Archives be located on the ground floor of the Law Chambers in the care of a professional Archivist.
Following the work of the Diocesan Working Party, the Diocesan Archives Committee was formed with inaugural members consultant archivist Dr Maggie Exon, The Revd Bill Hawley, The Revd Dr Rowan Strong and the Diocesan Secretary, Mr Harry Williams. The Archives Committee worked on developing the 1996 Records and Archives Statute which underpins the operation of the Archives Committee. Maggie Exon continued as Honorary Archivist with the support of the Archives Committee and the Archives was moved to the 10th Floor of the Law Chambers building. Eventually in October 2006, Diocesan Archivist, Ms Annie Q Medley was appointed for a three-year term and Archbishop Carnley’s vision for a professional archive was finally realised.

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Archives Correspondence, Fr Ted Doncaster, 1980-1999. 2010/00038/008
Archives Committee Correspondence August 1999. 2016/00059/155 A
rchives Committee Correspondence 2006. 2008/00087/004

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