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Media Alert - NMIT launches 100 year treasure hunt

22 Mar 2013

As part of its centenary celebrations NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) is launching a search for memorabilia related to its long and varied history. A new Archive Centre at the institute's Fairfield campus has been established to register, catalogue and preserve items donated or lent to the institution. The centre's aim is to make the items publically available for family genealogy projects and local history research.

Ann Rizio, the Coordinator of the Archive Centre, has been recording the contents of boxes of photos, documents, trophies, pictures, artefacts and clothing in the centre's three climate controlled rooms. Material has been flooding in from NMIT staff, but Ann knows there must be many more items of interest in the broader community.

“NMIT and its educational predecessors has been training people in the northern suburbs for the last hundred years,” Ann says. “There must be hundreds of fascinating items sitting on dusty shelves or at the back of cupboards.”

The centre's collection dates back to the institute's foundation as Collingwood Technical School in 1912, including the handwritten sign placed on the front fence announcing the school's opening: The Collingwood Technical School will be opened 15th July 1912. Full particulars at Office.

One of Ann's favourite objects is an ornate silver trowel presented to Sir Alexander Peacock, Minister of Public Instruction, to lay the foundation stone of Collingwood Technical School on 4 September 1923 (an extension of the first permanent building opened in 1913). Ann says, “The engraved trowel is particularly interesting as it was presented to Sir Peacock in 1923, but it wasn't until in 1941, after Sir Peacock's death, that it was donated to the school. It's still in its satin-lined box, and we also have copies of official correspondence relating to the donation. It's fascinating, because it gives us a complete picture of the item.”

Another prized object is a medal presented to a student as “1925 Under-15 Athletic Champion”. The back of the medal, which appears to be bronze, is neatly engraved with the winner's name, while the front is embossed with an art deco CTS logo. Acting on a hunch, Ann visited the Jewellery Department where a lecturer confirmed the medal was actually made from nine carat gold.

Other items include photos from the early years of Preston Technical School, which opened in 1937, as well as documents from 1988 when the Collingwood and Preston technical colleges merged to become the Northern Metropolitan College of TAFE. The Northern Metropolitan College of TAFE was the pre-cursor to today's NMIT which now has over 67,000 enrolments and campuses at Heidelberg, Epping, Greensborough, Fairfield and Ararat.

Ann would love to hear from anyone who has items to lend or donate to the Archive Centre. Items of interest include historical handbooks, annual reports, plans, periodicals, photos, films and audio recordings, as well as artefacts such as trophies, awards, banners, flags and uniforms.

For further information please call Ann Rizio on 03 9269 8836 or email . The NMIT Archive Centre is located in Building Q, Yarra Bend Road, Fairfield, 3078.

See Archive Centre photos of NMIT History

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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