Sandhurst Collection Research Grant Fund awardees

Four La Trobe University researchers awarded $20,000 grant to study historical literature and culture in Bendigo.

Four La Trobe University researchers were recently awarded a $20,000 grant to support the publication, dissemination and study of historical literature and culture in Bendigo.

The 2024 La Trobe University Sandhurst Collection Research Grant Fund, offered through the Bendigo Tertiary Education Anniversary Foundation, supports research focused on the Sandhurst Collection, which is housed in La Trobe Bendigo’s Heyward Library.

The Sandhurst Collection is a valuable part of Bendigo's educational history. It includes rare and fragile books dating back to the 1850s and provides insight into the formal and self-education practices of the Victorian gold rush era. A project to digitise significant books in the Sandhurst Collection (as well as contextual items from the University Archives) is nearing completion.

The grant is funding two projects related to the Sandhurst Collection and aims to demonstrate its value to the local Bendigo community, as well as the global research community.

Sandhurst Collection research projects

Dr Alexis Harley, Dr Claire Knowles and Dr Thomas Ford
This project will analyse the Sandhurst Collection to produce the first study of the reception of Romantic literature and culture in Bendigo, or indeed any Australian regional centre. The influx of immigrants to Bendigo in the 1850s gave rise to the Sandhurst Mechanics Institute and coincided with a new wave of interest in Romantic literature, reflected in the Collection's holdings. The research team will examine these holdings, extant catalogues and borrowing records, along with records from the Bendigo Advertiser archive and other historical sources, to create a compelling picture of how Romantic literature impacted the history of a globally significant regional centre.

Dr Jennifer Jones
This project will consider how the milieu of mid-nineteenth century Bendigo, including belief in the mysteries of ‘Providence’, rendered daily life and suffering on the goldfield comprehensible to migrant diggers and their families. Using the methodology of ‘far reaching’ socio-cultural microhistory, Dr. Jones will chart the life stories of one Scottish family (the Brown’s), who lived in Bendigo from 1852 – 1870, to develop new understanding of gold society and its legacies.

For more information about the Sandhurst Project, please contact Project Coordinator Julia Mant at or visit the Sandhurst Collection webpage.