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Funding Opportunities for Record-holding Organisations

Organisations holding records relating to Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and the history of institutional child welfare are the custodians of collections of great significance and value.

Events like government inquiries, formal apologies and the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse have raised public awareness about the importance of managing and preserving these archival records, photographs and historical material so that they can be accessible.

Recommendation 12 of the Senate’s Forgotten Australians (2004) report called on:

… government and non-government agencies holding records relating to care leavers, [to] implement and fund, as a matter of priority, programs to find, identify and preserve records including photographs and other memorabilia.

(See “Recommendations”, Forgotten Australians: a report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children (2004), available online at:

This webpage lists some funding opportunities that can help record-holding organisations respond to the Senate’s recommendation, and to fulfil their responsibility to maintain and make available these significant records, for years to come.

The grants that are out there will not provide all the funding and resources an organisation needs to look after its archival records. But grants can help record-holding organisations to improve the management of collections by funding discrete projects (such as significance assessments, indexing, digitisation, publications or exhibitions). Some grants schemes are a great way for organisations to get access to professional expertise, and build organisational capacity.

The various schemes will come with different obligations for successful grant applicants. Organisations might need to provide matching funds (cash and in-kind), demonstrate community support for the proposed project, or a condition of the grant might be to make historical material accessible to the public. It is important to be familiar with the eligibility requirements, conditions and objectives of the grant before applying.

To get up-to-date information about the national and state/territory-based grant programs listed on this web page, including eligibility, application forms and deadlines, you will need to visit the relevant websites.

Some tips for writing a successful grant application

  • Do your planning before you fill out the application form – it will make the process much less painful!
  • Target your proposed project and your grant application to the stated aims and funding objectives of the grants scheme or the funding organisation. Look at examples of past successful grant recipients. Put your energy into grants that are a good fit with your organisation and what you want to do.
  • Think about getting in touch with the grants manager before you submit an application. Most organisations will be happy to talk to you before you apply. You can learn more about the scheme, who is eligible, and what projects are likely to be funded. Some organisations will even help you through the grant application process.
  • A well-planned project is more likely to receive a grant. Spend some time planning your project, and set some defined, measurable outcomes. Think about your timelines, your personnel, and your budget.
  • Grants are usually available for projects or programs, NOT for core funding like wages, administration costs.
  • In your application form, use plain English, avoid jargon, and keep it brief. (Stick to the prescribed word-limit, if there is one.)
    Make sure your budget adds up!
  • Most grant schemes will fund projects that will lead to a demonstrable community benefit – think about the outcomes of your proposed project and what impact it will have on your organisation, your stakeholders and the broader community.

Source: A Guide to Successful Grant Applications (2006) – This link is from the Wayback Machine and was dated the 26 January 2014.

National Grant Programs

Community Heritage Grants, National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia’s Community Heritage Grants program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, genealogical and historical societies, multicultural and Indigenous groups. The grants are provided to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material.

The grants are provided for activities including:

  • Significance Assessments of collections
  • Preservation Needs Assessments of collections
  • conservation activities and collection management
  • training workshops

For more information about these grants, go to:

Community Wellbeing Grants, The Ian Potter Foundation

The Community Wellbeing program provides organisations with small grants (up to $50,000) and large grants (more than $50,000). The stated objective of the Community Wellbeing area is to help alleviate disadvantage and promote the general wellbeing of the community.

For more information about these grants, go to:

New South Wales

New South Wales Heritage Grants Program, Royal Australian Historical Society

The New South Wales Heritage Grants Program is a Small Grants program for Local History and Archives grants. Its purpose is to provide funding to celebrate Australian local history for local historical research by community groups and individuals that tell Australian stories in a local context; express the diversity and range of Australian culture as it impacts on communities and specific localities; highlight and localise pivotal Australian historical events and issues. Individuals and community organisations are eligible to apply.

For more information about these grants, go to:

Northern Territory

Northern Territory History Grants, Department of Arts and Museums

The aim of the Northern Territory History Grants Program is to encourage and support original research about Northern Territory history. The grants are intended to assist with expenses incurred whilst carrying out research projects. Northern Territory residents and societies and community organisations based in the Northern Territory are eligible to apply.

For more information about these grants, go to:

Regional Museums Grant Support Program, Department of Arts and Museums

These grants assist local museums and keeping places in the Northern Territory to develop programs, design and construct displays, manage their collections, acquire relevant skills and enhance the presentation and preservation of local heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors.

For more information about these grants, go to:

South Australia

History Trust of South Australia Grants

The History Trust of South Australia provides two annual grant programs for small history projects, publications, research projects, and collections.

The South Australian History Fund provides funding to community organisations and individuals to undertake small history projects, publications, and research projects that contribute to knowledge, understanding, and sharing of South Australian history.

The Museums and Collections (MaC) Grants are for collecting organisations that are members of the History Trust’s Museums and Collections program. They provide funding for collection management, conservation, and community engagement projects.

For more information about these grants, go to:


Tasmanian Community Fund

The Tasmanian Community Fund provides large and small grants to non-profit organisations. Successful projects are those that demonstrate:

  • benefit to the Tasmanian community;
  • innovation and proactivity;
  • an integrated and collaborative approach, avoiding duplication;
  • value for money;
  • community support for the project, particularly from any partners;
  • high levels of other financial or in-kind contributions;
  • the ability to build and strengthen community capacity;
  • good prospects for successful implementation; and
  • volunteer and community involvement with the project.

For more information about these grants, go to:


Local History Grants Program – Public Record Office Victoria

The Local History Grants Program provides small grants to community organisations to support the cost of projects that preserve, record or publish Victorian local history.

For more information about these grants, go to:

Victorian Community History Awards, Public Record Office Victoria

The Victorian Community History Awards are managed by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. They recognise excellence in historical method. The range of award categories acknowledges that history can be told in a variety of formats with the aim of reaching and enriching all Victorians.

For more information, go to:

Western Australia


Applications for Lotterywest grants are accepted at any time. There are various grants available for non-profit community groups, local government and historical societies in Western Australia, for projects to conserve the State’s cultural heritage and to create community histories.

For more information about these grants, go to:

Western Australian History Foundation

The Western Australian History Foundation provides grants of up to $10,000 for projects about WA history – recipients can be historians or researchers, either individually or in groups, self-employed or salaried; government departments or agencies; community organisations; those living in WA or elsewhere. Successful grant applications will fall within the Foundation’s objects.

For more information about these grants, go to:


These websites contain free publications and other resources to help you in your grantseeking.

The Ian Potter Foundation
The Ian Potter Foundation’s “Tips & Hints” page has some useful suggestions for writing grant applications, as well as some grant seeking tools that are specific to the Foundation.

The Funding Centre: an enterprise
The Funding Centre is a grants and fundraising hub. The Grantseeking Basics page is a good introduction.

Philanthropy Australia
Philanthropy Australia is the national peak body for philanthropy. Its website has resources, tools and publications for donors and not-for-profit organisations.