The Australian Research Council Everyday Heritage linkage project aims to uncover everyday but overlooked forms of Australian heritage.

The project, which is a collaboration between the universities of Canberra, Tasmania, Western Australia and New South Wales and Partner Organisation GML Heritage, seeks to bridge academic and industry practice.

It will work to develop innovative methods across the fields of heritage, digital humanities and historical research, and create new resources for communities and the heritage sector. These will enable significant social and cultural benefits – such as more inclusive forms of heritage, and broader intellectual and practical understandings of shared history and citizenship.

The project will promote public debate on the role of the past in modern Australia through a range of new forms of history and heritage, digital resources and heritage management tools.



Tracy Ireland

Project Lead & Chief Investigator

Jane Lydon

Chief Investigator

Tim Sherratt

Chief Investigator

Kate Bagnall

Chief Investigator

Cristina Garduño Freeman

Chief Investigator

Sharon Veale

Principal Investigator

Charlotte Feakins

Partner Investigator

Sharpay Wu

Research Assistant

Steve Brown

Senior Research Fellow


Sian Jones

University of Stirling, UK

Laura McAtackney

Aarhus University, Denmark

Paul Mullins

Indiana University-Purdue
University, USA

Timo Ylimaunu

University of Oulu, Finland

12-year-old Charles Allen’s handprint. NAA: ST84/1, 1909/22/41-50

The story of the handprint

This is the handprint of 12-year-old Charlie Allen, the son of a Chinese father and white mother, who grew up in Surry Hills in inner-city Sydney. The handprint was taken by government officials before Charlie travelled to China in 1909. He spent six years with his father’s family in Shekki, inland from Hong Kong, before returning home. The year after Charlie returned home to Sydney, he enlisted in the Australian army to fight in World War I. 

This evocative trace of the past was retrieved from the National Archives of Australia by the Real Face of White Australia, a digital history project by Tim Sherratt and Kate Bagnall that highlights the experiences of men, women and children whose presence in Australia was questioned under the notorious White Australia Policy.
Originally a tool of surveillance enacted upon his racialized body, Charlie’s handprint can now trigger our engagement with an individual from the past. As an everyday aspect of human existence, the handprint enables us to imagine a physical presence – Charlie’s palm stained with sticky, black ink and his mother’s efforts to wash it clean, perhaps – and it touches us as poignant evidence of his lived experience of racism under White Australia.


GML Heritage is the partner organisation on the ARC Everyday Heritage Linkage Project. GML Heritage is at the forefront of Australian heritage consulting, connecting people and place for over 30 years. GML Heritage have offices in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.