A Brisbane Southside History Network (BSHN) is the organisation and meeting place for the purpose of the common history for all history and environmental groups within the area of the Brisbane Southside, and to provide a public-private business interface for the network of history groups and professional historians on the Brisbane Southside.
The area of the BSHN would be defined as all the area from the south bank of the Brisbane River between eastern bank of the Oxley Creek and the western bank of the Bulimba Creek, and as far south as the current Brisbane city boundary.
The three purposes of the Brisbane Southside History Network (BSHN) is to be a ‘meeting space’ and
the organisation there of, for:
Brisbane History website and mapping program (including the Mapping Brisbane Southside History Sub-Project).
Each member group of BSHN has have representation on the Representatives Group which would own all network and business interests. All costs would be covered by a not-for-profit scheme, but will ensure coverage of the costs for 1) Network administrative expenses, and 2) bursaries, mostly likely well under market rate in the first few years, for the Network services of professional historians at fee per hour work provided. In this way, the public status of the history group members are ensured, as well as the private business interests of professional historian contracted to the Network. The network would also seek private and public investments to assist in covering its network project costs.
Current Government policy in funding history is based on the desire that history groups support projects from a mix-funding model, that is, public and community entities should not be completely reliant on the public purse but seek financial independency through public-private partnerships, bringing public ownership and market investment together . On that logic, professional historians have important role to play for family and local history organisations, where the integrity for both the voluntary ethic in history organisations, and the professional ethic for historians, can be maintained. There has to be a choice exercised for a middle way in the new economy if two extreme options are to be avoided: the loss of volunteerism (history as only a hobby) or the loss of professional history (history at high disciplinary standards).
The organisation of local history has to take a different direction if it is to survive. The facts are straightforward. In the 1980s there were significant public investments in local history. Several Australian universities had provided centre for local history studies which had created a market in professional history. Today, most of those centres had gone, and the initial growth in membership of local history groups had significantly diminished in the last decade. During this time family histories had grown substantially, and have created new organisations, both not-for-profit family history organisations and profit-based online genealogical companies. When you look at the financial models of these organisations, they are public-private partnerships. There is a combination, with some services being free to the public and utilising volunteer labour, and some services being for a fee to private clients utilising professional assistance. The critical problem is that the professional assistance usually comes from those who are professionals in the work of online or community services, and who are not professionals in the work of the history discipline. Without the input from professional history (knowledge-base and skills from discipline training), the quality of the product is at the very least questionable. The different missions of family and local history organisations can be maintained and their separate voluntary work can also be fostered, while, at the same time, a public-private partnership model can be created to ensure the delivery of histories of professional integrity and with economic sustainability for voluntary organisations.