2019–20 Annual Report

Wikimedia Australia had two programs for 2019-20, with each program made up of multiple projects.

  1. Community Support: To support and strengthen the engagement of the Wikimedia community in Australia; to increase the diversity of participants participating in online and face to face activities, in terms of gender, region, language, and topics/sectors of interest; and to build community capacity.
  2. Outreach and Engagement: To increase awareness and participation of new individuals and organisations; establishment of two new collaborative partnerships; and participation in global content competitions and wide promotion in Australia.

Operational funding was also included to ensure the Chapter and its programs were legally and efficiently managed.

Community support

The key goal this year was to engage directly with current and emerging editors in Australia. This involved continuing to support WikiClubs, training events and meetups, as well as publishing three newsletters.

Online community meetings

A new initiative this year was establishment of monthly online community meetings. This was designed as a solution to the fact that our geography means meeting face to face to be a rare and expensive activity. The benefits of meeting and staying in touch with other Wikimedians can increase participants’ level of engagement, provide a network for finding support and for learning new things. It can also improve on-wiki interaction when people know each other.

We were pleased to be offered a low cost online meeting platform from Fred Dixon at Blindside Networks hosted on the open source BigBlueButton web conferencing software. Having a consistent place to meet each month has been helpful, and by the time Covid-19 made online meetings the only option, we were well-established.

The program has usually included brief state, national and global Wikimedia news, an opportunity for every participant to report on their activity in the previous month, and to ask questions, or raise issues. Presentations included a WikiSource demonstration (Sam Wilson), 1Lib1Ref launch and presentation from State Library Queensland (Jacinta Sutton), Research partnerships (Heather Ford & Amanda Lawrence), Global strategy and re-branding (Alex Lum); and Wikipedia Day 2020.

Noongarpedia and WikiClubs


Wikimedia Australia was asked during the World of Wikipedia Conference if we could assist Ingrid Cumming in presenting on the Noongarpedia project and the challenges faced with the inclusion of Australian Indigenous knowledge at Wikimania. Ingrid was funded to attend Wikimania. She presented in the Languages Space on Australian Indigenous language on Wikipedia.

Ingrid was recognised in the 2020 Western Australian Heritage Awards for her role in setting up and maintaining Noongarpedia, Australia's first Indigenous language Wikipedia. The commendation for an individual who has made a significant contribution to heritage and has demonstrated best practice standards acknowledged that:

Noongarpedia has enabled young people to embrace knowledge as a means of breaking down barriers, enabling ancient Noongar knowledge to become a heritage tool locally and globally.

Western Australia

WikiClub West held regular gatherings at Riff, an inner city co-working space, catching up and discussing work on Wikimedia sites, and welcoming others to find out more and get involved in Wikimedia.

In 2019, digitisation sessions were held, working with content from the City of Canning Heritage Collection, including material relating to local Volunteer Fire Brigades and Frederick William Davies, a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal. Wikimedians were involved in an invitation-only Be Connected Seniors Tech Expo, as well as a large outdoor lifestyle event for seniors.

Northern Territory

Alice Springs’ first pub, an opera singer, an artist and a local favourite picnic spot were just some of the pages created at edit-a-thons in Alice Springs. Wikiclub NT supported two workshops at the Alice Springs Public Library on 15 October for Get Online Week 2019. Twelve locals learnt to edit Wikipedia for the first time, supported by Wikimedia Australia’s Caddie Brain and the library’s Special Collections Coordinator Alice Woods. Focusing on local people, places and histories, the group created ten new pages and have since gone on to create 50 new pages related to Central Australia.


QWiki Club, the regular monthly meetup of State Library of Queensland's Wikipedians, continued until the library closed due to COVID-19. Jacinta Sutton launched #1Lib1Ref 2020 at an online community meeting, sharing some secrets on the way State Library of Queensland goes about this campaign. Across the three week campaign running until 5 Feb, 26 State Library editors made 348 edits to 183 Wikipedia articles with support from Jacinta Sutton and Kerry Raymond.

New South Wales

Women Write Wiki continued to meet at the Women’s Library, until the convenor, Ann Reynolds supported the community to move online to keep their editing and conversation going through the pandemic.

State Library of New South Wales hosted Sydney editors and local GLAM organisations for a Wikidata Workshop on 16 December 2019. Guests and presenters included:

  • Wikimedian Liam Wyatt, WikiCite
  • Wikidata Update - Toby Hudson, University of Sydney
  • Wikidata Projects - Geoff Barker, State Library of NSW
  • Wikimedia updates - Matt Moore, Wikimedia Australia

There were a total of 19 participants including representatives from the State Library of New South Wales and the National Maritime Museum. Many of the participants were new to Wikidata so the workshop discussions focused on raising their awareness of the capabilities of Wikidata and identifying the applications that the platform might have to their operations. The session yielded positive feedback from participants with opportunities to further develop the use of Wikidata capabilities by participants and their institutions.

South Australia

Adelaide held one meetup this year on 6 March 2020 with five participants, including one new member.


In July 2019, the Wikimedia Australia, Parlour, and the Women’s Art Register in Richmond partnered to run a Winter Wiki Edit-a-thon on women artists and architects. The thirteen editors created 23 articles. We look forward to partnering with the Women's Art Register on future events to help encourage more women to contribute to Wikipedia, and improve the coverage of under-represented subjects on Wikimedia sites. Dashboard Melbourne meetups were held in January and February.

WikiCite Australia’s first WikiCite Workshop was held at RMIT University, Melbourne in October 2019, as part of DisruptEd Fringe - with thanks to Leigh Blackall for the invitation. The goal was to learn about Wikidata and how it supports WikiCite projects, and to get a core group started on contributing. Speakers included Alex Lum (Wikimedia Australia), Thomas Shafee (WikiJournal of Science) and Nicole Kearney (Biodiversity Heritage Library), who spoke about the exciting work underway using Wikidata to develop a bibliographic database and a knowledge graph of academic and literary citations.

Following the interest among participants, Wikimedia Australia applied to run a WikiCite satellite event of the Australian library technology conference, VALA 2020 on 14 February 2020 in Melbourne. We successfully won a WikiCite grant which covered the venue and catering. WikiCite ANZ 2020 Report

The 19 participants were Wikimedians, educators, librarians, researchers and open access advocates.

Volunteer Support Program

There were three applications from community members under the Volunteer Support program in 2019-20. One was for event registration to a GLAMSLAM conference, one related to analysing data on the History of the Paralympics Australia project, and the third was for a photographic documentation of current events.

Support for Community Engagement in Regional and Global Events

As a member of the ESEAP regional group organising Wikimania in Bangkok, Wikimedia Australia had requested funds to ensure members of the organising committee could attend Wikimania. Once it became clear that Wikimania and other overseas travel was not going to be possible, Wikimedia Australia requested that these funds be redirected to an Outreach project: Wikidata: Engagement with Australian GLAMs. See the report on this project under Outreach and Engagement.

Outreach and Engagement

Outreach to the wider Australian population is a priority in order to increase engagement. In this program Wikimedia Australia sought to increase the number of people who know about Wikimedia, who understand how it works and who are attracted to contributing. Specific target audiences included educators, the GLAM sector, and rural and Indigenous communities. The objectives for the 2019-20 outreach and engagement program were:

  • Increase awareness and participation of new individuals and organisations
  • Establishment of two new collaborative partnerships
  • Participation in global content competitions and wide promotion in Australia


There are two aspects to this project: a) development of the QR code technical functionality, and b) engagement with towns interested in being part of the project.

WikiTowns was one of Australia's earliest engagement projects, and continued to be successful activity for many years, centred in Western Australia. When in 2018-19 the existing QR codes stopped working, Wikimedia Australia requested funds to identify and resolve the technical issues. After a frustrating period of working out who could or would fix this, we determined that Wikimedia UK held the key to the solution, and we held two constructive meetings with technical and chapter contacts in the UK to work out the best way forward.

While the technical issues have been largely resolved, a combination of reputation damage, lack of volunteer capacity, and restriction on travel have resulted in no further work taking place on this project. The allocated funds for this project were not used and will be returned.

Content Competitions

Competition participation was generally low this year, due to a combination of difficulties with coordination and the twin disasters of bushfire and pandemic.

1Lib1Ref May 2020

1Lib1Ref also went online for the May-June session. State Library of Queensland staff met virtually and continued their great work for 1Lib1Ref, with a geographical focus on Brisbane suburbs.

This was the second year of 1Lib1Ref involvement by Yarra Plenty Regional Library, and a training day for library staff had been booked since last year. When a face-to-face workshop was not possible, we converted this to a two-hour online training session, followed by a number of drop-in support sessions where Pru Mitchell or Kerry Raymond were available in the library's online platform to answer questions or demonstrate new skills.

With library staff working from home, and no access to the local history collections, the project had to find alternatives to book citations. The Victorian Heritage Database became the primary resource, and was used to add detail about heritage places to articles related to the library's community. The project was well-managed by Liz Pidgeon, Local and Family History Librarian, and she and the team added 327 citations. Liz reports that:

participants agreed that local place name articles were a good focal point too for a citations project. They enjoyed the collaborative nature of the training, and enjoyed the local history reading and learning aspect.

Wiki Loves Monuments

The quality of the Australian finalists for Wiki Loves Monuments 2019 remained high. The photo taking out Australian overall winner was a photograph by Matthew Machado, taken from inside the heavy machine shop on Cockatoo Island, or Wareamah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. The Wiki Loves Monuments challenge attracts contributions from some great photographers, as well as from a team of editors who work on ensuring data from local heritage registers is added to Wikidata, ready for participation in Wiki Loves Monuments. Thanks to everyone involved in contributing photographs, data, judging and to Bidgee for coordinating Wiki Loves Monuments.

Wiki Science

This was the second time Australia has agreed to organise a local Wiki Science. Many thanks to Dr Thomas Shafee for taking this on. The competition was held at a very difficult time for Australian participation, falling outside university semester, end of school term and in the heat of the bushfire outbreak. There was quite keen interest from scientists for judging the competition, and there were 6 images from Australia submitted to the international judging of the Wiki Science competition.

Outreach and Engagement with Partners


Franklin Women

A major Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for women in health and medical research was organised by Franklin Women, Sydney to increase the visibility on Wikipedia of women who have made important contributions to the health and medical research sector, as well as increase the number of women who have the skills to become Wikipedia editors. Thirty participants took part at the Women’s College, University of Sydney, supported by Wikimedians, Caddie Brain, Ann Reynolds and Margaret Donald. This event generated several positive media stories, and a significant contribution to content: Dashboard.

This inspired a further edit-a-thon held a month later at the University of New South Wales.

Blue Shield

Wikimedia Australia was approached by Australia’s Blue Shield organisation to help identify GLAM collections that may have been affected based on towns and sites in fire regions. This led to the creation of a list article: List of fires and impacts of the 2019-20 Australian bushfire season.

Art+Feminism and Know My Name

After six months of planning our major outreach project was launched in March 2020 as a partnership with the National Gallery of Australia's Know My Name project. Wikimedia Australia co-hosted a series of edit-a-thons with galleries and libraries around Australia on the weekend of International Women's day. Our goal was to create 100 new pages about female creators, also as part of Art+Feminism.

Thanks to amazing pre-planning and coordination by Caddie Brain and her team in each state, the weekend saw 125 (mostly first time editors) create 69 new articles about female creators. Across the 7 edit-a-thons, 757 references were added to Wikipedia, and participants edited 223 articles.

Our partners included significant state and national art galleries:

  • Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • Parlour: Women, architecture and equity
  • Queensland Art Gallery Gallery of Modern Art
  • State Library New South Wales
  • University of Tasmania, School of Creative Arts and Media
  • Women's Art Register

Art, Feminism and Wikipedia in the Classroom

New and expanded articles on Australian women artists, and 684 new citations were the result of work by second-year students at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in semester 2, 2019. This course by Dr Louise R Mayhew, feminist art historian, examined art practices, from the 1960s until now, that address subjectivity and identity. Students were guided through training modules on the Programs and Events Dashboard, and the development of research, writing and citing skills for biographical articles. Their final upload party was supported by local Wikimedian, Dr Kerry Raymond.

At the end of the upload session, all 37 students had successfully contributed to Wikipedia, developing 13 new and five improved women artist biographies. Together they typed almost 50,000 words and 700 references, garnering over 700,000 views to date. As a result of their efforts, Wikipedia now hosts articles on Alison Alder, Mikala Dwyer, Mary Macqueen and Vicky Varvaressos, and improved texts on Vivienne Binns, Dorrit Black and Joy Hester, among others. (Dr Louise Mayhew paper on The Activist Essay: Art, Feminism and Wikipedia in the Classroom, 2019)

National Gallery of Australia online training

When the National Gallery of Australia closed to visitors in March, one disappointment was the interruption to the Know My Name program on which Australian editors had been working as part of Art+Feminism 2020. It also shut out the Gallery's team of volunteer guides.

With some creative thinking by the Know My Name Program Coordinator, and lots of preparation work by the Gallery's volunteer coordinator, learning team and library staff, Wikimedia Australia supported online Wikipedia training for gallery guides. A huge thanks to Wikimedian, Kerry Raymond for developing and expertly delivering the 100% online training for new editors, over three 2-hour sessions in June. After the first series of training the training dashboard showed that twenty new editors have so far worked on 26 articles related to Australian women artists, and contributed 86 references.


The WikiD: Women, Wikipedia, Design project by Parlour and Architexx was nominated for the 2019 Beazley Designs of the Year Award, and was on show at the Design Museum in Kensington, London until April 2020. WikiD is a project that contributes profiles of women architects to Wikipedia. Since 2015, the collaboration has added over 200 new articles, and made 12,000 revisions. In Australia, posts about women in the sector have increased ten-fold.

How do you represent a project like this in an exhibition? Parlour and Monash University commissioned a film from filmmaker Shing Hei Ho and typographer Catherine Griffiths, which provides a sense of the impact of this group of editors. Check out the film WikiD: Women, Wikipedia, Design Wikimedia Australia congratulates Justine Clark, Charity Edwards, Virginia Mannering, Alysia Bennett and all the WikiD team who continue to address the gender gap in architecture and design

Wikidata and GLAMs

Recognising the lack of awareness of Wikidata in the Australian GLAM sector, Wikimedia Australia designed a project that could be undertaken during the period when face to face activities were not possible. For the first time, we engaged a consultant to do this work for us, looking for someone with expertise in content development, and the GLAM sector. The role was to undertake a review of the messages and materials that would be required to engage GLAMs with Wikidata.

The consultant’s initial recommendations have been published, and she is now developing and trialing materials with several GLAM institutions. Wikidata: Engagement with Australian GLAMs

Public libraries of Queensland join Wikidata

State Library Queensland contributed a dataset to Wikidata that includes all public library branches in Queensland. This is one of 30 datasets available from State Library Queensland and it was uploaded by State Library of Queensland's Coordinator of Digital Library Initiatives, Rachel Merrick. Data contributed includes library names, addresses, opening hours, contacts, geographic coordinates, website and online catalogue links.There are 328 branches across 73 library services in the state of Queensland, including 24 Indigenous Knowledge Centres.

Chapter Governance

Wikimedia Australia continued to fulfil its legal, meeting, financial and reporting responsibilities as an incorporated association registered in Victoria, and a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). A full review of the chapter's financial system and reporting was undertaken by an accounting consultant, who also provided training for relevant office bearers.

The Chapter AGM was held online on Sun 25 August 2019 with three new members joining the management committee. The committee has members from five states and territories.

A Committee handover face to face meeting was held over the weekend of 11-13 October 2019 in Melbourne.

The follow up Strategy Planning Summit was not held in June 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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