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History


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The Maltese Historical Association has now been going strong for more than twenty-five years. It was founded in 1987 following a meeting attended by a number of local enthusiasts, some of whom remain active members of the Association.

Its objectives are to promote interest in the study of all aspects of the history – social, cultural, economic, political and religious – of Malta and the Maltese people, and to encourage and support research in Maltese history.

The first official public lecture, titled 'The Numismatic History of Malta', took place on January 12th 1987 and it was delivered by a visiting Maltese academic, Mr Joseph Sammut, who happened to be in Melbourne at the time. Since then, speakers have been many and varied, including authors, academics and politicians, both local and Maltese, and people from all walks of life, the most prominent perhaps being Sir James Gobbo, former Governor of Victoria.

Talks have also frequently been given by the association's own members, the most prolific being Mr Joseph Borg, the Association's founding secretary, and Professor Maurice Cauchi. Topics have been just as varied; in 2005, to take one example, these ranged from 'A Pictorial Journey through Gozo', to 'The French in Malta, 1798-1800', 'The History of Education in Malta', and 'The Story of Maltese Women Migrants in Australia'. The MHA's other activities have included book-launches, exhibitions, forums, slide-shows, trivia nights and excursions to places of historical interest in Melbourne.

The Maltese Historical Association Bursaries Scheme has been a relatively recent initiative. It has become apparent over recent years that interest in the study of the Maltese language has been steadily declining. The aim of this scheme is to reverse this trend by encouraging children of Maltese descent to study Maltese. Inaugurated in December 2004, it targets students from the Victorian School of Languages (VSL) as well as students attending Maltese language classes run by the Maltese Community Council of Victoria (MCCV). Bursaries are awarded annually on the basis of excellence and effort. Over the years, special guests at Bursaries presentations have included Dr Tonio Borg, Malta's Deputy Prime Minister, and Joe Camilleri, the renowned Australian singer of Maltese descent.

The Bursaries Scheme is complemented by the Language Immersion Morning (LIM), held annually in August. This brings VSL and MCCV students to the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville where, together, they participate in various activities and classes. In August 2007, Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Malta's Prime Minister, spent a number of hours visiting the LIM, a notable day in the history of the MHA.

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