WHEN you take a volume of Australia's 1828 Census on the road, you want to give people a chance to get close to it.
But not too close.
"We don't usually travel in pairs," State Archives and Records regional engagement senior adviser Wendy Gallagher said before she gave a talk on the Census at Bathurst Library on Monday.
"But we are travelling in pairs so there'll be a member of staff with it all of the time.
"And that's why there is a cover [over the Census], so that you can't touch - to save it from the accidental pointing with the pen instead of a finger and the accidental glass of water."
The volume from the 1828 Census - which was Australia's first census - was in Bathurst as part of a regional tour.
"We chose five locations [for the regional tour] that were in existence at the time of the 1828 Census," Ms Gallagher. "And Bathurst is a really obvious choice. It's the early over-the-Mountains town."
She said the volume was worth seeing both for what it is and what it represents.
"To me, it's a gorgeous, gorgeous object," she said.
"It's not the way we create records or see information in these days, but it's matched by the digital copies on our website, which is the way we expect information to be."
To see the physical object gives a greater depth of understanding, she said, "both for the times in which it was created and for the sort of things that archives are".
"It's quite an amazing feat to get 36-and-a-half thousand names into alphabetical order; the original returns were just like our returns in the Census, arranged by household."
The six volumes of the 1828 Census include information such as the ship and year of arrival (if appropriate) and sentence if the person arrived as a convict.
George Suttor, who arrived free on the ship Porpoise in 1800, is recorded as a farmer at Bathurst in 1828 - one of a number of Bathurst entries.
The other locations on the regional tour are Goulburn, Port Macquarie, Shellharbour and Tuggerah.