5 minutes with…Marissa Krajcar

What led you to a career in Archives?

A life-long love of history, especially Western Australian history. I had completed a History Degree and had been a History teacher for nearly 10 years and then had time away to spend with my family. During that time a dear family friend casually mentioned that she had seen an Archivist position advertised and thought I might be interested! That conversation set off a life changing series of events, which led me to completing a year of full-time study during the Covid lockdowns for a Post Graduate Diploma in Records Management and Archives, and then to the Uniting Church, where the previous Honorary Archivist, Sheena Hesse was retiring after 18 years! I am forever grateful to my friend, as being an Archivist turned out to be a perfect fit for me and an incredibly rewarding and fascinating career.

What has been one of the more surprising discoveries in your time in the UCWA Archives so far?

That people overall, are unsure about what it is Archivists do. I have had some hilarious responses when asked what it is that I do.
One lady replied, oh you’re a night chemist?! In fact, being an Archivist has elements of Indiana Jones adventure when I’m out of office on a quest for a missing document, or in a church building miles from anywhere searching through cupboards covered in spiderwebs and dust. But often it is quiet research in the Battye Library or the practical work of sifting through boxes and boxes of papers and then preparing them for safe keeping for generations to come.

I’m sure you’ve had a glimpse into some interesting slices of history. If you could travel back in time where would you like to go and what would you like to see?

One time and place that really fascinates me is Menzies, Western Australia in the late 1890’s, and around the turn of the century. Social History, the ordinary day- to-day life of people in a time and place interests me. When I visited Menzies in 2000 while following up some family history research, it was hot, dusty, quiet, and isolated. I tried to imagine what it was like in the 1890’s when it was a bustling gold mining town with thousands of people going about their day- to-day activities. I would love to see that.

What’s your favourite book or movie – and why?

Both have inspired my love of travel. My favourite book from childhood was Anne of Green Gables, so much so that I insisted my family visit Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia, off the Canadian east coast in 2016. It was just as I had hoped, breathtaking in its scenery. My favourite film will always be The Sound of Music. It has it all – singing, costumes, drama, and alpine mountains! In 2022, my family visited Austria and thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the sites from the movie and singing along on the bus tour! I also enjoy reading maps and will happily read through an atlas or map book pondering my next adventure, both close to home and further afield. The Chart and Map Shop in Fremantle has a fabulous collection to inspire you.

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

Aside from dear family and friends, it would have to be a pen and a notebook. Oh and a cup of tea, and coffee for the mornings. More than one thing, but all essential.

If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?

I think dinner with Edith Cowan would be an interesting experience. She certainly was a powerhouse of energy and accomplished so much in a time that wouldn’t have made her successes easily achieved. Very inspiring and fascinating to share a meal made in the 1800’s in Western Australia!

Thanks to Marissa for being a part of our ‘5 minutes with’ series. Read this and more in Revive.

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