I have been thinking a lot about time lately, and as time goes by I have found that my stress levels regarding my project are rising. Nevertheless, even if my worst fears are realised and I end up crashing and burning, I will limp away with a vital lesson learned. That lesson is that there is a big difference between extensive research and effective research. Furthermore, I have gathered that time, or to put it more correctly, limited time, only magnifies this difference.
To demonstrate this, examine the following equation:
Tp = Tr + Tw
Where Tp is the time allocated for the project, which is equal to the sum of the time for research (Tr) and the time to write it all up (Tw). If Tp is constant, then the values of Tr and Tw are dependant on each other.
I began thinking about this in the first week of the mid-semester break, when I went to the state archives and there spent two days recording all of the tenders that were accepted by one of the past owners of Randell Park, the piece of land where I am conducting my survey. I was pleased with my results, as I had gathered a lot of information.
On the Wednesday of that week, I presented the results to my industry partner, like a cat with a dead mouse. while it was remarked that the information was useful, I was reminded that I only had a limited amount of time for the project, and if I was to conduct all of my research in such a manner, I would simply have no time left to collate it all and produce a coherent piece of work.
With a project of this nature, you have to find a balance so that Tr does not end up equal to Tp.
Thanks. Will Hocking.
Slowly but surely, time is creeping away for all research and writing. Lately I’ve been fine honing what I should be looking for and chipping as far as I can into the mammoth of microfilm, archived material and any other sources of relevance. There are many sources in the literature of Kaurna culture and historic accounts within Adelaide, however very few on Tea Tree Gully’s Kaurna people and sites – the basis of my ethnohistory research project.
It has been a difficult hunt. Recently I read 30 years worth of Highercombe (prior Tea Tree Gully district council area) council meeting minutes from 1853-1884.. a very time expensive process! I also searched letters of communication from the colonial secretary for quarterly reports from the Protector of Aborigines during this period. The findings were quite interesting, and at times confronting – to read handwritten letters of real accounts between the settlers and Kaurna people. It seems I am slowly finding a flickering, fragile view of life during these times.
The report is slowly coming together. I would love to be able to gain a greater perspective of the settlement experience from Kaurna people and not through European lenses and accounts, however the few good Kaurna sources I do have will have to suffice without the adequate time or ethical clearance to research as far as is needed for this project. The careful interpretation of all these sources will be both the hardest and important parts of the research.
Since my last blog post, I have been busy searching various South Australian repositories, trying to narrow down the ten oldest buildings of Melrose Park. So far, I haven’t been having a great deal of luck, however, the search continues.
I visited the Lands Titles Office, and a staff member recommended I return to the Mitcham Local Council to obtain the information I was searching for. I also visited the State Archives, on Leigh Street, to find information about the Edwardstown Primary School. The State Archives records relate to the School’s Centenary, roll books, punishment records, Mother’s club committee books etc. This information is not really what I am looking for at the moment. I was instructed to return to the Mitcham Local Council once again. So, I did, I went to the Mitcham Local Council Planning Desk, and asked if they hold records relating to the date of construction of the buildings I was researching. The Local Council staff informed me that they only hold records of the past 10 years on their computer database, and then their records only reach back as far as the 1960s. I was told that the records I was looking for, probably never existed, or have been destroyed.
I have had to re-assess my research process, and have been advised to use the architectural traits of each building to provide rough dates for construction. On Friday, I will try searching the historical documents again, and will then identify ages using architectural traits.