Tag Archives: Historical Archaeology

Public interpretation and the Port Adelaide Community Archaeology Project

By Rikke Hammer, Graduate Student

This blog post is the first in a series of seven reflecting on various aspects of my four week industry practicum with post-graduate student Adam Paterson at Flinders University. Adam is doing his Phd research on understanding how public participation in archaeological research can contribute to and improve management of cultural heritage. The research forms part of the Port Adelaide Community Archaeology Project and is funded by the Australian Research Council. Also supporting the project are the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage, the South Australian Maritime Museum and Archaeological and Heritage Management Solutions (Paterson n/d).

The Port Adelaide Community Archaeology project has involved several excavations around Port Adelaide, an area unique for its buried landscape of 19th century buildings and artefacts resulting from continuous deposition of sediment material to prevent against flooding. One of these excavations, the site of two 19th century working class family homes in Jane Street, excavated by Susan Briggs in 2003, will form the basis of a public archaeology event to be held during the Port Festival in Port Adelaide on 8 & 9 October 2011. It was  preparations for this public happening that occupied my time during the first week of the practicum. The event will be executed as an interactive “meet the archaeologist” event and will include opportunities for people to test their archaeological illustration skills as well as explore the practical and interpretive aspects of archaeology through learning how archaeologists read the soil and its contents. One idea for the event is to reconstruct the stratigraphic profile of two separate sections of Briggs’ 2003 excavation trench that illustrate different aspects of the site and the archaeological process and to incorporate authentic artefacts from the excavation. Plates 1 and 2 shows the sections selected for reconstruction.

Plate 1 Section one, collapsed wall.

Plate 2 Section two, brick, stone and cobble floor and vertical stratigraphy of yellow sand lenses underlying grey beach sand.

As part of the public outreach program heritage posters will also be produced. My task specifically, was to identify the stratigraphic contexts and artefacts found in the sections of Brigg’s trench that Adam wants to recreate based on photographs and site records. A second task involved reading up on interpretive archaeology focusing on tiered communication and interactive presentation strategies.  My next blog will focus more on the topic of public archaeology and the latter two concepts that are core to a well-designed and successful interpretation program.

References:
Paterson, A. n/d Port Adelaide Community Archaeology. Retrieved 12 August
2011 from http://www.flinders.edu.au/ehl/archaeology/research-
profile/current-projects/adam-paterson.cfm.

Industry partners:
South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/
The South Australian Maritime Museum: http://www.history.sa.gov.au/maritime/maritime.htm
Archaeological and Heritage Management Solutions: http://www.ahms.com.au/

Last attempt to save the Glenelg Cinema

by Natalie Bittner.

We offer you the public of South Australia a centre of entertainment unique in this state. Every luxury, every thought, every care that 27 years of experience dictates, that modern science knows, is here for your comfort, your convenience, your service. We present the showplace of Australia, the Ozone Theatre Glenelg

(From the program distributed at the Gala opening night of the Ozone Theatre, Glenelg November 5th 1937)

Glenelg Cinema. Corner Jetty Road and Rose Street. Photo: Natalie Bittner. 26/05/2011

In the next few weeks, the fate of the Glenelg Cinema complex will be decided. The cinema has been closed since the end of January 2009 with no development on the site and a drop in visitor numbers to the Eastern end of the Jetty Road precinct noticed by nearby traders. In the week following its closure, the Wallis cinema company put up most of the interior fixtures for sale, including the seats and doors.

Having been designed by architect Kenneth Milne in 1936, the Glenelg Ozone Theatre (as it was then known) consisted of a single cinema screen, and had twin marble grand staircases and tartan carpeting throughout. Known for his impeccable detailing, the façade of the building includes stone from Basket Range in the Adelaide Hills, horizontal fins and the current vertical signage is the same element used in the original construction. Advertising material from 1938 says that the Ozone Theatre had air-conditioning throughout, a ladies smoking lounge, and a baby-friendly viewing area where mothers with screaming children ‘will not be embarrassed’ (The Advertiser Saturday October 9, 1937). On the 5th of November 1937 Glenelg Ozone Theatre’s gala opening night consisted of a technicolour screening of A Star is Born with shorts including How to Vote. (The Mail Saturday November 6th, 1937).

Continue reading

Future work from my thesis?

My thesis was an attempt to locate the houses and haunts associated with prostitution in colonial Adelaide. I found numerous locations, but sadly only a small selection are still standing in the 21st century.
One of the most famous (or most infamous) places, that still stands is the Colonel Light Hotel (formerly named the Shamrock Hotel), this building was reported to share its town arce (131) with several cottages used by prostitutes, which were owend by the hotel’s proprietor. The hotel now shares the land with a small carpark.
I would love the opportunity to excavate this carpark, as it is one of the few locations that does now not hold a building.
Colonial Adelaide boasted several forms of prostitution, but my research found no references to the ‘classic brothel’ ideal, however when presenting my thesis one person in my audience mentioned one or two hotels that were purposed built to be brothels and would conform to the ‘classic brothel’ ideal.
It seems there is always more to learn. ^_^

Masters Thesis Abstract: Gendered spaces, Public places

Gender-exclusive organisations are ubiquitous in the Australian social landscape, coming in all forms, shapes and sizes. The potential for such organisations, however, to inform us about past gender roles and attitudes has not been addressed within the Australian context. The aim of this thesis, therefore, is to investigate what the buildings of such organisations can reveal about the roles of men and women in the past.

Buildings belonging to the Freemasons and the Country Women’s Association in rural South Australia formed the basis for this investigation. Archaeological research was carried out to record the social, geographic, physical and functional attributes of buildings in order to identify trends occurring between and amongst buildings used exclusively by men and women. Attributes included street type, building size, visibility, decorative features, internal layout, alterations and use.

While CWA buildings remained relatively unchanged throughout the study period (1836-2010), the results for Masonic buildings showed that there were significant changes occurring, particularly regarding the use of external decorative features and the presence of amenities. Style, as a form of non-verbal communication, is used to reflect and reinforce prevailing ideology. The changing style of Masonic and CWA buildings suggest a shift in gender roles and attitudes, from the ‘traditional’ separate spheres ideology of pre-WWII, to the more ‘egalitarian’ worldview post-war. This thesis concludes that social changes occurring as a result of World War II are reflected in the design, location and construction of gender-exclusive buildings, most notably those belonging to the Freemasons.

Masters Thesis, World Heritage Site Interpretation

Having moments ago finished the stressful process of writing my masters thesis I felt compelled to post my abstract here for everyone to read before rushing to the library to read the full version, lol. Enjoy :D, Olly.

Continue reading