Tag Archives: Mitcham Heritage Research Centre

Mitcham Heritage Centre Practicum

Hello, my name is Emily and I’m a Master of CHM student. My practicum, which actually began way back in June 2009, was with the Mitcham Heritage Research Centre (MHRC), under the guidance of local history officer Maggy Ragless. The purpose of my placement was to experience ‘a day in the life’ of a local history officer, in order to assess the potential of this career choice as an option for me for the future.

The MHRC, when i began the placement in June, was located in the old school building on Belair Rd, opposite the Mitcham Council office. It was here, in just one and half rooms, that Maggy and her team of volunteers tirelessly worked to maintain and promote Mitcham’s unique heritage, until very recently when they moved to the more spacious old Police Station on Princes Rd.

The MHRC provides public access to the local history collection, and provides a variety of community services such as regular talks, guided walks, publications, conservation workshops and assistance with research. Items in the collection include newspapers, maps, plans, historical files, photographs, books, surveys and council reports. The MHRC does not collect artefacts.

Over the course of my placement, in addition to observing and assisting Maggy in her every-day work, I was to be given more specific tasks to undertake. Initial suggestions for these included creating brochures, helping with the move, setting up a library database, and planning ideas for History Week 2010. I also had the opportunity to participate in workshops, school group tours and other talks and walks given by volunteers of the centre.

Stay tuned for blog #2: making history brochures for the community

Directed Studies: Mitcham Police Station Artefact Analysis #4 (Final Post)

The completion of this project has bought with it a wave of relief, but also some apprehension as to whether or not my research has been thorough enough. Like all projects more time and better resources are given limitations. Yet, at the same time the opportunity for further and more specialist research is usually always an option.

Suggestions for further research include;
-Special analysis of the domestic faunal remains in order to establish meat cuts and possibly status;
-Further analysis of selected artefacts could produce manufacturing dates and therefore contribute to possible depositional processes on the site;
-The location of the external rubbish dump in the car park of the police station would yield more artefacts and a greater understanding of domestic life in early 20th century Mitcham.

With relief and apprehension also comes a sense of pride in knowing I have completed a 57 page artefact analysis report, something I have never attempted before. With the written report complete, my poster printed and presentation prepared the only thing left to do is build up enough courage to deliver my presentation ‘with out any hitches’. Presentations are a common element to any archaeology topic. This presentation, however, is unlike any I have given before. This is simply because I am presenting new data and applying theories to a site which has not yet been reported on. I will also be presenting in front of industry partners and non-classmates, also something I have not done before.

Over all this project has provided me with an insight into the complexities of artefact analysis, and further developed an understanding of the impact excavation and artefact reports have on the future of sites.


The Ten Oldest Buildings in Melrose Park

Hi everyone, my name is Amy, and I am currently enrolled in the Directed Study topic with Dr Alice Gorman. My project involves identifying and researching the ten oldest buildings in a suburb within the City of Mitcham, South Australia.

My industry partner for this project is Maggy Ragless, the Community Historian of the Mitcham Heritage Research Centre. Maggy has been extremely helpful, and is a wealth of local knowledge. I met with Maggy to determine which suburb I was interested in researching. I had several options, and decided to research the suburb of Melrose Park. Relatively little research regarding this suburb has been conducted in the past, and this project is an excellent opportunity to improve our local knowledge.

The initial phase of the project involved systematic fieldwork around the streets of Melrose Park. Each building, in every street was evaluated in the field for its possible age. This assessment was based on research conducted before fieldwork began. Buildings were evaluated by their architectural traits, in order to provide a rough estimate for the date of construction. In many cases, it was a process of elimination, as the majority of buildings were clearly too modern for the period of interest.

I have recently finished my fieldwork and currently have a list of 16 buildings. This list needs to be condensed to ten. I will do this by researching each individual building at the Land Titles Office to determine which are the oldest.