Tag Archives: South Australia

Finishing up my directed study

By April Webb

It’s the end of semester and my directed study is done, hooray! (Not that I mean to imply that it wasn’t fun… of course.) It was a lot of work (50% research, 25% writing, 25% deleting the gibberish that my cats inserted while I wasn’t looking), but now I can say with confidence that I have a basic understanding of Indigenous heritage management in Australia. And now I can do more than nod politely and give a blank stare when people talk about legislation and government bodies that I previously knew nothing about. I’m sure that’s a good thing. In my previous blog posts I discussed the basic advantages of a regional governance system, and talked a little about the Ngarrindjeri and Torres Strait Regional Authorities. Here’s a summary of my final report.

This segment of Horton's map of Aboriginal Australia shows the locations of the four ARA Test Sites.

This segment of Horton’s map of Aboriginal Australia shows the locations of the four ARA Test Sites.

In July 2013 the Department of the Premier and Cabinet of the South Australian Government announced plans for implementing a system of Aboriginal Regional Authorities across the state. These Authorities would be responsible for a range of functions which would differ according to the needs and capabilities of each region, and would base their operations to an extent on the successful example of the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. Submissions were received from a variety of interested parties, and in December 2013 test sites were chosen. They are:

• Narungga (Yorke Peninsula) – Narungga Aboriginal Corporation Regional Authority;
• Ngarrindjeri (Lower River Murray) – Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority;
• Port Augusta – Port Augusta Aboriginal Community Engagement Group; and
• Kaurna (Adelaide Plains) – Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association.

My Directed Study project involved a study of existing ARAs and similar structures in order to determine how such bodies might function, and what their pros and cons might be.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, regionalism was generally seen as a desirable model for Indigenous governance, as evidenced in the academic literature on the subject and in submissions made to the South Australian Government on the topic by interested parties. A caveat was that regions should be decided by Indigenous people themselves and not be the product of ‘top-down’ approaches, such as that derived through census data. It was also noted that Regional Authorities would most likely need to have statutory authority  or some sort of legislative recognition in order to achieve effective governance, although there are some examples of bodies who are able to govern effectively without this, such as the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. Funding was another major concern. It is likely that Regional bodies will require more intensive funding from the government in their early stages, and that this will enable them to become more self-sufficient as time goes on. The funding arrangements of existing bodies such as the NRA and Gumala Aboriginal Corporation provided insight into possible schemes for self-funding. Lastly, Aboriginal Regional Authorities might provide clarification in South Australia on whom to approach for heritage matters, and exactly how much authority Indigenous groups have in these instances.

So, I am happy to say that my report is finished and submitted! Now it’s the holidays, time for me to concentrate on other things, like watching TV and continuing with my botched attempts to learn to play the flute (sorry, neighbours). Oh, and continuing to work on this report. My industry partner has mentioned that we might be able to turn the report into a joint publication eventually, which is very exciting. So, still a lot of work to do!

Perceptions

It is time for another update on my Directed Study about South Australia’s founding father. I was sitting here, in front of my computer, writing a section for my Directed Study about how George Fife Angas was perceived by his peers and by the public. While I was researching this I struck upon something that I found particularly interesting and as I need to write these blog posts I thought I would share it with you as well.

According to some documents I have been reading, Angas was not particularly liked by his Barossa constituents during his 16 years as mayor. He was respected for his abilities as a businessman and for his common sense when dealing with legislation and colony growth. But he was also seen as a man who thought he was above everyone else and only he knew the right way. His overly pious attitude and his reserved demeanour when dealing with people he did not know probably didn’t win him any friends in the public either. Along with this he also voraciously collected on even the smallest of debts, which might have been a bad habit he picked up after going broke just before he came to Adelaide. His unlikability is not the thing I found interesting, however, it was that as soon as he died this view of him disappeared almost immediately. All of the newspapers and the public seemed to shift from this mentality to one that is now known for him being the founding father and one of South Australia’s most generous men. It was not until quite some time later that an unbiased look at him and his history was completed and this still didn’t shift the way the majority of the public saw him.

So this got me thinking, of all the great men and women in history both here in Australia and around the world, how many of them have been coloured by the information and stories that were written after their deaths? There has probably been research done on this subject but to see this unfold within my Directed Study is interesting, for me at least.

Tugging at the Heartstrings: ST Yelta, Port Adelaide

By Cassandra Morris

Yelta was built in 1949 by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co., Sydney for Ritch and Smith, Port Adelaide. Yelta spent its active life guiding vessels in and out of Port Adelaide, making local headlines on more than one occasion. Originally coal fired, the tug was converted to oil in 1957. After a busy life on the Port River, the tug was retired in 1976, purchased by the Port Adelaide branch of the National Trust of South Australia. Left moored outside the CSR Refinery at the ‘Sugar Wharf’, the vessel was left unattended with little maintenance performed for nearly a decade. Put up for sale again, the South Australian Maritime Museum made a bid for the historic vessel and, in 1985, added the tug to their collection as a floating museum. Volunteers were asked for to help restore Yelta to its former glory. After extensive restoration and refitting, including preparing the vessel to modern safety standards for staff and passengers, Yelta was relaunched. Currently Yelta sails the Port River several times a year, allowing passengers to experience a piece of Port Adelaide’s history, the Port River itself, and life onboard the vessel.

Yelta, thought to be in Cockatoo Docks while being constructed. (Pre 1964)

After 27 years in the SA Maritime Museum’s collection, Yelta still holds many secrets. In an attempt to broaden current knowledge of the vessel, research was recently undertaken to investigate questions often asked and facts confused by newspaper articles and photographs. Aspects of concern were the colour scheme, historical presentation of the vessel, and general life of the tug and its crew. To uncover the truth of these concerns, slipping reports, requisition reports, monthly maintenance reports, museum documentation and log books were consulted, in addition to newspaper articles and photographs. Two interviews held with former crew members were also undertaken, providing a personalised view of the tug and its working life.

Yelta steaming, before deck changes (Pre 1964)

Through this research, a timeline was successfully compiled. From 1948 to 1953 Yelta featured in newspapers across Australia, linked with the movement of many vessels in and around Port Adelaide. Slipping and requisition reports follow, from 1956, providing details on maintenance and changes made to the vessel. These reports also allowed for the correct colour scheme to be implemented with confidence; red below the waterline, black hull above the waterline, green or red decks, and white deck structures. Two major changes to deck construction occurred in the mid-to-late 1960s. Yelta’s wheelhouse was overhauled in 1964, downsizing the cabin and adding starboard and portside entrances. Furthermore, in 1967, the Crew’s Accommodation entrance was changed from a hatch to a deckhouse. These two major changes assisted in the approximate dating of photographs held by the museum. Information about Yelta’s movements are commonly known from 1976 onward. Retiring from service in 1976, the vessel was purchased by the National Trust of South Australia and later the South Australian Maritime Museum in 1985.

Yelta after deck changes. Note changes to the wheelhouse and the addition of a deck house aft. (Post 1967)

This is the results of my internship with the South Australian Maritime Museum. When first entering the position, I was assigned to work on the HMAS Protector research focusing on creating a Flickr group and contacting the public to gather further information. However, this was where my first lesson was learnt: you do what your boss thinks is important. So I was moved to work on confirming information on Yelta; discovering whether the colours it was currently painted were the correct ones, what the general history of the vessel was and conducting interviews with members of its previous crew. While I was not immediately excited about the task at hand, I launched myself head first into all the records kept by SAMM—and Yelta grew on me. Discovering that all the images of Yelta were undated (I later discovered a handful that had dates associated with them) led me to look for something that had changed at some point and that could be seen in the images. This led to many hours of reading and making notes on the tug’s slipping reports. From these reports I was also able to trace the changes in paint colour across the entire vessel for almost its entire working life. However, answering all the questions left me with one last task: interviewing some of the previous crew.

Yelta outside the CSR Refinery. The tug can be seen here painted many colours, occurring after its retirement. (Post 1977)

Conducting interviews was not something I had any experience in beforehand, and with only a vague idea of what I wanted to achieve I set off with a camera in hand. Two previous crew members were available to be interviewed at the time. Both of these I conducted slightly differently. With a short list of prepared questions, I took both interviewees, on different days,  for a tour of Yelta to refresh their memories. The first interviewee I filmed on the vessel, allowing for their memories to be caught with the corresponding background. While this produced a wonderful choice of memories for use in a 5 min clip (the desired end result) the film was fraught with bad lighting and minor sound problems. Conversely, for the second interview, after the tour of Yelta I filmed the clips within the SAMM offices. While this fixed the sound and light issues, there was less material to record without the visual stimuli. Between the two interviewees there was also a difference in personality and their comfort levels while being filmed. This would have been the biggest learning experience I undertook while with the museum, and has made me a fraction more comfortable with directing and filming questions, asking someone “can you repeat that?” endlessly, and realising that not everything planned is going to work.

Yelta as it can be seen today.

My time with SAMM showed me a different side to museums. While I began with an interest in collections management and producing exhibitions, I was given the opportunity to work on the research aspect of these interests. My research may in future lead to a small exhibition on board Yelta, focusing on it history within Port Adelaide and has already led to the development of a poster for the upcoming ASHA/AIMA Conference in September/October of this year. In future I hope I can work further with SAMM and with other museums and collections in Australia.

Photos are courtesy of the SA Maritime Museum.

Developing A Guide for Recording and Conserving Aboriginal Heritage Sites in South Australia.

Hello everyone!

I am currently undertaking a practicum with the Aboriginal Heritage Branch of the Aboriginal Affairs Reconciliation Division (AARD) of South Australia. For those who do not know, the Heritage Branch is designed to improve administration and to ensure compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act (1988).

Within this blog, I am going to share with you some more of my experiences while working with AARD.  This practicum is the first time I have been actively involved with a government department who are in charge of the management of Indigenous cultural heritage sites in South Australia. Initially, I was not sure of what to expect from the practicum but I was assured the experiences obtained would be worthwhile.

One of my projects is to re-write a guide for recording and conserving Aboriginal heritage sites in South Australia., The guide is for the use of Aboriginal people and others interested in conducting archaeological site recording. The objective of this guide is to provide the necessary information about archaeological site identification, site recording and site management.

The guide I have compiled is an 81 page report consisting of a number of in-depth and captivating chapters complimented by images. The importance of why heritage sites should be recorded is the first section of this guide. The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, basic site recording, stone tools and how to use site cards are later addressed. The last part of the guide includes information on the conservation of sites, interpreting landscapes and how to access information held in the Central Archive by the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division – DPC (AARD) as required by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (the Act). A glossary, further readings and blank ‘A’ and ‘B’ site cards are also present at the end of the report. Copies of the report: A Guide for Recording and Conserving Aboriginal Heritage Sites in South Australia will soon be available through the Aboriginal Heritage Branch.

If anyone is also interested in reading or creating a guide for recording Indigenous sites in Australia, check out the following links:

QUEENSLAND Department of Environment and Resource Management

http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/cultural_heritage/search_request/accessing_data_guidelines.html

http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/cultural_heritage/legislation/cultural_heritage_studies_guidelines.html

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Department of Indigenous Affairs

http://www.dia.wa.gov.au/en/Heritage-and-Culture/

VICTORIA Department of Planning and Community Development

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous/heritage-tools/guides-and-forms

NEW SOUTH WALES Department of Environment and Heritage

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/chresearch/ResearchThemeConservationToolsAndTechniques.htm

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/cultureheritage/landholderNotes11CulturalHeritage.pdf

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/nswcultureheritage/LostButNotForgotten.htm

Also, remember to read Burke and Smith (2004) The Archaeologist’s Field Handbook. This publication is a detailed guide for surveying and recording Aboriginal cultural heritage places and other archaeological sites

By Daniel Petraccaro (Master of Archaeology student).

“Oh, Audit my Audit”

‘Oh Audit my Audit’, Unley Museum Collection by Bronwyn Phillips

Post 5

Review of photographs

Over the last few weeks I have gone through some of the SAPs (South Australian Photographs).  SAPS are special plastic folders that contain the Unley Museum’s photographic collection.  Dr Elizabeth Hartnell (Museum Curator) and I decided it was impossible to go through the entire collection. There are over 10,000 items and  5,000 are photographs; we thought an audit of parts of the collection should give a good idea of its condition and what is in it. I need to asses the collections condition to rank items in urgent need of correct storage and preservation. If, as I have found with some photographs and early documents, they are not correctly stored, then their ‘significance’ could be lost forever as they deteriorate. As custodians of the museum’s collection it is our job to redress these problems sooner rather than later.

One of the other volunteers, Terrie, is systematically going through the storeroom. This is a room that is kept at a constant temperature of 19 degrees centigrade and houses most of the collection. This is the ideal temperature for the collection’s preservation. The air conditioner is kept on at all times, 24/7, and this could be problematic if there is a power or equipment breakdown. Terrie has been checking the collection shelf by shelf to make sure items are there and that they have numbers and  are accessioned. I have asked her to let me know if she comes across anything that is in poor condition and/or in need of restoration.

I started on SAP 25 which was full of interesting photographs of all manner of things, from old shops that no longer exist, old tram shots, and Art Deco buildings etc. The first tram was horse-drawn and electric trams came later which travelled down Unley Road.  Most of these photographs are in good order. There are some empty sleeves with notes in them. The notes say the photographs are away being digitized, however they have not been put back and this was some time ago. Those photographs could be anywhere. Some of them were in sleeves with inappropriate cardboard or tracing paper, which will need replacing with acid free paper at some time in the future.

CON 4 (Councillors) This folder contained the photographs of the Councillors from 1929 -1933. What a grumpy, gruff group of men. They were wearing groovy hats in the 20s and 30s. Still, in those days you were not meant to smile in photographs; it was serious business. Many of these photographs have been removed from old albums or frames and still have old glue on their edges.  The old glue is made from ground horses hooves. This will be professionally removed. Some had negatives in with them; they need separate sleeves. I then decided it might be wise to go through the earliest councillors’ photos (CON1) to see if they had the same problem and they did. Glue, bits of tape and paper and the old glue comes off and floats about in the sleeves, damaging the photographs.  I finished looking at the photographic collection in the following weeks.  The following are the albums I have looked at thoroughly. Nevertheless, I have looked at others as we are retrieving them for staff (council and volunteers) to choose one item or photograph for the coming exhibition “Silver Selection from our Collection”.  This is to celebrate 25 years of collecting at the Unley Museum.

  • SAP (South Australian Photographs) 18, 25, 26,19, 28
  • CON (Councillors) 4, 1
  • BUS (Business) 5
  • CHL (Children) 2
  • MIL (Military) 1, 2
  • CEL (Celebrations) 2.

Most of the collection I have looked at is in good order and there are some really interesting old photographs, especially the WWI pictures of light horsemen and Captain Harry Butler’s plane on Unley Oval. There are far too many to list and every one is interesting or connected to different aspects of Unley life. Many photographs  have connections  to each other but are not together or in order in the folders. I guess this is because the donating and accessioning occurred at different times. My next post will check the rest of the collection.