Grants Announced for Community Museums

History SA’s annual Community Museums Program grant fund has been decided!  This year 23 museums from around the state will benefit from grants of up to $13,250 each.  Funding has been allocated to a diverse range of projects including historical interpretation using digital technologies, provision of storage facilities, and development of curriculum resources for schools.

All the grant recipients are registered or accredited in History SA’s Community Museums Program.  The Community Museums Program grant fund is a special fund available only to these museums.  It is a highly competitive fund and it was great to see museums from all around the state applying this year.

History SA Chief Executive Margaret Anderson said: ‘This fund is an important resource for South Australian community museums.  Each year it supports a wide range of projects that present and preserve important aspects of the State’s history.  Collectively these projects help to make distinctive local stories accessible.’

Projects receiving funding under the grant scheme this year include major interpretive projects at the Port MacDonnell Maritime Museum and at Loxton Historical Village and collection documentation and management projects at museums in the Mid-North and Mallee regions of the State.


Workshop inspires About Time event organisers

A workshop for potential About Time event organisers was held at the City of Charles Sturt Civic Centre in Woodville on Tuesday 20 November. History SA’s About Time team, Mandy Paul and Karen Blackwood assisted by volunteer John Connolly put together a very useful and inspiring program in readiness for next year’s history festival in May.

Allison Russell, Migration Museum’s current Acting Director spoke about engaging new audiences while South Australian Maritime Museum‘s Curator Emily Jateff shared her experiences of organising events with a difference. Lesley Attema from the Prospect Local History Group entertained the gathering with the tale of Sluggo the cat and how this local feline identity had become an extremely successful marketing tool. The group’s very popular self-guided walking tour was cited as a great example of how to stand out from the crowd.

Karen ended the workshop with a run-down of the registration process. Several registrations have already been received while online registrations will be available by the end of November. Registrations close on Friday 1 February 2013.

One of South Australia’s largest community events, the About Time festival promotes the State’s wonderful collections, places and stories through an amazing range of history related activities. History SA coordinates and promotes the overall festival. Organisers register an event, which is listed on a dedicated website and in a free printed program, 30,000 of which are distributed state-wide. Event organisers receive free promotional posters and venue signage.

2012 saw the festival being combined with the inaugural Open House Adelaide, joining major cities around the world providing public access to buildings and spaces in the City of Adelaide over a weekend. This will be on again in 2013 on the weekend of 4/5 May.

About Time began in 2004 as SA History Week and has grown each year, becoming a month long festival in 2011.  In 2012 it won a Ruby Award, South Australia’s arts and cultural Awards in the Community Impact under $100,000 category.

About Time provides an opportunity for organisations to promote their place in South Australian history and enjoy the benefits of being part of a state-wide community festival.


A Moving Remembrance Day Service

Like many others, I attended a Remembrance Day service last Sunday.  I could have attended any number of services around Adelaide on 11 November, the day we remember on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, those members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. For example, there was the state service held at the South Australian National War Memorial on North Terrace while another was held at the AIF section of West Terrace cemetery which this year was acknowledging the contribution of the men and women of Bomber Command. And, of course, simultaneously there were numerous community-based services of remembrance being held at local war memorials and RSLs in numerous towns all around the state.

However this year I chose to attend the ceremony held at the Centennial Park Cemetery on Goodwood Road in Pasadena.   Each year Centennial Park remembers those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with a moving Remembrance Day Service, which is attended by representatives from all the armed forces as well as the SA Police, MFS, SES, RSL and Legacy, amongst others, and approximately 300 members of the public.

I was keen to hear and meet this year’s guest speaker Hamish Ludbrook, 18-year-old Scotch College student whose great grandfather was James Park Woods who had received a Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Le Verguier in France on 18 September 1918.  I had become close to ‘our Jimmy’ as he was called by the media at the time whilst researching for the travelling exhibition Bravest of the Brave, a collaborative project between History SA and Veterans SA, about the eight South Australians awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.  In fact I had just collected the display from Two Wells where it had been exhibited for the past month at their RSL sub branch.  The son of a local blacksmith, Private Woods had been born at Two Wells and his mother, who died when he was just a boy, is buried in the town cemetery.  Hamish wore a replica of his great grandfather’s Victoria Cross with pride throughout the ceremony and spoke movingly how he had heard stories from his grandmother how Woods’ war experience had affected him both physically and mentally.

It seemed a special place to be remembering those in our lives past and present effected by war. We were gathered beside the great marble Cross of Remembrance and beneath the boughs of two pine trees which had been propagated from seeds brought back from Gallipoli’s Lone Pine.  All around us we could see and hear the flapping of hundreds of small Australian flags, each one planted on the site of a grave or memorial rose tree belonging to a returned service person in the green expanse of the Derrick Gardens, established in 1956 and named after South Australian WWII Victoria Cross recipient Lieutenant Thomas Derrick.

Along with the Catafalque Party made up of four Air Force Cadets, the service’s pomp and ceremony was heightened by the presence of two members of the Barossa Light Horse Historical Association on horseback and others from Re-Enact SA in WWII uniforms while the Scotch College Pipes & Drums Band completed the stirring procession.  After the official laying of wreaths, Raymond Gordon Baldwin OAM read the Ode to the Fallen followed by the Last Post and traditional One Minute’s Silence.  The singing of the National Anthem and a beautiful rendition of the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by the Walford School for Girls’ Capella choir concluded the official proceedings before we adjourned to the Jubilee Complex for morning tea.

There was an exhibition by the to view in the complex and I’m pleased to report that the Bravest of the Brave exhibition will be displayed here for the Remembrance Day Service in 2014 which also commemorates the centenary of the start of the First World War.  Currently it is on display at Stirling’s Coventry Library until 9 December and at various venues all over South Australia throughout 2013.

BoB heads for the Hills

Bravest of the Brave, a joint history SA/Veterans SA touring exhibition telling the stories of the eight South Australian men who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War is now at Stirling’s Coventry Library in the Adelaide Hills until 9 December under the auspices of the Mount Lofty Districts Historical Society.

This very active volunteer-run organisation has their own Local and Garden History Centre within the state-of-the-art Coventry Library, with space for research and storage of books and archives.  Bravest of the Brave was launched at the library on Friday evening to coincide with a special Remembrance Day presentation at the society’s November monthly meeting.  An emotive and inspiring talk was given first by primary school teacher Ann Kellett of the Scott Creek, Bradbury and Longwood History group regarding the research she has been undertaking since 2008 on the school Honour Roll and Memorial Avenue of trees with her primary school class.  This has developed into a major project with the history group and they intend turning the researched life stories into a publication ready for the ANZAC centenary in 2015. The main guest speaker was Dr Richard Reid, Senior Historian with the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs, who spoke about the $10 million federal-funded Australian Remembrance Trail currently being developed by his team along the Western Front.

The audience had the opportunity to view the Bravest of the Brave display before and after the talks. Two of the eight men featured have connections with the Adelaide Hills.  Both Arthur Seaforth Blackburn and John Leak settled at Crafers with their respective families late in life and Leak is buried at Stirling cemetery. 

Two pieces of local Adelaide Hills WWI history recently saved by MLDHS and restored with a grant by Artlab were also displayed that evening.

One was a stunning wooden WWI Roll of Honour from Scott Creek, found rotting in a shed. The other was a framed memorial scroll for Corporal William Hurtle Driver discovered in the loft of the Stirling RSL where it had been transferred from Uraidla RSL on the latter’s demise. Born in Summertown, Driver had attended Uraidla Public School and was a labourer when he enlisted aged 32 before heading for Gallipoli with the 11th Battalion. He survived and was transferred to the 51st Battalion but killed the following year at the Battle of Pozières on the Somme on 3 September 1916, strangely enough on the same day, in the same conflict, that both Blackburn and Leak won their Victoria Crosses. 

More photographs of the MLDHS’s Remembrance Day presentation can be seen hereBravest of the Brave at other venues can be seen here

Old Highercombe Hotel Museum officially receives their Accreditation

Old Highercombe Hotel Museum officially received their Accreditation certificate last week at a morning tea celebrating their achievement. History SA’s Community History Officer, Pauline Cockrill presented Gill Starks from the management committee with their long awaited certificate before a gathering of volunteers, long-time supporters and representatives from the local council and State government.

Old Highercombe Hotel Museum is now South Australia’s 10th accredited museum in History SA’s Community Museums Program (CMP), amongst 61 registered and accredited museums in the State.

This museum has been a registered museum since 1982/3, and has maintained that status throughout.  Over the last 10 years they have been seriously working towards Accreditation status so it was a great pleasure to see them achieve their goal after a lot of hard work.  

It was good to see their new display funded by a CMP 2010-11 grant in Clarrie’s Hut in the grounds of the hotel, ‘Slab Hut to Food Bowl – Life in early Steventon’ which as usual had lots of innovative but very simple engaging design features.  We look forward to seeing their new exhibit on the local wine industry funded by CMP grant from last year which is currently under construction.

More photographs from the event and museum here 

Reunion of Solway descendants on Kangaroo Island

There was an historic event for South Australia on Kangaroo Island recently when a reunion of the descendants of the families that arrived there 175 years ago on the sailing ship Solway took place.

The Solway, a 3-masted, wooden sailing ship of 337 imperial tons, left the German port of Hamburg, on 3 June 1837 with around 70 passengers on board.  These were some of the first German settlers to arrive and remain in South Australia.  The South Australian Company had sent the first settlers to South Australia via the Duke of York the previous July.  The company found that they required some labourers to ensure the survival of the colony and asked the German government if they would allow German families to immigrate to South Australia.  Hence the Solway was sent to Hamburg to collect the passengers who were to undertake the gruelling four and half month voyage to the other side of the world.

The reunion coincided with the landing day on 16 October 1837 at Reeves Point, Kingscote. 120 people, representing thirteen of the 28 original families attended the Gala Dinner at the Aurora Ozone Hotel on Saturday 13 October plus descendants of the Solway’s first Officer Louis Hanson.

Only two months after its arrival in Australia the Solway, which was anchored at the South Australian Company’s station at Rosetta Harbour, Encounter Bay (near Victor Harbor), was unfortunately wrecked after breaking from its moorings and driven over a reef during a storm.  Sue Pender, who has been researching the history of the Solway, spoke on the remains now sandbagged for safekeeping in Rosetta Harbour.  Evan Kleemann (a fifth generation attendee) entertained the gathering with ‘a bit of German’ humour. The story of the first Officer Louis Hanson was related by one of his descendants, Allen Clark, telling how Hanson remained in South Australia after the Solway’s demise and went on to purchase and sell a considerable amount of land around the State.

A commemorative Church service was held on Sunday morning in the Kingscote Institute followed by a light lunch.  Tables of memorabilia were displayed in the hall for all to catch up on family history.  Each family then presented stories of their forefathers and families, as they knew them, hoping to fill in some of ‘the gaps’. There are plans to put some these stories into a booklet to preserve this special history.

Monday was free for sightseeing; for example, to visit the historic mulberry tree on the slopes of Reeves Point,  possibly the same mulberry tree that was planted in the memory of one of the Solway’s passengers, Mrs Maria Kleemann who had died 2 days prior to landing and was buried in the pioneer cemetery nearby.

On the Tuesday morning, the group gathered at Reeves Point where Deputy Mayor Peter Clements and 91 year old Colin Gramp, a descendant of one of the passengers, Johann Gramp unveiled a commemorative plaque, marking the 175th celebrations.  Sue Pender gave a ‘picture in words’ of what Reeves Point looked like in 1837 and the event concluded with a prayer of thanks.

David Christian and Jan Heppner should be congratulated for such a successful event.  Jan from Waikerie reports that attendees came from all over South Australia and the Eastern states and that she has received emails regarding the reunion from Australia-wide, the USA and the UK and is still receiving correspondence from descendants who missed out.  

The event was reported here in The Islander, Kangaroo Island’s local newspaper



Recent Posts

Recent Comments