2013 SA Heritage Heroes Awards

The South Australian Heritage Council, in partnership with Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at the University of South Australia are again holding the SA Heritage Heroes Awards in 2013.

The SA Heritage Heroes 2013 Awards will recognise those individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to the upkeep of our state’s heritage. This is an appropriate way to honour these people and their role in our community, conserving heritage for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

The public is encouraged to nominate individuals or groups who have made a significant effort to protect, record and celebrate our heritage. Community groups, individuals, heritage consultants and advisors, local councils, conservation and heritage organisations and government agencies are encouraged to apply. Nominations will be invited in three categories:

  • Heritage Individual
  • Heritage Group
  • Youth Heritage Individual/Group

Nominations close on Friday 26 April 2013.

The SA Heritage Heroes 2013 Awards will be presented by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Hon Ian Hunter MLC, on Tuesday 21 May 2013 at 10.15 am.

F111 arrives at SA Aviation Museum

The South Australian Aviation Museum in Port Adelaide has become the first in Australia to take delivery of a former RAAF F111 jet bomber.

The retired jet – which can reach speeds up to two-and-a-half times the speed of sound – arrived at the Port Adelaide museum on Monday 18 March. It left Amberley RAAF Base in Queensland, near Ipswich, on board a truck on the Friday before and travelled more than 1200 km through NSW, Burra and Gawler. It comes after the Federal Government announced the museum would be one of six groups nationwide to take delivery of the retired jets last October. 

The F-111s, which were retired in December 2010 after 37 years of service, are best known for their spectacular displays at air shows and major sporting events where they would do ignited “fuel dumps”. SA Aviation Museum public relations officer John Roberts said the jet would help boost tourism in Port Adelaide and the state. He also expected ticket sales to increase, giving the museum’s volunteers more funding to restore and maintain its aircraft.

“People would have seen the F-111 blow fire out of its rear end and in pictures everywhere,” Mr Roberts said.“It is a modern-day icon, so it’s a very significant and prestigious thing to have one here.” 

Visitors were able to see technicians from the Amberley RAAF Base reassemble the jet before it was put on display in the museum’s hangar. It is now ready to be viewed at the museum at 66 Lipson St, Port Adelaide, and open every day from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Tickets: $9 for adults and $4.50 for children under 16.  The South Australian Aviation Museum is an Accredited Museum in History SA’s Community Museums Program.

Cocky is the Face (book) of Angaston’s old smithy

A little bird told me that one of Angaston’s historic icons has just got a Facebook page. A cockatoo has become the unofficial spokes ‘person’ for the A&H Doddridge Blacksmith’s shop in Angaston, steeped in history with over 130 years of blacksmithing at this site and one of only a few operational ‘smithies’ in existence in South Australia.

Facebook Cocky represents the popular town cockatoo and his feathered friends who have been living at the historic smithy on Angaston’s main street for around 80 years.  What a lot of history Cocky would have witnessed – if only he could talk.  Well, actually the original cockatoo could.  Apparently he said ‘aeroplane’ when one flew overhead and ‘Anybody home, Mrs Doddridge’ when there was a knock at the door. However, through social media and a little bit of innovative ingenuity on the part of the historical society, Cocky can now chat online about Angaston’s history to all those passing by in cyberspace.  

The Angaston cockatoos have been long-time crowd pleasers in the town. The original Cocky was owned by the late Hardy Doddridge, reputedly South Australia’s oldest blacksmith, who was still working at 96 almost right up to his death in 1982. Aged just 16, Hardy had taken over the business with brother Albert from their father in 1902.   Cocky, the sulphur crested cockatoo, came into Hardy’s life as a young bird in about 1933. Using his blacksmithing skills, Hardy built him a unique cage adjoining his shop and next to the Doddridge family home (now the Angaston Vet Clinic – very handy for Cocky’s health down the track). Every night Cocky was taken out of the cage and sat on a perch in the blacksmith’s shop. Apparently he ate walnuts and thistles and always enjoyed bread with hot water or milk. Following Hardy’s death, Cocky went to live in Naracoorte with Hardy’s granddaughter and died aged 76 in February 2009. 

However, back in Angaston, a new cockatoo moved into the purpose-built cage. This was Bruce who entertained passers-by for about 25 years. He was there while the local community fought to buy back the blacksmith shop and its contents for the town, eventually opening it as a museum in 1996. Unfortunately in June 2012, Bruce was found to be missing. The padlock to his cage was cut and Bruce was either released or stolen. After his demise, a lady donated Jacko to take on the role of the Angaston Cocky. Locals say that Jacko actually seems to be friendlier, tamer and more joyful than Bruce.

I certainly witnessed Cocky aka Jacko’s people-magnet skills during my last trip to Angaston when members of the A&P Historical Society and I first talked about the possibility of using social media to promote the blacksmith’s shop in an original way. And I’ve just heard he’s becoming a TV star. On Wed 20 March he will feature on Channel 10’s Totally Wild at 4 pm.

So please ‘Like’ Cocky and stop for a chat.  Who knows, maybe Cocky might decide to Tweet one day …!

More photos of the Doddridge Blacksmith’s shop can be seen here and a short video about the shop made by film maker Ashley Starkey can be viewed here

Flying Visit to the South-east

This week Pauline and I made a flying visit to three CMP museums, with a bouncy descent into Mount Gambier seeing us emerge onto the tarmac into a very hot early evening and a swarm of bees at the terminal door.

Picking up our hire car we headed off for an evening meeting with members of the Millicent Living History Museum to have a preliminary chat about the museum’s CMP re-accreditation and to see progress being made with several projects.  I was only at the museum last May, so it was quite astounding to see how much more has been achieved since then, particularly in managing the National Costume Collection, which the museum took on from a private collection in Lobethal only about 18 months ago.  Last time I was at the Millicent Museum much of the collection was still crammed into packing boxes, but now it has almost all been unpacked, sorted and hung on racks or re-boxed.  The volunteer team working on this project, led by Lucy, is working very hard with limited existing catalogue records to identify the ‘treasures’ amongst the collection and make plans for a costume display in the former Millicent Primary School Building (on the museum grounds and acquired and re-furbished since my last visit).  A great deal of research about designers, wearers and fashion shops is being done as part of the collection management and display project.  The Museum also manages a horse drawn vehicle collection of some 100 items and an extensive complex of Millicent history displays.  Amazing really that a fairly small group of volunteers can do so much!  You can see photos of Millicent Museum here. 

After a warm night in Millicent we headed off next morning back through Mount Gambier and out to Port MacDonnell for a project meeting with the Port MacDonnell Maritime Museum committee, who are developing an audio-visual introduction to the museum and a computer-based display about the districts shipwreck history.  We enjoyed the lively discussion with the group about key messages and the specific information and visuals that will be included.  The museum group has settled in nicely to their new premises in the Port MacDonnell Community Complex and the audio-visual project is their major foray into re-invigorating the much-loved displays of shipwrecks and locally significant stories and objects.  Photos of the museum here.

We then headed off to Beachport for a project meeting with the Old Wool and Grain Store Museum, who are redeveloping the front two rooms of the museum to tell the history of the building and highlight some of the main themes of the museum.  Discussion centred mainly on the content of the displays and the style of presentation with lots of great ideas explored.  Various people lived and worked from the building over the decades since it was constructed in the 1880s and the building has several points of interest in its construction such as train line running through the middle and a mechanics pit from when the building was used as a garage (which now makes an unusual donation tin).  More photos here.  Beachport and Port MacDonnell museums both received 2012 CMP grants for their projects.

Community Heritage Grants Program 2013 Now Open

Applications for the 2013 Community Heritage Grants funding round are now open.

The Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, genealogical and historical societies, multicultural and Indigenous groups. The grants are provided to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material.

The types of projects supported include Significance Assessments of collections; Preservation Needs Assessments of collections; conservation activities and collection management; and training workshops. For South Australian community museums and historical societies, the CHG is a great source of funding for assessments and for implementing recommendations made in Preservation Needs Assessments.

Applications close on 1 May 2013 (5pm AEST)

Bravest of the Brave is now in Port Pirie

History SA/Veterans SA’s travelling exhibition Bravest of the Brave,which tells the moving stories of the eight South Australians awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War, has now arrived at Port Pirie.   It was kindly transported from the Port Lincoln RSL Museum by a relative of the president and set up by four volunteers at Port Pirie RSL Military Museum.

The exhibition has already been well received and hopes to attract visitation by students from the 18 schools in the district.  An article featured in the local Recorder newspaper on Thursday 28 February while that evening there an interview with Port Pirie RSL’s curator Angela Mertens was aired on the local TV station Southern Cross Austereo’s 6.30 pm news.

Affectionately known as BOB, the exhibition consists of seven double-sided pop up banners and four wooden plinths displaying the men’s framed citations and replica medals.

The eight ordinary men were Arthur Blackburn, Phillip Davey, Roy Inwood, Jorgen Jensen, John Leak, Arthur Sullivan, Lawrence Weathers and James Park Woods – who on one day of their lives, under extraordinary circumstances, demonstrated extraordinary heroism for their comrades and country.

Some were born or educated in South Australia; some enlisted here, while others lived here either before or after the war.

The Victoria Cross is the British and Commonwealth’s armed forces’ most coveted award, their supreme decoration for gallantry, under enemy fire.  Only 1,356 medals have been awarded since its introduction in 1856.

The display will be at the Port Pirie RSL Military Museum throughout March and until after ANZAC day on 25 April. It will return to Adelaide soon after that date in time for the About Time History Festival in May when it will be displayed at the Vietnam Veterans Federation of SA’s Club rooms in Warradale.

The first of many projects that are being prepared worldwide to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in 2014-2018,Bravest of the Braveis available from History SA free of charge to travel to schools, RSL clubs, museums, libraries, aged care facilities, community centres etc. There is also a schools resources kit.  Enquiries regarding the exhibition’s availability should be made on 08 8203 9888 or email for more information.

Photographs of the exhibition at Port Lincoln and at other venues including its launch by the Hon Jack Snelling MP in April 2012 can be seen here

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