On 22 September the History Trust of South Australia’s Community History Officers, Amanda James and Pauline Cockrill were delighted to be given a personal tour of the Clipper Ship, City of Adelaide by Director Peter Christopher.
The City of Adelaide is currently berthed in Dock 2, Honey Street in Port Adelaide. The volunteer not-for-profit organisation which preserves this historic vessel, Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd (CSCOAL) recently joined our Museums and Collections (MaC) Program, the History Trust of South Australia’s development and funding program for community museums and historical groups that manage collections.
The ship was purpose-built in Sunderland in the north of England to transport passengers and goods between the UK and South Australia and was named after its capital city. The world’s oldest composite clipper ship (wooden hull on iron frame), and one of only two to survive, the other being the famous but younger Cutty Sark.
The City of Adelaide’s maiden voyage was in 1864 and for over 20 years she played an important part in the immigration of Australia. Later she worked as a cargo ship, then an isolation hospital near Southampton before being taken over by the Royal Navy. The ship was left to rot on a private slip on the River Clyde in Scotland before being rescued by a group of Australian volunteers headed by Peter Christopher and brought to Port Adelaide in 2014.
Peter and his volunteers gave a fascinating tour of the ship and we discussed the restoration and future plans for interpretation. Their aim is to make the ship the centre-piece of a seaport village in Port Adelaide’s inner harbour.
We are pleased to learn that the group are already taking advantage of their MaC membership, applying for a MaC Small Project grant to assist their upcoming Descendants Day in November. The History Trust looks forward to assisting this enterprising group in the future.
The History Trust’s Community History Officer Pauline Cockrill was delighted to cut the ribbon and meet champion Clydesdale Wheelabarraback Hugh Barry aka Harry who, with his owner Mike Connell of the SA Working Draught Horse Association, took the lead along the new trail down to the jetty. Harry was taking the part of Nuggett after which the trail is named. Nuggett was the last horse that was used for over two decades, until his death in 1934, to transport goods to and from the jetty.
In the form of ten signs constructed along the 400m route from the railway station to the jetty, Nuggett’s Trail tells the story of the tramway. The jetty was built in 1856 and for many years horses were the motive power to convey goods, later replaced by a 1923-4 Chevrolet car until the tramway was removed in the 1960s.
Who Gives a Root? is the engaging title of a new fun, informative and interactive exhibition about our humble leafy friends – trees – which opened at Unley Museum last Thursday 28th January. The launch party was held appropriately in the shade of a large tree on the village green at the back of the museum.
This new exhibition takes up the main display area in the centre of the building, once Unley’s old fire station. It has been transformed into a forest setting with replica trees, soft green lighting and the sound of birdsong. Information is innovatively communicated using overlays of printed paper on the walls (like photocopies – a clever reminder of the way sadly many trees end up these days). However, we are told that the entire exhibition is printed on Carbon Neutral Paper and utilises reused materials. You can learn fascinating facts such as one established tree can provide enough oxygen for ten people to breathe each year; as well as schemes such as Unley’s Tree Tag project, and Trees for Life’s Trees for Carbon project. Using the Eye Jack App, obtained by scanning a QR code, you can also search for 10 native Australian, tree-dwelling animals hidden around the room. There is also a large interactive table top touchscreen that enables visitors to find out about Unley’s significant trees. Did you know that within the council area lives a River Red Gum on Wilberforce Walk, Forestville, believed to be the oldest living thing in South Australia! Estimated at 800 years of age, it is also one of the largest, with a circumference of seven metres. Before leaving, visitors can write thoughts or comments about the exhibition on ‘leaves’ to attach to a tree, while later joining in on a photo challenge, involving taking a selfie with your favourite tree and bringing the photo back to add to the wall.
Designed by Exhibition Studios, the exhibition was part-funded by the History Trust through their Museums and Collections (MaC) standards Program. Unley Museum is one of eight Accredited Museums within this program. Unley’s curator Karen Paris was assisted by researcher and self-confessed ‘tree hugger’ Marian McDuie, GIS lecturer at TAFE SA – Regional Urrbrae Campus, who was also the guest speaker at the launch. As well as talking about the importance of trees, Marian also told us the fascinating origins of the phrase ‘tree hugger’, which dates back to an event involving several hundred Indian villagers in 1730. City of Unley’s Mayor, Michael Hewitson also gave an impassioned speech. This council is serious about its trees. It has a Tree Strategy and in 2020, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation recognised the City of Unley with Tree Cities of the World designation for the care and planning of urban trees and forests. This international program celebrates cities across all continents that meet core standards.
Delayed by almost a year because of COVID, the exhibition will remain open for the rest of 2021. It can be seen Monday to Wednesday 10am – 4pm, Thursday 10am – 6pm and Sunday 2-5pm. It is closed on Public Holidays.
The Community History team of the History Trust of South Australia are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Margaret Tiller on the night of Sunday 31 May at the Mary Potter Hospice.
Margaret was a much valued member of our South Australian History network, a long time committee member and volunteer at the Mallala Museum. An untiring advocate for the museum, she still carried on an active role there despite being ill for some time. The success of this mid north community museum has been largely due her tireless enthusiasm and dedication. She was a school excursion volunteer at the museum and as a former, education was always central to the museum ethos. She is remembered as Miss Field teaching at Mallala School in the late 1950s. She was not afraid of embracing new ideas and skills playing an important part in the establishment of the Mallala Now and Then community heritage wiki website in 2010, which helped put Mallala on the map. We also made great contributions to our Once Upon a Time: Stories of South Australian Childhoods travelling exhibition, and the subsequent pop up display during the 2014 History Festival.
We shall miss the welcoming country hospitality that she always gave us when we arrived after the long drive to Mallala for a meeting or workshop. And we shall fondly miss her enthusiastic lengthy phone calls to keep us up to date with museum news or to run past innovative ideas for new displays. The use of Cheap as Chips aquariums for making quick and easy display cases for small objects is something we still cite in our list of tips for small museums. We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues at the museum and within the Mallala community.