Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Protecting and Preserving our Maritime Heritage

The Historic Shipwreck Act 1976 requires all owners of shipwreck material older than 75 years to register their objects.  Registration simply records the details of your shipwreck material and in no way interferes with your ownership.  On Norfolk Island the museum is the agency to contact to register shipwreck material.

The purpose of the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 is to protect maritime objects. It is also to ensure that historic shipwrecks are protected for their heritage values and maintained for recreational, scientific and educational purposes.  It seeks to control any actions which could result in damage, interference, removal or destruction of an historic shipwreck site or relic.  It does not prevent private ownership of relics, or their sale or disposal, but it does regulate their transfer and disallows further removal of objects from wreck sites or disturbance of sites.

The reasons to register your material are not only that it is a legal requirement, but that without registration you cannot sell or transfer your material.

The registration form is a relatively simple one page form that includes your contact details, a description of your relics and information such as: (if known) where the relic was found, what historic shipwreck it is associated with,  where it is stored and its condition. Aside from getting a copy at the museum, you can download it from   http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/historic-shipwrecks/possessing-exporting-historic-shipwreck-relics  see the link under Notification to find ‘Notification custody of shipwreck relic’.

Registering artefacts isn’t a new concept on Norfolk Island.  Many owners of HMS Sirius objects were brought forward for photographing, identification and recording during the 1985 Sirius Expeditions.  They were then included in the expedition reports, enabling us to revisit them in recent years to take additional photographs, reconfirm the provenance or associated stories, conserve them and return them back to their owners. 

We also urge you to record whatever information you have about your objects. Norfolk Island is surrounded by maritime events and many relics have been recovered from our seas and shores over the years including from our convict and whaling heritage to name just two.  The value we place on an object often relates to its connections to a story or a place.  An object by itself may tell you where or when it was made, but knowledge of its story or place is much more meaningful. 

If you have any shipwreck material older than 75 years (even if you’re unsure of its age) please contact us at the Norfolk Island Museum to process your registration and answer any questions that you have.

Our photo shows a fine example of a shipwreck relic: The bell of the Mary Hamilton in repose at the Norfolk Island Central School, no longer directing the students throughout their day with its ring. The Mary Hamilton was on a twelve month whaling cruise when she called at Norfolk Island on 19 April 1873 to load wood and water. Her master went ashore but as she was being brought around from Cascade to Kingston by the Mate she struck a rock off Nepean Island; bilged and eventually sunk.


 Janelle Blucher

Monday, September 26, 2016

Museum Volunteers

We are extremely grateful for the generosity of museum volunteers David and Michelle Cullen from Camden, New South Wales.

Michelle and David first came to Norfolk for their honeymoon in September 1987 and this year marks their tenth visit and their twenty-ninth wedding anniversary.  Both of them work in the finance industry, David’s profession is Money Market Derivatives and Michelle is a Business Analyst.  David’s interests include environmental conservation and history; he has been a volunteer with National Parks and Wild Mob on previous visits to Norfolk. 

They visited Norfolk during the anniversary week of the 225th wrecking of the HMS Sirius in March 2015 and it was at that time they thought they might have some skills to offer the Norfolk Island Museum as volunteers.  Since then, David with his keen interest in Norfolk’s history and Michelle with her eye for detail and systematic approach to tasks have made a fantastic team undertaking cataloguing projects for the Norfolk Island Museum. 

Back on Norfolk at present and now into the third week of their ‘volunteer holiday’, they have completed an enormous project of cataloguing a backlog of files, books and items into the Norfolk Island Museum Trust Collection, over 150 catalogue entries have been completed in the past three weeks.  Initially they said they would be available for two weeks of their four week holiday, but they wouldn’t stop until the whole job was done!  They both stated, “it’s been difficult to stay on task with the processing as we just wanted to read through everything”, and they also said that it has been their pleasure to be able to provide such valuable assistance to the museum and have thoroughly enjoyed pouring over the interesting documents and books and learning more of our history.

This is the second volunteer project Michelle and David have completed for the museum, back in July 2015 they both worked for two weeks to complete the final step in the process of cataloguing the Les Brown Collection files which amounted to two filing cabinets full of files.

This type of project also reminds us of the generosity and foresight of the people that have donated these items to the museum to complement and improve our repository of information, it serves to not only preserve our history and heritage but also develops this resource for researchers and provides a basis for further analysis of historical information. 

To David and Michelle, a huge thank you for your careful processing of these items, it was a huge project that we could not have achieved without your dedication these past few weeks.  

 Thank you.                                                                                                            Janelle Blucher


Friday, September 9, 2016

Digistise your slide collection and preserve our island stories

Digitise your slide collection and preserve our island stories

Do you have a slide collection tucked away in an old shoebox that you’d like to bring out for a ‘slide night’?  It’s sure to impress your friends!  Seriously though, if you have a collection of slides that tell us something of our Norfolk story, we’d love to hear from you.   

Over the past couple of months Mark Hallam has generously provided his time and equipment to digitise the Norfolk Island Museum slide collection.  Any day the weather is not conducive to volunteer his skills at the National Park you will find him in the old Guardhouse building in Kingston working on this digitisation project for the museum.  It was Mark that suggested we develop the Museum collection through digitising community owned slide collections.  Once Mark has digitised your slides, you take them home along with the digital copy; and the museum also retains a digital copy to add to our collection.

Firstly, call us on 23788 to discuss the content of your slides to ensure it fits with our collection focus, following that we will arrange a suitable time for you to hand them over to Mark to check the  condition and undertake the digitisation process. 

Already Mark has completed scanning thirteen hundred slides from our collection and just as he thought he was nearing the end, we received a parcel from Rita Hillier; and it was a box of slides.  Some may remember the Hillier and Harper Newsagency in Burnt Pine some years back and Rita’s photographic book “Norfolk Island” is still sold on the island today.    There’s sure to be a fantastic part of Norfolk’s story in amongst those slides.

It’s worth recognising that the pictures we take throughout our lives capture much more than personal memories.  They allow others now and in the future to have a glimpse of the landscape, buildings, people and style, activities and events at a point in time that would otherwise be unobtainable.

Contact either myself or Natasha on 23788 if you would like to share and preserve your part of our island’s story.

Janelle Blucher

 These images are from the Bill Davidson Collection - a visitors experience on Norfolk Island