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e-BULLETIN No. 129 – 10 September 2014


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr



1) Australian Generations Oral History Project


2) Robert Hoddle's grid and the birth of Melbourne


3) Closure of Federal Government heritage library


4) Singapore museums being revamped for the country's 50th anniversary


5) Singapore Mint


6) Yueh Hai Ching (Teochew) Temple, Singapore




1) Australian Generations Oral History Project


A number of Australian Historical Association (AHA) members are part of the Australian Generations Oral History Project which has interviewed 300 people living in Australia born between 1920 and 1989. The interviews explore Australian life and society across time, and illuminate generational change and inter-generational dynamics. At a conference in Melbourne in October the researchers will have their first opportunity to share their findings about 20th and 21st century history and memory. Internationally renowned oral and public historian Professor Michael Frisch will deliver the keynote address and the conference will feature academic historians and industry partners who form the project’s research team including Alistair Thomson, Kevin Bradley, Anisa Puri, Katie Holmes, Kerreen Reiger, Seamus O’Hanlon, Christina Twomey, Michelle Rayner and Michael Frisch.


Follow this link for more details about the conference, to be held in Melbourne on 30-31 October 2014:


(Source: AHA News– 28 August 2014)



2) Robert Hoddle's grid and the birth of Melbourne


Online Producer with ABC Radio National, Andrew Davies, sends us email notifications of articles available online of interest to historians. Here is another, this time about Robert Hoddle’s grid and the birth of Melbourne:

(Source: Andrew Davies, ABC Radio RN – 1 September 2014)




3) Closure of Federal Government heritage library


The primary role of FAHS, as the national peak body of historical societies, is to encourage the study and publication of Australian history, the preservation, interpretation and promotion of moveable and built heritage, and public access to historical information and heritage collections.  In this context, FAHS is concerned to note that the Department of the Environment is to close its library for financial reasons, moving towards a self-service, digital resource.


The Department's library is an important, national and dynamic archive of environmental and heritage material that can be seen, collectively, as a record of the development of government policy and involvement in the Australian environment and heritage. It is desirable that this library be maintained as a collection to allow it to be searched in one action.  To break up, disperse or dispose of the material, a resource gathered at considerable public expense, means that it will be impossible to carry out research effectively across the current collection, as can be done now, in one-stop-shop style.


The library's value lies in its national reach and the large number of specially commissioned reports, thousands of grant reports (such as derived from the National Estate Grants Program, 1974-1999), decades of reports relating to statutory process connected with Australia's significant environmental and heritage places, and other grey literature.  It also contains published and unpublished material specifically collected, nationally and internationally, to assist staff to undertake assessments for statutory listing assessments and developments proposals, and to provide advice to developers, the Australian Heritage Commission and, later, the Australian Heritage Council, and also to Government, including the Minister.  Without this information source the Government is less able to claim it is making its important environmental and heritage decisions from a sound information base.  This will challenge the confidence the Government and public should have in the Department's advice on national and Commonwealth environmental and heritage matters. Accordingly FAHS recommends a rethink by the Department of Environment of the management of the library and its preservation.


(Source: Research by Dr Don Garden, Immediate Past President, FAHS – 3 September 2014)



4) Singapore museums being revamped for the country's 50th anniversary


Two of Singapore’s museums – National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) - are closing various galleries to prepare new exhibitions for the Singapore’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Up to four of ACM's galleries will be closed at any one time until the new exhibitions open. NMS exhibitions have been closing exhibitions since June. A new exhibition Singapora 700 years opens in October in NMS. It will be a condensed version of the Singapore History Gallery and will be 1,500 square metres. The closures may impact on visitors interested in cultural heritage rather than shopping. $35 million is expected to be spent on both revamps.

(Source: Straits Times1 September 2014 p.B1)



5) Singapore Mint


The Singapore Mint in Taban Gardens Crescent in Jurong has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries since 1998. It employs 100 staff, one tenth of most mints in the world. It mints coins for five countries including Thailand and Samoa. In 2010 it won the Vicenza Palladio International prize for its Macau Lunar Tiger coin – a one ounce silver piece showcasing the mandarin’s House, a UNESCO world heritage site in Macau. The manager, Mr Yip Pak Ling states that he believes that coins mark the chapters in a country’s history – with imagery of buildings, icons, industries – and reflect what governments believe is significant to a country at that time. He stated that the mint’s success is due to having a balance between automated processes and old-fashioned practices. The mint retains staff with the skills of coin engraving.


(Source: Straits Times 1 September 2014 p.B6)




6) Yueh Hai Ching (Teochew) Temple, Singapore


A $7.5 million five year restoration has occurred at the Yueh Hai Ching (Teochew) Chinese Temple in Phillip Street, Singapore. Two years of research preceded the restoration. The temple commenced on the site in 1826. The project was funded by the temple’s custodian Ngee Ann Kongsi, a Teochew social welfare organisation. It has received a 2014 Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Award. Architectural conservator Yeo Kang Shua led the project. The temple has the highest density of craft and ornamentation works of any temple in Singapore.


(Source: Straits Times 3 September 2014 p.B2)