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e-BULLETIN No. 144 – 14 October 2015


Compiled by Jodie Boyd



1) Meeting of Cultural Ministers


2) Victorian Government Local History Grants Program – Applications Now Open


3) South Australia's History Festival


4) History Council of Victoria Annual Lecture 'Australia's Big Science Picnic, 1914: Some New Evidence'


5) Protecting Cultural Heritage – An Imperative for Humanity


6) South Australian Historian of the Year - Peter Donovan


7) Irwin District Historical Society wins Merit Award


8) ‘Martindale Hall “should not be made exclusive to the elite”’


9) ‘Indigenous site “older than pyramids” in Perth freeway's path taken off heritage register’


1) Meeting of Cultural Ministers


Arts and culture ministers from across the country met in Mildura on Friday 2 October 2015 for the annual Meeting of Cultural Ministers. Commonwealth Arts Minister Senator Fifield met with state and territory arts and culture ministers to progress a range of matters of mutual interest and discuss collaboration.

Mr Tony Grybowski, Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council and Cr Bill McArthur, Vice President of the Australian Local Government Association also attended the meeting as observers.

Among other matters, the ministers noted the success of the Australian Government's Indigenous Repatriation Program in negotiating with institutions and private collectors, both in Australia and overseas, for the return of Indigenous ancestral remains and secret sacred objects to their communities of origin.


(Source: Commonwealth Department of Communication and the Arts -


2) Victorian Government Local History Grants Program – Applications Now Open


The Local History Grants Program encourages and fosters community activities that preserve, record and share the local, social and community history of Victoria and Victorians. Applications will close at 5pm Monday 30 November 2015.

More information:



3) South Australia's History Festival

Registration of events for participation in the South Australian History Festival is now open, closing on Wednesday 3 February 2016. The South Australian History Festival is an annual celebration of the state’s history. Each May South Australians explore history through hundreds of events ranging from talks to tours; walks to workshops; exhibitions to special events.





4) History Council of Victoria Annual Lecture 'Australia's Big Science Picnic, 1914: Some New Evidence'


Professor Lynette Russell, FRHistS, FASSA, of Monash University, will deliver the 2015 Annual Lecture of the History Council of Victoria on Thursday 22 October 2015 at the Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring Street, East Melbourne.

Professor Russell will speak on the significance and outcomes of the 1914 conference of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS), held in Australia. Over 150 scientists were fully funded by the Australian Commonwealth government and they travelled on three ships especially commanded for this purpose. Across five major cities public talks, demonstrations and excursions familiarised the visiting scientists with Australian natural and hard sciences, geology, botany as well as anthropology. In terms of anthropology the congress presented a unique opportunity to showcase Aboriginal culture. This lecture draws on recently uncovered archival materials from Oxford’s Bodleian Library and considers the personalities, logistics, events and outcomes of this massive undertaking. In terms of outcomes just two of the Association’s recommendations were to establish a Commonwealth Scientific Institute (later CSIRO) and to develop a national telescope at Mt Stromlo. Although these were delayed by the outbreak of the Great War, it is clear that this Big Science Picnic was no mere singular event, but rather the BAAS in Australia left a legacy we are still beneficiaries of today.


(Source: History Council of Victoria website -



5) Protecting Cultural Heritage – An Imperative for Humanity

On 27 September 2015, the initiative “Protecting Cultural Heritage – An Imperative for Humanity” was presented to the UN by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Italy and Jordan, with the support UNESCO, INTERPOL, UNODC, and various other Member State ministers. Open to all Member States, international organizations and partners wishing to join, this initiative will act on previous UN resolutions and decisions with the aim to unite international efforts and resources in order to the curb criminal actions of terrorists and traffickers and protect cultural heritage for future generations.

A symposium and discussion on the topic of safeguarding cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria took place 29 September, at the
 Metropolitan Museum of Art to present the most recent findings regarding ISIL’s use of looting antiquities for profit and a new initiative to combat this crisis.


(Source: International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property -  - 27 September 2015)



6) Australian Academy of the Humanities 46th Annual Symposium – Intersections: Time, Materiality and the Humanities


To be held on the 26-27 November 2015 at the University of Sydney, the Academy’s 46th Annual Symposium will explore new frontiers in humanities research centred on intersections between objects and timescales. Scholars from across various disciplines will investigate the ways in which the material world is used, shaped and negotiated over timescales of vastly differing depths. Expanding beyond texts and visual media, materiality also encompasses memories, objects and landscapes. Histories that draw on this broader palette offer new means of envisioning the past, including novel conceptions about ‘Deep Time’ or ‘Big History’. The Symposium will address a wide range of perspectives on time and materiality in the fields of art practice, cultural studies, philosophy, history, linguistics, heritage, and archaeology. The intersections between these varied perspectives will provide a forum for productive discussion and debate.


More Information:


(Source: Pharos (PHA-Vic) Newsletter 94, October-November 2015)



7) Irwin District Historical Society wins Merit Award

Irwin District won this year’s Merit Award with a presentation at the recent State History Conference in Geraldton. The Affiliated Societies Committee chose Irwin District because the Society has been extremely active during the past year. They have achieved high visitor numbers to their museum and have set up a ‘pop up museum’ at several local functions such as the Easter Market Day, Anzac and Remembrance Days at the National Australia Bank, the Healthy Living Expo and the Lobster festival. The presentation of History Medals to students from Dongara District High School was also considered to be an innovative way to engender interest in local history. Members attended this year’s Museum Australia’s State and National Conferences and their President, Mrs Anne Jefferys, was a presenter at the state conference. Irwin District Historical Society was also a finalist in the 2014 State Heritage Awards. Currently the Society is preparing for the exhibition Remembering Them for 2017 with biographies of Dongara men who died in World War I being researched and published.



8) ‘Martindale Hall “should not be made exclusive to the elite”’


A consortium hoping to transform Martindale Hall in Clare Valley, South Australia, into a five-star luxury resort and wellness retreat have been told by opponents that Australia's heritage should be preserved and not made exclusive to an "elite group" of people.

The local businessmen have made an unsolicited bid to the South Australian Government to redevelop the historic mansion, which was built at Mintaro in 1880.


(Source :



9) ‘Indigenous site “older than pyramids” in Perth freeway's path taken off heritage register’


The Guardian reported on 23 September that an archaeological survey by Western Australia’s Department of Aboriginal Affairs identified no Aboriginal material at Bibra lake north site in Perth, despite 1970s study that uncovered more than 2,000 artefacts.

The site is one of 11 removed from the register since April, when a landmark judgment in the supreme court found the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee was misconstruing the Aboriginal Heritage Act in its definition of what constituted a “sacred site”. A further 22 sites were removed in the 21 months before the court decision.

The site assessment by two department-employed archaeologists in March 2014 was tabled last week in parliament. It found the site had “been subjected to high amounts of disturbance” from existing roadworks and “no Aboriginal cultural material was identified within the site boundaries”.


(Source :