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e-BULLETIN No. 83 – 27 May 2011


Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr



1) Australian Government Budget - heritage


2) Community social functions attendances


3) Urban industrial heritage - Erskineville, Sydney


4) Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary debates online


5) Museums Australia and Interpretations Australia national conference - At the Frontier 2011: Explore the Possibilities - Perth, 14-18 November 2011


6) Canberra centenary


7) Royal Australian Historical Society Council



1) Australian Government Budget - heritage


The Federation of Australian Historical Societies is pleased about the inclusion in the Australian government budget announced on 10 May of $4 million for Community Heritage Grants in each of the next two years. We understand that part of the money will be allocated in small grants which will be available for application by the 1000 or so community history and heritage societies and museums that the FAHS represents.

The new Grants are especially appreciated as they continue the invaluable work of the Jobs Fund and will inject much needed assistance into community heritage groups.

Nevertheless this is a difficult budgetary period for Heritage. We regret the budget cuts that will curtail heritage activities within the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities. However, we are delighted with the Community Heritage Grants scheme and the commitment of funding to protect and conserve Australia’s significant national historic built heritage through the continuation of the National Historic Sites program ($4.4m/year) together with the expected continuation of the Grants for Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations program.

((Source: President of Federation of Australian Historical Societies Inc – 13 May 2011)


2) Community social functions attendances

A recent program on ABC Radio National included an American academic discussing the loss of “social capital” in the United States. The program was “The National Interest” and was said to be based on a book called Bowling Alone. The main thrust of the discussion was that around the mid 1960s, coinciding with the widespread penetration of television in the USA, people began to stop joining social organisations like 10-pin bowling clubs, historical societies and the like, and the decline has never really been arrested. Given that Australia generally lags a little behind social trends in the USA, this probably means that the same thing happened in Australia in the mid 1970s.
There is a summary of the work on Wikipedia at and a dedicated website

(Source: Light Railways Research Society of Australia Council Mailing List – 24 April 2011)



3) Urban industrial heritage - Erskineville, Sydney


In Erskineville in Sydney the former Metters factory producing boilers and ovens is being redeveloped as the Ashmore – Mitchell industrial estate. Frederick Metters opened his first factory in Rundle Street, Adelaide in 1891. He expanded interstate to Perth in 1894 and opened a small factory in Alice Street, Newtown in 1902 before moving to the Erskineville site in 1906. Metters sold his interest in the firm to Henry Spring in 1907 when the company Metters Limited was formed in Adelaide with Spring as managing director.


Metters Limited was taken over by Email in 1974. The Goodman Group bought the seven hectares site in 1989 from the New South Wales State Authorities Superannuation Board for $19.2 million. The site contains large industrial buildings and is surrounded by late 1900s terrace housing. The public administration and legal issues are that the Department of Planning had, under the Keneally government, demanded that the City of Sydney Council double the site’s permissible building heights, increasing the population of the site from 4000 to 5200. The entire Ashmore precinct of 17 hectares had been identified for urban renewal since 1998. The Council had undertaken technical studies to look at issues such as stormwater management, traffic, transport, urban design and economic feasibility. However Cr Clover Moore said the current proposal would be denser than the whole of the Meriton development in Waterloo known as Crown Plaza.


A further issue affecting large industrial sites for redevelopment is that the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (amended in 2009) permits Councils to purchase private land and transfer it to developers for a profitable resale.


(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald 11 April 2011 Business; p.5; Joyce Gibberd, 'Metters, Frederick (Fred) (1858 - 1937)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, Melbourne University Press, 2005, pp 277-278)



4) Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary debates online


The digitisation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) has been extended back to 1901 from 1981 – over 600,000 additional pages. Hansard from 1981 has been available online for many years.  All of the Hansard (and other Parliamentary information) is searchable at this web page:



5) Museums Australia and Interpretation Australia national conference - At the Frontier 2011: Explore the Possibilities - Perth, 14-18 November 2011


Abstract submissions (250 words) are now open until 17 June 2011 on the themes of:

The conference will consider: Where are we going? What is our destination and what are we trying to achieve? What is our vehicle? What innovative processes or technologies are helping us to achieve our aims? What barriers must we break through? What challenges lie across our path? What are the new opportunities for our sectors?


At the Frontier 2011 will open up a space of conjecture about the futures of museums, galleries and interpretive centres as well as museology, interpretation and education.



Oral Presentation:   Presentations of 20 minutes, with 5 minutes for Q&A.


Pechakucha: Short, focused presentations limited to 20 slides of 20 seconds each. The presenter speaks for 6 minutes, 40 seconds in all.  


Workshops: Workshops should enable delegates to engage with each other and share experiences in relation to problems or issues. Workshops can be for either 1 hour 30mins, or 3 hours (half day).


IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE: Presenters should note that all costs to attend the conference must be met from their own resources. As a commitment to attend and support the conference, accepting presenters are required to pay and register for the full conference program or for the day of their presentation.


All abstracts will be reviewed by the Program Committee who reserve the right to reject any abstract it considers does not meet the conference criteria.


To submit abstracts click:
Follow the abstract template, available via the call for abstracts portal.


Deadline for Early Bird registration is 15 September.


Need more information?   
Contact Conference Secretariat: AT THE FRONTIER 2011 CONFERENCE SECRETARIAT International Conferences & Events (ICE) P/L, Suite 4, Level 2, 73 Hay Street, in Subiaco, WA 6008 Phone: 08 9381 9281 Fax: 08 9381 9560

(Source: Museums Western Australia


6) Canberra centenary


The Australian Capital Territory Government is to receive $62 million to assist in paying for the redesign of Constitution Avenue in Canberra, as part of the centenary of Canberra celebrations in 2013.


(Source: Australian Financial Review 11 May 2011 p.B27)


7) Royal Australian Historical Society Council


The postal ballot for the Royal Australian Historical Society Council has resulted in the election of


President - David Carment
Senior Vice-President - Lesley Muir
Vice-President - Hector Abrahams
Treasurer - Robert Ingui
Council - Bob Clarke (also on Executive)
Carol Liston
Susan McClean
Julia Horne
Siobahn Lavelle
Anne-Maree Whitaker
Graham Wilson
Ian Jack
A vacancy will to be filled at the next Council meeting.

(The President is elected by Council.)

The Council comprises a number of very experienced members of the Society and the history movement and some who have served in senior positions on the Council in previous years.

(Source: Royal Australian Historical Society – 28 April 2011)