asha

ASHA NEWS



Penny Sharpe, Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage

This is just a short note to thank those of you who were able to attend the forum this week celebrating World Heritage Day and the 40th anniversary of the NSW Heritage Act.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley outlined Labor’s Five Point Plan for Heritage Protection, which includes:

1. Develop and deliver the first-ever NSW State Heritage Strategy.
2. Remove the ability of the State Government itself to use the economic hardship provision of the Heritage Act to refuse a building heritage protection.
3. Stop a Heritage Minister ignoring out of hand a recommendation from the Heritage Council to protect a particular place, by introducing a public hearing to allow the advocates for preservation another opportunity to make their case.
4. Restore the Office of Heritage within the Department of Premier and Cabinet so that heritage issues are at the centre of government decision-making.
5. Relocate the Office of the Premier and the Cabinet room to one of Sydney’s pre-eminent public buildings, the Chief Secretary’s building on the corner of Bridge and Macquarie streets.

More detail of this plan can be found in his full speech here.

I also want to thank the other speakers at the forum. They have made available a copy of their speeches:
Meredith Burgmann spoke about the role of the green bans and community action to save buildings, bush and parks across Sydney.
Reece McDougall shared his views about the role of the Heritage Office and the challenges for the future.
Shaun Carter spoke about why the Sirius building court decision will set an important precedent for future heritage protection. Shaun also outlined just how little of our heritage is protected.
Paul Connell outlined how important keeping stonemason and heritage trade skills in the public sector will be into the future.

It was inspiring to see how much interest there was in the forum. I look forward to working with you in the lead-up to 2019 to put more meat on the bones of Labor’s Heritage Policy.



Fenella Atkinson

It is nearly National Archaeology Week – third week in May. Please tell everyone you know, and come along to at least three events in each state. We are posting events as the details come through, so keep an eye on the website and Facebook page:

http://www.archaeologyweek.com
https://www.facebook.com/National-Archaeology-Week-179612978799261/

If you have something planned for NAW, or have any ideas or suggestions, please do get in touch – contact details are:

NSW - Helen Nicholson (nhelen@tpg.com.au)
Qld – Paddy Waterson (paddy.waterson@gmail.com)
SA - Antoinette Hennessy (antoinette.hennessy@flinders.edu.au)
Tas – Sam Dix (samuel.dix@griffithuni.edu.au)
Vic – Caroline Spry (c.spry@latrobe.edu.au)
WA – Wendy Reynen (wa@australianarchaeology.com)
Website / Facebook / Twitter – Luke Kirkwood (luke.kirkwood@gmail.com)
National – me (fenella.atkinson@gmail.com)

Please note that there is not, to my knowledge, any co-ordinator in the Northern Territory. If you are reading this in the NT, tag you’re it no returns, thanks heaps and I look forward to working with you.

Also, keep an ear out for the following chats about NAW among other things on the radio soon – tune in or download the podcasts:

Craig Barker will discuss National Archaeology Week (along with Indiana Jones) in his monthly ‘Can You Dig It’ program with Rhianna Patrick, ABC Radio, 6.30pm, Sunday 23 April 2017 http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/rhiannapatrick/

Lesley Beaumont and James Flexner will be talking about archaeology and National Archaeology Week with Sarah Macdonald on Nightlife, ABC Radio, 9pm Saturday 13 May 2017 http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

A possible nineteeth century military trench has been discovered during road work excavations at Tauranga, NZ. The trench and the musket balls found within it may be related to other known battle sites in the area, which date between the 1830s and 1860s.

For more information, please see: www.radionz.co.nz



The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria

The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria is a group that promotes the study of archaeology, anthropology, ethno-archaeology and ethno-history in both Australia and further abroad. Lectures, from a range of talented presenters, are held every third Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the The Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre at 251 Faraday St, Carlton.

Sign up with Eventbrite and we’ll know you’re coming.

For more information, please see: http://aasv.org.au/lectures/


Dr Richard Tuffin, Project Archaeologist, PAHSMA

In the last round of grants awarded by the Australian Research Council, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers was awarded funds for a three year project examining landscapes of convict labour. Titled Landscapes of Production and Punishment: the Tasman Peninsula 1830-77, the project commences in April of this year and will see archaeologists, historians and demographers from the University of New England, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, University of Tasmania and University of Liverpool, use the physical landscape and documentary record to engage with the organisation, processes and outputs of convict labour on a scale never-before seen.

The grant is a recognition that the Australian convict story is concerned as much with labour and production as it is with punishment and reform. The gaols, hiring depots, penal stations and work camps, as well as the domestic residences and places of work to which assignees and passholders were tied, remain today as physical expressions of the otherwise invisible forces which shaped convict labour management. Built and continually developed by prisoner labour, these places held workforces governed by an extraordinary mixture of punishment and production aims. Barracks, wards and separate cells held prisoners in between – and sometimes during – their bouts of work. The flogging yards, solitary cells and stone-breaking yards received the unwilling. Interior and exterior spaces were designated as work sites, where shoes were made, metal wrought, stone quarried and timber harvested. These spaces, as well as the men and women within them, were controlled by the built and regulatory environment which surrounded them. Factors at the global, colonial and local scale acted upon these landscapes, affecting their formation and development, as well as the processes and products of prisoner labour within them.

That landscapes of convict labour were formed and shaped by multi-scale forces should not come as a revelation. Setting the places and spaces we study within their proper social, political and economic contexts is just good historical archaeological practice. Archaeologists and historians have commonly worked in synchrony to examine the bigger questions about our convict past, in particular during the post-1980s debates about the relative merits of qualitative and quantitative data to convey the complexities of convict lived experiences. The two fields have particularly worked well together to recover lost convict life narratives. Recently, however, there has been a notable divergence. Historians have tapped further into the massive potential of the datasets, examining and analysing the life-course data of thousands of convicts to draw new conclusions about the lives of prisoners before, during and after their incarceration. There has not been a similar big picture approach from historical archaeologists, who have retained a focus on individual sites and data types. Often a pragmatic response to the very real limitations of funding and time, it has meant that archaeologists have not been able to help shape the direction of the wider debate.

Focussing on the convict stations and sites of the Tasman Peninsula, this ARC project will illustrate how the physical record can be linked to the ‘big data’ approaches taken by the historians. A foundation of the project will be the archaeological surveys of the Port Arthur hinterland and the area around the former Cascades Probation Station (Koonya). Following the successful application of the technique to better understandings of the Coal Mines and Port Arthur Historic Sites, high definition airborne remote sensing (LiDAR) will map the sites associated with the extraction, transport and refinement of the area’s materials during the convict period: the roads, paths, tramways, building sites, saw pits, working platforms. For the first time we will comprehensively and accurately visualise the labour landscape within which Port Arthur and the Cascades Probation Station were situated. This will add to existing and augmented studies of the production centres of the Coal Mines and the Tasman Peninsula’s other probation stations.

The project will show how we can really only begin to understand the experiences of convicts and gaolers alike through an engagement with both the changing physical realities which defined their lives, as well as the intent of the evolving convict system as defined in the historical record. Mapping landscape change across time will be a core focus of the archaeological process, the change reflective of the multi-scale influences shaping convict labour management. This will require a close and thorough reading of the historical sources, through which the form of these influences are best expressed. This project will draw upon the trove of statistical data and correspondence records, allowing better understanding of how the labour landscape developed, as well as the quantities and movement flows of men and materiel. The close linking of the data to the physical landscape will also provide the opportunity to ground-truth the archive. A key component of this will be the analysis of thousands of convict records – many of them previously unavailable in transcript form. The incidental life narratives embodied within such documentary sources can be used to place the people back in the landscape, helping us understand how the built and regulatory environment shaped and was shaped by their experience, at the same time as moulding labour relations between prisoners and administrators.

In addition to the research outcomes throughout the project’s life, we intend to produce a research roadmap for engaging with places of convict labour, providing a model for similar approaches. It will also feed into the continued interpretation of the Tasman Peninsula, an important consideration as the number of visitors coming to the World Heritage-listed site of Port Arthur are only increasing. Through such interpretive means, we can further an understanding that convict places like Port Arthur sat at the heart of complex systems of production and punishment.

Professor Martin Gibbs, University of New England

Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, University of Tasmania

Associate Professor David Roberts, University of New England

Professor Barry Godfrey, University of Liverpool

Dr David Roe, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Dr Jody Steele, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Dr Richard Tuffin, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Susan Hood, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority


The Johnston Collection

The Johnston Collection, housed in Fairhall, East Melbourne, is holding the Annual William Johnston Exhibtion-House Tour from February-May 2017. The Collection is the legacy of William Robert Johnston (1911-1986) an antique dealer and collector and the Annual Tour focuses on the original arrangement of Johnston's collection in Fairhall Exhibition House when it was first opened to the public.

For more information, please see: https://www.johnstoncollection.org/



Dr David Roe (Archaeology Manager) and Richard Tuffin (Project Archaeologist) PAHSMA

Last year was a big year for archaeology at the Port Arthur Historic Site. Over a seven month period, we managed to excavate the full extent of the area at the rear of the Penitentiary. Converted between 1854-56 from an 1840s flour mill and granary, the Penitentiary we see today only represents one small part of the former precinct. Once fronted by a parade ground and flanked by workshops and commissariat stores, the building had been situated within a busy precinct where facilities of incarceration, punishment and welfare operated beside industrial and administrative infrastructure.

The 2016 archaeological excavation focussed on the service-related aspects of the precinct: the ablutions and laundry facilities, exercise yards, shelters and stores which were vital to the operation of the larger building. As such, the investigation provided an opportunity to examine the management of convict welfare and, in particular, how this evolved across the life of the Penitentiary. The ablutions yard was excavated during January–May 2016, with the laundry area investigated during November–December.

See image above: Orthophotograph of the full area of excavation, showing deposits and features related to the first phase of occupation (ca.1856-ca.1863)

The archaeological investigations were necessary from a conservation, research and interpretation standpoint. With conservation works ongoing within the Penitentiary precinct since 2011, a decision was taken to use open-area research excavation, instead of undertaking mitigation excavations in reaction to the works. The archaeological results would also feed into interpretation of the precinct. From a research point of view, there was high value in examining an area for which limited information on changes in historical fabric and use existed. The investigations also provided a rare opportunity to engage with the management, welfare and lived experiences of a convict population. This was particularly interesting, as the population under investigation, which after transportation’s cessation in 1854 was an ageing mix of colonially and Imperially-convicted prisoners, has rarely been archaeologically studied.

The excavations revealed a multi-phase site, with features and deposits dating to the Penitentiary period and from earlier phases when the site was occupied by the 1830s waterfront workshops and the 1840s flour mill and granary. The dominant phase represented was related to the Penitentiary, indicative of the disruptive major works associated with the conversion of the precinct from industrial to incarcerative purposes.

In the ablutions area, which accounted for about 2/3 of the area investigated, the first phase configuration had seen exercise yards flanking a centrally-located ablutions block. Surfaced with hardwearing brick and dolerite gravels spread over tons of imported clay, the yards had been fitted with shelters, bench seating and fireplaces. Providing a modicum of protection from the elements, the yards afforded a controllable space where prisoners interacted. In contrast, the ablutions block was a cramped space in which upwards of 480 convicts were expected to carry out basic toiletry requirements morning and evening. It was likely the patently unsuitable conditions in the block that triggered a remodelling of the whole ablutions yard. At some point in the early 1860s, the toilet and washing spaces were removed to the flanking yards, resulting in the demolition of the former compounds and the construction of new shelter sheds in the spaces. The central block was converted to a day room fitted with benches and fireplaces.

Whilst undergoing less of a change, the laundry area, adjoining the western edge of the ablutions yard, similarly went through two major phases of activity. The building originally contained the laundry proper, stores, a bathhouse and washing area, as well as a wood store. When the conversions happened in the 1860s, the building was extended eastwards into the ablutions yard, with a large brick foundation constructed to accommodate a hot water boiler and its associated chimney stack. This boiler provided water to the bakehouse, laundry and washing facilities in the ablutions yard.

The excavation within the laundry area removed all deposits associated with the Penitentiary period. In the ablutions area they were removed down to the first phase of activity, with slots and trenches then excavated to sample the pre-Penitentiary deposits and features underneath. This found that, whilst some evidence of the earlier workshops and flour mill phases remained, the Penitentiary conversion had resulted in the wholesale demolition and removal of any upstanding fabric. What remained were demolition materials and surfaces, and reclamation deposits associated with preparing the area.

Image: Orthophotograph of the full area of excavation, showing deposits and features related to the second phase of occupation (ca.1863-ca.1877)

A large number of artefacts were recovered from the ablutions area, particularly from the surfaces of the exercise yards and within the central ablutions block/day room (which had had raised timber floors); the position of all diagnostic artefacts was recorded in 3D. In total, the excavation recovered some 1,800 spot finds, including a surprising number of lead and ceramic tokens or gaming pieces. Relatively few artefacts were recovered from the laundry area, likely because a number of rooms had been surfaced with sandstone flagging which would have been regularly swept, but also because the rooms had suffered marked disturbance when the building was salvaged in the post-convict period.

Image: One of the lead tokens in situ. Note the broad arrow!

Reporting to acquit statutory commitments is currently being undertaken, with further publication of key results to come. A number of papers have already been presented on the early results, including the 3D photogrammetry models which were generated throughout the course of the project. These can be viewed at:

www.portarthur.org.au/penitentiary-excavation-wraps-preliminary-findings.

Image: Screenshot of one of the 3D photogrammetry models generated during the excavation

We are excited to see what further analysis of the artefacts can tell us; we are particularly interested in their spatial distribution in relation to each other and to the spaces within which they were found. Further historical research also needs to take place, targeting the conduct records to extract information about behaviour and surveillance patterns within the yards.

The area itself will not be going back to the grassed area that it once was. Rather, our interpretation team will be introducing new hard-wearing surfaces and features to interpret the historical use and form of the area.

As always, the excavation would not have been possible without the dedicated band of archaeologists. David Roe and Richard Tuffin would like to thank: for the Penitentiary Ablutions work – Laura Bates, Lauren Davison, Henry Lion, Ronan McEleney, Fiona Shanahan, Rhian Slicer-Jones, and Zvonka Stanin; for the Penitentiary Laundry work - Laura Bates, Emma Church, Lauren Davison, Josh Gaunt, Adam Pietrzak, Michelle Richards and Sam Thomas. Peter Rigozzi was responsible for the amazing ortho and 3D photogrammetry produced during the excavation.



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Monitoring has begun ahead of works to restore and protect the National Heritage Listed Richmond Bridge, which was built by convicts in 1823.

For more information, see: www.abc.net.au/news

Image taken from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richmond_Bridge_Panorama_Restitch.jpg     Accessed 25/03/2017



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

The New Zealand Archaeological Association have announced their annual conference for 2017. The conference will be held in Thames, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island on 21-24 June 2017. Proposals for papers and posters are now being recieved, from topics across all aspects of New Zealand and Pacific Archaeology. And early-bird discount will apply for attendees who register and pay before 30 April.

For more information, please see: https://nzarchaeology.org/event/nzaa-annual-conference-2017




Department of Environment and Energy, Australian Government

The Australian Heritage Council is assessing Centennial Park, Sydney, for potential inclusion in the National Heritage List. The National Heritage List recognises places that are of outstanding heritage value to the nation for their natural, Indigenous and/or historic heritage values.

Please provide any written comments on this place by close of business 28 April 2017 to:
Australian Heritage Council
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Email: heritage@environment.gov.au

For more information, including maps and nomination paperwork, please see:  www.environment.gov.au

Image from:  https://psychedelictraveler.com/2015/04/22/centennial-park/    Accessed 25/03/2017