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ASHA NEWS



Compiled by Richard Morrison

Of relevance to members,from the Heritage Branch, Department of the Environment (Cwlth), the Abbotsford Convent, Yarra City, (Vic) and the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct, (NSW), have been added to the National Heritage List (NHL) in the last few months.

Abbotsford Convent For more than 100 years the Convent, provided shelter, food, education and work for tens of thousands of women and children who experienced poverty, neglect and social disadvantage. Run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd from 1863 to 1974, the Convent’s harsh conditions and hours of long work offered few comforts but provided shelter for desperate women and girls through the great Depression, two World Wars and other social upheavals.

Abbotsford Convent shows the role of religious and charitable institutions in Australia’s social and welfare history during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Convent’s asylum laundry is a rare surviving example of its type within Australia, reflecting the social attitudes of the time. For further information see http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/abbotsford-convent

Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct From 1821 onwards, tens of thousands of women and children passed through this place in the care and custody of the state. The Precinct, which housed female convicts, orphaned children, and vulnerable girls and young women, is considered a leading example of a site which demonstrates Australia’s social welfare history.

Institutionalisation was a core part of Australia’s welfare system over two centuries, and the Precinct is outstanding in its capacity to tell the stories of women and children in institutions over the course of Australian history. It includes a rare surviving example of a convict female factory, and offers us the opportunity to find out even more about convicts experiences as a potential source of future archaeological finds. See http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/parramatta-female-factory-and-institutions-precinct

Australia’s National Heritage List - the story so far by Australian Heritage Council (2017) - The NHL is now considered to be at a stage of development that the ‘remarkable story of our unique country is emerging with some clarity and impact’. This recent book, tells the stories of the places on the current list, and setting them in their wider context, and is intended to assist us to appreciate the nature of the journey so far, pointing towards ‘a future defined by the aspirations of the descendants of the continent’s first peoples and by the hopes and dreams of those who have come to live here from every country in the world’. See http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/publications/australias-national-heritage-list         



Compiled by Richard Morrison

Googong Foreshores Cultural and Geodiversity Heritage Areas, Burra (NSW) were added to the Commonwealth Heritage List (CHL) in November 2017. Quoting from the summary statement of significance:
"The Googong Foreshores Cultural and Geodiversity Heritage Area has been listed as an important heritage place because of its ability to demonstrate the region’s pastoral, Aboriginal, geological and natural history, including through its archaeological deposits. The place demonstrates a number of settlement and pastoral practices used in the area and wider region. The place and the buildings within it demonstrate past living conditions, rare nineteenth and early twentieth century historic building techniques and later evolution in building practice ... The London Bridge Arch and London Bridge Homestead building group are also valued for their aesthetic appeal appreciated by the local community."

For more information, please see: www.environment.gov.au



Compiled by Richard Morrison

The 3rd field work season is to be undertaken by Dr Ash Lenton, ANU, for undergraduates from there but also from other Australian universities, 5-28 January 2018. It is to focus, as in previous seasons, on the investigation of a military barracks which serviced the adjacent Maria Island convict settlement in the 1840’s. Run by: School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Humanities & the Arts, ANU College of Arts and the Social Sciences, ANU.

For more information please see:
https://facebook.com/TriabunnaBarracks.Dig/     
http://archanth.cass.anu.edu.au/triabunna-barracks

Twitter #TriabunnaBarracks




Stephanie Moore

I was lucky enough last month to attend the joint ASHA/Interpretation Australia conference in Tasmania. Being new to both the ASHA conference world, and Tassie itself, Iain kindly suggested I might be the best person to provide a ‘review’ of this conference at our next Archaeology at the Pub gathering.


I kindly obliged and prepared myself with a small presentation of images from the trip and some thoughts on the how the conference ran, what I enjoyed, and what I would do differently next time. I presented this to a small, but enthusiastic crowd at The Shakespeare Hotel; many of whom had been at the conference and were happy to share their thoughts with me. We all settled in with a schooner and the increasingly popular complementary wedges to relive the scenery and the event.


We all generally agreed that the conference was thoroughly enjoyable, and that the travelling element provided a unique and interesting approach. We felt that there could have been a few less papers on the bill, as the long days made for an exhausting week – and we felt terrible for the poor presenters who drew the short straw of last session for the day! The presentations were varied in subject matter and style, and provided a good balance between the two disciplines. The opportunity to discuss with, and learn from, colleagues in the Interpretation field was also valuable, allowing many of us to walk away with renewed enthusiasm. There was unanimous agreement that the Shene Estate Gin Distillery was a winner as far as destinations went (both for the heritage value and the sneaky gin tasting). Overall, when considering the phenomenal 11 destinations and countless papers that were packed into this year’s conference, I would say it was a roaring success.

We hope to see you next time for Happy Hour beers and a plate of wedges!



Ross Bertinshaw

We received a question from the daughter of a local farmer in the Calingiri area of Western Australia confirmed the continuing presence of two wells constructed for the Benedictine monks of New Norcia in the 19th Century.


The original enquiry provided some photos and asked if they could be Benedictine wells. The pictures and their approximate locations were suggestive of New Norcia wells and the later provision of GPS coordinates then allowed the locations to be checked on Google Earth and against georeferenced Lease Plans from the 1890s.


From the georeferenced map it was possible to identify the wells as Toro and Jitocon both Benedictine wells. Abbot Rosendo Salvado held lease holdings surrounding the wells on which he ran the sheep that supported the monks and their missionary activities.

We know a little more about the wells. Toro Well was first dug in 1865 by well diggers Delany and Lavan, both ex-convicts. It was either renovated or a new well dug on the site in 1881 by unknown well sinkers. It was located on freehold title of 40 acres, which was granted in 1876.

Jitocon Well was dug in 1865 by Delaney and Higgins and was located on a freehold title of 10 acres first granted in 1864.

It is great to see agriculturalists and their offspring interested in the archaeology and history of their area and wanting to preserve it if possible.



National Trust of Australia (QLD)

"Head in the Cloudlands – is there too much idealism in heritage?” The Trust Talks, our speaker series aiming at opening the doors for innovation, collaboration and celebration of our heritage, is going underground into the Springhill Reservoir in December. The evening will include the opportunity to network with friends and colleagues, drinks on arrival, cheese platters and canapes, the debate, and an exclusive Christmas performance from the Underground Opera in the Reservoir! This is an event not to be missed.

In the days before adequate protection for heritage places was introduced, The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) was once known as the community group who stopped development – their arsenal was picket lines, protests and rallies. Fast forward two decades and Queensland now has statutory heritage registers, a statewide Heritage Council and requirements to ensure that the demolition of heritage such as ‘Cloudlands’ could never happen again. But does the heritage industry have its head in the Cloudlands? Are we at risk of being left off the negotiation table if we rigidly stick to stringent guidelines? In our quest for heritage protection, have we lost sight of the bigger picture and is this detrimental to our cause?

The Trust Talks: The Debate brings together 4 renowned experts and advocates to debate this timely topic, including: Dr Meredith Walker, Dr Andrew Sneddon, Christina Cho and Jane Alexander.

Thursday 7th December, 5pm for a 6pm start. For further information and ticketing, go to: www.nationaltrust.org.au/event/the-trust-talks-the-debate/



Bronwyn Woff, ASHA Blog Editor

Welcome to the final Artefact of the Month (AotM) post for 2017! I hope that you have enjoyed reading the articles put together by our members about interesting artefacts they’ve come across.

We started AotM in February, with ‘Absinthe Bottles at Little Lon’ by Dr Sarah Hayes, and followed with two more articles on glass in March and April – ‘Bullseye! Pontilled Window Glass’ by Bronwyn Woff and ‘Kirin Beer Bottle’ by Melissa Dunk. In May Catherine Tucker shared with us an engraved fork excavated from a Pentridge Prison rubbish tip. In June we headed across the ditch to check out a variety of ceramics excavated from Christchurch in an article by Jessie Garland. 'French Fire Bricks' were our next Artefact of the Month article, with the first of three articles for the year by Felicity Buckingham and Zvonka Stanin. In August Fiona Shanahan showed how artefacts can provide us with proof of once-off events, with the camera lens of a F-52 photoreconnaissance camera used in WWII. In September we continued the aeroplane-related theme, with Miss Australia Air League Badges from the 1950s by Felicity Buckingham. Our ASHA Secretary Caiti D’Gluyas provided us with an interesting look at ‘The Hated Stain’ of convictism through a medal commemorating the Cessation of Convict Transportation in October and we rounded off the year with a final AotM article by Zvonka Stanin demonstrating the fashion of men’s Broad Fall Trousers.

Thanks go out to the authors of each of our submissions for 2017. We are currently looking for Artefact of the Month articles for 2018, so if you have an artefact that you’re interested in writing about (or just want to show it off to fellow archaeologists!) then please email blog@asha.org.au



Sean Winter

In the first half of 2017 Winterborne Heritage conducted archaeological investigations at the State Heritage registered Artillery Drill Hall (Figure 1) in Fremantle on behalf of the National Trust of Western Australia. The Drill Hall was in need of reflooring which also involved significant restumping, and this precipitated the need for excavations inside the building and under the existing floors, prior to ground disturbing floor repairs taking place.


Fig 1: Drill Hall Exterior (supplied by Sean Winter)

The Drill Hall was constructed in 1895, but before that, from 1850, the site was part of the Fremantle Convict Cantonment and is thus within the curtilage of the World Heritage site Fremantle Prison. Documentary evidence indicates that the Drill Hall was built partly over a yard allocated to Sappers of the Royal Engineers and their families, and partly over an area shown as “gardens”. At the end of the convict period in 1886 the land was handed over to the colonial government, and in 1895 was allocated to the military for the construction of one of a number of Drill Halls throughout the Perth metropolitan area. It was retained by the military until the early 1980s, when it was slated for demolition, but was ultimately saved by a community campaign. From 1986 until 2015 the building was used as the Fly-By-Night Musicians Club, a live music venue for local and international acts.


Fig 2: Drill Hall Interior excavations (supplied by Sean Winter)

The internal Drill Hall space measures 21m x 27m and floor repairs were needed throughout this entire area (figure 2). A thick layer of dust had built up under the floor boards on top of existing sediments, and this meant that the underfloor area was extremely dry, with excellent organic preservation. The nature of the construction of the building meant that the joists and bearers sat either on top of, or very close to, the underlying sediment, which limited horizontal movement of artefacts, and this meant that we had high confidence that artefacts were in-situ when recovered.


Fig 3: Garden stakes with 1m scale (supplied by Sean Winter)

It soon became clear that the Drill Hall had been constructed directly over the top of an existing garden area, and that a large amount of convict period material culture had been protected by this construction. Hundreds of roughly cut garden stakes (figure 3) were recovered, many with twine and string still attached, evidence that the gardens were probably being used for the growing of vegetables. Soil samples are yet to be analysed, but we hope that pollen, seeds and other evidence will be able to indicate what type of plants exactly were being grown here. There were also a large number of leather shoes recovered, as well as delicate textiles. Shoe remains are ubiquitous when excavating in the yards at Fremantle Prison, but those tend to be one design – prisoners’ boots. In contrast the shoes recovered here, less than 100m outside the walls of the prison, span a wide range of styles, including ladies’ and childrens’ shoes, indicating perhaps the footwear favoured by the sappers and their families.


Fig 4: WWII military sign (supplied by Sean Winter)

From the Drill Hall period a wide range of military artefacts were recovered, including clothing parts (eg buttons), bullet cartridges, and a metal sign dated January 1943 (figure 4). Also recovered was a shuttlecock made of cork and rattan, evidence that badminton was played recreationally inside the building.

Quite a large number of artefacts were also recovered representative of the Fly-By-Night period, including parts of musical instruments (eg guitar strings, broken drum sticks, plectrums), graffiti, numerous artefacts related to the consumption of mind altering substances, both legal (eg alcohol containers) and illegal (eg syringes), and a large amount of cheap jewellery and other items of adornment.


Fig 5: Craven cigarette packet (supplied by Sean Winter)

One particular artefact class that can be seen from all three periods, is smoking material. From the convict period this is largely represented by clay pipes, but the excellent organic preservation meant that significant amounts of paper was also preserved and recovered in excellent condition. This meant that cigarette packets, match boxes and cigarette papers (figures 5 and 6) were recovered dating from throughout the 20th century. The Fly-By-Night Club was the first music venue in Australia to go smoke free, perhaps as early as 1990, so smoking material related to that period tends to be illicit, with the remains of numerous marijuana joints recovered.


Fig 6: Kali Match Box (supplied by Sean Winter)

The majority of the artefact assemblage is yet to be analysed, but the exceptional organic preservation in the underfloor area means that a large number of fragile artefacts havethat would normally not survive archaeologically, have done so from all three periods of site use. We hope that this will provide us with new understandings about lifeways in Fremantle in the 19th and 20th centuries. A number of journal papers will be published in future on archaeological work at this site, with the first related to the Fly-By-Night period soon to be submitted for publication.



Caitlin Allen

The first Sydney ASHA reading group session was held in August and hosted by GML. ASHA members from a range of backgrounds including museums, archaeological consultancy and academia discussed a number of articles about archaeological interpretation. This theme was chosen as a lead in to the joint ASHA and Interpretation Australia conference in Tasmania, held in October.

The readings by Francis McManamon, Kenneth Lewis, Tracy Ireland and the NSW Heritage Council encompassed a broad range of approaches to and opinions about archaeological interpretation. Inspired by the readings, the discussion freewheeled through a range of issues including:

  • interpretation is an important way of delivering “public benefit” from archaeological projects. It was noted that this benefit is not well defined or understood.
  • physical evidence (artefacts and in situ remains) as the anchor for the interpretation;
  • interpretation on site during excavation versus interpretation afterwards;
  • whether interpretation without physical evidence (ie: based on signage; leaflets; technology etc.) can work;
  • the limitations of archaeology presented behind glass with a preference for archaeological interpretation to be tactile, experiential and accessible;
  • the checkbox mentality and its impact on quality outcomes;
  • whether interpretation can be a mitigation measure for archaeological site destruction;
  • challenging the idea that there is a correct way to interpret archaeological sites and the popular archaeological interpretations, which may take license with the historic “facts” are to be avoided;
  • developers using archaeological interpretation as a branding exercise;
  • the perception that interpretation is undertaken by experts to educate the general public, rather than by communities themselves (an attitude evident in the NSW Heritage Council Interpretation guidelines).

A number of examples of archaeological interpretation at Parramatta were highlighted in the discussion and so a walking tour of these sites was arranged a few weeks later. A number of ASHA members who hadn't come to the reading group joined us for the walking tour, which included: Parramatta Justice Precinct, where in situ remains and artefact displays are contained in an outdoor courtyard area and there are significant environmental issues that impact the visibility of the remains; sites in Smith Street which include interpretive signage, an artwork made using objects from the excavation and coloured street paving to represent former building footprints; and the very newly opened convict hut site at V By Crown in Macquarie Street, where a large area of in situ remains is visible underneath a new luxury apartment building, along with artefacts, signage and a video presentation of the excavation, conservation and interpretation of the site.


A convict hut site at V By Crown in Macquarie Street, where a large area of in situ remains is visible underneath a new luxury apartment building, along with artefacts, signage and a video presentation of the excavation, conservation and interpretation of the site. (Source: Caitlin Allen)

The next Sydney ASHA reading group event will be held on the 30th November on the topic of industrial archaeology and heritage. Please RSVP to secretary@asha.org.au if you would like to attend or require further details.



Rebekah Hawkins, Rhian Jones and Jane Rooke (Casey and Lowe)

It’s A Riot! - Celebrating strong women and their stories

On Friday 27 October Casey and Lowe were invited to join the Parramatta Female Factory Friends (PFFF) in their annual celebration of ‘It’s a Riot’ Day. It was a great honour to join in these celebrations and help tell just some of the stories marking 199 years (next year will be a big one) since the Factory was built.



Display table at ‘It’s a Riot’ day.

The Parramatta Female Factory was the first purpose built Factory in the colony, established as a place of assignment and of secondary punishment as well as a marriage bureau. It also included a hospital which was open to the women of the Factory and free settler women. In 1818 Governor Macquarie laid the first foundation stone, and three years later 112 convict women were transferred to the Factory. The number of women residing at the Factory increased dramatically throughout the 1830s and 1840s due to the large number of women transported from England and Ireland. By 1827 overcrowding, dissatisfaction with rations and declining living conditions led to possibly the first female workers’ riot in Australia. This riot was one of five that are known to have occurred at the factory, with many more occurring across the site during its time as an Asylum and Girl’s Reformatory. The Factory closed in 1848 and the site was converted into the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum.