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Queen Street umbrella components picture 1 
Queen Street umbrella components picture 2
Author: Bronwyn Woff

Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

A group of umbrella/parasol fragments were recovered from the site of 1-5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871) during excavations undertaken by Extent Heritage in 2018.

The site’s European history (Clark et al. 2019) starts in 1837, beginning with Pitman’s Store (a small building from which Frederick Pittman, a key trader of early Melbourne, ran a store) and a residence set back from the street. This was followed by a candle and soap works factory (Rae, Dickson & Co), which occupied the site from the 1840s to 1872. This factory then demolished, and a new building housing a range of shipping-related businesses was constructed in 1872. In 1911, the building was purchased by the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company and was used as their Victorian headquarters until the 1950s. In 1955, the building was purchased by Fletcher Jones & Co for a retail store and was used for this purpose until 2011 (Clark et al, 2019).

The artefact collection was catalogued by Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants, and included a total of 6674 artefact fragments. Of particular interest were a group of artefacts excavated from what was interpreted by the excavators as a filtering tank, possibly for lye leeching, which is part of the candle making process. The artefacts recovered from the tank represent a one-off fill event, which most likely occurred at the time of the closing and abandonment of the candle and soap factory and before the new structures were constructed in 1872. The artefacts were probably deposited in the late 1860s or early 1870s, as none of the artefact manufacturing start dates are later than 1870 (Woff, Williamson & Biagi, 2019).

Queen Street umbrella components picture 3

Photo 1: Umbrella/parasol fragments from 1-5 Queen Street, Melbourne (Image supplied: Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

The tank context contained an interesting group of artefacts, which included nine fragments of composite umbrella/parasol stretchers (representing eight complete umbrella/parasol stretchers, enough for one complete umbrella/parasol) and three fragments of organic/wooden umbrella ribs, which were round in profile. The context also contained a large quantity (n=278) of textile fragments, which have at least three different weave styles, some of which may be associated with the umbrella/parasol (Woff, Williamson & Biagi, 2019).  

Parts of an umbrella

Photo 2: Parts of an umbrella (Image from: https://www.goinginstyle.com/blogs/news/parts-of-an-umbrella )

Umbrellas are multi-part objects, and a simple umbrella/parasol can include up to 112 different parts (Hooper 2016: 30-31). These parts can be made from a range of materials including, but not limited to: wood, textiles, metals, baleen and ivory (Hooper 2016: 1). Our fragments are comprised of a range of materials. The stretchers are composite, made from iron alloy, copper alloy and a wood-like organic material. The ribs are made from the same wood-like organic material, which may be cane or a similar material. Hooper suggests that baleen “was the primary material used for ribs until 1852” when steel ribs were invented that were much lighter and stronger (2016: 8), however, both materials were shaped to be flat or rectangular in section (Hooper 2016: 8), whereas our fragments are round. The textiles recovered from this context were not obviously related to an umbrella or parasol by style or construction, but some may be associated with the umbrella fragments recovered.

fashion plate

Photo 3: Fashion plate showing umbrella (Image from: https://vintagedancer.com/victorian/lace-victorian-parasol-and-umbrellas-for-sale/ )

The terms umbrella and parasol were used interchangeably in 19th century advertising (Hooper 2016: 24 – 30). These items were seen as “primarily public objects, used to shield their bearers from the elements encountered when venturing outside. These objects function in images as fashionable and practical tools, mediating the relationship between individuals and their rural or urban surroundings” (Hooper 2016: 166). Although the reason for the discard of this object is unknown, this group of artefacts links to ideas of fashion and domestic life, and provides a glimpse in to the fashions of early urban Melbourne in the 1860s.

References:

Clark, C, Douglas, P, Petkov, B & Rubio Perez, R 2019. 1–5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871) Historical Archaeological Excavation Report HV #4930. Prepared by Extent Heritage for Hutchinson Builders.

Hooper, R 2016. Out of the shade: uncovering the manufacture and use of umbrellas and parasols, 1830 -1840. Masters Thesis submitted for the University of Delaware.

Woff, B, Williamson, C & Biagi, C 2019, Artefact Report 1 – 5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871). Prepared for Extent Heritage

Going in Style 2017, Parts of an umbrella, image, Going In Style, viewed 12 Februaru 2020 < https://www.goinginstyle.com/blogs/news/parts-of-an-umbrella >

Buck, A, 1961, Fashion plate showing umbrella, image, Vintage Dancer, viewd 13 February 2020 < https://vintagedancer.com/victorian/lace-victorian-parasol-and-umbrellas-for-sale/ >

 

upcoming event long
Upcoming Event Short
Richard Morrison, ASHA ACT Representative

This very successful event was held on the morning of 4 May 2019 within the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. It was the second such symposium partnered with the Canberra Archaeological Society (CAS) - a body established in 1963 (prior to ASHA) to provide a forum for academics, students and members of the public on all types of archaeology. It conducts archaeological projects and monthly lectures.

The Symposium, ‘Contemporary archaeology: How archaeology is practised today’ was held at the prestigious National Museum of Australia with 5 eminent speakers, including one who Skyped-in, and was jointly organised by Richard Morrison of ASHA and Dr Iain Johnston of CAS. The Symposium flyer is available here.

It was advertised in numerous places and was attended by more than 60 people (we had 100 Eventbrite registrations) including the ACT’s Minister for Environment and Heritage, archaeology and heritage students, academics, and a broad cross section of the public.

We opened with a traditional Welcome to Country undertaken by Paul House, a Ngambri man, including a short didgeridoo presentation with some audience participation on clapping sticks.

The symposium introduction presented information on historical archaeology, ASHA and and CAS.

Three speakers, including Emeritus Professor Richard Wright AM (who came out from retirement in Sydney to speak), illustrated their important work in historical archaeology.

Dr Michael Pearson AO discussed the work, including his own, of Australian archaeologists across Antarctica in the context of activity by all nations.He highlighted the issue of a lack of ongoing and current involvement of archaeologists in Mawson’s Hut conservation.

Emeritus Professor Richard Wright AM spoke on his important and sensitive work under difficult circumstances in providing archaeological evidence war crimes trials related to various European conflicts. His paper provided confronting and compelling insights into terrible crimes and the pursuit of those responsible. He also reflected on his more recent key role in identifying 250 Australian soldiers buried in mass graves from WWI at Fromelles, France.

Dr Alice Gorman spoke on her current research into Apollo 11 heritage found at Tranquillity Base on the Moon. In particular, she focussed on the conceptual significance of shadows which have been used both by scientists, to investigate the Moon’s topography and geomorphology, and conspiracy theorists, to attempt to disprove that Apollo 11 ever went to the Moon.Dr Gorman gave her paper (from Adelaide, via Skype) on Space Archaeology and, in so doing, met the Heritage Festival’s theme of Space.

Dave Johnston, Indigenous heritage and archaeological consultant, presented and discussed a video illustrating the story of a positive collaboration between farmers and the Indigenous community concerning an ochre quarry in the Canberra region as shared heritage.

Dr Iain Johnston spoke on his Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies project returning Indigenous cultural heritage. He focussed on an aspect of this project related to an important rock art site at Kakadu and it’s recording through usual techniques and oral histories from the descendants of the creators still connected to the site. This illuminated the most recent repainting, in possibly, a very ancient process of traditional renewal - the site has been dated to about 25,000 years ago.

A Q&A panel concluded the Symposium.

The audience definitely seemed to appreciate the interesting and varied topics, in comments explicitly referring to the astonishing scope and diversity now covered in the broad field of archaeology, including historical archaeology.

The President of CAS, Dr Duncan Wright, congratulated (on behalf of CAS) Iain Johnston and myself ‘for an extremely successful ‘Contemporary Archaeology’ symposium. This included a remarkable array of fascinating presentations - archaeology of mass burials/ war crimes, space archaeology, archaeology of Antarctica, local ACT archaeology, also rock art and repatriation. It was attended by 60+ members of the public (including Senator (sic) Mick Gentleman) and Richard and Iain should be congratulated for how smoothly this went, not to mention their sparkling MCing!’

As an initiative of ASHA to promote historical archaeology and hopefully encourage new memberships in the regions, this was an undoubted success.


Compiled by Richard Morrison, ACT Representative

The protection of Australia's commemorative places and monuments report

This document has been released recently, prepared by the Australian Heritage Council and the Department of the Environment and Energy heritage staff, on the request of the Minister, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, who sought advice on the adequacy of existing legal protections for places and monuments that relate to the early interactions between European explorers and settlers and Australia's Indigenous peoples.  The report finds that the current legislative and policy framework across the country is adequate, but also makes a number of recommendations to allow Australians to further recognise and promote our shared Indigenous and colonial heritage.

The report can be found at https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/4474fb91-bd90-4424-b671-9e2ab9c39cca/files/protection-australia-commemorative-places-monuments.pdf

Re-appointments to the Australian Heritage Council (AHC)

in March 2018 the Minister responsible for the AHC, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, announced that five AHC members were being re-appointed: the Hon Dr Kemp AC (chair), Dr Jane Harrington (historic heritage), Associate Professor Don Garden OAM (historic heritage), Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (Indigenous heritage) and Ms Rachel Perkins (Indigenous heritage). They join current members Dr Steve Morton (natural heritage) and Dr Jennie Whinam (natural heritage) on the seven-seat Council.

For further information on these people see http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/organisations/australian-heritage-council/about

Melbourne Domain and Parkland Precinct added to the National Heritage List (NHL)

Also, in March 2018, it was announced that this place had  been added to the NHL after a review of the earlier Emergency Nomination Listing.  It was seen as an iconic part of Melbourne and the place as a whole is a parkland landscape developed and shaped by its historic and on-going function as a rare government domain. The Kings Domain Resting Place within the parklands is also of particular significance because of its association with Australia's national story of the repatriation of Indigenous people's remains.

For further information see: https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/melbourne-domain-parkland-memorial-precinct


Susan Lawrence, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

Alister Malcolm Bowen, PhD

7 November 1968-16 May 2018

It is with sadness that we mark the death of Dr Alister Bowen.

Alister graduated with Honours in Archaeology from the ANU in 1999 and then moved to Melbourne where he completed his PhD in at La Trobe University in 2007. His ground-breaking research on Chinese fish curing was based on excavations at Chinaman’s Point, Pt Albert. The work was subsequently published in several journal articles and as Archaeology of the Chinese Fishing Industry in Colonial Australia in the ASHA monograph series, Studies in Australian Historical Archaeology. While a PhD student Alister received the ‘Best Student Paper’ prize for his paper at the 2005 ASHA conference and he later received ASHA’s Maureen Byrne Award for Best PhD Thesis.

Alister believed strongly in the public dissemination of research and worked closely with the local community in Pt Albert to develop a display at the Port Albert Maritime Museum. In documenting the full extent and importance of Chinese fish curing Alister’s work made a significant contribution to the study of the overseas Chinese. Alister worked in commercial archaeology after moving back to Canberra in 2012.

Alister was a fine scholar, valued colleague, and good friend. He is survived by his partner Carol and children Harriet, Hugh and Samm. He will be greatly missed.



Compiled by Blog Editor

Members may be interested in a range of archaeology-related blogs available to access, that can be found no the following link: http://pastthinking.com/links/

Written by Blog Editor

Just two more weeks to go until National Archaeology Week kicks off in Australia! The week begins on 21st May, and there are lots of events happening in and around the week (most are free!) that you can pop in to and spread the word about the wonderful archaeological work going on across the country! For more information, including a calendar of events, see: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/

Written by Richard Morrison

As an ASHA promotional exercise, both of membership and historical archaeology, it was suggested that your regional representatives might organise a regional event and some measure of financial support might be available for this. As there is no strong Historical Archaeology base in the ACT - there is no tertiary teaching of it here in what is also a comparatively small region - it was considered prudent to explore the possibility of a joint event of some sort with the Canberra Archaeological Society (CAS) if we could find a mutually relevant theme and type of event.


The Q&A panel, L to R, Dr Michael Pearson AO, Dr Duncan Wright(ANU), Professor June Ross (UNE), Dr Tim Maloney (ANU) and Dr Tristen Jones (ANU), Maritime Rock Art Symposium, NMA,14/4/18. Photograph R Morrison.

The end result was a half day, contact-themed, free, public symposium which was held at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) during the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. This drew a crowd of about 50, including archaeology students, academics, consultants and the public, to hear five experts relate investigations of maritime contact rock art across Australia, starting with Dr Michael Pearson AO, setting the scene by describing approaches to the identification of ships/boats found in Australian rock art. Case studies then followed in papers presented and/or written by academics from ANU, UNE and UWA. This was rounded off with a Q&A panel of all speakers. It is expected that the speakers' presentations will eventually be loaded on the CAS website.

The success of this event has encouraged CAS to suggest a joint event with ASHA be an annual activity.

 


Written by the AIMA/ASHA 2018 Conference Committee

Come see all the research that’s been hiding!
Come hear all the results that haven’t seen the light of day!
Come and listen to all the wondrous things people have done in the past!

Welcome to the 2018 AIMA/ASHA conference, proudly brought to you by University of New England!

The Clearinghouse is all about dusting off that old research and getting it out into the light. It’s time for the honours thesis you did ten years ago to be presented, that project you did in that in-between year to show itself, and for the “I really should do something with that” to finally have something done with it…by presenting at this year’s AIMA/ASHA conference 27-28 September 2018.

Just to be clear, we want genuine research and good presentations, not a slide show of your summer holidays. For this reason we’re keeping the themes as broad as we can. Fear not if you don’t think your research fits in, we want you to submit your abstract anyway and we’ll find a place for it!

We are looking forward to seeing you in Parramatta!

The Clearinghouse Conference Details:
When: 27 - 29 September 2018
Where: UNE Campus Parramatta

For more information on: Call for papers, Draft Conference schedule, Registration and Conference sponsors please see: http://www.asha.org.au/2018-asha-aima-conference


Compiled by Blog Editor

There have been no submissions for Artefact of the Month recieved this month (email blog@asha.org.au if you would like to submit for the June edition!) however I've come across a great blog from our North American friends: The American Artifacts Blog!

This blog "is a media outlet featuring artifact-related digital content from U.S. and Canadian archaeologists. [You can use] the blog to search, explore and learn about North American history through material culture." The artefacts featured include both historic and pre-historic time periods, and are provided by archaeologists across the region.

For more see: https://americanartifactsblog.com/