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ASHA NEWS

Written by AHA Editors

A reminder that submissions to Australasian Historical Archaeology are due on 31 March.  We welcome original articles and short reports about historical archaeology in Australasia and the wider region. Please see the website for more information.

If you would like to contribute but need more time please contact us before the deadline to discuss options (email: editor@asha.org.au).

Regards,
Annie Clark, Penny Crook, James Flexner & Sarah Hayes
Editors
Australasian Historical Archaeology



Dr Iain Stuart, JCIS Consultants

In 1884 the Crown Lands Act divided New South Wales into three divisions; Eastern, Central and Western. This was not some whimsical classical elusion to the Gallic Wars but the outcome of deliberation on the results of Free Selection since its introduction in 1861. Free selection was established in the various states throughout Australia as a way of establishing a class of “Yeoman farmers” to form a solid buttress against the squatters and to bring land considered underutilised into production.

In New South Wales the legislation introduced in 1861 clarified the tenure of the Squatters, who held most of their land as leasehold and allowed free selection of up to 640 acres before survey. The farm size of 640 acres was deemed as suitable for a small farm.

In 1883, a major review of the working of the Lands Acts in New South Wales, the so-called Morris Rankin report, recognised that it was difficult to apply one size of holding over land that varied in quality, environment and distance to markets, all critical factors in making a farm viable. They proposed the split into three divisions across NSW with varying regulations applying in each division.

The Crown Lands Act (1884) followed the recommendations of the Morris Rankin report although with some amendments and created the three divisions based on the boundaries of the Land Districts created in 1883 under the previous act (Lands Acts Amendment Act, 1875). Selection within the Eastern division still retained the 640 acre upper limit but within the Central division and upper limit of 2560 acres was allowed. Selection was prohibited in the Western Division except that special areas could be created to allow selection if required.

In the research for my Ph D. thesis I could never find a map of the three divisions except for the one used in the Morris Rankin report which was altered by the legislation. In a fit of GIS inspired enthusiasm I recently decided to make one. The first thing I located was a boundary of NSW – these shapefiles are readily available from varying sources, mine was sourced from PSMA (surprisingly they are all identical).

In NSW, Spatial Services portal leads you to a site called Clip n Snip where you can essentially clip a section out of the NSW Digital Topographical Data Base or Digital Cadastral Data Base and download the results in the form of shapefiles. This used to be a paid service but about a year ago it was unexpectedly made free with the result being I spent a fortnight downloading the whole State (you are now limited to 5 downloads per day!) This gave me access to useful things such as shapefiles representing Counties Parishes and Land Districts which are part of the Digital Cadastral Data Base. Note I also added the pre-federation boundaries of the Counties of Cowley and Murray, now partly in the ACT.


Figure 1. The three Divisions of NSW showing elevation and drainage.

Mapping the Western Division was easy as the main boundaries were the State boarder and then along main rivers. These were able to be traced in ArcGIS. There was an odd gap and that needed to be mapped using historical county plans either available from TROVE or from the Historical Land Records Viewer (found on the LPI site). The counties could easily be imported into ArcGIS and georeferenced to the County shapefiles. The location of the division boundaries was marked on County and Parish plans in dashed lines. It was relatively easy to trace these.

The Central Division was easily started by tracing the boundary of the Western Division and then the north and south State boundaries. However the eastern boundary was more difficult to establish. The reason being that it changed as the Land Districts boundaries were changed. This caused some head scratching around the general areas east of Gundagai and Wagga Wagga. To overcome this,  once I realised what had happened, was to use the 1890 Parish maps to map the boundary. These can be downloaded from the Historical Land Records Viewer and georeferenced to the Parish shapefiles and the original boundaries plotted.

The Eastern Division was completed using the Auto trace features of ArcGIS. I might note that it used the County boundaries largely as someone else had digitised them and presumably had decided what was the location of the High Flood Level of the Murray River and the HWM of the coast, both issues when establishing the boundaries of NSW.

I have presented some the maps of the three divisions. The first one (Figure 1, above) uses the 1:250000 map sheet contours and the second one (Figure 2, below) uses a DEM that I found on the Mines website as a digital download and clipped to the state boundary. Both really show the differences in elevation, terrain and to some extent drainage between the three divisions.


Figure 2. The three Divisions of NSW over a the Digital elevation map of NSW

Like all illustrations maps are heuristic devices and as soon as you look at them there are questions. For me the question is one of boundaries – in the south there is an area that looks like it should be in the Western Division. Actually this is roughly centred on Hay. There is another area of the Western Division that looks as if it could fit into the Central division – this is the Cobar area. If you are so inclined you can ask why?

What happened next? The third figure shows this. Using the distribution of grain silos as an analogue for grain growing areas, the location of NSW’s primary grain growing areas can be seen and they all fit more or less neatly into the Central Division and more particularly the elevated areas of the Central division.


Figure 3. The Divisions of NSW and railway and grain silo distribution.

Historically we know that the grain growing areas of NSW moved west, and that this was accompanied by a shift in demand for harder wheats, and that the famous Federation wheat was developed in the late 1890s mainly by William Farrer to fit into the new environment. We can see that being in the Central Division farm sizes potentially could be greater allowing more economies of scale in production. So a suite of changes occurred to allow the development of NSW’s wheat belt.

To return to the original purpose of the project I now have a map of the Land divisions, and I can return to the discussion of the effectiveness or otherwise of the Crown Lands Act (1884) which I began in my Ph. D. thesis.

I am happy to discuss this further or provide the Land Divisions file in gdb or shp format. Contact Iain_Stuart@optusnet.com.au

References

New South Wales. Inquiry into the State of Public Lands Operation of the Land Laws. (1883). Report of Inquiry into the State of the Public Lands and the Operation of the Land Laws / instituted 8th January 1883. (Parliamentary paper (New South Wales. Parliament); 1883). Sydney: Thomas Richards, Government Printer.

Stuart, Iain M 2000, ‘Squatting landscapes in Southeastern Australia (1820-1895)’, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney.

Spatial Data

Note: citing spatial data is a slightly tricky process as there are limited guidelines on how to do it and often the metadata is difficult to convert into a citation.

Geological Survey of NSW 2016, Digital elevation map of NSW, First edition. Scale 1:1 500 000, Projection: Lambert Conical Conformal, Geological Survey of NSW, Maitland.

NSW, Department of Finance Digital Cadastral Data Base, accessed (January 2017)

PSMA Australia 2016, 'Administrative Boundaries', Projection GDA 94, PSMA Australia, Griffith, Canberra


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




Compiled by Richard Morrison

The 2016 Australia State of the Environment (SOE) Report (Overview) was tabled in Parliament in March 2017 to provide a basis for government policy makers to undertake more informed decisions about the environment. The SOE is a five-yearly series of authoritative, national environmental overviews (begun in 1996) and continues the ‘report card’ approach of assessments of pressures, condition and trends; discussions of risk and resilience; and future projections or ‘outlooks’ that were first implemented in SOE 2011.

The Meeting of Environment Ministers (Commonwealth, State and Territory) agreed in Melbourne on the 28 July 2017 to ‘work together to identify opportunities for cross-government collaboration to address concerns raised in the report’. It is hoped that this agreement, where the relevant minister does not have heritage responsibilities, will also bind the respective jurisdictional heritage minister.

The author of the substantial heritage theme contribution to the 2016 SOE was Professor Richard Mackay AM.

The link to this SOE theme can be found at: https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/heritage and the entire report can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/science/soe. Links to the various SOE reports, compiled in their own independent processes, by individual state and territories, can also be found here.



AACAI NSW/ACT chapter

Archaeobotany for consultant archaeologists! AACAI NSW are pleased to present two speakers and a discussion on archaeobotanical sampling methods, techniques and controls for interpreting and dating archaeological sites, reconstructing past environments and understanding past Aboriginal and European land uses. Key speakers include: Dr Andrew Fairbain (University of Queensland) and Dr Emilie Dotte-Sarout (Australian National University). Attendees are invited to bring your questions for discussion!

Details

Thursday 21 September
Door opens 5:30pm for a 6:00pm start
The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre at YHA the Rocks
Costs: AACAI Members and Students (must show student ID): Free
Non-Members: $10
Pay at the door

Please RSVP by 20 th September for catering purposes to dianacowie@gmail.com



Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra, compiled by Richard Morrison

The (ir)replaceable symposium - a discussion about heritage, conservation and future-making - will discuss what happens when conservation is envisioned as future-making rather than preservation. The symposium will be held in the Ann Harding Centre at the University of Canberra at 12.00-5.30pm, on Wednesday 21 June 2017, with a networking drinks event to follow. Questions to be explored include:

Is the past irreplaceable and non-renewable or renewed and remade through heritage conservation?

What can we learn from reflecting on the history of heritage conservation?

How have our current heritage practices and policies contributed to building a more just and sustainable society?

What future risks and opportunities can be influenced by our policies and practices in the present?

The convenors, Tracy Ireland (University of Canberra) and Steve Brown (University of Sydney) - ACHS Aus/NZ Chapter Coordinators - in conjunction with Denis Byrne (Western Sydney University), welcome further ‘provocations’ on these topics, broadly interpreted, to ‘build a constructive, collaborative agenda’ for the Australian and New Zealand Chapter of the ACHS, in the lead up to the 2018 Heritage Across Borders Conference in Hangzhou, China. A full programme will be disseminated in early June. For further information, including speakers and online registration, please see the following link.

https://www.canberra.edu.au/research/faculty-research-centres/cccr/events/irreplaceable



AACAI NSW/ACT Chapter

The AACAI NSW/ACT Chapter invites you to a wine and cheese chat on 'Digital Archaeology'. The speakers will be Dr James Flexner and Diana Cowie. The event will be held on Thursday 9th June, 6:00pm at the Big Dig Centre, in The Rocks YHA, Sydney. The event is free for AACAI Members, $10 for Non-members and Students



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



AACAI NSW/ACT

Tickets are now on sale for the Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioner's Workshop (19 May 2017). Tickets will be on sale until 15 May 2017 unless sold out earlier - book now to avoid disappointment.

The one day workshop is an opportunity for practitioners, students and those interested in historical archaeology to explore best practice, innovations and technology as well as recent historical archaeology projects in NSW. This year's theme is theme ‘views and interpretations – historical archaeology in NSW.’ The day will include keynote speakers, papers, practical demonstrations and discussions all related to current practice in historical archaeology.

Please visit: www.trybooking.com to book your seat.

Heritage Branch, Department of the Environment (Cwlth), compiled by Richard Morrison

The Minister, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, has announced that, this year, an extension to the current protection afforded only to shipwrecks, plane wrecks, Indigenous heritage sites and other underwater cultural sites, under the Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976), will be made under a new Underwater Cultural Heritage Act.

It was noted that this change will mean the historic sites will be registered on the Australian National Shipwrecks Database, and all access will require a permit, which acts as a deterrent to vandalism and theft. Additionally noted was that this would broaden and improve the protection of Australia's underwater history using the principles set down by the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and it will also enable Australia to pursue ratification of the convention.

For further information see http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/frydenberg/media-releases/mr20161129.html