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ASHA NEWS



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.



Bronwyn Woff

Excavations of the Harrietville Chinese Mining site are currently being undertaken in Victoria's gold field region. The one of the project's staff members, Melissa Dunk, is putting together regular blog posts on her wordpress site called Overseas Chinese Archaeology. The blog can be found here: https://oschinesearch.wordpress.com/ and contains updates on the excavations and the behind the scenes activities.



Bronwyn Woff

A resident of Maffra, VIC has recently been interviewed by the ABC network as an interest story on his collection of C20th century electronics. The early kettles (numbering between 1,500 and 2000), radios and other appliances and collectables are on display throughout his home, which he regularly opens for tours by interested groups.

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



Prof Richard Mackay

The Heritage Council of Victoria is considering the feasibility of preparing a new ‘Victorian Heritage Strategy’. The previous strategy – Victoria’s Heritage: Strengthening Our Communities – operated between 2006 and 2010, but in the period since there have been significant changes, which provide the context for considering a new Heritage Strategy.

Mackay Strategic (Richard Mackay) has been commissioned to prepare a ‘feasibility study’ which looks at the opportunities, scope and implications for a new Victorian Heritage Strategy. As part of this process, stakeholders in Victoria’s Heritage are being invited to use this short survey to express opinions about a new heritage strategy – the merits, issues, opportunities and priorities at the outset of the feasibility assessment.

The survey can be accessed here and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. (Please note that it is best to avoid Internet Explorer or to ensure that internet settings are Google compatible). Your contribution by 30 September would be greatly appreciated.



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Excavations 25 graves, which uncovered the remains of 27 individuals, has recently been completed at Milton cemetery in the south of New Zealands's South Island. The excavations are part of research being conducted in partnership with Tokomaririro Project 60 (TP60) and the Anglican Church. The research will look into the lives of the first settlers to the area - where they came from, what hardships they endured in life, and which current members of the town formerly known as Tokomairiro or Tokomairaro are related to them.

For more information, please see: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/08/16/42910/how-tough-was-life-in-colonial-new-zealand



Felicity Buckingham

These thin, plastic discs were recovered from a yard context in Lot 61 during the 2016 excavation of the old CUB complex, near the corner of Swanston and Queensberry streets, Melbourne. The above image shows record CUB2 11317 (scale in cm).

Tentatively interpreted as being promotional material (possibly badge blanks, based on size and shape), they read “MISS AUSTRALIAN AIR LEAGUE 1950” and include the Air League emblem of a winged shield. Small oxidized holes are present on all examples and may indicate they were held together by a pin or similar.


Multiple ‘blanks’, including CUB2 11317 (bottom, centre)

Originally named the ‘Air Mindedness Development League’, the Australian Air League (hereafter the ‘League’) was established in 1934 to promote “an interest in aviation both as a career or as a hobby in the youth of Australia”, and “to provide opportunities to develop good citizenship, teamwork and to develop ingenuity and resourcefulness of members” (https://www.airleague.com.au/about/history).

In September 1950, the League sponsored Miss Patricia Sheales, a 20 year old hair salon receptionist (Age, 12 Sep 1950, p. 1), as a contestant in the Miss Victoria quest (Age, 11 Sep 1950, p. 5). These blanks embody the hope that Patricia would go through to the national competition. Patricia then made a number of public appearances, including the League’s annual parade (Age, 2 Oct 1950, p. 4), the Caulfield races (Age, 23 Oct 1950, p. 8), and a ball (Argus, 2 Dec 1950, p. 8), as well as appearing in several promotional pieces of editorial, such as the image below of several Miss Victoria entrants (Advocate, 16 Dec 1950, p. 3).


Pat Sheales (back row, centre) and other Miss Victoria contestants (Advocate, 16 Dec 1950, p. 3)

Unfortunately, Patricia didn’t win the Victorian competition. However, no Miss Australia was crowned at all in 1950 (Age, 24 Feb 1951, p. 3), due to a dispute regarding the chaperone assigned to the previous year’s winner for her international tour (West Australian, 15 Apr 1950, p. 10). Formerly Miss NSW, the NSW branch of the competition backed the decision, and withheld finances unless another chaperone was appointed - the result being the cancellation of said tour outright, and the discontinuation of the competition until 1953.

These blanks were chosen for the light they shed on the youth organisations and popular culture of mid twentieth-century Australia, as well as for the questions they ask about the site. How was the League, the Miss Australia competition, or Patricia Sheales related to Lot 61? If these blanks were promotional items, they were not needed after the Miss Victoria competition in December 1950, and their yard location could suggest they were simply thrown away, and may not have any further relation to the site. Analysis is ongoing, and will hopefully help to answer some of these questions.

Felicity Buckingham, along with Zvonka Stanin, is currently analysing artefacts from the latest CUB dig for Alpha Archaeology, and can be contacted at felicitybuckingham@yahoo.com



Paul Macgregor, The Uncovered Past Institute

The Uncovered Past Institute will be undertaking the first archaeological excavation in Victoria of a Chinese mining settlement between 9th - 28th October 2017. For around thirty years from the late 1850s Harrietville was home to hundreds of Victoria’s Chinese gold miners. The largely undisturbed site includes mine workings, water races, building foundations, and gardens: a rare survivor of the heyday of Chinese gold mining in Victoria.

The project, happening over three weeks in October 2017, will be led by archaeologist Gordon Grimwade and run as a field school, and funded by public participation, along the lines of public field schools held overseas. It is an initiative of The Uncovered Past Institute, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2016 to run archaeology projects based on public participation. Students and members of the public are encouraged to participate in this excavation.

The project team includes archaeologists Gordon Grimwade, Melissa Dunk, Jennifer Chandler, Allison Carrol and Asa Ferrier; and historians Paul Macgregor, Diann Talbot and Andrew Swift.

Highlights of project participation include:
Intensive training, and participation in, fieldwork (site excavation, site surveying), and artefact processing (cleaning, recording, identifying and cataloguing).
A maximum of 4 participants for every supervising archaeologist in our team.
Guided history and heritage tours of the Upper Ovens Valley, focusing on mining history and the Chinese pioneers of the Valley.
Daily and evening workshops and lectures.
Working alongside some of the most experienced archaeologists and historians of Chinese heritage, and mining heritage, in Australia.
Learning how to identify Chinese artefacts such as ceramics, coins, bottles, foodstuffs and beverages, medicines and opium-smoking paraphernalia.
Being a part of archaeological discovery in one of the key areas of 19th century Chinese mining history in Australia.

For more information, please visit the project website:www.uncoveredpast.org.au/harrietville-chinese-mining-village/



Compiled by Bronwyn Woff

Excavations have now concluded at the site of the Carlton Hotel, Geelong. The excavations were carried out ahead of the construction of a new building for the National Disability Insurance Agency in Geelong’s CBD. Early domestic building footings were discovered at the back of the hotel, as well as a barrel cesspit. Artefacts of note included crockery related to the previous Union Inn Hotel, various pipes and a complete bone domino.

For more information, please see the following link:

www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/news/geelong/from-beneath-old-carlton-hotel-site-hints-of-gold-rush-era-lifestyle/





Felicity Buckingham and Zvonka Stanin

The bricks in the images above and below were recovered from the southern end of Lot 67 in the 2016 excavation of the old CUB complex, near the corner of Swanston and Queensberry streets, Melbourne. This excavation was undertaken by Alpha Archaeology for Scape. Chosen for their rarity (an unusual find in Australia, and perhaps outside of France), these bricks were part of feature 066, a chalky white hand-made brick construction that was initially interpreted as a fireplace within a cellar.


At least three of the feature’s surfaces were comprised of bricks made in Langeais, a town in central France - bearing the makers marks of “Desouches Hubert a Langeais” and “Alexis Lemesle a Langeais”. Initial online research suggests Hubert Desouches ran his business in the 1850s and was declared bankrupt in 1859 (http://en.patrimoine-de-france.com/indre-et-loire/langeais/briqueterie-9.php, accessed 1/08/2016). Alexis Lemesle also appeared to have brick works around the same time - 1853 to perhaps 1875 (http://www.actuacity.com/four-a-carreaux_m81946/, accessed 1/08/2015).


Excavation showed that the fireplace/feature 066 was most likely added after the construction of the original cellar - an awkward, retrofitted addition to the cellar flume, sitting on top of original foundations and built into the cellar wall. Unless reused/curated (e.g. as ballast), these dates suggest a possible 1850s construction date for the cellar (see below).


This area of Melbourne was first settled in the 1850s, with these earlier buildings demolished and replaced with brick terraces sometime before the mid 1880s. Although artifact analysis is ongoing, it is possible that feature 066, and the French bricks added to it after its initial construction, may represent the earliest, c. 1850s to c. 1870s of occupation of Lot 67.

Images provided by Alpha Archaeology, showing artefacts CUB2 04537, CUB2 04538, CUB2 04539 and CUB2 04632. CUB2 04537 and CUB2 04538 with multiple finger print marks. Site image: CUB Scape, Lot 67, view south east facing Swanston Street, showing showing feature 066 at far wall of cellar. Photo credit Zvonka Stanin

Felicity and Zvonka are currently analysing the artefacts from the latest CUB dig for Alpha Archaeology, and can be contacted at either felicitybuckingham@yahoo.com or zstanin50@gmail.com

Melissa Dunk

Atherton Chinatown is arguably one of the most thoroughly researched Chinese sites in North Queensland. The strong Chinese presence at Atherton was mainly within the designated area outside of the main township and over time, has not been subject to development. Several archaeological studies have been conducted in the Atherton Chinatown district from 1981 to 2015. The the majority of the collection related to this site were discovered in these excavations, but the collection is also made up of items that have been given back to the museum from the public, object which are presumed to have originally come from the site.



This complete bottle belongs to the Atherton Chinatown assemblage, which contains over 2,000 artefacts and is managed by the National Trust of Queensland.

The bottle’s unique identifier is the embossed Japanese Katakana characters that wrap around the outside of the bottle. These characters triggered my memories of high school Japanese class.

In studying this bottle, I was struggling to work out the bottles use and contents by translating the Japanese Katakana characters. These characters were key as it is a Japanese syllabary for non-Japanese borrowed words. The characters on the bottle were ‘ru-bee nir-ki’ and they didn’t make much sense to me. Was it a person’s name: Ruby Nurkey? Was I reading it wrong?

With a little bit of web assistance, I searched for Japanese bottles and different types of bottles, and my ‘ah hah’ moment hit. If you read the characters from right to left, as Japanese is meant to be read, it transliterates to ‘kirin beeru’.

The bottle likely held beer manufactured by Kirin Beer which was established in Yokohama, Japan in 1885. FOr more information see: http://www.kirinholdings.co.jp/english/company/history/group/01.html.