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National Trust (Australia)

Registrations are now open for the 2018 Australian Heritage Festival !

The Australian Heritage Festival is Australia’s biggest annual community-driven heritage festival. In April and May 2017, thousands of event organisers and volunteers across Australia managed almost 1,200 events to celebrate our fantastic heritage, history and culture. In 2018 we hope the festival will be even more inclusive and community inspired. We've provided lots of useful information, tips and help to ensure your event is a success.

This year we are focusing on what makes a place special, encouraging us all to embrace the future by sharing the strengths of our cultural identities. The 2018 Australian Heritage Festival theme is My Culture, My Story celebrating the diversity of cultures that have shaped our shared heritage. The Festival is an opportunity to reflect on the places where we live, work, and travel, and why they are special, celebrating our many diverse and distinctive cultures. So we call on communities to treasure their local cultural heritage by telling their stories and celebrating their traditions, including storytelling, music, food, dance, traditional games, and crafts.

What are the cultures of your region, and how are they celebrated? What are the stories of your community? Do you know an untold story that should be shared? What is the role of new generations in celebrating and protecting our heritage?

Please join us and get involved for what will be an amazing celebration.

The Australian Heritage Festival is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Trusts Partnership Program.

Note: Some States may have additional event organiser information and requirements.



Compiled by Alison Frappell and Blog Editor

Recent excavations in Paramatta have revealed the remains of the basement of the historic Wheatsheaf Hotel which was built in 1801, and opened only 12 years after Sydney was settled by Europeans. The excavation also uncovered remnants of a wheelwrights workshop and convict cabin, and a bakery, as well as associated artefacts. The site is being preserved, with the a new high rise development above it altering designs to allow for public access to the site. For more information, see the below links:

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/

https://www.archaeology.org/news/

https://www.9news.com.au/national/

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/



Alison Frappell

On Friday 1 December 2017 we were pleased to welcome Prof Daniel Schávelzon and Dr Patricia Frazzi to The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, following their afternoon tour of The Rocks with Dr Wayne Johnson. We were delighted that the Argentinian Consul-General in Sydney, Mr Hector Raul Pelaez, was also able to join us.


Prof Daniel Schávelzon, Dr Patricia Frazzi and Dr Wayne Johnson

Prof Schávelzon and Dr Frazzi gave our members a fascinating talk about their work on the excavations of a Nazi hideout or refuge complex (image below), deep in the jungle of what is now Teyú Cuaré Park, Misiones, in Argentina. Prof Schávelzon explored the complex of three main buildings and several ancillary buildings, noting how the buildings were constructed by local labour interpreting Germanic designs and construction methods.

Four garbage pits were excavated with thousands of artefacts found, dating the site to the 1940s - 1950s, as well as a collection of coins (image below) from various German-occupied European nations.

An intriguing pit, which initially the team thought may be a grave, showed evidence of burial of an object, a cubic metre in size, which at some later point was retrieved. A belt with a Spanish military buckle (image below) belonging to General Franco’s army, in use till 1975, was deliberately buried when the pit was refilled.

Prof Schávelzon explored how the lack of historical records was ameliorated by a wealth of local stories, including building materials being reused in local housing. However, he noted that some of those local memories turned out to be recollections from newspaper and magazine articles from 1976 when the site was rediscovered, and commented on how recent international media has picked out the storyline it finds most newsworthy. The practice of historical archaeology plays a very important role in better understanding such curious sites.


Dr Frazzi recounted how her team worked in very difficult conditions to conserve significant but extremely fragile artefacts (image above), showing the remarkable transformation of matted lumps of paper into a page of newspaper and a postcard of Hitler and Mussolini. Their careful research on unusual finds, such as a fragment of expensive lamp glass from Germany, was most impressive.

For those who weren’t able to make the talk a copy of the IJHA paper about the excavations is available here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10761-017-0442-1



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!



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.