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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




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.



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.



Alison Frappell

The Australian Society for Historical Archaeology welcomes to Sydney Dr. Daniel Schávelzon (Director, Centre for Urban Archaeology, Argentina) and Dr. Patricia Frazzi (Specialist in the Conservation and Restoration of Archaeological Heritage) who have kindly agreed to meet with ASHA members on the evening of Friday 1st December 2017. ASHA extends a warm welcome to members of ICOMOS and the Nicholson Museum who would like join in.

Daniel and Patricia will give a presentation about their work discovering, preserving and sharing the Historical Archaeology of Buenos Aires and Argentina, including the evocative excavations of a probable Nazi Hideout in the remote jungle within Teyú Cuaré Park, Misiones, on the border with Paraguay, which recently attracted international media attention.

When: Friday 1 December 2017, doors open 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start
Where: The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, Sydney Harbour YHA, 110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
RSVP: This event is free, however seating is limited and we need to confirm numbers for catering. Please RSVP to secretary@asha.org.au

For more information about the two presenters, please see: http://abcnews.go.com/International/believed-nazi-hideout-argentina-discovered-archaeologists/story?id=29838180



Caiti D'Gluyas

The next ASHA reading group is being hosted by Artefact Heritage and will be held on Thursday 30th November at 6.00pm. This is a semi-regular (quarterly) opportunity to catch-up with other historical archaeologists and discuss themes of interest.

Facilitator: Adele ZubrzyckaSenior Heritage Consultant, Artefact Heritage
Topic: Industrial Archaeology and Heritage
Time and Location:
6pm, Thursday 30th November 2017
Artefact Heritage Offices (Level 4 Building B, 35 Saunders Street, Pyrmont)
There will be an Artefact Heritage Representative at the ground floor to allow you access to Level 4.

Primary Readings
Is Industrial Heritage greater than or equal to the Heritage of the Industrial Revolution? – Iain Stuart
Transplanted technologies and rural relics: Australian Industrial Archaeology and questions that matter – Eleanor Conlin Casella

Secondary Readings
Industrial Archaeology, from Industrial Heritage Re-tooled – Patrick Martin Process Recording at Industrial Sites – Brian Malaws
Engineering and Industrial Heritage – NSW OEH
Approaches to Industrial Archaeology in Australia, from Industrial Archaeology in Australia, Rural Industry – Judy Birmingham, Ian Jack and Dennis Jean

The event is free and open to anyone who is interested, however, RSVPs are essential (to secretary@asha.org.au). Please also get in touch if you are having difficulties sourcing the papers.



The Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation

The Inaugural Memorial Lecture in Honour of Emeritus Professor J Basil Hennessy (1925-2013), presented by the Council of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation, will be given by Dr Stephen Bourke on Wednesday 8th November, 2017. The event will take place at 6.30pm, in General Lecture Theatre 1 which is in the Main Quad of Sydney University, with light refreshments afterwards in the Nicholson Museum.

J. Basil Hennessy AO was Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology (1970-1990) and Foundation Director of NEAF (1986-1991). After Undergraduate study at Sydney (1947-49), postgraduate research in the Middle East (1950-1952) and several years teaching at Sydney University (1953-61) under the legendary Jim Stewart, Hennessy read his Doctorate at Oxford (1962-64) before launching his field career in Jerusalem at British School Director (1965- 70).

He returned to Australia in 1970, and effectively re-instituted the teaching of Near Eastern Archaeology at Sydney University after a ten-year hiatus. He was confirmed as Edwin Cuthbert Hall Professor in 1973, and thereafter developed hugely influential courses in Levantine and Cypriot archaeology, which produced most of the current batch of Australian Near Eastern scholars active today. As well as his teaching, Hennessy directed two hugely important excavation projects in Jordan, the first at Chalcolithic Teleilat Ghassul (1975-77) and the second at the long-lived ancient city of Pella of the Decapolis (1978-90).

This first Memorial Lecture will celebrate Hennessy’s many achievements in the world of Near Eastern Archaeology, and call for the setting up of a Fund, administered through NEAF, to support the ongoing research and publication of the many works Hennessy set in train.

The inaugural lecture will be given by Dr. Stephen Bourke, current NEAF Treasurer and Director of the Pella Excavations since 1992. Stephen also led four seasons of renewed excavations at Teleilat Ghassul in the 1990s. The lecture will outline Hennessy’s life in Near Eastern Archaeology, from his first work in Turkey and Cyprus, to his seminal meeting with Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho in 1952, which shaped his life in arc

We hope that many of you can come and learn about the man who was the founder and driving force behind the establishment of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation.

Although this event is free we would greatly appreciate if you could RSVP your attendance for catering purposes: Phone +61 2 9351 4151, Fax +61 2 9114 0921, or Emmail neaf.archaeology@sydney.edu.au



Fenella Atkinson

You are cordially invited to the Twelfty-Eleventh Annual Archaeologists' Picnic (AAP).

Sunday 17th December 2017, 1pm. Enmore Park (bounded by Enmore Rd, Victoria Rd, Llewellyn St, and Black St) Marrickville, Sydney.

Bring your family, friends, pets. Bring a plate. In case of inclement weather, the honourable organising committee suggest you go to the pub instead (Vic on the Park and Golden Barley are both nearby, the Vic is dog-friendly).

Lucky door prize is an ARC Linkage grant, and runner-up prize is a little hollow feeling inside. Non-attendance will incur penalties as outlined in subsection 23(7).



National Trust of Australia (Vic)

On Saturday 28 October, the Greater Shepparton City Council and their Heritage Advisory Committee will be hosting an open day. The day aims to create awareness and understanding of the Greater Shepparton diverse and unique range of heritage places. There are three ways to visit the sites: bus tours, walking tours and independent visiting.


This free event will take place from 10am to 4pm at various sites across the Council, for more details see: www.greatershepparton.com.au