‘THE PAST MATTERS’ Rock Art & Indigenous Heritage Workshop

The Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative organised a one-day workshop on Friday 20th May 2016 on heritage preservation approaches with a particular focus on Rock Art and Indigenous heritage. The following provides some background in planning the day, and overview of the workshop supported by Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle Library & the Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative.

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WHY HAVE A WORKSHOP?
Cultural Collections at the UON has been collecting, archiving and sharing knowledge about Aboriginal cultural heritage for many decades. For 20 years Gionni di Gravio (University archivist) has supported research of Aboriginal cultural heritage and rock art in the Hunter Valley. Indigenous cultural heritage has been the concern of academics and the alumni of the university and the wider community. Addressing these concerns the Coal River Working Party (now the “Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative”) was established in 2003, with the aims to discuss and share knowledge about Aboriginal cultural heritage. The interest in the Aboriginal cultural heritage in the region was elevated due to events that unfolded at the KFC site in Hunter Street, Newcastle, when Aboriginal artefacts were found, at the heart of Newcastle. See HERE for further information.

The case attracted wide public attention and interest in Aboriginal heritage. It also raised issues regarding the Aboriginal Heritage Act in general and protection of discovered artefacts in particular. The organising group’s understanding was that in general, there has been very little in the way of education around Aboriginal cultural heritage. However, Amir Mogadam’s interest and specialisation in conservation, and predominantly rock art prompted the workshop. We thought would be a great opportunity to join with others (with experience in Indigenous rock art) to have a workshop specific to this area, as well as have other speakers (on other aspects of Aboriginal heritage).

We didn’t call for papers! But saw a need for a workshop. We identified presenters known to us, many of them had already presented at CRWP/HHI meetings.

WORKSHOP AIMS
– Better understand existing knowledge of Indigenous cultures
– Share knowledge about Aboriginal cultural heritage/rock art
– Bring individuals and communities together who care about Indigenous cultural heritage
– Ideas for future projects to be shared
– Opportunity to network and form collaborations
– Support Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to build new knowledge about Indigenous culture
– Promote care of Australia’s ancient culture

PREPARATION FOR WORKSHOP
-Liaising with Aboriginal communities. Key person was Dr Greg Blyton from UON Wollotuka Institute. Invited Prof John Maynard to speak (unfortunately not available).
– Workshop promoted via email to Aboriginal groups and key representatives e.g. Guraki committee of Newcastle Council, YAPUG pathway program.
– UONCC WordPress was primarily used to promote speakers, other social media was UONCC Facebook, twitter and Lost Newcastle Facebook (over 20 000 followers).
– Handout available on the day with bio’s on each speaker and contact details.
– Morning/afternoon tea, and lunch (funded by UON Library)
– Workshop was free to attend, we wanted to attract students and others who may otherwise not have come along, due to the cost.

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE DAY
– 55-60 attendees, from government depts. e.g. Office of Environment & Heritage, Aboriginal people working in gov. depts., various Aboriginal groups and communities, UON staff/academics, students, general community members, professional architects and archaeologists.
– The MC was Dr Bernie Curran discussed the background of the workshop, and the aims
– Entire day was recorded, including question time and general discussion to be posted on UONCC WordPress.
– There was a lot of networking going on over morning/afternoon tea and lunch.

KEY DISCUSSION POINTS
– Recent perspectives in rock art management and advocacy
– Indigenous perspectives on the cultural heritage and its preservation
– The importance of the Australian rock art and its position in the global context
– Methods of rock art documentation
– Future perspective in the preservation of rock art.
– How to make Indigenous heritage meaningful and relevant (planning, all communities)
– Why it is important to care for Australia’s cultural heritage
– Global significance of Australia’s Aboriginal cultural heritage
– Can new technology (virtual & augmented reality) help raise awareness and be an educational tool in terms of Aboriginal heritage.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS
– One attendee was concerned with the lack of consultation with Aboriginal communities in terms of rock art documentation, interpretation and making publicly available.
– Attendees were very respectful of others viewpoints.
– There was plenty of time for discussion after each speaker (30 mins + 10 mins worked well)- there were no pressure to wind up sessions, and program ran to time.
– Overheard discussions during breaks about some of the difficulties and hurdles working on Aboriginal heritage projects, and the fragmentation within Aboriginal communities, the differing viewpoints in terms of Aboriginal history, ‘who owns’ – not always seen as heritage to be shared.

FEEDBACK
Feedback on the day was positive, attendees seemed to enjoy the workshop and encouraged in terms of new knowledge available.“Congratulations on planning and hosting the Rock Art symposium on Friday.  It was a great success.  We need more events like this.” – From UON academic.
“Enjoyed the two papers I was able to attend, and meeting other participants. Thanks for organising a great event.” – From UON academic. “It was a great workshop. I enjoyed the day and the company.” – Educator (via Facebook). “What a great day Bravo! We need more workshops like this saturated with significance!”- Heritage advocate (via Facebook)

WORKSHOP PROGRAM
Registration 8-00am for 8.30 start

CHAIR Dr Bernie Curran

Dr Amir Mogadam
Kulturpolitiks, the Question of Conservation
Dr. Amir Mogadam is a University of Newcastle’s conservator. Amir works on the topics of conservation, Middle Eastern Studies and history, and prior to 2008 worked on international projects in preservation of world heritage sites. His works have been presented and published in the prestigious international forums in Europe and New Zealand. Contact amir.mogadam@newcastle.edu.au

Dr Greg Blyton
Conservation from an Indigenous perspective
Dr Greg Blyton is an Indigenous senior lecturer, historian and researcher at the Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle, where he specialises in Aboriginal history, health and social justice. He has worked extensively throughout many parts of Australia as a registered nurse and health worker, and is a strong advocate of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Contact Greg.blyton@newcastle.edu.au

Gionni di Gravio & Dr Ann Hardy
Indigenising the City: Embodying Aboriginal knowledge and wisdom into planning frameworks to create sustainable cities of the future
Gionni Di Gravio is the archivist for the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections based in Auchmuty Library, 2016 marks 20 years as an archivist at the UON. He is the chair of Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative/Coal River Working Party and councillor of the Australian Society of Archivists. Contact Gionni.digravio@newcastle.edu.au
Dr Ann Hardy is Historian, Creative Industries & Digital Humanities Projects Co-ordinator at the UON’s Cultural Collections. She is a former social worker and has a strong commitment to historical and archival research of the Hunter region, with new digital media platforms, and the oral history tradition. Currently co-ordinates the Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative/Coal River Working Party.

Dr Jillian Huntley
Colouring colonisation – the emergence of rock art and modern human dispersal to Australia
Dr Jillian Huntley is an archaeologist who specialises in the scientific analysis of rock art and the shelter/cave environments that house it. Based in Newcastle, Jillian is engaged in ongoing multidisciplinary projects across northern Australia and Indonesia, and conducts rock art research and conservation projects along the east coast, particularly within the Sydney Basin. Her talk is based on recent research she has undertaken on the early human records of Sahul and Wallacea.

ABSTRACT: Australia is the earliest end point for modern human dispersal out of Africa more than 50 thousand years ago. Our Australasian region has been at the forefront of early finds of highly complex behaviors such as deep sea fishing and the production of figurative art 35-40 thousand years ago. Australia has a globally unique record, created exclusively by fully behaviorally modern people at the same time as the ‘symbolic revolution’ in the European Upper Paleaolithic. Australasia therefore provides a unique opportunity to test prevailing ideas about the timing and materials signature of fully modern humanity. In this presentation I will review evidence for the emergence and dispersal of rock art globally and explore the role recent discoveries in Indonesia and northern Australia as a current focus for human evolutionary research. Contact huntleyj@tpg.com.au

Dr Bernadette Drabsch
Visualising and Contextualising the rock art sites of the Hunter: Conservation through Education
Dr Bernadette Drabsch has an academic background in Ancient History, Classical Languages and Natural History Illustration and has volunteered on archaeological digs in Jordan, which lead to her PhD of the ancient wall paintings from Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan’. She currently teaches the theoretical component of the Natural History Illustration and has developed course curriculum in this area. Contact Bernadette.Drabsch@newcastle.edu.au

Emeritus Professor John Fryer
Recording Rock Art: Techniques and Experiences Locally and in UK
John Fryer is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Newcastle. He came to the UON 1974, was promoted to Professor in 1991 later became Head of School of Engineering. Since retiring 12 yrs ago, he has undertaken forensic investigations for the NSW Police Force and other law enforcement agencies using his academic speciality involving close-range photogrammetry. Contact john.fryer@newcastle.edu.au

Materials Related to Emeritus Professor Fryer’s Presentation (These materials have also been incorporated into the video of the presentation):

Powerpoint: Recording and Modeling an Aboriginal Cave Painting: With and Without Laser Scanning by John Fryer, Jim Chandler & Sabry El-Hakim (19.3MB)

Powerpoint: Recording Petroglyphs by Dr Jim Chandler, Loughborough University, UK & Professor John Fryer, University of Newcastle, Australia. (4.5MB)

The Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Project by Paul Bryan, Metric Survey Team Leader & Head of the Photogrammetric Unit English Heritage, York. (13.1MB PDF)

AutoDesk 123D Catch: How accurate is it? by Jim Chandler and John Fryer (192KB PDF)

Emu Cave (Image Courtesy of John Fryer)

Emu Cave (Image Courtesy of John Fryer)

Emu Cave (Image Courtesy of John Fryer)

Emu Cave (Image Courtesy of John Fryer)

 

Zebedee-CSIRO Hand Held Laser Scanner

Zebedee-CSIRO Hand Held Laser Scanner

Phone Scanner app from ETH Zurich

Well, T., Hancock, G., Fryer, J. “Using laboratory simulations and gravestone measurements to estimate rates of sandstone weathering in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia.” Paper submitted to Environmental Geology, 2007.

Tim Davidson
Virtual Heritage: Experiencing the past through Virtual Reality
Timothy Davidson is Creative Director of Virtual Perspective, he has over 10 yrs experience within the 3D animation, visualisation and digital media fields and is currently exploring how virtual reality and augmented reality can be applied to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, history and cultural heritage. Contact tim@virtualperspective.com.au

BONUS Presentation – Carol Carter (with Allan Chawner) – Photographic Reflections of Aboriginal Sites across three decades

Since the workshop we were contacted by Nicholas Hall (Indigenous Rock Art Workshop Co-ordinator) from the National Museum of Australia about ways to look ahead to new possibilities for collaborative efforts from various organisations and institutions nationally. Nicholas informed that a workshop will be held at the Museum on 29 June 2016, and of a book  Rock Art: A Cultural Treasure at Risk. How we can protect the valuable and vulnerable heritage of rock art by the Getty Conservation Institute. Nicholas is contactable at  Nicholas.hall@nma.gov.au

Members of the Public are welcome to attend this free session

Contact Ann Hardy 49215824 or 0438509139 on ann.hardy@newcastle.edu.au .

For location see MAP for location of Auchmuty Library.

Kindly supported by Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle Library & the Hunter (Living) History Initiative

Other Sources

UON Indigenous Online Resource –  The Wollotuka Institute has endeavoured to provide staff, students and community with a comprehensive list of online resources to provide the user with a greater knowledge base, understanding and awareness of Indigenous cultures, lifestyles and issues.

Yengo Country:A place of cultural and spiritual awakening.  Garry Jones, 2009.

African Rock Art: research, digital outputs and heritage management conference, 4th-5th November 2016, British Museum. For further information visit website: www.africanrockartconference.com

A magic moment between Vera and TROVE

During a marathon six hour oral history interview on 10 March 2016 with Mrs Vera Deacon, Dr Ann Hardy asked her about a letter she penned back in the 1940s to the Newcastle Morning Herald.

Vera had not been able to find it, and couldn’t remember why she even wrote it. But it was important to her. So while the interview continued, we ducked off to another room to do a search on my phone for her letter in TROVE.

"Postwar Plans" by Vera Frances Pember (Letter to the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate Saturday 6th November 1943, page 6 - Thanks TROVE)

“Postwar Plans” by Vera Frances Pember (Letter to the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate Saturday 6th November 1943, page 6 – Thanks TROVE)

And this was Vera’s face when we found it for her again, after 73 years!

Vera finding her letter in TROVE after 73 years.

Vera finding her letter in TROVE after 73 years.

Vera Deacon had written to the Newcastle Morning Herald as a 16 year old, in the middle of World War II, under her maiden name of Vera Frances Pember, calling for better resources for community housing, education and culture, especially for young people.

POSTWAR PLANS

Sir – The winning of the war and postwar reconstruction should be planned synonymously.
As one of the younger members of the community, the improvements I should like to see are –
Improvement of the housing system. Good clean homes make for a happier and healthier nation.
Education: This concerns me greatly. I should like to see a general improvement. Educational facilities are exceedingly poor and do not offer much to pupils without money. All education should be free, there should be free libraries, more recreational centres, and an elevated standard in music over the air and in films.
Given the chance, the youth of Australia will make this great heritage a better nation.

VERA
FRANCES PEMBER.
 Moscheto Island.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133422275

It is great to see the joy that finding historical treasures brings to people. This was one of those magic moments.

Local Treasures: Newcastle’s Public Infrastructure in 1829

Return of all the Buildings and Establishments at New Castle reported by Mr Rodd the Superintendent of Public Works As being the Property of Government shewing their present actual state etc. August 27th 1829 no. 147/143 (NRS 905, Letter No 32/4776 [4/2146] Courtesy of NSW State Records)

Return of all the Buildings and Establishments at New Castle reported by Mr Rodd the Superintendent of Public Works
As being the Property of Government shewing their present actual state etc. August 27th 1829 no. 147/143 (NRS 905, Letter No 32/4776 [4/2146] Courtesy of NSW State Records)

Day Shift – 18/02/2014 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Dr Ann Hardy and Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle (Australia)

Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist of the University of Newcastle and Dr Ann Hardy discuss their recent trip to NSW State Records to photograph three bundles of hitherto lost documents of Newcastle in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The documents relate to an inventory of public buildings in the township that were being readied for what appears to have been the first privatisation prior to the Australian Agricultural Company take over of the Government Mines. They provide a digitised copy and transcription of one of these documents, and the importance of this information to the creation of the 3D early Newcastle model currently being constructed by artist Charles Martin for the University’s Coal River Working Party.

Broadcast Notes:

At the end of 2012, historian Rosemary Melville provided Gionni Di Gravio with a photocopy of an 1829 document entitled “Return of all the Buildings and Establishments at New Castle reported by Mr Rodd the Superintendent of Public Works As being the Property of Government shewing their present actual state etc. August 27th 1829 no. 147/143″
(NSW State Records – NRS 905, Letter No 32/4776 [4/2146])

The photocopy was very hard to read in places, so he asked his colleagues at NSW State Records to locate the original, in order to get a better copy. A couple of weeks ago they rang to say they were unable to locate the original, but found another, that was a copy, along with annotations. This was great news. But the very next day, they rang again to say that they not only relocated the original, but three bundles of files relating to it. Everyone was overjoyed. Many thanks to the staff of NSW State Records in Sydney especially Fiona Sullivan, Gail Davis and Chris Shergold. And thanks also Senior Archivist Janette Pelosi, whose previous “dream job” reading her way through the 1832 correspondence created the entry in the NSW State Records documentation which led her colleagues to locate the file.

NRS 905 - Letter No 32 - 4776 - [4-2146] bundle (Image courtesy of Fiona SullivanNSW State Records)

NRS 905 – Letter No 32 – 4776 – [4-2146] bundle (Image courtesy of Fiona Sullivan NSW State Records)

NRS 905, Letter No 32-4776 [4-2146] - Cover page of return (Image Courtesy of Fiona Sullivan, NSW State Records)

The full 1829 document along with transcription can be downloaded here:

Return of all the Buildings and Establishments at New Castle reported by Mr Rodd the Superintendent of Public Works As being the Property of Government shewing their present actual state etc. August 27th 1829 no. 147/143 with Transcription by Gionni Di Gravio (13MB PDF)

Descriptions of selected buildings and features located on the 1830 Armstrong Plan, and overlayed on Google Earth.

A selection of sites across the township of Newcastle on the 1830 Armstrong plan and overlayed in Google Earth

A selection of sites across the township of Newcastle on the 1830 Armstrong plan and overlayed in Google Earth

A selection of features and their descriptions, along with 3D virtual images provided by Charles Martin. More on Charles work can be found here:

Light house

Sir Thomas Mitchell's 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013. Sir Thomas Mitchell’s 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013.

Sir Thomas Mitchell’s 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013.

Item No. 29

Where is it? Light House Situated on the Headland and South east of the Town

Who occupies it? Signal and Fire men

What condition is it in? This is an octagon weather boarded building designed after the Chinese style of architecture. The top part is perfectly weather proof. The ceiling of the lower floors all down owing to the rain finding its way in at the step which surrounds the building at the height of the lower story it not being covered by lead or copper but only with pitch which has melted away. The top mast of the Signal Staff is decayed and requires replacing. The Telegraph post is split and requires securing by means of two screw bolts. The platform of the Battery on which is six iron 12 Pounders mounted on old fashioned wooden garrison carriages requires, repairs as do also the carriages. The Guns, carriages, signal staff, Telegraph and Light House wants painting.

The Wharf

Sir Thomas Mitchell's 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013. Newcastle Wharf and view up Watt Street rendered by Charles Martin 2013.

Sir Thomas Mitchell’s 1828 sketch rendered by Charles Martin 2013.
Newcastle Wharf and view up Watt Street rendered by Charles Martin 2013.

Item No.  34

Where is it? The Wharf [Where situate is not noted, but once stood at the extremity of Watt Street (formerly George Street)]. Now under the roundabout adjacent to Newcastle Railway Station.

What condition is it in? The Wharf is of Plank supported by Beams resting  upon Piles, which are  nearly eaten through by the worm  –  [100?] by 23 feet.  The steps of wood require to be renewed having decayed and quite dangerous.

 

The Watch House

Scene showing Watch House in centre, 3D rendered by Charles Martin

Scene showing Watch House in centre, 3D rendered by Charles Martin

Item No. 27

Where is it? Watch House

Who occupies it? Police and Bell man of the Public Works Department

What condition is it in? This Building 27 x 21 feet weather boarded with brick lined noggin consisting of two rooms and two cells for one of the latter requires repair at the back is a small octagon tower containing a Bell to summon the working parties some of the weather Boards of the Tower want replacing.

The Lumber Yard

Convict Lumber Yard rendered by Charles Martin 2013

Convict Lumber Yard rendered by Charles Martin 2013

Item No.  15 (should be 16)

Where is it? Lumber Yard situated at the north end of Watt St. and the East Side Newcastle Wharf

Who occupies it? Public Works Department

What condition is it in? This Yard is separated from that of the Prisoners Barracks by a high wooden fence on the east side, on the north side by a similar fence, on the west by a high brick wall rough cast.  Its various shops to the south side thus forming the yard which covers a space of ground 186 x 173 feet.  The Carpenters shed is 45 x 15feet and requires saddle boards the whole length and a few weatherboards replacing at the closed end.  The Blacksmiths shop is 70 x 30 feet of Brick and well constructed but requires new shingling entirely.  The Watchman of the Lumber Yard has a small brick lodge within the walls 12 ft. square at the entrance into the yard in good repair.  There is adjoining  a small tools house 9 x 6 feet and a lime shed 30 x 9 feet of logs in good repair.

What do we propose be done with it? I proposed partitioning off 25 feet from the west end of the Blacksmiths Shop for the purpose of making a store and two small rooms for the Superintendent and Clerk’s Offices.

The Gaol

Newcastle Goal, once overlooking Newcastle Ocean Baths rendered by Charles Martin 2013

Newcastle Goal, once overlooking Newcastle Ocean Baths rendered by Charles Martin 2013

Item No.  28

Where is it? Gaol is situated on the rising ground to the Eastward of the Town

Who occupies it? Criminal Prisoners and Debtors

What condition is it in? This Building is 87 x 37 feet of stone rough cast having two stories an entrance porch in which is two Gaolers rooms surrounded by a high brick wall rough cast the whole covering a space of ground 140 x 105 feet. Three rooms and ten [cells] on the ground floor and seven rooms above require some repairs viz some shingling new Iron bars to strong room ground floor. The inner wall is a crack indicating a settlement but of no great consequence some flags require relaying. There is a considerable crack and settlement in the outer brick wall at the north east corner, which ought to be supported at the angle by buttresses. The Gaoler complains of the Debtors escaping from the yard owing to the Cook house and Privy being situated too near the wall.

What do we propose be done with it? In the event of a future arrangement by which this Building should not be required as a Gaol it might be converted into a Military Barracks.

The Church

Christ Church and surrounding landscape 1818 (3D Art by Charles Martin)

Christ Church and surrounding landscape 1818 (3D Art by Charles Martin)

Item No.  36

Where is it? The Church

What condition is it in? A stone Building the outside Plastered. A Square tower at the East End, surrounded with a small shingled spire. At the West end circular. The roof over the circular end appears very much sunk. I should think the rafters had given way –  The tower spreads at the top 10 inches being split, and is much out of the perpendicular. There is a crack in the circular end and the Plastering is fallen from the outside of the west side of the Tower.

The Pier or Break Water

Macquarie Pier circa 1818 and under construction (3D Art by Charles Martin)

Macquarie Pier circa 1818 and under construction (3D Art by Charles Martin)

Item No.  33

Where is it? The Pier or Break water

What condition is it in? This is of Stone, it is raised too high for a Break water, and I conclude from this circumstance, was not contemplated for that purpose when undertaken. But rather as a Promenade to the Nobby – its being continued at its present height, would be very injudicious rendering it more liable to damage in stormy weather; it should not be more than 8 feet above high water mark, but it is now twelve feet and is higher at it termination that at the commencement ,which is also the [inverse?], since it should be lower  in the middle than the ends, by way of an inclined plane to facilitate the progress of the works.

The interior and exterior slopes are not sufficient. I do not consider these to be any natural obstacle to prevent the continuance of this work having taken the soundings immediately in the line of its directions as well as at some distance on each side of that line generally finding two fathoms, and in no case more than two and three quarters. –

In communication with Mr Livingstone the Master of the Lord Liverpool  Packet who has had the opportunity of I believeing some years experience and observation and also having had the benefit of the nautical experience – Lieutenants Caswell and Lieut. Wood both of the Royal Navy –  I concur most fully with them in opinion that it would be most advisable to continue the works for the good of the Harbour; The Channel into which is now rapidly filling up but would be most decidedly cleared by the force and direction given to the water, when the Boat Passage shall be stopped.

There is a probability of free stone upon Mr Platts property which I visited and inspected, close to the River side about six miles from Newcastle,  and I recommend it should be opened, having reason to believe good Building stone and flogging, might be got there a great desideratum for Newcastle, the stone being unfit for building though hardening under water –  In the event of a quarry being found it would be best for the upper part of the Break water to be built with it.

I apprehend Mr Platt would not object as it must greatly benefit his Property. An Overseer and ten men would make sufficient progress in uncovering it in a fortnight or three weeks to enable a better judgement to be formed of it.

 No 1 Windmill

Item No.  30

Where is it? No. 1 Windmill & House situated on the rising ground to the South West of the Town

Who occupies it? Mr Riley

What condition is it in? A Brick Mill rough cast circular 32 feet Diameter and 38 feet altitude. The sails and main shaft have been carried away but the materials for new sails are upon the premises. A new main shaft and driving wheel are already put up. A few shingles wanting and some of the bricks are much decayed. There is attached a brick noggin Cottage 48 x 13 feet almost down.

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist
18th February 2014