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STRATEGIC REPORT

ON GREATER BENDIGO’S HISTORICAL ARTEFACTS

Prepared for the City of Greater Bendigo

Dr. Megan Cardamone

September 2017
Table of Contents

Table of Contents ............................................................................................................. 2


1. Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................... 7
2. Abbreviations ............................................................................................................... 8
3. Executive Summary ...................................................................................................... 9
4. Background & Context ................................................................................................ 10
5. Aims/Purpose ............................................................................................................. 16
6. Scope ......................................................................................................................... 16
7. Methodology .............................................................................................................. 16
8. General responses to the study ................................................................................... 18
9. Survey findings ........................................................................................................... 19
Summary of survey findings ................................................................................................... 19
Establishment & governance ....................................................................................................... 19
Members & personnel ................................................................................................................. 19
Content of the collections ............................................................................................................ 20
Collection management ............................................................................................................... 20
Premises ....................................................................................................................................... 20
Storage ......................................................................................................................................... 20
Exhibitions & Displays .................................................................................................................. 21
Public engagement ....................................................................................................................... 21
Conservation activities ................................................................................................................. 21
Support ......................................................................................................................................... 21
Successes ...................................................................................................................................... 22
Greatest challenges ...................................................................................................................... 22
Detailed analysis of survey findings ........................................................................................ 23
Establishment ........................................................................................................................ 23
Governance and membership................................................................................................. 23
Members & Personnel ........................................................................................................... 26
Members ...................................................................................................................................... 26
Personnel Numbers ...................................................................................................................... 27
Available museum skills and knowledge ...................................................................................... 28
Most significant issues the groups face in terms of skills and human resources: ....................... 32
Contents of the collections ..................................................................................................... 33
Total collection size (estimated)............................................................................................................. 33
Collection composition................................................................................................................. 35
Quantities of paper-based materials ...................................................................................................... 36
Quantities of objects/artefacts .............................................................................................................. 37

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Objects subject to legal obligations ............................................................................................. 39
Aboriginal items ..................................................................................................................................... 39
Firearms.................................................................................................................................................. 39
Most significant items .................................................................................................................. 40
Collection Management ......................................................................................................... 42
Collection Policy ........................................................................................................................... 42
Collection growth ......................................................................................................................... 44
Collection documentation ............................................................................................................ 44
Cataloguing................................................................................................................................... 45
Collection Imaging ........................................................................................................................ 47
Key challenges in collection management ................................................................................... 48
Premises ................................................................................................................................ 49
Legal arrangements ...................................................................................................................... 49
Heritage overlay ........................................................................................................................... 50
Security ......................................................................................................................................... 51
Premises suitability for housing objects....................................................................................... 52
Accessibility .................................................................................................................................. 53
Signage ......................................................................................................................................... 54
Main issues or problems with premises....................................................................................... 55
Storage ......................................................................................................................................... 56
Exhibitions & displays ............................................................................................................ 57
Permanent and temporary exhibits ............................................................................................. 57
Policies.......................................................................................................................................... 58
Importance of displaying collection ............................................................................................. 58
Percentage of the premises used to display items ...................................................................... 58
Lighting in display areas ............................................................................................................... 59
Nature of display facilities ............................................................................................................ 60
Key barriers to displaying more collection ................................................................................... 60
Key challenges for display ............................................................................................................ 61
Public engagement ................................................................................................................ 62
Public Opening Hours ................................................................................................................... 62
Visitors .......................................................................................................................................... 62
Groups & tours ............................................................................................................................. 63
Research requests ........................................................................................................................ 63
Promoting the group .................................................................................................................... 64
Social media & online ................................................................................................................... 65
Key Public Access Challenges ....................................................................................................... 66
Conservation activities ........................................................................................................... 67
Conservation treatment ............................................................................................................... 67
Preventative conservation techniques......................................................................................... 67
Pest management ........................................................................................................................ 68
Cleaning/maintenance schedule .................................................................................................. 68
Preservation Needs Assessments................................................................................................. 68

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Disaster management .................................................................................................................. 69
Support ................................................................................................................................. 70
Areas needing support ................................................................................................................. 70
Organisations group has worked with ......................................................................................... 71
Organisations group would work with ......................................................................................... 72
Organisations have received support from .................................................................................. 73
Industry support ........................................................................................................................... 73
Current support from Council ...................................................................................................... 75
Relationship with Council ............................................................................................................. 76
Successes ............................................................................................................................... 77
Greatest challenges................................................................................................................ 77
Survey Conclusions ................................................................................................................ 78

10. Case Studies ............................................................................................................. 80


Case study 1: Bendigo Historical Society ................................................................................. 80
The BHS Collection ....................................................................................................................... 82
Current Storage ............................................................................................................................ 85
Deaccessioning ............................................................................................................................. 91
Extra storage needed ................................................................................................................... 92
Lack of volunteers ........................................................................................................................ 94
A front-end venue ........................................................................................................................ 95
Promoting the Society ................................................................................................................ 102
A permanent home .................................................................................................................... 103
Case study 2: Heathcote McIvor Historical Society ................................................................ 104
HMHS Collection ........................................................................................................................ 105
Storage/Display .......................................................................................................................... 107
Promoting the Society ................................................................................................................ 111
Lack of volunteers ...................................................................................................................... 111
The future ................................................................................................................................... 112
Case study 3: Huntly & District Historical Society .................................................................. 113
HDHS premises and collections .................................................................................................. 113
Lack of volunteers ...................................................................................................................... 117
Attracting visitors ....................................................................................................................... 118
The future ................................................................................................................................... 119

11. Key discussion points .............................................................................................. 121


Council support.................................................................................................................... 121
Viability ............................................................................................................................... 121
i. Lack of volunteers.............................................................................................................. 122
ii. Decreased public engagement .......................................................................................... 125
Collection management challenges ...................................................................................... 128
Storage ....................................................................................................................................... 128
Cataloguing systems ................................................................................................................... 131
Tracking assets and activities ..................................................................................................... 132

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The future of the collections................................................................................................. 133
Wind-up processes ..................................................................................................................... 133
The museum question................................................................................................................ 140
Critical storage needs ................................................................................................................. 141
Interpretive facilities .................................................................................................................. 145

12. Recommendations to Council.................................................................................. 146


Summary of Recommendations ............................................................................................ 147
1. Establish and staff an object storage & preservation facility .............................................. 148
2. Support viability of the groups.......................................................................................... 151
2a. Solutions for BHS .................................................................................................................. 151
Improve BHS storage at the BRAC Store and Storage Containers at Nolan Street .............................. 151
BHS Specimen Cottage front-of-house venue ...................................................................................... 152
2b. Display shed for large objects in Heathcote......................................................................... 155
2c. Help all groups to attract volunteers .................................................................................... 155
2c. Help all groups to increase their profile ............................................................................... 156
Promotion and marketing .................................................................................................................... 156
Signage ................................................................................................................................................. 157
2d. Encourage legal compliance ................................................................................................. 158
Governance .......................................................................................................................................... 158
Assist registration process for Aboriginal items ................................................................................... 158
Register firearms .................................................................................................................................. 158
2e. Boost museum-related skills and knowledge....................................................................... 159
2f. Encourage performance tracking.......................................................................................... 159
2g. Help all groups to attract funding ........................................................................................ 160
2h. Help all groups save money through bulk purchasing ......................................................... 160
3. Engage in Contingency Planning........................................................................................ 161
3a. Establish a Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection ................................................................. 161
3b. Adopt a Collection Policy for the new Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection ...................... 161
3c. Brief groups about the Policy ............................................................................................... 162
3d. Enter into wind-up agreements with the groups ................................................................. 162
3e. Assist groups to update their wind-up clauses .................................................................... 162
3f. Help with collection succession preparation ........................................................................ 162
3g. Establish procedures for transfer ......................................................................................... 163
3h. Monitor updates to BRAC policies ....................................................................................... 163
4. Museum feasibility study.................................................................................................. 164

13. References .............................................................................................................. 165


14. Appendices ............................................................................................................. 166
Appendix A. Original concept for Nolan St ............................................................................ 166
Appendix B. Requirements for proposed object storage and preservation facility .................. 167
Appendix C. Examples of object storage and preservation facilities ....................................... 173
Appendix D. Examples of access programs in object preservation facilities ............................ 175
Appendix E. Requirements for extra temporary storage for BHS ............................................ 177

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Appendix F. Examples of large-object display sheds .............................................................. 179
Appendix G. Recommended signage ..................................................................................... 182
Appendix H. Ethical procedures for disposal of museum collections ...................................... 184
Appendix I. Suggested contents of a Collection Policy ........................................................... 185
Appendix J. Linking history collections with the Victorian education curriculum ................... 186
Appendix K. Survey Questionnaire used in the study ................................................................ 3
Appendix L. Project Brief ........................................................................................................ 30

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1. Acknowledgements

The consultant wishes to thank the following people for contributing ideas and perspectives
to this study:

∗ Dr. Dannielle Orr, Heritage Planner, CoGB


∗ Clare Needham, Curator (City History and Collections), Bendigo Art Gallery/CoGB
∗ Jim Evans, President, Bendigo Historical Society Inc.
∗ Kay MacGregor, Collection Manager, Bendigo Historical Society Inc.
∗ Neville Davies, Secretary/Treasurer, Bendigo Historical Society Inc.
∗ Barbara Poustie, Assistant Secretary, Bendigo Historical Society Inc.
∗ Ian Hollingsworth, President, Heathcote McIvor Historical Society Inc.
∗ Elizabeth Murfitt, Secretary/Treasurer/Curator/Research Officer, Heathcote McIvor
Historical Society Inc.
∗ Aylene Kirkwood, Acquisitions Officer, Eaglehawk Heritage Society Inc.
∗ Bev Hanson, Secretary, Eaglehawk Heritage Society Inc.
∗ Dianne Anderson, Curator, Elmore Museum (Elmore Progress Association)
∗ Norma Holmberg, former volunteer, Elmore Museum (Elmore Progress Association)
∗ Carol Douch, Treasurer for Huntly Epsom News, Huntly & Districts Historical Society
Inc.
∗ Ann Peters, Secretary, Huntly & Districts Historical Society Inc.
∗ Daryll Oberin, Vice President, Huntly & Districts Historical Society Inc.
∗ Vivien Newton and Dr. Michele Matthews, Bendigo Regional Archives Centre
∗ Lauretta Zilles, author of BHS Collection Management Strategy /Significance
Assessment and Manager of Bendigo Living Art Space, CoGB
∗ Dr. Diana Smith, Program Manager - Cultural Heritage, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans
Aboriginal Corporation
∗ Kathryn McKenzie, Manager of Bendigo Tourism (until June 2017).
∗ Megan McDougall, Heritage Building/Assets Adviser, CoGB
∗ Roger Trudgeon, former Manager of the Gold Museum Ballarat
∗ Michael Smyth, Acting Manager – Works, CoGB

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2. Abbreviations

AIGS Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies


BHS Bendigo Historical Society
BRAC Bendigo Regional Archive Centre
BRIT Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE
CoGB City of Greater Bendigo
MAV Museums Australia (Victoria)
MV Museums Victoria
NGV National Gallery of Victoria
POG Post Office Gallery
PROV Public Records Office of Victoria
RAP Registered Aboriginal Party
RHSV Royal Historical Society of Victoria
TAFE Technical and Further Education
WFTD Work For the Dole

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3. Executive Summary

The City of Greater Bendigo commissioned this strategic study and report in March 2017.
The aim of this study was to examine the current situation for community collections and
collecting groups in the Greater Bendigo municipality and examine the major challenges
they face. The purpose of this report is to summarise the findings and propose to Council
appropriate strategies to deal with the key issues, now and into the future. The study
focuses on historical objects and artefacts in Greater Bendigo. A comprehensive survey,
case studies and onsite visits were used to reveal and explore some current critical issues
facing historical artefacts and the core community collections which hold them. The study
has a special focus on the Bendigo Historical Society Inc., but also examines four other core
collecting groups in Greater Bendigo - Eaglehawk Heritage Society Inc., Elmore Museum
(Elmore Progress Association), Heathcote McIvor Historical Society Inc. and Huntly &
Districts Historical Society Inc.

The five groups in this study care for around 45,000 items of local heritage on behalf of the
Greater Bendigo community. This volume of heritage material is of a size held by a major
regional museum and yet they are being cared for by only 47 volunteers, 23 of whom are
volunteers in roles of legal responsibility and group leadership. These volunteer groups
perform a highly valuable service to the Greater Bendigo community. Some are extremely
vulnerable due to shrinking member and volunteer bases. All attempts should be made to
keep them operating so they can continue to care for these collections. However it is
important to plan now for the possibility that some groups may not be viable in the next
few years.

These groups have already received support from Council, mainly through provision of
premises and access to support and advice mainly from two Council staff members. These
forms of support are appreciated by the groups, but as their size and viability decrease, it
becomes more likely that Council will need to take on more responsibility for care of these
local heritage collections. A series of recommendations to Council are provided at the
conclusion of this report. Recommendations include establishment of a preservation facility,
supporting viability of the groups, carrying out contingency planning and commissioning a
museum feasibility study.

In addition to the recommendations, it is also recommended that wherever possible the


hard work and dedication of these volunteer groups should be publicly acknowledged.

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4. Background & Context

Greater Bendigo is the third largest city in Victoria, with a population of more than 110,000
across around 3,000 square kilometres. It is administered at local government level by the
City of Greater Bendigo (CoGB). CoGB commissioned this strategic study and report in
March 2017.

The landscape of Greater Bendigo is of historic and aesthetic significance. A Thematic


Environmental History study conducted in 2013 noted that:

Bendigo city has one of the highest concentrations of Victorian Heritage Registered properties in the
State, and two of regional Australia’s most architecturally distinguished boulevards in Pall Mall and
View Street. Significant structures in Greater Bendigo include those associated with industry, public
utilities, mining, transport, agriculture, engineering and manufacturing. Boom style homes and
gardens built by mining speculators contrast with an extensive collection of modest German and
Cornish miners’ cottages. Many small settlements also retain buildings associated with gold rushes.
There are also fine examples of 19th century town planning layouts and botanic gardens, public parks
and avenues of trees. Extensive natural areas, including Box-Ironbark forests, rivers, hills and valleys
of cultural and aesthetic significance provide a contrast to the urban centres and agricultural
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landscapes.

Greater Bendigo’s history is multicultural. Indigenous Australians have inhabited the region
for tens of thousands of years and have a continued presence today. Recognised traditional
owners in the Greater Bendigo region are the ancestors and descendants of the Dja Dja
Wurrung and Taungurung. Although the first European pastoralists were primarily English,
the 1850s gold rush attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world
especially from China, India, the United States, Britain (in particular Cornwall), Ireland, Italy
and Germany. Later waves of migration including those in the 20th and 21st centuries have
further broadened Greater Bendigo’s cultural diversity.

The notion of a public museum for Greater Bendigo is a long-running one. There were
museum displays in the School of Mines building in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the
first meeting of the original Bendigo Historical Society in 1935, the first motion was to work
for a museum to be established. The issue regained momentum in the 1980s. A trail of
documentation records various proposals and concepts which have been considered since
then. In 1989 a Bendigo and Region Museum/Archive Steering Committee compiled a
report which identified the need for a Bendigo Heritage Centre: Regional Archive and Social
History Museum. It asked for in-principle Council support and for the formation of a
delegation to seek funding from government to conduct a feasibility study. The vision of this

1
Lovell Chen 2013
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Steering Committee was for a Centre based in historic Lister House in Rowan Street,
Bendigo (now used by Monash School of Rural Health).

A Draft Bendigo Regional Museum Strategy by Jenny Whitelaw (January 2001) explored the
possibility of a Museum ‘front end’ in a complex incorporating Dudley House, the old Fire
station and a new extension to both. The ‘back end’ model proposed in this strategy was to
create a large regional repository by refitting buildings in the old Psychiatric Hospital site,
which would provide storage for Council collections, community collections, Museum
Victoria and, for a fee, collections of private organisations and individuals. The document
also laid out costings and suggested some potential incomes streams and partnerships. A
recommendation was a partnership with the Centre for Conservation of Cultural Materials,
or with a state institution such as Museum Victoria, the Public Records Office of Victoria
(PROV) or the State Library of Victoria.

To celebrate the Centenary of Federation the Bendigo Council and Federal Government
commissioned exhibition designers Convergence to design Making a Nation, an exhibition
which focuses on the lead up to and the achievement of Federation on the 1st of January
1901 and the role played in its development by prominent Bendigo politician Sir John Quick
and the Sandhurst ANA. The exhibition was housed in the Old Bendigo Post Office building.
It covered the main post office chamber, with additional contemporary display and
community facilities in the basement. It included interactive exhibits which explained the
lead up to Federation and how Bendigo and its citizens contributed to nation-building since
the 1900s. A feature of the exhibition was a lecture and debating studio where public
lectures and talks were delivered. The exhibition remained in place from 2001 to 2009.

In August 2004, PROV conducted a Community Consultation Workshop of thirty


stakeholders in relation to the concept of establishing an Archives and Heritage Centre.
Those discussions clarified the agreed purpose of such a facility. This purpose originally
included artefact storage and display.2 In the strategic planning at the time, the Bendigo +25
- Greater Bendigo Community Plan (2005), CoGB included the idea of 'establishing a
centralised collection storage facility (historical, art, archival, library) on a major scale
surrounded by museum display areas visited by tourists and researchers from near and far'.

Bendigo Regional Archives Centre (BRAC) was established in October 2007. The BRAC
facility was constructed with a $1.3 million grant from the State Government’s Regional
Infrastructure Development Fund with $285,000 from PROV and $250,000 from the City of
Greater Bendigo. BRAC describes itself as ‘a grassroots heritage archives centre, where
visitors can view and use original historic records in person’. It operates under a governance

2
SED Consulting; p5
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structure which includes representatives from PROV, CoGB and the Goldfields Library
Corporation. Its collection ranges in date from 1856 through to the 1970s and includes
bound volumes, maps and plans, council correspondence, rates, minute books, building
registers and court records. These relate to the councils which merged to become the City
of Greater Bendigo and other public sources. The original remit of BRAC is also to collect
community records such as letters, diaries, business records, photographs and documents.
The only objects it currently holds are mayoral seals and these only because they relate so
closely to documents in the collection.

In 2010, the Post Office Gallery was established in a section of the Old Post Office building
as a satellite gallery of Bendigo Art Gallery. Its purpose is to present ‘a changing annual
program of curated exhibitions and events ensuring a broad and dynamic exploration of the
region's varied history with strong ongoing community involvement’. Each exhibition
includes materials loaned from private and community collections in Greater Bendigo.

Post Office Gallery Entrance Post Office Gallery exhibition


(image credit: Post Office Gallery, 2013) (image credit: Corey Hague, ABC Central Victoria)

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There are numerous attractions, organisations and institutions in Greater Bendigo that
focus on local heritage, history and culture. Many hold collections.

Organisation Collection type/focus


Bendigo Art Gallery Australian and international art
Bendigo Discovery Centre No collection, science interpretation venue
Bendigo Heritage Attractions An archive about the former State Electricity
managing: Commission (which ran the Gasworks and
Bendigo Tramways Tramway). Central Deborah Goldmine holds a
Central Deborah Goldmine significant nugget collection. The Joss House
Bendigo Joss House Temple temple is one of only two in Victoria.
Other heritage assets managed by the Trust are
Council-owned.
Bendigo Pottery Ceramic manufacturing
Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE Local history (Education)
Bendigo Visitor Information Centre A small number of communications history
artefact for tour purposes
Campaspe Run Local history (Agriculture)
Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst Local history (Catholic)
Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Indigenous heritage
Corporation
Golden Dragon Museum of Chinese Chinese Australian history
Australian History
Goldfields Research Centre of Local history (General)
Goldfields Library Corp
Sandhurst Trustees Fine art & antiques
Local history
State history
Soldiers Memorial Institute Local history (Military)
Nursing Graduates Association Nursing education in Bendigo
History Collection
Private collections Various. Some may have items of local, state or
national significance.

The Bendigo branch of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies (AIGS) meet in the
Goldfields Library Bendigo on Wednesdays and Saturdays to assist the public with
genealogical enquiries and to assist with family research. The records of the Bendigo
Regional Genealogical Society are accessible at the Goldfields Research Centre, Bendigo
Library for a four-hour window every Monday. The group also offers family research
services for a fee.

CoGB holds a collection of historical materials relating to the history of the municipality
including mayoral regalia (robes and chains), mayoral portraits, historical furniture (some of
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which are listed on a Council Antiques Register) and some artefacts from the old Bendigo
Gasworks. Council is currently working towards a full inventory of its heritage collections.
Council also holds the Graeme Robertson National Trust Cast Iron collection of architectural
metalwork. It is legally owned by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), a state branch
founded by Graeme Robertson, and is on a fifty year loan to the City of Greater Bendigo
(2001-2051). Items of state significance have already been removed from it and transferred
to Museums Victoria. The remaining collection has some limited value as a reference
collection for heritage architecture in general but not for Greater Bendigo in particular. Its
main relevance is to the history of the National Trust organisation, because of its association
with state branch founder & cast iron collector Graeme Robertson.

Religious diversity in Greater Bendigo’s history is the central theme of an interpretive centre
at a proposed ‘Aspire Precinct’, with a major exhibition called Faith In the Goldfields. The
project has attracted State government support of $5 million as well as private philanthropic
support. Some of the content for the centre is already in development. The plans for the
precinct include a 4D cinema which will present ‘tell the stories of Bendigo's history…with
film, sound, movement and sensory stimulation’. It also includes indoor and outdoor areas
for community gatherings and events, an education and resource centre with programs for
all age groups, and a business hub with a café, retail outlet, spaces for business meetings
and events. The partners in the project are the Diocese of Sandhurst. The Aspire
Foundation is currently fundraising for the project, seeking further funding from private
donors and the Federal government to help them reach the total $15 million needed to fulfil
the project. Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke is Executive Director of the
Foundation. The Foundation recently partnered with CoGB and Latrobe University to obtain
a major grant from the Australian Research Council ‘to explore religious history in Bendigo’.

Another museum project which has recently attracted major government funding is the
expansion of the Soldiers Memorial Institute. The $4.5 million project includes the
conservation of the iconic building and the development of a new exhibition. Restoration
works will include a total roof replacement, new sky lights, external render repairs and a
new exterior wash to replicate the original stone coloured finish. Other works include re-
stumping and installation of new flooring as well as ceiling and plaster repairs and painting.
The project is jointly funded by Federal Government ($1.7 million), State Government ($1.5
million), City of Greater Bendigo ($800,000), Bendigo District RSL and community
contributions ($500,000). The works are due for completion in late 2018.

Despite the number of proposed and existing heritage experiences available in Greater
Bendigo, the notion of a Greater Bendigo Museum is still being discussed. Concerns about
the ongoing viability of community collecting groups in the region have reinvigorated the

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issue. In May 2016, the Bendigo Historical Society (BHS) made a council budget submission
that advocated strongly for the City’s strategic direction to include consideration of ‘future
proofing’ its historic & cultural past. This study is an important step toward ensuring that
this occurs.

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5. Aims/Purpose
The aim of this study is to examine the current situation for community collections and
collecting groups in the Greater Bendigo municipality and examine the major challenges
they face. The purpose of the report is to summarise these findings and propose to Council
appropriate strategies to deal with the key issues, now and into the future.

6. Scope
The geographic scope of this study is the municipality of Greater Bendigo. Documents,
records, photographs, maps and plans and other paper-based materials pertaining to the
region’s history are cared for under the remit of BRAC. Therefore this study focuses on the
remaining material types, namely historical objects and artefacts, for which there is
currently no contingency plan in place. For the purposes of this study, objects and artefacts
includes original artworks and framed items, clothing and domestic textiles, personal
accessories, furniture, domestic objects, tools and trade/agricultural equipment, vehicles,
weapons, militaria and numismatics, and other non-paper-based three dimensional objects.

7. Methodology
The study focuses on five core collecting groups in the Greater Bendigo region. They are:

1. Bendigo Historical Society Inc.


2. Eaglehawk Heritage Society Inc.
3. Elmore Museum (Elmore Progress Association)
4. Heathcote McIvor Historical Society Inc.
5. Huntly & Districts Historical Society Inc.

The method involved the following processes:

A meeting was held with representatives of the core groups, plus the consultant Dr.
Megan Cardamone, CoGB Heritage Planner Dr. Dannielle Orr and Curator (City
History and Collections) Clare Needham. The meeting was to explain the purpose of
the study and introduce the consultant to the groups.
A paper survey was designed in collaboration with Dr. Dannielle Orr, Heritage
Planner and distributed to all groups in April 2017. It was completed by all groups
and the answers were collated in May 2017. The survey was designed to be
exhaustive, though it was understood this would put pressure on the smaller groups.
This was done to ensure the maximum amount of information could be gathered as

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part of this project. To mitigate this pressure and assist the smaller groups, the
consultant offered the groups help to complete the surveys. A copy of the survey is
included in Appendix K.
The consultant conducted site visits during April and May to each group to conduct
interviews with key office bearers.
Case studies focusing on three groups were then used to explore some key issues
more deeply. The consultant made follow up phone calls and emails in May and June
with all groups and return visits with two case study groups
To gain broad perspectives for this study, the consultant had discussions with a
range of other stakeholders, including:

Person Institution Role


Clare Needham Bendigo Art Gallery/ Curator, City History and Collections
CoGB
Vivien Newton BRAC Manager – Archives & Goldfields Research
Centre
Dr. Michele Matthews BRAC Archivist
Lauretta Zilles Living Art Space, CoGB Manager, Living Arts Space
&
Author of 2007 BHS Collection
Management Strategy
Megan McDougall CoGB Heritage Building/Assets Adviser
Kathryn McKenzie (formerly) Bendigo Manager to 2017
Tourism
Diana Smith Dja Dja Wurrung Heritage Officer
Aboriginal
Corporation
Roger Trudgeon (formerly) Gold Manager 1990 to 2015
Museum Ballarat
Michael Smyth CoGB Acting Manager, Works; was closely
involved in the design and development of
the BRAC site.
Neville Quick Museums Victoria Manager, Collection Storage and Logistics

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8. General responses
responses to the study

The severe lack of personnel in the participating groups, which is an issue explored in this
study, was itself a hurdle to groups taking part in the study. Several groups noted that being
requested to complete the survey (especially within two weeks) was extremely stressful.
Requests to estimate quantities of different material types they hold particularly caused
anxiety. This reaction was the first indication of a key issue facing the groups. That is, a very
small number of dedicated volunteers are stretched to the limit caring for large collections
on behalf of the Greater Bendigo community. There are not enough volunteers and
therefore the few there are have little spare time and are under stress. Many are juggling
this immense commitment with family obligations, aging or ailing partners, and other
community service.

Although they are knowledgeable about their collections and their local history many
volunteers do not have the IT skills to perform advanced queries of their databases or their
cataloguing systems are not set up to allow this. Some of the terminology used to categorise
types of heritage materials were perceived as museum sector jargon or were different to
the terminology used in the groups.

The groups seem to view the onsite visits by the consultant more positively. These were a
chance to physically show the premises, the collection and how it is stored or displayed. It
seemed to be a more effective way for the groups to get across their main concerns and ask
for advice, which many did on practical issues of museum management.

In these onsite discussions, there were some recurring themes. One was disappointment at
the lack of community interest and support, the lack of volunteers and the poor work ethic
of some current volunteers. Another was concern that their group would soon be unviable
and unable to care for its collection and that the collection would therefore be ‘thrown in
the tip’. There was also frustration at the perceived lack of concrete action on the issue of a
new public museum for Greater Bendigo. Some contributors noted that the issue has been
discussed for decades, with many studies taking place with no visible result.

The strongest sentiment expressed by the groups from the first meeting for this study was
their real fears about the potential impending loss or destruction of heritage which has
been collected and preserved by the group. They view this possibility as a devastating loss
to the Greater Bendigo community which once lost cannot be retrieved.

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9. Survey findings

Survey responses are presented here in aggregated form or if individualised are anonymous.
This reflects the agreement of confidentiality made with the participants to ensure they felt
free to give honest responses.

Summary of survey findings

This section summarises the findings from the survey completed by the five groups in the
study, in order to highlight the current realities and key issues revealed by this phase of the
study.

Establishment & governance


The five core collecting groups in Greater Bendigo were established between 1938 and
1994, with three established in the 1970s and 1980s. The groups are managed by
Committees of between 4 and 6 people. Most Committees meet once a month, one meets
weekly. Most groups have a written statement of purpose or a mission statement and all
are governed by a Constitution. Most have a wind-up clause in their Constitution but are not
sure what it prescribes in terms of the collection. All groups have discussed succession
planning. All groups hold the required relevant insurances.

Members & personnel


One group has a substantial number of members, while three have very few (between 6 and
9). One group has 25 active volunteers, which is a reasonable number for a historical
society. The others have extremely small pools of between 4 and 8. Smaller volunteer pools
place far more pressure on a few people to conduct core activities. None of the groups use
volunteer agreements or job descriptions for volunteers. Only two groups have written
procedures for volunteers to follow. Only three groups have volunteers who have
undertaken training in museum skills in recent years. The survey revealed a fairly low
awareness and very low adoption of recognised best practice guidelines for museum
management. The various groups have skill strengths and skill gaps in different areas.
Looking at the groups collectively, the greatest skill gaps are in assessing significance,
disaster management, curatorial skills, collection management, marketing, advertising and
business skills, conservation, succession planning and writing grant applications. The two
biggest challenges the groups reported facing are ‘A lack of volunteers’ and ‘A lack of people
with relevant skills’.

19
Content of the collections
collections
The groups hold collections which total around 45,000 items combined. Around 5,300 of
these are objects and artefacts. The most common object types are framed items (artworks
and photographs), textiles (clothing, domestic textiles, flags), hand tools and hardware, and
domestic items (kitchenware, laundry equipment). Around 250 items are of medium to
large size (furniture, agricultural equipment, transport vehicles). There are around 45 items
of Aboriginal heritage within the five collections. One group has around 100 firearms. Both
are subject to legal regulations. The groups are able to identify their most significant items
many of which are significant due to their role in local history, for their rarity, their aesthetic
value or as good examples of a common historical object.

Collection management
Survey responses showed that the groups are continually offered donations from the
Greater Bendigo community and the collections are still growing. Not all groups have a
Collection Policy, and some which do have one may not be using it appropriately. However
most groups have rejected items offered for donation for various reasons. Cataloguing is
inconsistent, both within and between the collections. The groups have catalogued varied
percentages of their collections. Multiple approaches and software programs have been
used. Most groups find it very difficult to describe their holdings quantitatively. Three
groups found it difficult to quantify how many of their collection items have been
photographed or digitised. The other two have created images of the majority of their
collection items. All groups have collection files and documentation, including registers and
donor files, which must remain with the collections if they are transferred. The biggest
challenges in collection management as reported by the groups are ‘staffing/volunteers’ and
‘storage’.

Premises
The five groups occupy and manage eight separate premises under a variety of occupancy
arrangements. Many of the premises lack security. Most of the premises were not purpose
built for museum activities and the groups reported that most are not suitable for their
needs. There is a lack of signage to the premises in the district and a lack of signage on the
premises themselves. The key problems the groups identified about their premises related
to structural/environmental risks, degraded building fabric, building designs which are not
suitable for museum activities, poor internal conditions and space restrictions.

Storage
Findings about storage facilities showed a vastly different situation for BHS compared with
the other four groups. BHS has 95% of its collection in storage, the other groups have 95%

20
on display. All groups reported a lack of storage space, and poor quality of storage space.
Most do not have enough suitable storage for furniture and equipment.

Exhibitions & Displays


All groups have some display facilities and all said that displaying their collection is very
important to them. All have a permanent display and most also present temporary displays.
Most groups have no policies to guide their exhibitions and other interpretive activities. The
groups use between 30% and 100% of their premises for display. The most common light
source for displays is natural light. All groups reported an inadequate amount of display
space. Almost all reported incidences of theft or damage to collection items whilst on
display. The key barriers reported to displaying more of the collection were ‘we are under-
staffed’ and ‘time’. Further comments pointed to lack of space, skills, staff/time and suitable
areas to display collections.

Public engagement
The groups open their premises to the public between three and 15 hours per week and
three will open by request or appointment. Only two groups track visitation and they report
between 1-2 visitors per week (on average). Most of the groups will host groups, including
school groups. Most charge a fee to process research requests. Some groups find it difficult
to collate statistics from the records that they keep about research requests. One group
reported 100 requests last year, another reported 6 requests. The most common channels
the groups use for public engagement are newspaper articles, social media and websites.
Four groups have a Facebook page and two have a website. Four have a profile on Victorian
Collections, but only two groups have uploaded collection data (around 20 items each). The
comments provided about key public engagement challenges show that the groups are
heavily focused on the problems around people visiting their physical premises.
There is a need for support and advice which helps the groups to improve their online
presence as another means of public engagement.

Conservation activities
The survey found that most groups are aware of the need for preventative conservation and
apply some of the basic techniques. Some have also organised conservation treatment for
objects. A Preservation Needs Assessment has been conducted for one group’s collection.
There is a low use of disaster planning and measures. This is an area where the groups may
lack knowledge, or it may currently be viewed as a low priority.

Support
Through the survey, the groups identified key areas where they would like more support.
The two most common responses were ‘increasing storage’ and ‘succession planning’. The
21
groups have worked collaboratively with a range of other organisations. However they now
indicate less willingness to work with others, possibly due to decreases in personnel. The
main bodies which have provided support to the groups (from eight options) were Council
and grant or funding bodies. Most groups are members of RHSV, one of MAV. The key
means of support the groups currently receive from Council are ‘grants and /or buildings’
and ‘museum/heritage staff member to work with groups’. Most of the comments made by
groups about their relationship with Council were positive and appreciative.

Successes
Asked about their recent and current successes, the groups listed a wide range of activities
including public programs, digitisation, group dynamics, support local communities and
promotional activities through newsletters and social media.

Greatest challenges
Asked about their greatest current challenges, all groups identified lack of volunteers and
active members. Other challenges mentioned included lack of money, lack of time and staff
to write grant applications, having no advertising strategy, having no shared understanding
of purpose within the group, and maintaining income generating activities such as
publishing.

22
Detailed analysis of survey findings

This section is a more detailed analysis of the findings from the survey completed by the five
groups in the study, in order to explore the survey responses more fully from this phase of
the study.

Establishment
The five core collecting groups in Greater Bendigo were established in the following years:

Bendigo Historical Society 1938


Huntly & District Historical Society 1977
Heathcote McIvor Historical Society 1980
Elmore Museum (Elmore Progress 1987 (1890)
Association)
Eaglehawk Heritage Society 1994

Bendigo Historical Society is the oldest group, established in 1938. Eaglehawk Heritage
Society was established the most recently. In 1994, several local government areas including
the Borough of Eaglehawk were amalgamated to become the City of Greater Bendigo. This
prompted some Eaglehawk residents to establish the Society to ensure that the distinct
history and stories of Eaglehawk would be preserved and shared. Although the Elmore
Progress Association has existed since 1890 a museum was not established under its
auspices until 1987.

Governance and membership

The groups were asked some questions about their governance arrangements and about
key documents used to guide their organisations. The groups are managed by Committees
of between 4 and 6 people. Most Committees meet once a month, one meets weekly.

Most groups have a written statement of purpose or a mission statement and all are
governed by a Constitution. Most have a wind-up clause in their Constitution but on further
discussion were not sure what it prescribes. One group operates under a parent body which
has its own Constitution and wind-up clause but there is no separate wind-up clause for the
museum collection that it legally owns. Most groups do not have a current strategic plan.
All of these documents are compulsory for accredited museums under the Victorian
Museum Accreditation Program (MAP).
23
All but one of the groups reported that they discuss succession planning. However during
the site visit this group also reported that they have concerns within the group about
succession and have discussed these with other members.

All groups hold multiple insurances including Public Liability cover, Volunteer Insurance and
all except one have Building and Contents insurance. This is a pleasing finding, not only to
protect the groups financially and legally but also because these must be in place if the
groups wish to advertise on most Volunteer Recruitment registers.

The detailed responses to these survey questions are outlined in the table below.

24
BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM
Committee 4 people 4 people 5 people 6 people 4 people

1 person holds 1 person holds


2 offices 2 offices

Frequency of Once a month Bi-monthly for Once a month Once a month Once a month
meetings (or more if special, weekly
needed) for general.
Written Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes for parent
Statement of body, not for
Purpose, museum
mission or
vision
statement?
Constitution, Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes for parent
Charter or TOR body, not for
museum
If above, also a Yes Yes Yes Not sure Yes for parent
Windup body, not for
clause? museum
A business, In Yes No No Yes for parent
strategic or development body, not for
forward plan? museum
Succession Yes Yes Yes Yes Not answered
planning
discussed?
Insurance? Public Liability Public Liability Public Liability Public Liability Public Liability

Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer


insurance insurance insurance insurance insurance

Building & Building & Building & Building &


Contents Contents Contents Contents

25
Members & Personnel

Members
The groups were asked about how many people have paid for membership in their Society.
This figure usually includes some members who have no involvement in a group’s activities,
other than paying for membership. Membership can be an important way to attract income
and new volunteers.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


Members 120 6 9 8 32
(of parent
body)

One group has a substantial number of members, while three have very few (between 6 and
9). One group reported a figure of 32 but clarified that these are members of the parent
body which is a Progress Association. The historical museum which is run under that body
does not have a membership pool of its own. Thus only one group has healthy membership
numbers which can contribute notably to income.

26
Personnel Numbers

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


25 4 8 6 4
How many people regularly
volunteer for your group?
No Yes No No No
Do you use Volunteer
Agreements or job descriptions
for volunteers?

Do you have internally- For some Yes No No No


produced written procedures areas
such as a Procedures Manual? (Nolan St)

One group has 25 active volunteers, which is a reasonable number for a historical society.
The others have extremely small pools of between 4 and 8. For those with smaller pools
there is far more pressure on a few people to conduct core activities and there is minimal
backup if one or two people are unavailable because they are ill, on holiday or busy. In the
larger group, whilst a large volunteer pool is positive, it also requires co-ordination which
demands time from those in roles of responsibility, usually office-bearers.

None of the groups use volunteer agreements or job descriptions for volunteers. Only two
groups have written procedures for volunteers to follow. Using volunteer agreements and
written procedures can help groups to get more out of volunteers by making clear what
they want them to do and how they should do it. Volunteer job descriptions can be useful
in recruiting volunteers to fill skill gaps in the group or to work on specific projects.

27
Available museum skills and knowledge

Only three groups have volunteers who have undertaken training in museum skills recent
years, as shown by the responses below.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


Yes Yes Yes No No
Have any volunteers have
undertaken museum skills
training in the last 3 years.

The survey asked the groups about their awareness and use of some important museum
industry standards and reference tools. The results were:

3 groups are aware of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries,
none have used them.
5 groups are aware of the Small Museums Cataloguing Manual, only one group has
used it.
2 groups are aware of Significance 2.0, none have used it.
3 groups are aware of the Museums Australia Code of Ethics, none have used it.
1 group is aware of the ICOM Code of Ethics, none have used it.

These responses show a fairly low awareness and very low use of all of these important best
practice guidelines for museum management.

The groups were also asked about specific skills set that they may or may not have among
their current personnel (Committee and volunteers). The aggregated responses were used
to create a data chart (below).

28
Front of house/customer service skills

Responding to research requests

Public access to collections

Cataloguing

Digital technology/ Digitisation

Exhibition display and installation skills

Volunteer management

Governance

General planning

Social media

Financial management

Public program development skills

Setting up storage/Storage strategies

Displaying collection

Making mounts or supports for objects

Succession planning

Writing grant applications

Conservation

Collection management

Marketing, advertising or business skills

Significance assessments

Disaster management

Curatorial skills

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20

29
The graph above illustrates the strengths and weakness in terms of in-house skills within the
five groups collectively. The most needed skill building required by the groups are
succession planning, writing grant application and conservation. It is these identified areas
where training provision and other support such as advice and advocacy should be directed
in the near future, to be of most immediate benefit to the community collections.

The graph also demonstrates where the groups collectively have strong capacity. These are
front of house/ customer service skills, responding to research requests, public access to
collections, cataloguing, digital technology/ Digitisation, exhibition display and installation
skills, governance and volunteer management. Identifying these strengths is useful because
it shows which key skills volunteers can best contribute to the community whether through
their own group or as volunteers in a shared facility. These are the skill sets that should be
further supported by future training, skills and resourcing to be targeted to support and
enable the continuation of these strengths in the community collections.

There are clear defined areas of strengths and needs for community collections as a whole,
but there was diversity amongst the individual groups. Looking at the responses from
individual groups is also enlightening, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each
group’s current in-house skill capacities. This data is useful for groups to use for targeted
volunteer recruitment.

30
The following table collates existing and needed skills for each group based on their
answers.

Strongest capacities Capacity building needed (ie there is no-one


in the group with these skills)
BHS • Public program development • Disaster management
• Front of house/customer service • Significance assessments
HMHS • Responding to research requests All skills present in the volunteer group
• Digital technology/digitisation
EHS • Front of house/customer service All skills present in the volunteer group
• Governance
• Succession planning
• General planning
• Volunteer management
• Public access to collections
• Responding to research requests

HDHS • Exhibition display and installation • Public programs development


• Front of house/customer service • Curatorial
• Public access to collections • Collection management
• Responding to research requests • Succession planning
• General planning
• Disaster management
• Conservation
• Significance assessments
• Digital technology / digitisation
EPAM • Cataloguing • Exhibition display and installation
• Public access • Making mounts or supports
• Marketing, advertising or business
• Public program development
• Writing grant applications
• Financial management
• Governance
• Succession planning
• General planning
• Volunteer management
• Disaster management
• Significance assessments
• Storage setup and strategies

31
Most significant issues the groups face in terms of skills and human resources:

The groups were asked to nominate the most significant issues they face in terms of skills
and human resources. They could nominate more than one. The following graph sets out
the results and the number of groups which face this issue.

A lack of volunteers

A lack of people with relevant skills

Lack of a shared vision about future of the Society

A lack of members

Other – “lack of members willing to take responsibility”

Interpersonal conflicts which affect management

Lack of advice or support from museum professionals

0 1 2 3 4 5

The most significant issue the groups face is ‘a lack of volunteers’, followed by ‘a lack of
people with the relevant skills’. The lack of volunteers, especially those with relevant skills
and knowledge is a serious problem for all the groups in this study.

32
Contents of the collections

The survey asked some basic questions about the collections held by the groups.

It was noted to the groups that estimates were acceptable if exact quantities are not known.
Nevertheless most of the groups found it difficult to answer, even with rough estimates, the
survey questions about quantities of items in their collections. It is not clear why this was a
difficult task for all groups but some possible reasons are:

• Collections are not fully catalogued (ie not every item has a catalogue entry)
• Collections are not properly catalogued (ie the entries do not have all relevant
information, such as ‘material type’)
• Collections are fully catalogued but not using a searchable system
• Collections are catalogued using a searchable system but the groups lacks the technical
know-how to perform these searches
• Collections are catalogued using a searchable system but the terminology used to
categorise things differs from the terminology used in the survey.

It is not unusual for small volunteer-run collecting groups to have any or all of the above
characteristics given they may lack staff and time, computer skills, the funds to purchase
specialised collection management software or be up to date in the training to use it. A lack
of broad knowledge about what is in the collection is also exacerbated by turnover of
volunteers.

The figures in the following three tables are estimates from either the groups knowledge of
their collections or by the consultant after viewing the collections.

Total collection size (estimated)


BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM Total
Number of 32,000 8,000 5,000 Unknown 2,400 50,400
collection items (approx
3,000)

33
The graph below illustrates the relative sizes of the five collections.

BHS

HMHS

EHS

HDHS

EPAM

0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000


Number of collection items

34
Collection composition
Although this study focuses on objects and artefacts it is useful to understand the
proportions of paper-based material compared with objects and artefacts in the collections.
The graph below is based on the (estimated data) provided in tables in the previous few
pages.

BHS

EHS

HMHS

HDHS

EPAM

0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000

Paper-based Objects

It shows that the bulk of the groups’ collections are paper-based, meaning document and
records, photographs, books and ledgers, posters, scrapbooks and maps and plans.

35
Quantities of paper-based materials
Although this study does not focus on paper-based or archive materials, it was useful to try
to obtain a broad understanding of the quantities of these materials held by the groups. The
groups were asked to provide quantities for the paper-based materials they hold. It was
difficult for all groups to provide specific numbers. This is understandable given the nature
of archives. Some groups found it difficult even to provide estimates or summaries. The
types listed below are not an exhaustive list of the possible paper-based items a group may
hold but are the main categories usually held in community collections.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM Total


Original documents 20,000 40 original 1200 unknown 4 tubs 21,240 +4
(letters, business (+ thousands tubs +
records, deeds etc) of copies) more
Photographs – 6,000+ 200 2,000 unknown 200 loose 8,400+
unframed plus 12
albums
Books and booklets 2500 500 1300 181 7 4,488
Maps & plans 1600 600 167 260+ <10 2,627+
Postcards 2000 100 44 unknown 0 2,144+

Research files/scrap Unknown 500 100 225 14 839+


books approx
Diaries 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 28,100 1,940 4,811 unknown 231 items 39,748+
(+thousands plus 4
of copies) tubs & 12
albums

According to the survey responses the groups collectively hold nearly 40,000 items of paper-
based heritage but likely more since the survey did not collect exhaustive data about paper-
based or archival collection materials. The most numerous types are documents and other
records, followed by unframed photographs and books and booklets.

36
Quantities of objects/artefacts

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM Total

Textiles (eg. clothing, soft 1,000+ 100 245 55 50 1450+


furnishings, flags)
Non-furniture domestic objects 0 200 200 30 100 530
(eg. Kitchenware, iron, sewing kit)
Hand tools and hardware 300+ 100 20 20 50 490

Photographs – framed 150 20 130 95 45 440

Framed historical prints, 30 20 90 184 30 354


certificates or reproductions
Jewellery and other personal 100 50 30 20 120 320
effects
Artworks – Paintings or framed 100 20 6 19 3 148
drawings
Farm/agricultural items (eg. 0 50 0 33 46 129
Saddlery, equipment)
Scientific instruments or 5 10 40 0 60 115
equipment
Machines (eg. thresher, steam 0 20 2 27 10 59
engine, clock, projector) (4 (6 large) (3 large) (13 are
large) very
large)
Toys 30 20 6 0 2 58
Furniture 0 20 6 28 1 55
(3 large) (3 are
very
large)
Audio-visual items (records, 4 20 5 12 2 43
cassettes, videos, DVDs)
Sporting equipment & trophies No answer 10 2 7 10 29+
given
Models or dioramas 10 0 12 1 0 23

Musical instruments 3 10 1 0 2 16

Honour boards/large signs 1 6 2 4 2 15

Vehicles (eg. Wagon, cart, bicycle) 3 1 0 1 (Dray) 1 6


(2 bikes, (4 are
1 wagon) very
large)
Taxidermy/mounted animal 1 0 0 0 0 1
specimens

37
Sculptures or carvings 0 0 0 0 0 0

“Other” objects 1,000 un- - - 30 small - 1030


catalogued to
objects medium
Total (approx.) 2,400 650 795 586 534 5,311
(20 are
very
large)

The table above illustrates the estimated number and types of objects that the groups hold.
Collectively the groups hold at least 5,311 objects and artefacts but likely more since the
survey did not collect exhaustive data.

The most numerous object types are textiles (eg. clothing, soft furnishings, flags) followed
by non-furniture domestic objects (eg. kitchenware, irons, sewing kits), hand tools and
hardware and framed items (mainly photographs and prints). Around 20 items are very
large objects (such as vehicles and large machines).

38
Objects subject to legal obligations

The groups were asked whether they hold any items subject to legal obligations which
includes human remains, maritime artefacts, Aboriginal cultural heritage or firearms. None
of the groups hold human remains or maritime artefacts. However some groups do hold
Aboriginal items and firearms.

Aboriginal items
Three of the five groups hold items of Aboriginal cultural heritage. These are mostly small
numbers of stone tools.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


Number of 19 stone items <10 0 0 16 stone items
Aboriginal (axe heads &
items grinding
implements)

In total the groups hold around 35 items of Aboriginal material culture. These are subject to
obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic). As such a specific recommendation
is included later in this report to ensure these legal obligations are complied with. As well as
legal compliance, there is an ethical imperative to notifying Indigenous traditional owners
where possible about the existence of their cultural heritage and negotiating either how it
should be managed or negotiating its repatriation (where appropriate). As such this study’s
recommendation about Indigenous holdings also includes suggestions along these lines.

Firearms
BHS holds around 100 firearms which are stored at the premises of a registered firearms
dealer. This is compliant with regulations, but it would be preferable if these collection
items could be held in possession of BHS with the rest of the collections. This would require
a compliant storage unit(s) and for the group to register the items with Victoria Police in
order to obtain a Museum Exemption License.

39
Most significant items

Only one group (BHS) has had a formal significance assessment. A Collection Management
Strategy and Significance Assessment carried out in 2007 by Lauretta Zilles helped BHS to
identify their most significant objects. The table below outlines the areas of significance
identified by the Zilles Strategy and Assessment and some key specific examples.3

Areas Specific examples


Most significant ∗ Documents - Some original documents ∗ 1856 Petition of Crown land
paper-based/ relating to the development of Bendigo and Occupants at Sandhurst
archival district have high historic significance at local, ∗ Bendigo Advertiser Volume 1
materials held state and national levels December 9 1853
by BHS ∗ Publications - Some rare books and copies of ∗ Government voting card for
early Bendigo newspapers have historic John Quick (c.1908)
significance ∗ Original Vahland plans for
∗ Records - Around a third of BHS’ archival Bendigo Hospital(1858)
collections are significant for their research ∗ Map of water supply – Early
value Sandhurst
∗ Photographs – many of BHS photographs are
original and significance historically and for
their rarity. Some such as streetscapes are
have research value. Many have strong
interpretive potential.

Most significant ∗ Artefacts - Around half of BHS artefacts are ∗ Ship’s bell used at Ravenswood
non-archival domestic in nature, the most significant items Homestead
materials held include early gold mining relics, models of ∗ Bendigo-made violin (1903)
by BHS (ie gold-mining equipment, unique or rare objects ∗ Cornet presented to local citizen
objects and relating to businesses, industries and events in in 1871
artefacts) the local area or associated with the ∗ Friendly Society memorabilia
inhabitants of the Bendigo region. ∗ Materials relating to early
∗ Textiles – Of around 1200 items (1,000 being Bendigo businesses Bush’s
clothing and accessories) some have historic Stores and Cohn’s Brewery (both
significance for their connection to local est.1857)
families. Many are aesthetically appealing, in ∗ First electric radio made in
good condition, rare or good examples of a Bendigo
type. Some have potential for future ∗ 19 Aboriginal artefacts
interpretation or display. ∗ Chair and photograph of local
Bishop
∗ Gold miners cradle, windlasses
and buckets
∗ Chinese gold scales and knife
∗ Mining models including one
which won its maker a medal at
an 1883 Juvenile Industrial
Exhibition.
∗ A model ship with interesting
provenance
∗ Bottles of wine from Bendigo
vineyard and a cake decoration

3
Zilles 2007
40
both leftover from a wedding
held in Bendigo in 1879.
∗ A black wedding gown (1882)
∗ A taffeta gown (1864) with
interesting local provenance
∗ George Lansell’s baby clothes
∗ Framed watercolour ‘Falcon Inn,
Peg Leg Road’ (c.1857) by
George Rowe
∗ Framed watercolour ‘Johnson’s
Reef’ (c.1859) by unknown artist

The collections of the other four groups have not been formally assessed for significance.
The survey asked them to nominate what they consider to be the five most significant
objects or artefacts they hold. The responses have been aggregated and de-identified for
security purposes.

• A cricket bat which belonged to former Bendigo cricketer the late William (Billy)
Midwinter (1851-1877), the first Australian cricketer to score a double century.
• The altar and christening font from a local church
• A 19th Century demijohn (ceramic bottle) used at a local hotel
• A unique silk booklet that was produced to commemorate the death of King Edward
VII in 1910
• A printing press used to print a local newspaper from the 1850s gold rush era to the
1940s
• A local Masonic Lodge Collection
• A locally-made 19th Century wheat pickler
• A ‘Birthday Chair’ from local Methodist Sunday School
• A 19th Century organ from a local Church
• An early troopers helmet and 1940s police uniform
• A range of honour boards (military, societies) listing local names
• Historical furniture
• An 1870s bass drum used in local brass band
• A 1920s pink hand-beaded dress
• A c.1900 clock
• A collection recording the history of a local golf club
• The ledger from a local general merchandise store used by owner to write up each
day’s accounts (1897-1907).

41
Collection
Collection Management

Collection Policy
All groups should have a Collection Policy which clearly prescribes what they will and will
not collect based on the stated purpose of their organisation. The groups were asked if they
have a Collection Policy and if so how it is used. The responses were:

Yes No
Have Collection Policy 3 2
If yes to Collection Policy, does it include a de- 3 n/a
accessioning policy or section?

Only three groups have a Collection Policy which includes a policy on de-accessioning items.
As well as having a Collection Policy it is important that it is applied. The groups which have
a Collection Policy were asked how they use it. The following answers were given:

“To assess potential donations”

“When an item is received into the Museum. Collection documents are made out, one for the Society, one
for the Donor. All items are photographed and put into database. A paper catalogue is recorded.”

“Some items are to be returned to donor in the event they are no longer required or the Society closes”

Some of these answers indicate that either the question was not understood or the purpose
of a Collection Policy is not well understood. The first answer reflects correct use of a
Collection Policy. The latter two describe specific procedures for handling donations after
they are accepted.

The groups were asked whether they have ever rejected an item that was offered for
donation. Four of the five groups said yes they had, one group said it had not. The groups
reported that they have rejected items for the following reasons:

• Item/s did not fit within Collection Policy


• Item/s were pest-infested

42
• Item/s too damaged or degraded
• Already had the same or similar items in the collection
• Not enough storage space
• Conditions demanded by donor were too difficult to fulfil (or were not reasonable)
• Legal ownership was in question
• The item/s posed a safety or health risk

It is pleasing to note that groups are willing to reject offered items which are inappropriate.
Onsite discussions with all groups revealed that it can often be difficult to say no to an
offered item, especially if the prospective donor is local.

43
Collection growth
The survey asked groups how many objects added to the collections each year (on average).
The responses were:

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


More than 30 11-30 More than 30 1-10 11-30

The responses show that these collections are still growing and that there are still items in
the community which are worth collecting.

Collection documentation
The survey asked groups whether they keep collection records via any of the following:

Yes No
Accession Register 4 1
Donor form 4 1

It was pleasing that most groups use an Accession Register and donor forms. However the
effectiveness of the donor forms depends on their content. Good donor forms record all
available provenance and contextual information about the donated item and set conditions
for acceptance of the donation, for example that legal ownership is transferred and that no
conditions are attached (such as the requirement to keep the item on display).

Collection documentation files also include documents, notes and images that record the
history and formation of the collection and sometimes confirm provenance or significance
of individual items. They can be in the form of registers, donor forms, receipts, old
catalogues and inventory lists, research notes, reference photographs and significance
statements. These are not themselves collection items but it is absolutely vital that they are
retained with the collections as historical records and documentation about the collections.
They often contain critical information about donors, provenance and other aspects of
significance. These are mentioned here because they will need to be accepted with a
collection and so will impact on storage space needed. Each group probably has no more
than would fit in one or two tall double office cupboards or one to two filing cabinets.

44
Cataloguing

Cataloguing is an important aspect of collection management, especially for objects and


artefacts. A catalogue entry is a central place to record characteristics of an object and
contextual information about it. A comprehensive catalogue allows collection managers to
collate reference information about a collection.

The survey asked questions designed to ascertain how much of their collections the groups
have documented in a cataloguing system and what kind of system they use.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


Number of collection 32,000 8,000 5,000 1200 2,400
items
Number of items 20,000 8,000 5,000 Small number 2,000
catalogued on computer
Around 200 of
family history
files on card
catalogue
Percentage of collection 65% 100% 100% 30%? 83%
catalogued
Number of items still to 10,000 0 0 1180 400
catalogue (mostly
documents,
1,000 objects)
Number of objects still 1,000 0 0 580 Unknown
to catalogue
Cataloguing system, or Computer – Paper forms Computer - Heritage V but Have
software Mosaic and entered Microsoft not currently Inmagic
museum on Filemaker Word functioning license but
database Pro properly not currently
software computer running/ set
and database up
paper forms

Four of the five groups have catalogued the majority of their collection (between 65% and
100%). One group has not previously been focused on cataloguing activities and has only
around 30% catalogued. The current personnel of this group is keen to address this
situation, but are struggling with a lack of personnel to do the work and a lack of certainty
about the best approach to use. This report will include recommendations to assist the
group with an appropriate approach.

45
The groups use a variety of different computer software programs. All but one are happy
with the software they use. It was not possible within the scope of this study to assess the
cataloguing systems used by the groups and so it is not clear what information each group
records for its objects or how consistently this has been done for all objects. There are many
different approaches which can be used and often inconsistencies in museum databases
where many different people have catalogued items over many years. This report will make
recommendations to the groups about what they should ensure they have recorded for the
purpose of collection succession planning.

46
Collection Imaging
All groups reported that they have photographed or digitised some of their collection items.
The survey asked how many images they have of individual collection items. It also asked
whether the groups have a digital camera, a scanner and/or an area set up to take
photographs of objects. The following responses were provided:

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM

Collection 12,972 8,000 4,000 “Not many” Unknown


items with (60% of (100% of (80% of
image (s) collection) collection) collection)
Scanner
Camera
Photography
area set up

The table of results indicates that groups which have more imaging equipment have created
more of their collection items. But it is not possible to say which way a causal relationship
flows. Perhaps groups which were able to get equipment are more able to create images.
Or it could be that groups with more interest in imaging may have been motivated to
acquire more imaging equipment. Elmore volunteers are not currently able to quantify their
image holdings having only recently taken over care of the collections. They are still trying
to reinstate and access computers in the Museum. All collecting groups should have all the
imaging equipment listed in this question. However at this stage even if they have the
equipment, some groups may lack the personnel to make full use of it.

47
Key challenges in collection management

The groups were given four options and asked to tick any which they saw as a challenge for
them in caring for their collections.

Staffing/volunteers

Storage

Funding

Skills training & prof development

0 1 2 3 4 5

The (aggregated) results clearly reiterate key issues and priorities seen throughout this
study. A lack of personnel is a key challenge for all groups in managing their collections. The
next priority areas are challenges relating to storage and to funding.

48
Premises

Three of the groups are based in a single premises each. One group is spread across two
premises, another is spread across three. As such the figures presented in this section relate
to a total of eight physical premises.

Used/managed by Building Year built


BHS Specimen Cottage 1856
BRAC 2010
Heathcote McIvor Camp Hill Precinct (including historic lock-up, Police residence 1861- 1967
Historical Society and former Infant Welfare Centre)
Eaglehawk Heritage Former Eaglehawk Courthouse, relocated historic log jail 1869
Society 1858
Huntly & District Old Huntly Council Chambers 1866
Historical Society Old Huntly Courthouse 1875
th
Beekeepers Hut Late 20 /early
st
21 Century
Elmore Progress Elmore Railway Station 1870
Association

Legal arrangements
In all but one case the group is the sole occupier of the premises. There are varied
arrangements in place in terms of the groups’ premises. These include:

• Written agreement with Council with a Committee of management


• Rented/leased from VicTrack
• Rented/leased from Council
• Rented leased from Victorian Education Department (State Govt)

For all groups, dealing with the owner of their premises can sometimes be challenging.
Some groups registered frustrations such as very long delays in maintenance processes or
Council staff accessing their premises without notifying them. For another group the
premises they have been provided is severely inadequate. However one group which is
housed in a premises owned by VicTrack reported that its landlord is very responsive to
requests for maintenance or improvements to the premises.

49
Heritage overlay
Some of the buildings currently used and/or cared for by the five groups are protected by a
Heritage Overlay. The following table notes these properties and the Heritage Overlay
number. In most cases, the buildings are significant on a state level and where relevant,
their Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number is also listed. Being in a heritage listed
building can place limitations on what improvement works might be done to improve the
environment for heritage objects.

Used/managed by Building Heritage listing


BHS Specimen Cottage VHR H1615 / HO182

Heathcote McIvor Camp Hill Precinct (including historic HO463 and HO757
Historical Society lock-up, Police residence and former
Infant Welfare Centre)
Eaglehawk Heritage Former Eaglehawk Courthouse, VHR H1401 / HO394
Society relocated historic log jail
Huntly & District Old Huntly Council Chambers VHR H1369 / HO475
Historical Society
Huntly & District Old Huntly Courthouse VHR H1370 / HO477
Historical Society
Elmore Progress Elmore Railway Station VHR H1672 / HO418
Association

50
Security

The groups were asked about the security measures at their premises. The groups reported
the following security measures they use (aggregated):

Door locks

Gate locks

Window locks

Security mesh doors

Cameras

Alarm/security system

Security lighting

Security screens on windows

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

This list suggests that many of the premises lack security. The only measure in place at all
premises is door locks. Only one has an alarm system. Most do not have window locks and
only one has window security screens (such as mesh or bars). In some cases this may be
related to a perception that the building may not be modified due to a heritage overlay.
However, in itself a heritage overlay should not prevent adequate security measures being
installed to protect the building and contents. In other cases it may be because the premises
is not owned by the group and the owner has not been willing to add further security.

Some groups reported incidents in which there was an attempted break-in or damage made
to their premises. Elmore have recently submitted a request to VicTrack for two extra
security mesh doors for its premises, after an attempted break-in in which intruders
attempted to force doors open. Its windows are also vulnerable and need extra security
measures applied.

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Premises suitability for housing objects

The groups were asked about the suitability of their premises. The following responses were
given:

Yes No
Were the premises purpose-built for museum activities? 2 6

Is the building in an area prone to flooding? 0 8

Are there any plumbing pipes, rainwater pipes, sprinkler 2 6


systems or wet areas located in or above collection storage or
display areas?

Do you feel the premises are suitable for your needs? 2 6

Only two of the eight premises were purpose built for museum activities. One of these is
BRAC which is maintained as a controlled archival environment. The other is the beekeepers
hut at Huntly which was created to house museum displays but was not built to museum
standards. It is not a satisfactory environment for preservation. A large gap between the
roof and walls all the way around the structure allows dust and pests into the interior. As a
result it is very difficult to keep the objects inside clean and free of cobwebs. The objects
housed in this structure are also quite vulnerable to fluctuations in temperature and
humidity.

The premises used by the groups are mostly 19th Century structures (built between 1856
and 1888), one is a 1960s building, one was built in 2002 and one in 2010. Sometimes older
buildings can be a reasonable environment for heritage items however several of these
historic structures have issues that are putting the collections at risk. Issues include rising
damp and severe temperature fluctuations. Another has wall paint applied with a historical
method which is very expensive to reproduce today. As such it has large areas of peeling
paint in its display areas. These issues are explored further later in the report.

It is interesting to note that the groups view almost all of their premises (6 out of 8) as not
suitable for their needs.

52
Accessibility

It is important that a premises and interpretive displays are accessible to people of all
capacities. The groups were asked about the accessibility of their premises and displays.

Yes No
Are your premises accessible to people with mobility issues? 5 3

Yes No N/A (No No


displays) answer
Are your displays accessible to people with other 3 3 1 1
disabilities, such as vision impairment?

Five of the eight premises are accessible to people with limited mobility. This can be a
difficult issue to address but is important since it potentially impacts on engaging new
audiences and volunteers.

In the groups’ estimation, only half of the premises they manage have displays which are
accessible to people with other limitations such as vision impairment. This issue can be
more easily improved through changes to interpretive methods, such as the way displays
are organised and labelled.

Most premises are single-level structures, except for one (Specimen Cottage) which has two
stories with only a steep narrow staircase to access the upper level which is not compliant
with OH&S standards and does not allow access for mobility-impaired visitors.

53
Signage

There appears to be some signage in place around these premises including signage in the
area and signage on the premises. Three premises have no signage and two have signage
without complete information. The survey elicited the following responses about signage:

Yes No
Are there any signs in the district to direct visitors to the 5 3
Society’s premises?

No signage on Yes, with Yes, with all of


premises some of those those details
details

Do you have signage on the outside of the 3 2 3


premises which states the Society's name,
opening hours and contact details?

An issue raised during site visits which is not made apparent by the survey is the issue of
whether signage used is adequate for attracting visitors (eg its size and the way it is placed).
This issue is discussed further in the section titled ‘Key Discussion Points’.

54
Main issues
issues or problems with premises
The survey asked the groups what are the main issues or problems they face in terms of
their premises. The following responses were given.

BHS – Rising damp affecting objects on display


Specimen Mould in kitchen a health hazard
Cottage Small rooms, difficult to create displays
Security issues
Stairs to upper level – not accessible for many visitors
Rooms dark because overshadowed by BRIT building
BHS – Not enough storage space
Nolan St
BRAC
facility
HMHS – Nowhere to store/display large items already donated to Society.
Camp Hill
precinct
EHS Rooms do not lend themselves to ease of pedestrian movement between
displays and rooms
HDHS - Cold in winter, hot in summer
Former Front signage needs to be larger to be readable by public
Chambers
and
surrounds
HDHS - Cold in winter
Courthouse Need signage
HDHS – Cold in winter, hot in summer
Beekeepers Dust enters due to gap between walls and roof
Museum
EPAM Interior paint needs urgent attention

55
Storage
The survey asked groups whether their premises has separate storage area/s. Four out of
five groups have areas dedicated to storage.

Yes No
Does your group have storage facilities? 4 1

The groups were asked to indicate which storage issues they face. They were asked to
indicate all that apply from the choices listed in the following table. The aggregated
responses were:

Number of groups that


reported problem
Lack of storage space 4
Poor quality of storage space 3
Need more or better storage units/furniture 3
Lack of appropriate storage materials 2

Most of the groups (4 out of 5) said they do not have enough storage furniture and
equipment, meaning suitable shelving or cabinets or sheds for important machinery.

The questionnaire asked the groups about the amount of storage they have in terms of
square metres of floor space or linear metres of shelf space. None of the five groups was
able to answer this question. During the site visits, the groups were asked if they could
assess or articulate the amount of extra storage they need in terms of percentage or any
other method (for example “we need double what we have now”). This was also
problematic for groups. It is certainly difficult to describe storage in a quantitative way.
Giving floor area figures is not sufficiently descriptive and linear shelf measures are more
applicable to archives than to objects. It is a complex process to quantitatively describe
storage needs. A qualitative description of storage problems can be more useful. This is
discussed further in the case studies and Key Discussion Points section.

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Exhibitions & displays
displays

All the groups have some display facilities. All groups described their facilities as ‘a series of
small rooms’ (as opposed to ‘one large space’).

Permanent and temporary exhibits


All groups reported that they have a permanent display, and most also mount short-term
exhibitions.

Yes No
Does your Society have a permanent exhibition on display? 5 0
Does your Society present temporary exhibitions or exhibits? 4 1

If the group said they do present temporary exhibitions or exhibits, they were asked to say
how many per year (on average). The responses were:

2 or more 2-3 3 4

The groups which do present temporary exhibitions usually present between 2 and 4
temporary exhibitions per year.

57
Policies
The survey asked which of the following policies the groups use. These policies are used by
many museums and usually set out what will and will not be presented in exhibitions,
education programs and other interpretive offerings. Having (and adhering to) one of these
policies is a requirement of accreditation under the Victorian Museum Accreditation
Program. The responses were:

Yes No
Exhibition Policy 1 4
Education Policy 0 5
Interpretation Policy 1 4

There is a low rate of use of policies to guide the displays and public programs (eg tours)
presented by these groups. However it is understandable in very small volunteer groups
which are struggling to conduct their core activities.

Importance of displaying collection


The groups were asked how important it is to them to display their collections to the public.
All groups responded that it is ‘Very Important’.

Percentage of the premises used to display items


The groups were asked what percentage of their premises is used to display collections. The
responses are presented in the table below.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


30% 80% 100% 100% 100%

Used for display

Used for other

58
Three groups have no areas dedicated to collection storage, one has very little. This
indicates that for these groups, most of the collection is on permanent display and never
rotated or rested. This has implications for preservation but also for attracting audiences,
since a static display is less likely to attract repeat visitors.

Lighting in display areas

The groups reported using the following light sources in their display areas.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM Total


Indirect natural light 4
Direct natural light 3
Energy-saving 2
globes
Fluorescent tubes 2
LED 1

Indirect natural light is the most common type of lighting in display areas, followed by direct
natural light. The presence of natural light (especially if direct) in display areas is a concern
for items, especially for materials on long-term or permanent display.

59
Nature of display
display facilities

Questions about the nature of display facilities elicited the following answers:

Yes No
Do you currently have enough display space? 0 5
Do you have suitable display cases and supports for displaying 4 1
your items?
Are there any hanging or display system installed in the 2 3
premises?
Have there been any incidents of theft or damage to your 1 4
collection items when on display?

All groups reported a lack of display space. Most feel they have enough display furniture
(such as display cases) but only two groups have a hanging or display system installed. All
but one group have experienced an incident of theft or damage to their collection items
while on display. This would suggest that these groups do not have sufficient appropriate
display furniture such as lockable display units or security barriers. The risk of damage and
theft are increased when large volumes of collection items are on display at one time.

Key barriers to displaying more collection


The survey also asked what are the main things that prevent the groups putting their
collections on display more often. The graph below presents their responses.

We are under-staffed
Time
Our exhibition facilities are not up to standard
Lack of suitable exhibition space
Lack of skills in this area
Cost
We have other priorities
Administration and paperwork

0 1 2 3 4 5

60
The two barriers most reported by the groups were ‘we are under-staffed’ and ‘time’. This
again reiterates the lack of personnel and by default the time pressures on existing
personnel.

Key challenges for display


In answer to the question ‘what key challenges does your Society face in terms of displaying
items?’, the groups gave the following responses:

“Staffing limited and time to do displays


Display/interpretation skills [lacking]
Suitable display areas [lacking]
Lighting/security/environment of [our venue]”
“Quite crowded”
No answer
No answer
“Not enough items or space”

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Public engagement

Public Opening Hours


The following table shows the times when the groups’ premises are usually open to the
public.

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


Tues and Thurs Wednesdays from Every Sunday from Tuesday & First Sunday of
10am - 4:00pm 10am-3pm and on 1- 4pm or by Wednesday each month from
weekends. Group appointment. mornings and by 2pm until 4pm.
tours by appointment. Each Wednesday
arrangement. between 10am and
3pm. Each
Thursday from
1pm till 3pm.
12 hours per week 15 hours per week 3 hours per week 6 hours per week 9 hours per week
+ by appointment + by appointment + by appointment

The various premises are opened between three and 15 hours per week and three will open
by request or appointment.

Visitors
The survey asked whether the groups track visitor numbers. Two groups indicated they did
so.

Yes No
Does your group record visitor numbers? 2 3

The two groups that formally track numbers noted the following annual visitor numbers for
2016.

115
65

These figures equate to around 1-2 visitors per week which is a similar rate of visitation
reported by some of the other groups. Most groups reported anecdotally that they usually
attract 1 to 4 visitors each week, but this audience is supplemented by occasional large
groups.

62
Groups & tours

The survey asked about whether the collecting groups ever conduct tours or host groups.
Most of the groups offer tours of their premises and host school groups and other kinds of
groups such as Probus or Seniors groups.

Yes No
Does your Society conduct tours? 4 1
Does your Society ever host school groups? 4 1
Does your Society ever host other types of groups (eg. 4 1
Probus)

Research requests

One of the core activities of most historical societies is responding to research questions
and requests. Volunteers often spend a lot of time carrying out research on behalf of the
public. This can be a way to generate some income for the group. The following responses
were given to questions about this topic:

Yes No
Does your Society charge a fee for responding to research 4 1
requests?

Does your Society keep a record of research requests? 4 1


If yes, how many requests did you receive last year? - No answer
- No answer
- About 100
- No answer
- About 6

Three groups indicated that they keep a record of research requests but then gave no
answer when asked how many requests they processed in the past year. This may indicate
that the kind of records kept are not easily searchable and not kept for the purpose of
tracking numbers.

One group reported that they charge a fee for researchers to use their extensive library of
reference books and research files, which usually involves them assisting the researcher as

63
well. However they noted that despite using these valuable resources, visiting researchers
are often reluctant to pay the fees requested.

Promoting the group

The groups were asked about the methods they have used for promotion and profile-
raising. The graph below presents the aggregated responses.

Newspaper articles
Social media
Website
Radio interviews
Books and research publications
Flyers or brochures
Advertising
Inclusion in tourism brochures
Media releases
Email bulletins

0 1 2 3 4 5

The main method of promotion used was newspaper articles, followed by social media and
websites. The least used were media releases and email bulletins.

64
Social media & online
During the site visits, four of the five groups reported that they do not have internet access
at their premises, and that they feel they do not need it. This raised the question of what
online presence the groups have. The consultant checked which groups have a Facebook
page, which have a website and which have a profile on Victorian Collections, with the
following results:

BHS HC EH HU EL
Have Facebook Yes Yes Yes Yes No
page
Number of 0 0 22 13 n/a
Facebook posts
in June 2017
Have a website Yes No Yes No No
Victorian Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Collections (20 items) (21 items) (0 items) (0 items) (0 items)
profile

Most of the groups have a Facebook page. One group reported that they are disappointed
that people (from the public) do not post on it, as much as they do. Others reported a lack
of time to regularly post on their Facebook profile. Viewing the posts on the group’s
Facebook pages over a sample of one month (June 2017) showed variety in the frequency
this channel is used by the groups.

Only two groups have websites. BHS would like to upgrade their site and publish some
collections on it. Eaglehawk currently have technical issues with a side panel on their site
which they are trying to resolve. The other groups have small listings on a variety of other
websites but no site of their own.

Only two groups have collection items published online. In both cases the platform used is
Victorian Collections.4 Each group has around 20 items displayed on the website.
Interestingly two other groups have a profile on Victorian Collections (which means their
group took part in the training at some point) but have not added any collection items.

4
https://victoriancollections.net.au/
65
Key Public Access Challenges
The survey asked the groups to describe the key challenges they face in terms of public
access to their collections. The following responses were given:

“Limited space at [our venue]


[Lack of] staff to plan/implement displays
No access to collection storage facilities
Item retrieval in containers
Lack of equipment to digitise large items”
-
“Restricted opening hours due to lack of [volunteers]”
-
“Most people have no idea what we have here
Mobility ramp
Lack of volunteer time and numbers”

66
Conservation activities

Conservation treatment
The survey asked whether the groups have ever organised conservation treatment for any
collection items. Three of the five groups have done so.

Preventative conservation techniques

There are a range of techniques which groups can use to prevent damage and degradation
to their collections. The following chart notes which are used and by how many of the
groups:

Gloves are used when handling vulnerable items

Pest monitoring

Archival storage materials

Checking/recording internal building conditions

Use of attachments for displays that will not damage


collection items

Food areas are kept separate from collection areas

Rotating light sensitive items like textiles (taking them


off display for a rest from light and replacing with…

Disaster planning

0 1 2 3 4 5

Most of the groups use gloves when handling vulnerable items, conduct pest monitoring
and use archival storage materials which are all effective measures. The techniques used
least were rotating items (taking them off display periodically) and disaster planning. These
are areas where improvements could be made.

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Pest
Pest management
The groups showed a high awareness of the need for pest management in collection
management. Most keep food areas separate from their collections. Some use pest traps
and inspection schedules. Only one groups isolates (or freezes where appropriate) collection
items for pest management. Doing so can be used to treat a known pest presence or
prevent new donations from transferring pest infestation into existing collection items. It
only requires a chest freezer, equipment to seal objects in plastic and training.

Keeping food and collection areas separate 4

Pest traps 3

Pest inspection schedule 3

Isolating or freezing infested items or new


1
accessions

0 1 2 3 4 5

Cleaning/maintenance schedule

Three of the five groups have a regular cleaning or maintenance schedule. However based
on site visits there is an awareness of the need for regular cleaning and most spaces
appeared to be fairly clean. It may be difficult for the groups to follow a formal schedule
when there are so few volunteers available.

Preservation Needs Assessments


Only one of the five groups (BHS) has had a Preservation Needs Assessment carried out for
their collection.

68
Disaster management
Strategies used by the groups to mitigate potential disasters are outlined in the following
graph.

Collection items raised off floor

Fire-proof storage areas or units

Disaster Response Kit

Disaster plan

0 1 2 3 4 5

All groups reported that they have ‘collection items raised off the floor’ as a disaster
management strategy. This technique ensures that if flooding occurs the objects will be less
likely to be affected. The recommended gap is at least six inches. However although all
groups reported that they use this technique, they do not use it for all of their objects. The
consultant observed during site visits that all groups still have some objects placed on the
floor. Supports can be simple blocks of wood or metal with a foam or rubber buffer to sit
the object on. However it can be difficult for overstretched groups to attend to these kinds
of matters.

There was also low use of fireproof cabinets, disaster response kits and disaster plans. It
would be advisable for these groups to take part in disaster planning training, however
given the personnel problems this may simply add another obligation on stressed
volunteers.

69
Support

Areas needing support

The survey asked about the areas in which the groups feel they need support. They were
able to select as many as applied. The aggregated responses are shown in the graph below:

Increasing storage

Succession planning

Public access

Conservation

Setting up storage/Storage advice

Significance assessments

Disaster management

Writing grant applications

Volunteer management

Governance

Responding to research requests

Cataloguing

Displaying collection

Collection management

General planning

Financial management

0 1 2 3 4 5

The graph clearly shows that the two areas in which the groups would like support are
‘increasing storage’ and ‘succession planning’. This reiterates the priority issues already
identified by this study.

70
When prompted to nominate the two areas where they most need support groups provided
the following responses:

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM


Area 1 General planning Succession Succession No answer Succession
for planning planning planning
-displays
- grants
- Collection
management
Area 2 Storage Increasing Conservation No answer Cataloguing
storage

Again, succession planning was the most pressing priority, followed by storage or increasing
storage.

Organisations group has worked with


The groups were asked which organisations they have worked with and which they would
consider working with. The next two graphs present their aggregated responses.

Other museums or collecting institutions

Council

Rotary Club or similar

Schools/universities

Tourist information centre

Library

Community Centre

0 1 2 3 4 5

The responses indicate that the most common collaborative partners for these groups have
been Council and other museums or institutions.
71
Organisations group would work with
The survey also asked which organisations the groups would consider working with. The
responses are collated in the graph below. All options elicited low response rates, though
‘Council’ was selected more than other organisations. Onsite discussions explored the
reasons for these responses. Most groups said because they are so overstretched they don't
have time or personnel required to work with other organisations.

Council

Tourist information centre

Other museums or collecting institutions

Rotary Club or similar

Community Centre

Library

Schools/universities

0 1 2 3 4 5

72
Organisations have received support from
The survey asked which organisations the groups have received support from. The graph
below illustrates the aggregated responses.

Council

Grant or funding bodies

Museums Australia

Other museums or collecting institutions

Royal Historical Society of Victoria

Tourist information centre

Public Records Office of Victoria

A university

0 1 2 3 4 5

Of the options given, the groups feel they have received most support from Council,
followed by grant and funding bodies.

Industry support
The groups were asked whether they were industry bodies such as Museums Australia
Victoria (MAV), Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) or any other. The responses were:

BHS HMHS EHS HDHS EPAM

RHSV RHSV, MAV RHSV RHSV -

Most of the groups are members of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. This is an
important support and advocacy body for historical societies in Victoria. It offers advice,
training, discussion forums and sector news to its members. One is also a member of
Museums Australia (Victoria) which is another important advocacy body for Victorian
museums. It also offers training, networking opportunities, services such as the Victorian
Collections website and the Museum Accreditation Program (MAP) and recognises

73
excellence in the sector by presenting the Victorian Museum Awards. Although some groups
may not be able to afford membership, membership of both bodies can offer useful support
to community collecting groups.

74
Current support from Council
In answer to the multiple-choice survey question ‘What kind of support does Council
currently offer you?’ the groups gave varied responses which are collated in the graph
below.

Grants and/or Building(s) provided

Museum/Heritage staff member to work


with groups

Utilities and/or rates paid for Community


collecting groups

Curatorial staff

Project Contractors

0 1 2 3 4 5

75
Relationship with Council

The survey asked groups to describe their relationship with Council. They made the
following statements in response:

“Very positive and supportive. Current councillors appear very receptive to discussing
Society’s needs and more broadly the Bendigo situation of no museum of Indigenous &
European history.”
“We have a very good working relationship with Council; we use them when required.”
“Excellent”
“No answer”
“Our property manager has regular dealing with Council & our Past Secretary”

They were also asked if they wished to add any further comments about Council’s support
of their group. These comments were provided.

“[We’re] appreciative of current study & many past studies into requirements for Bendigo
of a museum.”
“Council comes to our assistance when we request it.”

76
Successes
The groups were asked what is working well for them right now, and gave the following
responses:

“Monthly public lecture program


Bus tours
Walking tours
Digitising collection/managing collection
Proper climate controlled collection area”
“Our current group work very well together as we have known each other for a number of
years. When a job is required there is always someone willing to lend a hand & we also
can call on outside groups within our community ie Lions, RSL etc.”
“Community support through ongoing donations of Eaglehawk artefacts. School and
community participation in tours. Our Facebook page.”
“[Publishing] monthly newsletter for local region”

Greatest challenges
The final question in the survey was ‘What are the greatest challenges for your Society right
now?’ which elicited the following comments:

“Volunteers for positions of responsibility/committee


Money – for collection management, or for projects like an interactive website
Advertising strategy
Writing grant applications (no time/staff)
Common understandings re purpose of BHS
Paying rent for [premises]”
“Lack of volunteers of a younger generation who are willing to become members & have
time to spare to help out on a regular basis especially on special open days throughout
the year.”
“Lack of members especially from the younger generation”
“Volunteers”
“[Local region] newsletter to keep it going to help us financially
Keeping our volunteers”

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Survey Conclusions
Conclusions

The survey revealed important information about the current situation for five core
community collecting groups in Greater Bendigo. All the groups have operated for decades,
some for many decades. They are governed responsibly - meeting regularly, holding
relevant insurances and most using core guiding documents such as statements of purpose
and Constitutions. Four groups are struggling to attract enough members and volunteers.
All groups struggle to engage new people in roles of responsibility. They all rely on a small
number of dedicated, hard-working core volunteers. All groups have skill gaps in areas
important to museum and collection management.

The groups collectively care for around 45,000 items, with BHS being the largest single
collection. Around 5,300 of these items are objects and artefacts, many of local historical
significance. Some are firearms and items of Aboriginal heritage. All collections are
continuing to grow mainly via donations from the public. Not all groups have a Collection
Policy and if they do it is not necessarily consistently applied. Most have kept accession
documentation such as donor forms.

There is variation between groups in what proportion of their collection is catalogued,


ranging from 30% to 100%. There is a lot of variation in the methods and computer
programs used to catalogue items. It is not clear how complete or searchable the catalogue
data sets might be, since most groups found it very difficult even to estimate the different
types of materials they hold. How much collection imaging has been completed also varies
in quantity and approaches. All groups have documentation about their collection which
need to be retained with the collection to preserve important information about it.

The groups operate across eight premises, most of which are not purpose built or very
suitable for museum activities. Many need improved signage, structural repairs and
improved security. All groups lack suitable storage space but this is most critical for BHS
which has 95% of its collection in storage, much of it in poor conditions.

All groups would like to display their collections more but lack the time and space to do so.
The groups open their premises between three and fifteen hours per week and the two
groups which track visitation report a rate of 1-2 visitors per week. Most groups also give
group tours and process research requests from the public, and these provide some income,
but minimal records are kept on these activities. Most have profiles on social media and
Victorian Collections but some use them minimally and most groups have no website.

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Most groups are aware of the need for preventative conservation and apply some of the
basic techniques. There is a low use of disaster planning and measures.

The two main areas identified by all groups for increased outside support were ‘increasing
storage’ and ‘succession planning’. The groups expressed appreciation for the current
support received from Council including provision of buildings and the Council staff who
work with them.

The groups are positive about their various achievements which they reported as their
public programs, digitisation projects, good group dynamics, support from local
communities and public engagement. Among their greatest challenges all groups identified
a lack of volunteers and active members and some mentioned difficulties around income,
self-promotion and group dynamics.

The survey phase of this study provided an important overview about the current situation
for the groups and their current needs, concerns and challenges. To dig deeper and
‘unpack’ some of these aggregated findings, the next phase of the study uses case studies to
explore the key issues as they are being experienced by three different groups.

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10. Case Studies
Case study 1: Bendigo Historical
Historical Society

Bendigo Historical Society is the oldest historical society in the Greater Bendigo region, and
the largest in terms of membership. The Society was established at a public meeting on 19th
June 1935. After a hiatus during the war years, the Society resumed its activities in 1950. In
1977 the Society was given use of historic Dudley House in View Street for its premises.

On May 11th, 1990 the Society was incorporated as the Bendigo Historical Society Inc. The
stated purpose of the Society has ten elements including to encourage historical research,
to compile and present records about Bendigo, to acquire materials with a bearing on
Bendigo’s history, to promote exchange on information through lectures, excursions and
exhibitions and to publish books and papers.

The BHS collection has been largely inaccessible since 1999 when Council requested the
Society to vacate Dudley House so that works could be carried out on the building. BHS
were reassured in a letter from the then CEO of CoGB that they would most likely be
allowed to return but this did not occur. The collections were stored at various locations
including Fortuna Villa, Bendigo Town Hall (also the Society headquarters for a time),
Bendigo Art Gallery, Mechanics Institute, in a shipping container, and in private homes.
During this time the collection was difficult to access and not completely secure. Some
items went missing during this time.

The group is currently trying to develop a new forward plan and discuss succession planning
but finding both to be very difficult when the future of their group and in particular their
collection and premises is so uncertain.

A pool of around 25 active members deliver a wide range of public programs including
lectures, bus tours, walking tours, hosting school groups and costumed re-enactments.
Regular tours include tours of the Shamrock Hotel every Sunday and regular tours of
Bendigo Cemetery. The current President (since 2002) is a retired history teacher and as
such has skills relevant to design and delivery of history education programs. The Society’s
research output includes books, articles, self-guided tour pamphlets, family history files and
other research files. It has loaned items from its collection to exhibitions at the National
Museum, Post Office Gallery Bendigo, Central Deborah Gold Mine and the Bendigo Library.
BHS Committee members value the opportunity to exhibit objects in the exhibitions at Post
Office Gallery. The Committee hopes BHS collection items might be included in the Faith In
the Goldfields exhibit in the proposed Aspire Precinct. Recently BHS have also had
discussions regarding partnering with other groups to find improved premises. One
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potential partnership relates to a proposed redevelopment of the Bendigo Showgrounds
and another possibility is the use of space at Fortuna Villa to store and display historical
clothing.

BHS and its collection have had a range of temporary accommodations since they were
asked to vacate Dudley House. Between 2003 and 2007 BHS volunteers worked in a section
of the Bendigo branch of the Goldfields Library and the collections were stored in
‘inadequate storage off-site’ at Finn St Reserve. In 2007 BHS transferred their collection to
the old Bendigo Gaol. An employment body using the premises gave BHS space to use. This
was an attractive location for volunteers and around twenty worked on cataloguing the
collection at this time. BHS commissioned Lauretta Zilles to provide a Collection
Management Strategy and Significance Assessment in 2007. 5 A Preservation Needs
Assessment was carried out by conservation consultants Artifact Conservation in September
2008, while the collection was still at the Gaol.

Currently the Society is spread across two premises – its front of house or public interface is
Specimen Cottage in Hargreaves St, Bendigo and its collection is (mostly) stored at the BRAC
facility in Nolan St, Bendigo. Specimen Cottage is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In May
2011 the bulk of the collection was moved to the new BRAC facility in Nolan St.

Entrance to BHS at Specimen Cottage BHS volunteers at work

5
Zilles (2007)
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The BHS Collection
The BHS collection comprises around 32,000 items and continues to grow steadily every
week. Of these around 2300 items are objects and artefacts including clothing and other
textiles, artworks, weaponry, furniture and historical artefacts such as domestic objects,
trade tools and agricultural equipment, militaria, clocks, musical instruments, personal
effects, and models and dioramas.

The 2007 Zilles Strategy and Assessment described the BHS collection as:

a collection not just of local importance, but of state and national significance, that would be
irreplaceable if lost through damage or mismanagement.

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It also stated that:

Its future worth for research, study, access and display is immense. Its tremendous potential for
story-telling relating not only to the days of the gold-rush, but also to the contribution of Bendigo and
region’s citizens to politics, industry, innovation, the arts and culture, are yet to be fully realised.

The Zilles Strategy and Assessment listed a number of items as historically significant and
worthy of further research. These are listed in an earlier section of this report titled ‘Most
significant items’. BHS Committee members note that a ship’s bell from the Ravenswood
pastoral run and a one-handed clock have been popular items with visitors. BHS loaned
several mining artefacts to the National Museum of Australia for a long-term exhibition.

A recent donation to BHS – Honour Board of the Ancient Order of Foresters (1861)

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There are 22,887 items entered on the Mosaic collection management system used by BHS.
17,558 of the catalogue entries have an attachment, which usually means an image of the
item or in fewer cases, a transcription.

Number of items on Mosaic Number of database entries with


computer database an image or transcription
attached
22,887 17,558

A further breakdown of this data for a few major object categories is provided below to
show how much catalogue data has been entered on the BHS Mosaic database and of these,
how many have an image or transcription of the item attached.

Estimated number in Have a catalogue entry on Also have an image or


BHS collection BHS Mosaic computer transcription attached to
database Mosaic entry
Document 20,000 9,026 7,000
Map 1,600 1,425 100
Object 2,400 1,378 1,147

This data table shows that most entries on Mosaic have an attachment (usually an image of
the item) except for maps which are ‘under-imaged’. This is because most are too big for the
scanners which BHS have. Scanning the maps and plans would require purchase of a very
large scanner or to outsource the scanning. Both options will require funding.

The collection is under-researched and the significance of many items has not been
documented. In many cases an item may appear to be a common item of low significance
but upon further research using Society files, can be shown to be of high local historical
significance.6 It is important for all of the collection to be kept in one place if possible. The
objects and artefacts link closely with many of the records, documents and photographs and
these links provide important context for interpretation, establishing provenance and
conducting research.

6
Zilles 2007; p44
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Current Storage
BHS collections are stored at the BRAC facility in Nolan Street, mostly in two areas - the BHS
BRAC Store and the BHS Storage Containers.

The BHS BRAC Store is a narrow strip of storage space allocated to BHS within the climate-
controlled BRAC building. It provides some of the collection with museum-standard
environmental conditions. In this space BHS stores its paper-based materials (documents,
maps, books and newspapers), and a large number of framed items and small to medium-
sized objects some housed in acid-free archival boxes, others yet to be transferred. This
storage area is extremely over-crowded with collection items and became even more so
during the two-month period that this study took place. Around six to eight boxes of new
donations were added to the space during that time. There was no shelf space for them so
they had to be stacked on the floor at the end of a row of shelving. A mesh fence separates
this storage space from the rest of the BRAC storage space, some of which is currently
unused but is reserved for future public records as per the remit of BRAC.

BHS wish to expand their current narrow storage space inside the BRAC building, by having
the mesh fence moved across, but this is not a realistic option or a satisfactory solution. As a
public repository BRAC needs to maintain its extra space to expand in the future. Also, the
limited few feet of extra space that might be provided to BHS is far from a comprehensive
or long-term storage solution, especially given the volume of material stored in the shipping
containers. Furthermore, much of the material currently stored by BHS in its storage area is
inappropriate for retention inside the BRAC building which is a repository for paper-based
materials only. Framed items, unassessed donations and other 3 dimensional objects and
artefacts pose threat to the public archives particularly in terms of potential pest
contamination and other phenomena such as off-gassing. This situation has come about
because BHS have had been given no other storage options. It has been a critical need for
some time for this collection to be given the recognition, care and resources it needs, with
the highest priority being proper storage.

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A row of shelving in BHS BRAC Store Faulty compactus in BHS BRAC Store

Framed items in the BHS BRAC Store

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Framed items in the BHS BRAC Store Framed items in the BHS BRAC Store

BHS stores its medium to large 3-dimensional objects and artefacts in four shipping
containers (from this point on referred to as the BHS Storage Containers) placed in vacant
space next to the Archive building. The shipping containers are secure and climate-
controlled to a small degree via split-system air conditioners, with power supplied by cables
extending from the BRAC building. In some places these wires hang low enough that they
risk being snagged when container doors are opened. These air conditioners do not control
the internal environment to museum standards.

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BHS Storage Containers

Most of the BHS Storage Containers are highly crowded with heritage items stacked on
other heritage items. As such it is very difficult to access most of the items inside them. BHS
report that at a rate of about once a week, they need to access something in the BHS
Storage Containers and struggle to do so. An example was a Glasgow Arms artefact that was
recently requested for loan by the Post Office Gallery. It was eventually retrieved with
much difficulty. There are some non-collection items in the BHS Storage Containers too,
such as equipment or exhibition display cases. Half of one of the BHS Storage Containers is
filled with archival storage supplies.

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Collection stored in BHS Storage Containers
Collection stored in BHS Storage
Containers

BHS objects and artefacts, especially those crammed into the BHS Storage Containers, are
highly vulnerable physically. The BHS Storage Containers are a poor environment for
preventing or monitoring pest infestations. These objects have been stored in less than
ideal conditions for many years because the Society and its collection has not been provided
with a suitable permanent home, despite repeated requests for help to find one. Because of
this, much of the collection is in danger of being so degraded that it is lost forever. Loss of
these items is a loss of Greater Bendigo community heritage assets which can never be
replaced.

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Collection stored in BHS Storage Containers Collection stored in BHS Storage
Containers

Approximately 100 historic firearms belonging to BHS are currently held at the premises of a
member who is licensed to hold them. Whilst these are part of the BHS collection, the group
do not have the facilities required to store them in a compliant manner. BHS have had to
reject some large items offered for donation (such as mining equipment) because they had
nowhere to store them.

As well as limiting workspace and access to items, the inadequate storage environment is a
safety risk for volunteers and is putting collection items at risk of physical damage. Items
are stored on the floor of the BHS Storage Containers and in the BHS BRAC Store due to lack
of space. In the event of flooding, these items could be inundated and water-damaged. It is
standard museum practice to store all collection items at least six inches off the floor for
this reason. The objects in the BHS Storage Containers are exposed to dramatic fluctuations
in temperature and to dust, moisture and pests every time the container doors are opened.

A compactus installed in the BHS BRAC Store is damaged and not operating properly. It
poses a serious safety risk for volunteers as well as not being properly usable, further
restricting available storage space. There is also physical risk to volunteers and to objects
when they have to move large items and climb over things to get to items at the back of the
BHS Storage Containers.

Following the recommendations of the 2008 Preservation Needs Assessment by Artifact


Conservation, BHS have developed a disaster plan and volunteers are digitising parts of the
collection. Volunteers are also gradually re-housing collection items in the BHS BRAC Store
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into archival boxes, wrapping and padding them out with acid-free tissue. This process is
important for object preservation but it also greatly increases the storage space taken up by
an item. This is especially true with historic clothing which benefits immensely from being
unfolded and padded out but which has a huge impact on storage space, as BHS is finding.
Also, it is currently very difficult for volunteers to do this work of transferring items into
suitable housings because much of the collection is inaccessible but also because the
storage space in BRAC is so overcrowded. For example, much of the boxed material in the
BHS Storage Containers is in inappropriate non-archival boxes but these cannot be accessed
without difficulty.

Important research work has already been completed for some collection items, in which
volunteers use documentation (donor forms, old Society minutes, registers and newsletters)
and other research methods to establish the provenance and full significance of artefacts.
This research work needs to be continued for far more of the collection. The collection also
needs to be completely catalogued and photographed. However these activities cannot take
place when the collection is as inaccessible as it is now. This is unfortunate because
collection research, cataloguing and imaging are all vital to realising the potential of the
collection. As well as establishing in detail what is in the collection, it is crucial work toward
recognising the collection’s interpretive potential, and so is a key step in identifying
materials for display in a regional museum.

Deaccessioning
One way to free up some storage space can be deaccessioning items via a careful and
thorough process. The 2008 Preservation Needs Assessment by Artifact Conservation
recommended that BHS ‘dispose of non-significant material’. It estimated that around 40%
of BHS holdings ‘has only curiosity interest and much of it no historic link to Bendigo except
that it was donated by someone in the area’. The earlier 2007 Zilles Strategy and
Assessment also recommended that BHS deaccession items which do not meet the criteria
in its Collection Policy. She warned that careful research and assessment is required before
items are de-accessioned and suggested that BHS begin by de-accessioning:

• Magazines, newspapers or ephemera not relevant to Bendigo and district.


• Books not relevant for future museum displays, research or reference.
• Domestic objects or other items where: the provenance is not known; a link with the
region is dubious; the item is badly damaged; or it duplicates other items already in
the collection.

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BHS does have a de-accessioning policy. But discussions in this study revealed that BHS
have not de-accessioned any items from the collection as per these recommendations. The
main reasons are a lack of time and access to the collections to do the careful research
required, which is a requirement under recognised museum codes of ethics. Another reason
expressed by individual Committee members is reluctance to be the person who made the
ultimate decision to dispose of something.

Extra storage needed


In 2002 the volume of the collection was estimated at ‘80 cubic metres’, but this probably
does not take into account the objects being stored safely and with buffer space. At this
time BHS requested a total 600 square metres of storage space for the collection. The Zilles
Strategy and Assessment estimated that at that time (2007) approximately 400 square
metres or an area of 20 x 20 or 16 x 25 metres would be needed to properly store the
collection if the space was fitted out with museum-appropriate storage furniture. More
space will now be required given the expansion of the BHS collection in the years since
those evaluations were made.

Table: Volume estimates from past reports and this study:


2002 2007 2017
Volume of 80 cubic metres - 370 cubic metres
collection
Estimated space - 400 square metres 620 cubic metres
needed

The BHS Storage Containers provide around 132 cubic metres of storage space if the items
are stored stacked and with no buffer space. To be stored safely this material would require
three times this amount of space, so around 300 cubic metres.

The BHS BRAC Store provides approximately 40 cubic metres of space (if stored properly).
Much of the material in the BHS BRAC Store is stored safely on shelves but there is an excess
which is not, instead it is piled and stacked on the floor. Due to the lack of storage space
available to BHS, there are probably around 60 cubic metres of collection items currently in
the BHS BRAC Store and this increases each week. Much of this material is objects and
artefacts which should not be stored here. It is very difficult to estimate the volume of
objects and artefacts held in the BHS BRAC Store as many are small and held in boxes. In
some boxes objects are mixed with paper-based items, especially in boxes of new donations
and uncatalogued material. A very rough estimate is that a third of the material in the BHS

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BRAC Store is objects and artefacts (including framed items, textiles and other objects), and
as such has an estimated volume of 20 cubic metres.

Storage space Amount of Volume of Amount of


available space objects stored space needed
(approximate) appropriate for currently in the elsewhere to
artefact storage space store these
(approximate) artefacts in
appropriate
manner
(approximate)
BHS BRAC 40 m3 0 m3 20 m3 40 m3
Store
BHS Storage 132 m3 0 m3 300 m3 580 m3
Containers
Total 172 m3 0 m3 320 m3 620 m3

BHS currently holds around 320 cubic metres of objects and artefacts. Buffer space around
the items is needed, probably an additional one third of this figure. And an additional one
third of the resulting figure is needed to allow for safe access paths in a storage space. So, to
store the BHS objects to ensure preservation and accessibility approximately 560 cubic
metres of object storage is needed. Extra space should be allowed for future collection
growth. Adding 10% for growth brings the quantity of space required for objects to around
620 cubic metres. If this amount of new storage space can be provided for BHS object
holdings, then the existing BHS BRAC Store should be adequate for its paper-based holdings.
The entire collection will then have adequate storage space. An example of the kind of
storage space that would provide this amount of storage volume is one with a floor area of
15m x 15m and a storage height of 2.75m.

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Table: Estimated storage requirements for BHS:
Storage options Space needed
For objects only 320 m3
With buffer space between objects 420 m3
With buffer space between objects and with safe access paths 560 m3
With buffer space between objects, with safe access paths and 620 m3
with 10% extra space for future expansion

Based on these very approximate calculations BHS need access to approximately 620 m3 of
storage to adequately house their objects and artefacts. Additional space would also be
needed to accommodate the 100 firearms held offsite. The specific volume of these items
needs to be assessed in order to incorporate the required storage space into a total amount
needed by the BHS.

A greater variety of storage units is also needed. Currently the only available types are open
floor, metal shelves, map drawers and a compactus. Other types needed are till units
(compartmentalised or divided shelving) for framed items, some different configurations of
open shelving (such as for textile boxes), and more compactuses (both open shelf style and
closed in style). Also needed is secure, legally compliant storage for 100 firearms.

Providing sufficient and appropriate storage facilities for the BHS collection, supported by
professional advice and co-ordination, would finally give these important community
heritage assets the care and respect they deserve.

Lack of volunteers
The Society has 120 members, with around 25 ‘active members’ regularly volunteering for
the Society. At Specimen House volunteers deliver tours and talks, answer queries, sell
publications and present displays. The Society has been provided with a very large and well-
equipped office/research space at the BRAC building which provides excellent workspace
for volunteers who are working with and the collection (cataloguing, digitisation and
research).

BHS acknowledge the hard work of their volunteers. However there is a lack of volunteers in
some task areas, such as conducting tours, cataloguing and digitisation all of which require
particular skills and knowledge. They have some Work for the Dole volunteers, and have
had mixed results from these. BHS are keen to publish collections online but this project has
been disrupted by volunteer turnover. This highlights another issue which is that volunteers

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will often only commit short term which impacts on continuity and maintaining standards,
especially in collection management work.

A key issue for BHS is the need for co-ordination and support of their volunteers which
requires people willing to be in a position of responsibility and leadership. There is only a
handful of such people currently and no-one willing to commit to taking over from the
current leaders when they are no longer able. Committee members are increasingly
overwhelmed by the responsibility for leadership around collection management. They
express the feeling that ‘we are only volunteers ourselves managing other volunteers’. The
skill areas which BHS feel are most lacking in their group are curatorial skills and grant
application-writing.

A key strength of the Society is its engagement with the public, its network of local contacts
and its public standing. The trust and respect with which the Society is viewed has
encouraged many people to donate precious items. What is in the collections today would
have been lost to the Greater Bendigo community if not for the commitment and
determination of the Society’s members over many decades.

It is important that people with strong knowledge of local history continue to research and
work closely with the collections. Research is enhanced by knowledge of the collection and
of local history and in turn, better research and documentation will greatly enhance the
meaning and significance of the BHS collection. As such it is preferable that BHS members
continue to be closely involved in the management of the collection. However as a team of
volunteers they would benefit from advice and support from trained museum professionals.

A front-
front-end venue

In 2013, BHS were given use of Specimen Cottage at 178-180 Hargreaves St as their public
venue. The 1856 Cottage is reputed to be the oldest house in Bendigo.

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Specimen Cottage street frontage

BHS Reception desk in Specimen Cottage

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The Society uses Specimen Cottage as a front-end venue where they:

Hold meetings
Receive guests
Allow the public to view collection items (as this is not allowed at BRAC)
Present lectures and special presentations
Host school groups
Start walking tours
Present collection items and curated content
Receive research requests
Have a reference library
Provide information about Bendigo history (eg to tourists)
Sell publications

Displays in Specimen Cottage Object display in Specimen Cottage

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The Society pays $2500 in rent, reduced for them from the $3,000 normally charged. But it
is a large expense compared with their total average annual income of $10K. The BHS
Committee acknowledges that they are appreciative that BRIT/TAFE pays the utility costs
and provides general maintenance. They also acknowledged substantial restoration works
which have been carried out on the verandah and internal staircase in recent years.

Recently restored verandah at Specimen Cottage

However a section of the roof damaged by a miniature cyclone ‘a couple of years ago’ still
needs repair to prevent water inundation. And the environment in the Cottage contains
health risks and risks to collections. There is a substantial rising damp problem in the
building. This has created a mould outbreak in some areas which is a health issue for
volunteers and visitors. The rising damp also seriously endangers collection items, especially
vulnerable materials such as textiles, paper-based material and wooden artefacts.

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Damaged roof section (external)

Damage resulting from inundation via damaged roof

In the MOU agreement relating to the building it was stated that restoration work would be
carried out. Whilst the BRIT in partnership with CoGB has carried out restoration work on
the staircase and verandah in recent years, the rising damp is still a critical issue which
needs to be addressed urgently. CoGB heritage officers are in the process of negotiating
with BRIT personnel to collaborate toward resolving both of these issues at Specimen
Cottage.

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The upper level of the building is accessible only by a steep and narrow staircase, restricting
what can be presented upstairs and who can access it. Even for relatively able visitors, the
staircase poses a safety risk.

Displays and staircase in Specimen Cottage

There are a small number of collection items on display at the Cottage, some in themed
temporary exhibits curated by volunteers, who admit they have little time or expertise to
develop curated exhibition content. The rising damp issue severely restricts what they can
safely exhibit in the Cottage.

Another issue with the Cottage is its location. BHS sees the location as a ‘dead area’ in terms
of tourists, foot traffic and passers-by, other than BRIT students going to and from classes. It
is dark and gloomy inside the Cottage because the large BRIT building behind blocks most of
the light. The security of the building is also a concern. A glass window has been broken
whilst the premises were closed and there is a lack of security cameras in areas outside the
Cottage. There is some vegetation growing close to the building on one side which can
increase risk of pest infestation.

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Window at rear of Specimen Cottage

Vegetation close to eastern external wall Window at rear of Specimen Cottage

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Promoting the Society
BHS noted they would like to develop an advertising strategy. They have a website but
would also like it to be more interactive. BHS have a Facebook page with 353 followers but
posts are only added about once a month. Apart from the Sunday Shamrock Hotel tour,
there is no mention of the Society and its other tours, activities, venues or services on the
Bendigo Tourism website (or indeed on other sites such as TripAdvisor). Although BHS offers
cemetery tours, the Cemetery Tours page on Bendigo Tourism recommends that tourists do
self-guided walking tours of the Cemetery. Locally the group promotes itself well via its
interpretive programs and word of mouth and has good local networks which leads to a
flow of donations from the public.

There is some signage on and around Specimen Cottage. A small permanent sign hangs from
under the verandah and when open a sandwich board is placed on the street. These do little
to indicate the presence of the Society in the building. The blank west-facing external wall is
a very large brick surface which would be ideal for large signage.

Existing signage Large west-facing external wall, possible


location for large-scale signage

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A permanent home
BHS members wish to find a suitable venue or venues which they can occupy long-term or
permanently. Constantly moving the collection has been exhausting for volunteers and has
caused damage and loss to the collections and made them largely inaccessible for decades.
This makes it very difficult to attract new volunteers.

BHS are open to a shared solution or one in which they have their own premises. They note
that a front-of-house venue needs to be appropriate for displaying the collection and be in
central location in Bendigo, preferably somewhere there is a lot of passing foot traffic.

The Committee members of BHS note that they and other volunteers ‘are doing this work
for the citizens of Bendigo, to preserve their history’. BHS Committee members expressed
appreciation for the help Council provides it, but also frustration at the long-running nature
of the ‘museum issue’ in Greater Bendigo and the lack of impetus by Council to make any
move on this. They note that they have no interest in running a museum themselves and
feel that rather it is Council’s responsibility.

The BHS Committee and volunteers have achieved a lot, mostly under difficult conditions. In
particular, they have created and cared for a highly significant local history collection for the
Greater Bendigo community.

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Case study 2: Heathcote McIvor Historical Society

Heathcote McIvor Historical Society Inc. was established in 1980. The Society’s mission is ‘to
collect and preserve the history of Heathcote area, help people to research their family
history, and assist with the history of Heathcote area’.

The Society manages a research office, and two display venues in the Camp Hill Historic
Precinct. Much of the HMHS collection, in particular its objects and artefacts, are on display
in the Historic Lockup (1861) and Old Police Residence (1888), both in their original position
on the site of the old Police Camp. A heritage listing was obtained for the lockup in 2002.
The Society has used the Old Police Residence as a display venue since 2007 and has
obtained funds to restore both buildings to a state that is suitable for housing collections. A
shipping container is used to store equipment and supplies and a few large collection items.

Historic Lock-up (1861) at Heathcote McIvor Historical Society

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Old Police Residence (1888) at Heathcote McIvor Historical Society

The Society’s rooms are in a former Infant Welfare Centre building (1967) in the same
precinct. They do not have a phone or internet connected here, but do have fire-proof
cabinets and a safe. The Old Police Residence is owned by the Victorian Department of
Education. Council Committees of Management are responsible for the other two buildings.
HMHS opens the precinct to the public every Wednesday from 10am until 2pm with entry
by gold coin donation. A small fee per person is charged for group tours which are
conducted quite frequently. HMHS conducts outreach activities, providing historical content
for events such as local Anzac services and the 150th anniversary celebrations for Heathcote
Hospital. The research officer conducts family research in exchange for a donation paid to
the Society. The Committee feel they are in a reasonable position financially.

The Committee appreciate the support they receive from CoGB including their premises and
being able to call on people such as Dannielle Orr (Heritage Planner) and Clare Needham
(Curator, City History and Collections) and other Bendigo Art Gallery staff who often give
them advice or refer them to other useful people within Council. This makes the HMHS
Committee members feel they are not alone if they need help.

HMHS Collection
HMHS holds a collection of around 8,000 items, the earliest dating to 1853. The Society does
not accept material from later than 1950. All are catalogued on a Filemaker Pro database.
Among its paper-based holdings are historical records of the district, Birth/Death/Marriage
records, Cemetery registers, war records, McIvor Times newspapers on microfilm, maps of

105
the district and around 150 family history files. Of the 8,000 items, around 650 are objects
and artefacts. Most of these relate in some way to the district either because they were
made or used locally, or because they connect to a local resident. They include objects
relating to agriculture, sports, military service, local businesses and social history. The group
accepts around 20 to 30 donations per year. A significance assessment of the collection has
not yet been carried out. Some of the more significant items include a 19th Century printing
press used to print the McIvor Times newspaper, a significant collection of agricultural
machinery and vehicles, a very rare silk booklet commemorating the death of King Edward
VII, and a helmet worn by a Heathcote police trooper in 1908-1911.

Troopers helmet and Christie’s Store day register and King Edward commemoration silk booklet
uniform on display on display

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Storage/Display
Most of the objects and artefacts in the HMHS collection are on permanent display in the
two historic buildings.

Display inside lock-up Display inside Old Police Residence

A critical problem for HMHS is the lack of a facility to store or display their large objects.
Some significant large objects have been donated, or offered for donation, to the Society in
recent years but the group has not been able to physically transfer them to their site. As
such most of these items have had to remain in the possession of the donors. Among these
is a series of large objects which have been offered for donation by a member based in
Derrinal. A written Condition Offer has been provided to the Society. Donation depends on
the objects being appropriately cared for. There is currently no way for the Society to make
this assurance. Until they can they are unwilling to legally accept the items, which is an
ethical approach. There is an increasing worry that if this situation persists, the goodwill
relationship with the donors may be tested or something might happen to the objects. A
few large items are also stored in shipping containers in the Camp Hill precinct. The HMHS
Committee are anxious to put in place a suitable housing for the items and physically
transfer them as soon as possible so as not to miss out on the offered donations.
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The following list of large items need suitable storage/display facilities.

Owned by the Society and already onsite:

• 1860s Printing Press used to print the McIvor Times newspaper


• Metal Wool press

Owned by the Society but not yet onsite due to lack of venue:

• Covered box wagon

Conditionally offered to the Society but not yet accepted due to lack of venue:

• The ‘Derrinal Collection’, a collection of agricultural equipment accumulated and


used by one farming family since the 1880s. Items donated include:
1870s Nicholson Single Furrow Plough made in Heathcote
1880s Chelmsford (UK) Cultivator
1890s hay rake
1893 Alpha Lovell milk separator and tank
c. 1900 D. Loase Osborne horse-drawn mower
1902 two-furrow plough
c.1903 Osborne Binder
c.1908 Mitchell Seed Drill
1910 Sunshine Harvester with original purchase receipt
1910 Cultivator
c.1920 homemade wheelbarrow
1950s James Smith (Ballarat) Manure Spreader
Furphy Water Carrier
Other donations from this donor which have been discussed include a
wooden wool press and three horse-drawn vehicles - gig, a buggy and a dray.
A chaff-cutter may be transferred to the site for long-term loan.

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1880s Chelmsford Cultivator 1870s Nicholson Single Furrow Plough made in
Heathcote

D. Loase Osborne horse-drawn mower


19th Century buggy in farm shed (photo Dr. Di
Smith)

Accompanying the agricultural machines in the Derrinal Collection are a range of original
purchase receipts and instructional manuals for the items, advertising posters and
photographs of them in use on the farm. The family has also retained hand-written diaries
and logbooks which refer to the purchase and use of some of the machines in the life of the
farm. The Derrinal Collection was assessed and examined by archaeologist Diana Smith in
her 2005 thesis Meaning, Purpose and Social Memory: The Archaeology Of Farm Graveyards
Of Vehicles And Machinery.7 She noted that because the collection grew organically on one
property over a century and a half and all the items were used in daily work by members of
one family it is imbued with special meaning, significance and a high level of integrity which
many other machinery collections, assembled from different sources by a collector, are not.
The significance of this collection is strongly enhanced by the original instruction manuals,
purchase receipts and photographs of the machines in use which have been retained and
preserved by the family. The manuals and receipt are quite rare, and it is even more rare
for being kept with the object they were issued with. These materials are also extremely

7
Smith 2005
109
important for provenance of the objects. Copies of these items will also provide valuable
supplementary interpretive content to accompany the objects when on display.

Original purchase receipt for Sunshine


Harvester (1910)

1910 Catalogue for


Sunshine Harvester Original manual for
McCormick-Deering Grain
Binder

It is very pleasing that HMHS Committee members commented that they are aware of and
keen to adhere to the recommended guidelines contained in the Safe in the Shed: Caring
For Historic Farm Machinery.8 They noted that it is inappropriate to try to ‘restore’ these
objects by painting them or replacing components and that doing so would severely reduce
significance of the items.

A suitable structure for these items would be a shed that provides ‘display-storage’,
meaning that the items are stored in a way that visitors can view them without supervision.
The ideal design would be a shed with a concrete slab floor. Three sides should be fully
enclosed and the fourth side constructed from heavy duty metal mesh similar to builders
concrete reinforcement mesh. The mesh should have suitable apertures to allow visitors to
view the objects inside, approximately 120-150mm squares. A roller door or large opening
would be needed to allow entry of the objects. If the Society wishes they could also open
this up when they are present to supervise visitors. Ideally natural object lighting would be
provided through the ceiling and mesh. In addition, the group requested that a closed,
secure storage area be included at one end of the shed, since they are lacking in storage
space for general supplies and equipment. Based on the size of the objects, the Committee
have estimated that a suitable space for them would be 80 feet (25m) long, 30 feet (9m)

8
NSW Heritage Office 2001
110
wide and 20 feet (6m) in height. A separate 20 square foot room space within this shed
should be included for equipment storage.

Examples of this kind of display-storage for large equipment is quite common in community
museums in Victoria. Photographs of some of these are provided in Appendix F.

Promoting
Promoting the Society
Despite being a small group, HMHS are active and very focused on attracting visitors. They
would like to see more locals visit the precinct. In June 2017, the Bendigo Advertiser
published an article about the precinct being opened to the public for the local Heathcote
On Show festival.9 Groups, such as Probus, visit reasonably often which adds to income. The
Precinct was a shortlisted nominee in the inaugural Bendigo Heritage Awards and has a
listing on the Bendigo Tourism website which are beneficial to raising their public profile.
The Committee are disappointed that schools groups rarely visit the precinct, which they
attribute to the red-tape involved for all parties. Although they would like to attract more
visitors, there needs to be an available member or volunteer to open up the displays and
conduct tours and this leads to a more critical problem - personnel.

Lack of volunteers
A major concern for HMHS is the shortage of volunteers, especially people interested in
becoming active members or office bearers. The Society has six members and only four that
regularly volunteer. One person currently holds two offices plus two other operational roles
in the Society including taking care of visitors and research enquiries. Fortunately at the
moment she is willing to carry these multiple responsibilities. However the real concern
expressed by this group is what will happen in the future. A comment made by one
Committee member during the site visit was ‘we need “bodies” more than we need money’.
The group has approached the local tourist visitor centre to discuss whether some of the
volunteers who work there could assisting HMHS with opening the precinct to the public.
However this request has not been successful. They have tried using WFTD volunteers but
in general found that the people who were assigned by Centrelink were not capable of or
willing to do the required tasks at the Precinct. The Committee members don't feel that
paid support staff would be appropriate for them, even if it was offered. What they would
prefer is locals who would commit on a voluntary basis long-term. They are very concerned
about what will happen to the Society and its collections in coming years because there are

9
http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/4715645/heathcote-goes-on-show-this-weekend/
111
very few new volunteers joining the group. They feel there is little interest in the
community to support the Society. Few locals visit the precinct and even fewer are willing to
assist the group. The rare assistance they do receive is on a temporary or project basis.
There is no-one interested in committing to an office-bearing role long-term. They foresee
that the group may fold if this situation continues and one of the current office-bearers is no
longer available.

The future
The Committee members expressed concerns about succession planning. Although their
current group functions well, their member base is small and they would prefer to have
more new and preferably younger members to take the reins in future. The current
Committee members know the collections and displays well and worry that no-one else has
this knowledge.

If the group has to wind-up, the Committee would like to keep the collections in place in
Heathcote if possible. They would prefer an arrangement in which a representative from the
community would hold the keys and be the caretaker of the precinct, perhaps opening it up
for visitors occasionally. Obviously the other activities of the group would cease but at least
the heritage assets could physically stay in the district. The Committee concede that if this
arrangement wasn’t working or no-one was willing to take it on, then they wish the
collections to at least find a home in Greater Bendigo. If Council had adequate facilities to
care for them, this would be an acceptable next step if other options have been exhausted.

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Case study 3: Huntly & District Historical Society

Huntly & District Historical Society (HDHS) was established in 1977 to preserve the contents
of the historic Huntly Council Chambers (1866). Today it holds a collection of archives and
objects and carries out historical research relating to the district. The Society is a recognised
‘Place of Deposit’ for Victorian public records.

HDHS premises and collections


collections

The group occupies several structures in Huntly, north of Bendigo. The group is based in the
old Huntly Council Chambers which is set up with offices, a tearoom, some storage space
(shelving and compactus) and some small displays which are essentially display-storage.
The building houses the Society’s research library, archival holdings including boxed
photographs and records and research files, some small and medium objects, and historic
Council furniture and framed mayoral photographs. Most of these collection items have a
local historical focus.

Former Huntly Council Chambers (1866) and Post Office building

Interior of building with original Council Objects and artefacts from the collection
furniture and mayoral portraits

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Behind the old Council Chamber is a small structure known as the ‘Beekeepers Museum’. It
is a hexagonal hut built around 2000 to house displays relating to the history of beekeeping
or apiculture. On display are artefacts and didactic panels using text and imagery to explain
about the history and practice of apiculture. The contents of these displays does not relate
to the Huntly district in particular.

Beekeepers Museum (c.2000)

Interior of Beekeepers Museum Interior of Beekeepers


Museum

The Society has access to a very large utility shed it shares with a local Lion’s group which
pays rent to the Council for storage space. The Society stores a mixture of collection and
non-collection items in the shed. There is a row of map drawers containing local historical
and some council maps and plans, a large dray which has been refurbished with a
replacement top platform and some of the historic Council furniture connected with the
Chambers. There are some other historical materials stored here which are in poor
condition but are not considered to be HDHS collection items, such as material owned by
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the Nurses Association. There are quite a few damaged and degraded historical items which
have been placed in the shed in the past and it is not clear, even to the current Society
members, if these are supposed to be part of the collection. The shed is currently a poor
storage environment for collection items, being dirty, overcrowded and without proper
storage furniture and equipment such as shelving. The only items which would likely be
retained are the historic Council furniture and the dray. The historic Council furniture in the
shed is in poor to very poor condition and needs stabilisation. There are non-collection
materials stored on top of the dray which is not ideal.

Dray in the utility shed

The group has recently assessed the contents and wishes to clean out the shed but would
need a large skip (or skips) onsite for several weeks to do so. In front of the shed is a tiny
weatherboard structure which was once used as the Huntly Post Office and is now only used
for non-collection equipment storage. In the outdoor space around the Chambers, a series
of medium and large agricultural tools and machinery are displayed in the open air. These
were displayed in a small grassed area but had to be moved out due to problems with the
fencing (trees had grown through the mesh). These objects are in varied conditions from
poor to fair having been exposed to rain and weather for some time.

Across the main road from the main premises is the former Huntly Courthouse (1875) which
contains extensive displays about WWI and WWII military veterans from Huntly (and a few
items relating to the building’s former use as a Lodge meeting place). The Courthouse is
usually opened to the public on military commemoration occasions such as Anzac Day.

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Former Huntly Courthouse (1875)

Interior of Courthouse

Interpretive panels about local military veterans Army uniform of a local


serviceman

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Regalia relating to the Friendly Society Artefacts relating to the Friendly Society

Lack of volunteers
volunteers
A long-term volunteer who acted as the main leader of the group for a very long period has
recently became unable to carry on in the role. The group of four volunteers currently
managing the premises and collection have had to move from being part of the volunteer
pool to taking on roles of responsibility for the Society and the collection. They have had to
quickly become apprised of key procedures, assess the Society’s current position and make
some forward plans.

There are currently only five people working regularly for the Society (four of these being
the leadership group). One volunteer works mainly on the Courthouse, one works mostly on
publishing the Huntly Epsom News, one is working with the main collection, and another is
working on a research project about a local prominent person. A WFTD volunteer
contributes around 15 hours per week, mainly doing transcription work. There are few new
volunteers or new members joining the Society and the few current volunteers feel that the
group is now on the brink of survival.

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Two Huntly & District Historical Society volunteers at work

Attracting visitors
In recent years a pedestrian crossing was installed directly outside the premises. The HDHS
group feels the crossing reduces impacts visitation because it prevents cars from parking in
front of the building (however it could also be argued that it delivers pedestrians crossing
the road right to their door). But the bigger issue and one which is easier to resolve is the
signage at the front of the building. The group is unhappy with their lack of visibility to the
public. They feel their current signage in front of the premises is not visible or readable to
the average passer-by. A metal sign has been installed which is aligned with Council signage
style and branding. It has the group’s name and opening hours. However the text is so small
that it is only readable when viewed from less than a couple of metres away. It is not easily
readable nor very conspicuous from the footpath and barely noticeable from a passing car.
The group feels that if they had highly visible signage saying their name, that visitors are
welcome and that there is parking at the rear this would allow the general public to know
they exist and encourage people to visit and maybe attract more volunteers.

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A HDHS volunteer with the sign outside former Council Chambers (taken from footpath). The larger
text refers to the building. The smaller section of text refers to the presence of the Society. Photo
taken from the footpath.

The future
The group is very worried about what will happen to the collection if their group folds. Their
first preference would be for their group to survive and continue caring for the collection. If
their group folds, their preference is for a Museum or History Centre in Bendigo to care for
the items and provide public access to them. The exception to this concerns the
Courthouse. If the group does dissolve, the current members would prefer that the
contents of the Courthouse remain in place and management of the Courthouse site be
taken over by the Committee of Management which manages the Huntly Memorial Hall.
This is because the displays within it are extremely connected to military veterans from the
local area and have become a focus of annual commemorations for the community. The
consultant notes that if this is not possible, a suitable repository for these military heritage
materials might be the Soldier’s Memorial Institute in Bendigo.

Most of the collection is uncatalogued and the group are having trouble using their
database software. This may be because it is actually designed for research, not cataloguing.
The group is worried that even if an organisation is willing to take on the collection, they will
have no way to know what is in the collections. With the current tiny work-force it would
take years to catalogue comprehensively and the group is worried that they will not be
viable for much longer. They are unsure what work they should be doing on the collection

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given the group’s uncertain future. The consultant advised the group to create basic listings
of their collection contents in Excel. This ensures there is some record of what is in the
collections, in a form which can be imported into most collection management systems and
which can be enriched with extra data if the group finds they have time later.

The group expressed confusion and a lack of concrete information about which of their
materials would be accepted by BRAC. If BRAC did accept some materials they are not sure
how the general public is able to discover and access materials in the facility. They are also
concerned about the future for collection items which BRAC will not accept. Given there is
no general museum in Greater Bendigo they cannot see any appropriate avenues for their
collections to be retained in the Greater Bendigo municipality if the Society winds up.

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11. Key discussion points

All five groups provided comprehensive tours of their premises, and discussions with the
consultant around key issues took place throughout the visits. A range of topics were
discussed during these site visits and in conversations between the consultant and relevant
heritage stakeholders, as listed in the Methodology section. This section outlines the key
issues revealed by the survey findings, the case studies and the onsite discussions.

Council support
During site visits, several groups expressed their appreciation for the existing support
provided by Council. One group expressed gratitude for the maintenance tasks Council staff
carry out at their premises including organising maintenance of fire safety equipment, pest
monitoring, mowing surrounding lawns and performing minor repairs.

There were some areas in which groups wished for more support from Council. Complaints
mostly related to the physical premises, whether it was building repairs and improvements
or the need for premises which are suitable for housing their collections appropriately.

In site-visit interviews, several groups mentioned that they highly valued the advice and
support of Clare Needham and Dr. Dannielle Orr and also valued participating in the
Bendigo Heritage Representative Group.

Viability
A key concern of all groups is their future viability. All of the groups face declining visitation,
scarce funding and difficulties in self-promotion. Many do not have the skills or interest in
reaching audiences using online platforms. But the biggest barrier to viability identified by
all groups is a lack of members, especially active members and volunteers. Another barrier
is decreasing public engagement with the groups.

Declining numbers of active members is severely impacting on the ability for these groups
to open to the public, respond to requests and manage their collections all of which are
central to their core mission. Most of the groups are fearful about the future of their group
but even more so about the fate of their collections which have been accumulated and
cared for over many decades. Many participants expressed a strong feeling of responsibility
for their collection items, especially those which were entrusted to their group’s care by
donors in the community.

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Most groups would prefer to continue operating. However all are realistic and therefore
keen to discuss what will happen to their collections (and the research and reference
materials they have collated) if their group folds. Most simply wish to be reassured that all
of these materials will be taken on by an appropriate caretaker if this happens. One group
would prefer that even if they cease operating their collections might be able to stay in the
current premises and be cared for by a local caretaker. But they too admit that eventually
even this may not be possible and if so there needs to be an arrangement in place to
preserve the collection. Most groups expressed their preference for their collections to stay
in the Greater Bendigo region. The preferred recipient would be a ‘Bendigo Museum’ if one
existed. An alternative that was acceptable to all the groups was a Council repository, as
long as the items are housed and cared for properly and accessible by the public.

i. Lack of volunteers
Four of the five groups are currently run only by a few people and are struggling to attract
any new volunteers. Although the fifth group (BHS) has a substantial volunteer pool it is
struggling to identify suitable personnel willing to take over responsibility of office-bearing
roles in coming years.

The lack of volunteers, especially in roles of responsibility is a critical issue for all of these
collecting groups. As current members and office bearers are aging with many of the
current office bearers in their 70s and 80s, they are very concerned about succession
planning. As well as expressing a lack of knowledge about how to carry out succession
planning, the bigger problem is the lack of members expressing willingness to take over the
managerial roles. One group commented: ‘we are lucky if we have ten more years’.

It is not just a lack of volunteers that causes frustration in the groups. In some cases even if
they do have some volunteers there can be personal differences between volunteers about
the purpose of the group or about why they are volunteering and therefore the way they
approach their voluntary contribution. Some volunteers are more focused on achievement
and completion of tasks, others are more focused on the social and relational aspects of
participation. Some volunteers are happy to perform general work such as cleaning or
cataloguing while other prefer to focus on a project, perhaps based on their research
interest. There can also be clashes about the best way to do things. Whilst it is important to
have standardised procedures for quality assurance, it can be frustrating for newer
volunteers to feel they must always follow the established processes without question,
especially if improvements could be made.

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Most of the groups had used WFTD volunteers at some point and expressed mixed results –
where it was a person with skills they needed or who had a passion for history there was
greater success. But more often, WFTD volunteers did not have the physical capacities, the
administrative skills or the motivation to be a useful workforce for the groups.
A problem with WFTD volunteers is that they can only work on weekdays and so can’t assist
with weekend activities. Another problem is that they must do at least 15 hours of work per
week and some groups do not have enough of their own personnel to provide supervision
for this much time each week.

Most groups expressed disappointment that, in their opinion, people no longer want to
contribute to their communities by volunteering. The issue is a common one for historical
societies and indeed for other kinds of organisations which depend on volunteers, especially
in regional areas. The problem may relate to bigger shifts on a societal level - changes in
employment structures, mobile populations, a more global outlook and more people
spending time online rather than face to face. Many people do not have the time to
volunteer or may not reside in one place long enough to commit to an organisation for long
periods. Community groups are also competing for people’s free time with a larger range of
attractions and entertainment, and ways of engaging in communities. Many of these are
now accessed online rather than physically in local neighbourhoods.

Interestingly, research has shown that volunteering is broadly on the increase in Australia. A
2012 study by Volunteering Australia found that:

Volunteering in Australia continues to grow. In 2010, 36% of the adult population volunteered. The
number of adult volunteers has almost doubled since 1995 from 3.2 million people to 6.1 million in
2010. Whilst the total number of hours has increased, the median hours per person has decreased
10
from 74 hours in 1995 to 56 hours in 2006.

This excerpt suggests that the current trend in Australia is an increase in the number of
people volunteering but that the time contributed by each volunteer is decreasing, which
has important implications for groups trying to attract volunteers. It suggests that there are
people out there willing to volunteer but that they may wish to contribute smaller amounts
of time rather than committing regularly or long-term.

One aspect raised by several groups is that there is a diminishing number of interested
people as the requirement for commitment rises, as represented in the following diagram.

10
Volunteering Australia 2012
123
Local community

People interested in
joining as members

People interested in
volunteering

People interested in
volunteer roles of
responsibility
Degree of commitment

Discussion revealed that if these collecting groups are to remain viable, and continue
operating and caring for their collections, the issue of their diminishing volunteer bases will
need to be addressed. Also important is attracting the right kind of volunteers – those who
will commit long-term and those who have the skills needed by the groups. Up-skilling
existing volunteers is also important, since it was evident from site visits that in some areas
the groups have a lack of skills and knowledge required to keep the groups viable and care
for the collections. Some groups expressed a lack of knowledge about conservation
practices, others about collection management and cataloguing and others about curating
displays.

The groups had no suggestions about how Council could help with the lack of personnel.
The notion of a paid museum professional being available to help them to help themselves,
with either basic tasks like opening the museum or advanced tasks like cataloguing and
digitisation, was not generally welcomed as a solution.

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ii. Decreased public
public engagement

All community groups in this study reported low visitation although only two groups keep
official records of visitor numbers. Most groups reported that each time they open they may
receive one or two visitors but often none at all.

Some groups believe their location or accessibility of their premises are reasons for their
lack of visitors. One group feels their front-of-house premises is located in an area with few
passing pedestrians except for students hurrying to classes. Another group reported that
the carparks in front of their premises are often filled up by patrons of a popular nearby
cinema. One group observed that ever since a pedestrian crossing was installed outside
their premises, visitors can no longer pull cars directly in front of the premises.

Some believe their signage is inadequate. Two groups have tall vertical banners which are
placed in front of the premises only when it is open. When the premises are closed there is
little to indicate their presence. Another group has a permanent sign in the front section of
its premises but it is far too small to be viewed from a passing car, or even by pedestrians on
the footpath.

Another reason for poor visitation may be because these groups lack time, money and
expertise to promote themselves and attract visitors. One group notes that it is too
expensive to belong to the Bendigo Tourism (BT) network which does not offer a special
concession fee for small or non-profit organisations like these groups. They feel that since
heritage is a core aspect of Bendigo tourism marketing they should get more support and
inclusion from Bendigo Tourism. There is no mention of the groups or the activities they
offer on Bendigo Tourism website, except for the Shamrock tours which are conducted by
BHS. A discussion with the outgoing Manager of Bendigo Tourism revealed that that there
are possible options for Bendigo Tourism and the five collecting groups to negotiate an
effective arrangement. The Bendigo Tourism Board made a special decision to waive
membership fees for BHS. The former manager indicated that if a request was put in writing
to the Board, a similar waiver would likely be awarded to the other four groups. There may
be further ways that the five groups can negotiate with Bendigo Tourism to enhance mutual
support. There may also be opportunities to tap into Bendigo Regional Tourism, which has
recently obtained major funding to promote the broader region which includes Loddon-
Mallee.

All groups reported low and decreasing visitor numbers and that school groups visits are
now rare. Some volunteers have Working With Children (WWC) clearances but find this

125
does not make a difference. Other groups note that they can no longer make visits to
schools because they do not have WWC clearances.

The decreasing attendance by school groups may also relate to the increasing requirements
for teachers to link activities like excursions to specific curricula and to embed visits to
museums in a broader context including pre- and post- visit activities. Unless
comprehensive learning modules already exist around a museum visit, teachers may not
have the time and resources to create one and therefore will not visit with their students.
Most volunteer collecting groups do not have the expertise or the resources to develop such
modules, especially groups in crisis due to lack of volunteers. However it is worth making
the point that if it were possible to somehow develop ready-to-use teaching resources
around a visit to a local collection that links specifically into school curricula it might make
existing community groups more attractive to school groups. If given proper learning
context, a visit to a local historical group can offer valuable learning experiences for primary
and secondary students. The groups likely do not have the time or expertise to stay abreast
of current school curricula and design and promote programs which link into it. Appendix J
of this report provides a list of the current ways that Victorian school curriculum may link
into local history museums and societies.

The four groups with very small volunteer pools noted that increasingly they don't have
enough volunteers to open up their premises to the public as often as they would like.
Several mentioned they have reduced their opening times for this reason. This underscores
the point that attracting volunteers is a higher priority than attracting visitors. If there is no-
one to open the doors then there is no point trying to attract visitors. However it is true that
people may become involved in a group as a volunteer because they enjoyed a visit to the
premises.

Although there are few people physically visiting the groups premises to look at displays,
the groups are very busy with diverse projects and they successfully engage with the public
in other ways:

• Outdoor history tours and re-enactments


• Talks/lectures
• Presenting photo and/or object displays at community events
• Publishing books and newsletters
• Answering research queries
• Family history research advice
• Loaning objects for exhibitions
• Developing interpretive panels on local history topics

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Some groups talked about their website and social media profiles, mainly Facebook. Again
the few volunteers struggle to find time to devote to developing and posting social media
content. Two groups also reported a lack of time and relevant knowledge to improve
websites themselves and a lack of money and time to manage contractors to do so.

Sharing collections online is an important avenue for public access to the objects and
artefacts in the core groups collections. Potentially reaching global audiences, online
publishing of collections addresses a key problem reported by the groups, namely that few
people are coming to physically view their displays.

The simplest avenue for the groups to present their objects online already exists and all
groups are already registered to use it. Victorian Collections is a joint project managed
between the state museum group known as Museums Victoria and museum advocacy body
Museums Australia (Victoria). It was created as a simple-to-use system on which images of
objects and other material heritage can be easily published, even by people who lack any
technical knowledge around online publishing. Since 2010 free training has been delivered
across Victoria to hundreds of people, many of them volunteers in small community
collecting groups. There are now over 50,000 items which can be viewed on the site. All five
of the groups in this study have a profile page on Victorian Collections. This means that at
some point volunteers from all five groups have participated in Victorian Collections
training. However in some cases the volunteers that received the training are no longer
with that group. So while all groups have a presence on Victorian Collections they may
currently lack the trained personnel to upload objects and information onto the site. Two
groups have at some point uploaded 20 objects and associated information onto the site.
Three other three groups have no items uploaded. It may be that due to the dearth of
volunteers even those with the relevant training lack the time to do this work. However it
seems that the groups do not see this as a priority, or as a valid way to reach audiences;
there is a far greater emphasis on physical visitors.

Beyond Victorian Collections, there are many possibilities for online projects to share and
interpret the objects and artefacts in these collections. In particular, there are important
opportunities to reach schools by creating interpreted content such as learning modules
targeted at Victorian curriculum for teachers to use with their students. However this kind
of content needs to be developed systematically by people trained in educational resource
development and online delivery. It cannot be expected of the core groups in this study to
do this work. But they would be important partners in such projects if managed by
professional staff based at a museum or other Council facility.

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Collection management challenges

Storage
Site visits provided an opportunity to assess what percentage of the groups’ collections are
on display compared with in storage.

BHS HC EH Hu El
On display 5% 98% 95% 90% 95%
In storage 95% 2% (large 5% 10% 5%
items still
held on
donors
premises)

1% 50% 90% 75% 25%

Total collection on display

Total collection in storage

Only around 1% of BHS’ collection is on display. The other groups have between 25% and
90% of their collections on permanent display.

While it is common for community museums to have the majority of their collection on
permanent display it can have negative consequences on preservation and on attracting
repeat visitors. The table above also indicates quite a contrast in this area between BHS
(most of their objects in storage) and the other groups (most of their objects on display).
Neither extreme is ideal.

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The site visits were also an opportunity to establish the approximate percentages of objects
in the groups collections which are on display and in storage.

Looking at the display versus storage situation for objects only, a different and striking
picture emerges. Again BHS has 99% in storage and 1% on display. But the other four
groups have between 90% and 100 % of their objects on display. It is also worth noting that
for the latter four groups these objects are on permanent, not temporary, display. Thus
what they do have in storage is mostly archival (documents, photos, maps and books).

1% 95% 100% 100% 90%

Objects on display

Objects in storage

This assessment showed that one group has almost all of its objects in storage and the other
four have almost all of their objects on display. Neither extreme is desirable, but the latter is
usually more of a concern for preservation of the items. However the site visits revealed
that actually the group in most dire need of storage solutions is BHS. The groups which have
most of their collections on display generally have their collections housed in reasonable
conditions. The exception to this is the lack of storage for large objects at Heathcote.

Based on observations and discussions during site visits, the consultant collated the
following object storage issues for each group:

Group Situation Object storage issues


BHS Critical BHS urgently need more appropriate storage space.

BHS BRAC Store at Nolan St: is very overcrowded, and unsafe for
workers and not appropriate for objects.
BHS Storage Containers at Nolan St: Most collection objects are
stored in these Containers which provide a poor preservation
environment. Objects are crammed and stacked in the

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Containers, which makes access difficult. Each time the
Containers are opened the objects are exposed to heat/cold,
light, dust and pests. The wiring to the Containers is not safe.
Specimen Cottage: Using the Cottage for storage is not an option
due to rising damp, mould, poor security and lack of space.
HMHS Urgent Most objects on permanent display. Extra space needed to
attention store/display several large objects which have already been
needed for donated but not yet physically transferred due to lack of suitable
large objects storage structure.
EHS Acceptable No critical storage issues. Have no storage facilities for objects
with minor (other than a few very small objects in cupboards). Most objects
adjustments are on permanent display. Some textiles hung on back of doors
or racks in an ‘open storage’ situation. Could place in textile
boxes but no place to store these. Better approach may be to
place on padded hangers and cover with calico or Parsilk dust
covers. Consultant can advise group how to do this.
HDHS Utility Shed Utility Shed: shared with other orgs. Objects very vulnerable to
and dust, pests and climate. Collection items eg Council furniture
Beekeepers should not be stored here, except for the large dray.
hut need Beekeepers hut: little protection from climate, dust and pests.
attention. Not suitable for storing collection objects.
Council Council Chambers building: minimal object storage space
Chambers & (compactus only), most objects on permanent display.
Courthouse Environment acceptable.
acceptable. Courthouse: Environment acceptable. Most items on permanent
display but dust covers used, daylight minimal and building
rarely opened. Only storage is tiny front office which doesn't
have suitable storage shelving.
Outdoors: farm equipment uncovered and most rusted due to
exposure. Should be undercover to prevent further damage.

EPAM Acceptable Most objects on permanent display. No dedicated object storage


area.

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Cataloguing systems

Most of the groups have put a lot of time and energy into cataloguing their collections. A
variety of methods have been used at different times. These include card catalogues, paper
forms, and computer databases. All have used some kind of computer-based approach to
cataloguing. This includes Word listings, generic database software like Filemaker Pro and
specialised software such as Mosaic, DB Textworks Inmagic, Heritage V. Three groups are
happy with their system, but two - Elmore and Huntly - need support and advice in this area.

The idea of Council purchasing a bulk license for Mosaic was discussed. One group is already
using it. Two others are happy with their current software. Elmore volunteers are in the
process of setting up computers which have been out of commission and getting the
Inmagic system running again. Huntly are having difficulties with Heritage V but now is not a
good time for the volunteers to have to learn a new system and feel obliged to input
catalogue data onto it, given how stretched these volunteers are already currently.

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Tracking assets and activities
A key finding from the survey is that the groups are not tracking their performance or their
assets as much as they could be. Most found it difficult to report on some key activities. This
is completely understandable given that in many ways they are in crisis management mode
and may not have time to keep central records and statistics on their activities and
achievements. This is unfortunate because it means that the incredible efforts of the
volunteers in these groups is under-recorded and therefore difficult to communicate to
others. If Committee members of these groups had some key statistics about their activities
they may be used to attract more funding, community support, government support and
recognition in general. It is also important for morale within the groups to see progress
being made and marking milestone and achievements. Conversely it is also important to see
where there are problems that might need addressing. Some examples of useful statistics to
collect, usually for a calendar year period, are:

• Number of hours worked by volunteers


• Number of visitors (can be broken down to indicate group tours, walk-ins etc)
• Postcodes of origin of visitors
• Number of research requests processed (or hours spent on research requests)
• Number of items in the collection (or approximate)
• Number of new acquisitions
• Number of collection items catalogued and number still to do
• Number of collection items ‘imaged’ (ie a photo or scan made)

These statistics are a vital way to show how much of a contribution the volunteers in these
are making to the community and how much material they are caring for on its behalf.
Again, it may be difficult for all the groups to collect all of these statistics, especially around
collection numbers, but any data they can track will be helpful to them. Some easy ways to
incorporate this tracking is to have a log on and off book for volunteers (then add up the
hours at the end of the year), and to ask each visitor as they come in to sign a visitor book
which asks for their postcode.

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The future of the collections
There is currently no institution which can viably accept, retain and preserve collections of
historical objects in the Greater Bendigo region if any of these collecting groups winds up.
Two community collecting groups in Greater Bendigo have dissolved in recent years and the
future of their collections is now highly uncertain.11

This situation is causing extreme anxiety for all of the groups, but particularly for the four
smaller groups. These four groups are operated by a handful of people each. Some of these
core people are reaching their 70s and 80s and are concerned that there is no-one to take
over from them if they are no longer able to care for the collections. As well as expressing
sadness and frustration that in future their group may no longer exist, even more pressing
for all was the fate of the collections their group manages.

These groups wish for their groups to remain viable and their collections to stay where they
are and this should be pursued as far as possible. However if they can longer operate, most
wish for their collections to be accepted by an institution or institutions that will properly
care for them, preferably in their local area. Two groups expressed a preference that their
collections remain in place in current premises with community representatives as
custodians. All agreed however that if the collections must be removed from their current
location, they should remain in Greater Bendigo if possible. This is understandable given the
local significance of much of these community collections.

Wind-
Wind-up processes
One of the greatest concerns expressed by all the groups is ‘what will happen to our
collection if our group ceases?’. The answer to this question is simple in one sense and
complex in another. The simple response should be: ‘whatever your group wants to
happen’. Once the group has made a decision, it should be enshrined in the wind-up clause
in its Constitution to ensure that it happens. The complex aspect of this issue is that it is
difficult for the five groups in this study to set out what they want to happen because they
currently have very few appealing and realistic options. This section will first examine the
legal framework which would apply if the groups wind up, and then note what the groups
expressed about their options within that framework.

All of the groups have a wind-up clause but none were clear on what it states in terms of
what will happen to the collection. This is partly because the clauses themselves are not

11
The German Heritage Society, Bendigo and the Cornish Association (Bendigo and District)
133
clear about this topic. Only two groups were able to produce a copy of their windup clause
and both have used the ‘model rule’ from the relevant legislation. It is highly probable that
all groups have used the model or ‘standard’ clause.

All five groups in this study are incorporated associations in terms of their legal structure.
The Associations Incorporation Act Reform Act 2012 (Vic) is the legislation that regulates
incorporated associations in Victoria and it authorises the Associations Incorporation Reform
Regulations 2012 (Vic). Previously (until November 2012) the relevant legislation was the
Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Vic). In the transition, certain changes were made to
the requirements for the official rules governing incorporated bodies.

Since all of the five groups were established before the transition, their governing rules may
no longer fully comply with the current regulations. This transition did not change
requirements around rules for winding up an incorporated association. So there is no need
for the groups to change their windup clauses due to the legislative change. However it is
important that the groups check and be aware of what their wind up clauses state. And they
may need to update their clauses to clearly prescribe what they want to happen to their
collections. One group, and likely the others too, use a standard clause (based on the ‘model
rules’) which states:

Winding up and cancellation:

(1) The Association may be wound up voluntarily by special resolution.

(2) In the event of the winding up or the cancellation of the incorporation of the
Association, the surplus assets of the Association must not be distributed to any
members or former members of the Association.

(3) Subject to the Act and any court order made under section 133 of the Act, the
surplus assets must be given to a body that has similar purposes to the
Association and which is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual
members.

(4) The body to which the surplus assets are to be given must be decided by special
12
resolution.

12
Associations Incorporation Reform Regulations 2012, Schedule 4, (76)

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For the groups in this study this model rule means that if their group winds up:

• items from the group’s collections cannot be distributed to any members or former
members of the group
• the collection can only be given to a body (or bodies) which has similar purposes to
the group and which is not carried on for profit or gain
• the group’s management committee must decide by special resolution which body
(or bodies) the collection will be given to.

These are the legal requirements the groups must observe. There are also guidelines set out
by industry codes recognised by the museums and heritage sectors. These prescribe
appropriate processes for the disposal of museum collections. They are mainly intended to
guide disposal of items which have been deaccessioned but also provide some guidance for
dealing with collections after wind-up.

Benchmark A1.1.3 in the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries requires
that in a collecting organisation’s foundational document (ie Constitution):

There is a ‘wind-up clause’ outlining procedures should the museum be ‘wound up’ or
dissolved.

Benchmark A1.1.4 of the Standards requires that:

The ‘wind-up clause’ states that the collection will be disposed of according to recognised
museum ethics.

The ICOM Code of Ethics states:

2.15 Disposal of Objects Removed from the Collections: Each museum should have a policy
defining authorised methods for permanently removing an object from the collections
through donation, transfer, exchange, sale, repatriation, or destruction, and that allows the
transfer of unrestricted title to any receiving agency. Complete records must be kept of all
deaccessioning decisions, the objects involved, and the disposal of the object. There will be a
strong presumption that a deaccessioned item should first be offered to another museum.

The Museums Australia Code of Ethics states:

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2.15 Disposal of material property - In the event of its dissolution, the museum in its
constitution should make provision for the disposal of property and collections to properly
constituted organisations with similar aims
6.4 … any steps to sell or otherwise dispose of material from the collections should be taken
only after due consideration, and such material might well be offered first, by exchange,
gift or private treaty sale, to other museums before sale by public auction or other means is
considered.

Items which were purchased outright by the groups for their collections may usually be
transferred anywhere without legal constraints. However some materials (such as some
Aboriginal artefacts) are subject to special restrictions.

Long-term loans and undocumented items held by the groups may cause problems if the
group winds up, especially if the owner is not known or it is difficult to contact the owner.
The group cannot transfer ownership of things it does not own. Legally, the group is holding
items under a bailment arrangement unless they have evidence of legal title (a receipt or
donation form). As a ‘bailee’ they are subject to legal restrictions which includes having no
authority to dispose of the item. The item must then be handled according to the Disposal
of Uncollected Goods Act 1961 (Vic). It sets out the required process for attempting to
contact the owner, length of time an item must be retained and how it can be disposed of.
These vary depending on the value of the item(s).

Where there is documentary evidence that an item was donated to the group and legal
ownership was transferred to the group, the first appropriate step is to try to contact the
donor and offer the item(s) back to them. If the donor declines this offer then the group is
free to proceed to the next appropriate step which is to offer the item for transfers to
another public collection.

Which public collection the collections should be offered to was a key topic of discussion
during the site visits. The groups noted that they would strongly prefer their collections to

(1) remain in the Greater Bendigo region and


(2) not be broken up or dispersed.

Both of these requests are extremely valid. These collections are local history collections.
They mainly comprise material donated by local residents to these local collecting groups
for safekeeping in the region. Their value as whole collections is greater than the sum of
their parts. In most of these collections, there are important links between collection items
which enhance significance and research value. Breaking them up would constitute a major
loss in terms of significance and community assets.

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Fortunately there is an appropriate body in Greater Bendigo to which the groups can offer
their archival material. At this stage the groups understand that all their paper-based
holdings will be accepted by BRAC. However the official collecting policies of BRAC for
community collections, including what it will accept, are still being developed. It will be
important for the groups to be kept informed about these policies when they are finalised.
If it emerges that there are certain paper-based materials that BRAC will not consider then
these may need a home somewhere too. Family history files and research materials might
also be offered to the Goldfields Research Centre or local genealogy groups. Books in the
collections can be offered to the Goldfields Library Corporation, but acceptance may
depend on relevance of the items to the Greater Bendigo region. At this stage there is no
confirmed destination for digital content which has been created by the groups. This refers
mainly to digital image files created by groups by photographing objects or digitising
materials. Preserving these long-term is a problem throughout the sector due to constantly
changing technologies but options will need to be considered. The database software used
by the Library has a ‘digital repository’ module which could be used to manage digitised
content. However there is currently no agreement in place for the Library, or any other
organisation, to accept digital materials. This is something which needs to be considered in
the near future but is not within the scope of this study.

The following table outlines the existing organisations in the municipality which can accept
heritage materials and what types they will consider. It should be noted that whilst these
organisations will broadly consider certain material types, further collecting criteria may
also need to be met, such as relevance to the region and satisfactory condition.

Material in community Organisation Further info


collections
Paper-based public and BRAC Collecting scope and criteria still being developed.
13
community records (eg. Consult with BRAC staff to clarify Collecting Policies.
documents, maps, plans,
ledgers, diaries)
Audio-visual materials and BRAC/PROV BRAC cannot store these materials as they require
14
photographs (unframed) (Melbourne) specialist storage. BRAC may be able to accept
Or Goldfields some of these materials on behalf of PROV but they
Library would have to be physically transferred to PROV
15
Corporation storage in Melbourne. It is not clear what criteria
for acceptance would be. Consult with BRAC staff to
clarify Collecting Policies.

13
Discussion with BRAC staff, June 2017
14
Conversation with CoGB Acting Works Manager July 2017
15
as above
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There is some possibility that Goldfields Library Corp
has accepted some community photographs but the
criteria for this is unknown.
Books - local history BRAC/Goldfields May be limited to those related to Greater Bendigo.
Library May be stored in local history reference library in
Corporation BRAC reading room
Books – General Goldfields May be limited to books with subjects related to
Library Central Goldfields
Corporation
Family history research files and Genealogical Family history resources
trees groups
Material relating to Aboriginal Dja Dja May be limited to items relating to history and
history Wurrung Clans heritage of Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung people
and Taungurung and country. Items from elsewhere may be accepted
Clans Aboriginal by Museums Victoria.
Corporations
Militaria Soldier’s May be limited to militaria related to Greater
Memorial Bendigo. Collecting policies not known.
Institute
Digital images (eg. images and Possibly The Goldfields Library Corporation may have the
scans of collection items) Goldfields capacity to accept and manage digital images in the
Library future from the community because it already has a
Corporation digital repository module as part of its library content
management systems. However this would have to
be decided by the GLC in the future, possibly as part
of the community collections policy that it would
accept digital images from local collecting groups.

Whilst some heritage materials could be offered to these organisations and some may be
accepted, there is a critical lack of a suitable repository for accepting the objects and
artefacts held in the Greater Bendigo municipality.

In terms of objects and artefacts, the scenario preferred by the groups is that they would be
accepted by a ‘Bendigo Regional Museum’. Given this does not exist, a second preference
expressed by the groups was for the City of Greater Bendigo to accept them, if proper
storage conditions could be provided. Some groups noted that they hoped that if a large
public museum was later built in Greater Bendigo the Council would then transfer the
objects and artefacts to it. There are no other major institutions in Greater Bendigo that
could accept the historical objects from these groups and care for them properly. It is highly
unlikely that an institution outside Greater Bendigo would accept the collections, since they
relate closely to this region. A few items of state significance may be accepted by state
institutions but this would be a major loss to the region of highly significant heritage assets.
As previously noted, it is illegal for a current or former member to take over ownership of
the collections if the group winds up. The groups were highly aware and concerned that in
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lieu of a public collection which would and could accept their collections, the bulk of their
objects and artefacts might have to be sold, given away, thrown out or destroyed.
Statements along the lines of ‘we are terrified the collection will end up at the tip’ were
expressed more than once during the site visits.

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The museum question
There have been discussions and studies around the concept of a museum for Greater
Bendigo for three decades. The history of this issue is outlined in a previous section of this
report titled ‘Background and Context’. This history is relevant to the current study and as
such was a topic of some discussions with contributors to the study.

Some participants from the core collecting groups believe Greater Bendigo needs a new
museum, and that the need has existed for a long time. Digging down into this notion
through discussions with the groups and examining the past documentation on the issue
revealed multiple aspects to this perceived need. These quite varied aspects included:

1. A place to store and preserve local material heritage


2. A place to present Greater Bendigo’s history
3. An attraction for tourists
4. An educational institution
5. An expression of civic pride
6. A community gathering place
7. An expected component of a major regional centre

The vision in some minds is to meet all of these needs in one place by constructing a brand
new major museum complex or conducting a major refit and/or extension to a heritage
building. This approach demands major capital investment and substantial ongoing
operational funds. It would require strong long-term commitment, passion and leadership
from Council to achieve, as well as major financial contributions from higher levels of
government.

It is worth noting that most of these identified needs, except the first regarding storage and
preservation, are already being met by the wealth of heritage attractions, cultural venues,
tours, built heritage and open spaces across Greater Bendigo. Indeed, the municipality of
Greater Bendigo can be viewed as a vast living museum or a museum network. However it is
not within the scope of this study to properly analyse whether a new museum in Greater
Bendigo is needed or feasible.

A proper investigation of the perspectives that exist in Greater Bendigo should be part of a
museum feasibility study. Commissioning a feasibility study would be the appropriate next
step to properly determine if there is a need and a demand for a new museum and what
model or approach would be most viable and successful.

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Critical storage needs
needs
Regardless of what might be found by a museum feasibility study, this study has identified
an urgent need for a facility in Greater Bendigo which can store objects and artefacts to
museum preservation standards. Resolving this need is more urgent and should take priority
than further exploration of the museum issue at this time.

Whilst there are some organisations in Greater Bendigo to which heritage materials may be
offered, there is no substantial repository for preserving objects and artefacts of the Greater
Bendigo municipality.

A proper object preservation facility is urgently needed to provide, subject to the collection
policy:

• A repository for Council’s historical objects and artefacts


• Adequate storage for the objects in Bendigo Historical Society collections
• A repository for historical objects from local collecting groups if they cease to
operate
• A repository for historical objects donated by the members of the public
• A place for community volunteers to work with heritage assets with professional
guidance
• A hub for information and activities involving the preservation of heritage artefacts
• An interface for the public to engage with the historical objects and artefacts of
Greater Bendigo

Council’s own historical assets are distributed at a number of council owned buildings across
the municipality and the mode of tracking and caring for these is currently inadequate and
there are plans to audit these holdings in the near future. Some of these will likely require
storage in the future.

In this study, the most serious concerns expressed by community collecting groups were
around the housing and care of their collections. For BHS this is a major, immediate and
urgent problem. The other groups consider it an urgent issue to resolve in case their group
winds up, which for some groups may be imminent. At least two community collecting
groups of similar size and situation have ceased to operate in recent years and the future
care of their collections is now highly uncertain. There are a range of known private

141
collections in the municipality holding significant items. There were indications from some
contributors to this study that if the owners pass on, these collections may be lost or
dispersed if there is nowhere to accept them. A preservation facility could house Council’s
historical assets and BHS objects and potentially accept object holdings of the remaining
four community collecting groups in Greater Bendigo, subject to the collecting policy. It
could also be promoted as a repository accepting donations of significant items or
collections held by private citizens. If a ‘Bendigo Museum’ was established later this storage
facility could supplement it as a campus or component of it.

A preservation facility would need to be staffed by at least two staff members to care for
the collections, to support and guide volunteers to digitise, document and research
collection items and to facilitate public access. Facility staff would work closely with BHS
volunteers and a non-BHS volunteer pool who would greatly increase the workforce at the
facility.

It is important that this proposed facility not be limited to preserving objects and artefacts,
but also have an equal focus on public access and engagement. There are a range of ways
that an object-preservation facility can provide public access and engagement, including:

• A digital platform which presents objects and catalogue information online along
with high quality images. It could also provide some themed/curated interpretive
content, a blog, and/or educational modules for teachers.
• An arrangement with the National Library of Australia to link the online collections
into its Trove platform. This is a standard agreement which many Victorian
institutions have.
• Video-based interactions such as through Facebook Live, Periscope or private
streaming and video-conferencing. Oral history videos could also be linked with
objects published online (as on Culture Victoria).
• Physical presentations of historical objects at schools, supported residential facilities,
clubs and community events, or other venues.
• A talks or lecture program
• An object viewing room
• Loan of items to other venues and institutions (where appropriate)
• Conservation advice and/or treatment services
• A research enquiry service
• An image service
• Behind-the scenes tours

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Several previous studies have identified the need for a storage facility to provide services
that can generate income. Some of the activities listed above could include a fee-for-service
component. A previously proposed income-generating idea was to offer commercial
storage and retrieval. This is not compatible with maintaining a preservation environment to
museum standards, unless it was offered only to other collecting institutions which are
lacking space. Decisions around the appropriateness of offering museum-standard storage
services would depend on the materials in question and the available space in the facility.

The most appropriate location for this proposed facility is on the vacant land adjoining the
BRAC facility in Nolan Street. There are strong reasons for choosing this site to build a
preservation storage facility. First, the original vision and designs for the site included two
components – the current BRAC archival facility built in 2011 and an object storage
repository which has not yet been realised (images from the original 2009 concept design
are provided in Appendix A). Second, if whole community collections (such as those of the
five groups in this study) are transferred to Council it is extremely beneficial for the artefacts
and objects to remain physically close to the documents and archives from the same
collection. This enables cross-referencing and collection research which are extremely
important for the significance and value of the collections. Third, BHS are already operating
at the site so it makes sense for their objects and artefacts to be stored next to their
archives, and not have to be transported yet again with potentially more losses and damage
to their collections. Fourth, combining the two facilities on one site will allow for exchange
of ideas and knowledge, pooled preservation-related resources, and possibly reduce the
energy costs associated with climate controlled facilities.

As stated, in the original designs for the Nolan St site the BRAC facility is balanced by an
adjoining structure of the same size, but with a slightly different purpose and layout which
includes a loading bay. The size of the land purchased was to accommodate this. An original
motivation was to create extra storage for the Bendigo Art Gallery collections but this was
eventually built alongside the Gallery and completed in 2014. Although this ‘second half’
was not built at Nolan Street, the BRAC facility has features which allow for the expansion to
happen later. For example, it has wall panels which can be easily removed to join up with an
adjacent structure for sharing of building infrastructure such as security and environmental
systems. A door in the external wall would allow access between the facilities so that the
facilities like the tearoom and bathrooms could be shared.

143
The design for the object preservation facility may need to be slightly modified from the
original 2009 concept, in particular in terms of the height of the structure. In the current
BRAC facility the available internal height ranges from 2.86 metres to 4.73 metres. The
object preservation structure would need to be an adequate height to offer the amount of
storage space needed, including enough height for pallet racking and possibly a mezzanine
for offices. As such it would likely have a higher roofline than the current BRAC building.
The specific structural dimensions will need to be assessed and established by an
experienced museum storage designer.

The vacant land on Bannister Street located behind the BRAC facility was offered for sale
around 2016. If this is still the case, it could be purchased to offer additional space for a
large object storage sheds and/or non-collection storage sheds for things like display cases,
a forklift, supplies and equipment. Some of these would not need to be environmentally
controlled to a museum standard, but would be important elements of a heritage
preservation complex.

It would be useful for Councillors and Council staff to visit similar existing facilities in the
State to give them a clear vision on what is appropriate and what is achievable. Similar
facilities exist at the stores of Gold Museum Ballarat, the off-site store of the NGV and the
Moreland Annexe Store of Museums Victoria. Organising visits to view these and also to
view the current poor storage of BHS collections provide the impetus needed at all levels of
Council to initiate and push through such a substantial capital project. There may be
opportunities to partner with a large collecting institution such as Museums Victoria in a
shared facility. It is worth noting that Museums Victoria is currently (as at July 2017)
exploring business models toward establishing much-needed extra storage for its
collections.

A detailed outline of requirements for the proposed storage facility, and images of required
components, is outlined in detail in Appendix B of this report. Appendix C provides model
examples of object preservation facilities.

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Interpretive facilities

The notion of a lack of a venue to display objects, whilst raised occasionally, was not a key
concern in the discussions with the groups. There was far more emphasis on the need for
safe storage of collections. This may be because preservation is seen as a more pressing
problem than interpretation. Or it may be because there are already a range of venues,
institutions and tourist attractions presenting interpretive content to public audiences in
Greater Bendigo. One group expressed the idea that a new museum is needed because
there is “no museum of Indigenous and European history” in Greater Bendigo. It is true that
there is no single museum devoted to this theme, however there are several venues already
existing in Greater Bendigo and plans for other venues in the future, that combined, present
the stories relating to these histories in the Greater Bendigo region. Others noted the lack of
a venue that present an ‘overview’ of Greater Bendigo history.

Another reason why the interpretive aspect of a potential museum was not important to
the groups may be because all already have some kind of display facilities of their own
although none are of museum standard. Another reason may be their close involvement
with the Post Office Gallery (POG). All of the groups have worked collaboratively with the
POG’s Curator and loaned materials to help develop focused, original and well-researched
exhibitions around themes and threads of Greater Bendigo’s history. The POG’s exhibitions
present original, under-represented stories and topics as opposed to topics which tend to
be core staples of Victorian history, such as the gold rush or early pioneers. Because the
Gallery is managed by a trained curator under the Bendigo Art Gallery umbrella, the POG’s
exhibits are of a high aesthetic standard using contemporary design and installation
techniques. The collaborative approach means that the groups are involved in the research
and development processes and receive benefits such as support and advice from the
Curator and sometimes from other collecting groups as well. The POG is currently a highly
effective way for the groups to display their objects to public audiences. Since its launch in
November 2010, Post Office Gallery exhibitions have attracted 178, 832 individual visits.

The need for extra interpretive facilities and what form they might take should be explored
of part of the museum feasibility study. It is beyond the scope of this study to put forward a
vision for what is needed in the Greater Bendigo area as it should be based on proper
research, financial projections, site capability analysis, comparisons with other regional
examples and community consultation.

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12. Recommendations to Council

The five groups in this study care for around 45,000 items of local heritage on behalf of the
Greater Bendigo community. This volume of heritage material is of a size held by a major
regional museum and yet they are being cared for by only 47 volunteers, 23 of whom are
volunteers in roles of legal responsibility and group leadership. These volunteer groups
perform a highly valuable service to the Greater Bendigo community. Some groups are
extremely vulnerable due to shrinking member and volunteer bases. All attempts should be
made to keep them operating so they can continue to care for these collections. However it
is important to plan now for the possibility that some groups may not be viable in the next
few years.

These groups already receive support from Council, mainly through provision of premises
and access to support and advice mainly from two Council staff members. These forms of
support are appreciated by the groups, but as their size and viability decrease, it becomes
more likely that Council will need to take on more responsibility for care of these local
heritage collections. This section outlines the recommendations for Council to deal with
these issues. In addition to the recommendations that follow, it is also recommended that
wherever possible the hard work and dedication of these volunteer groups should be
publicly acknowledged.

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Summary of Recommendations

1. ESTABLISH AND STAFF AN OBJECT STORAGE & PRESERVATION FACILITY

2. SUPPORT VIABILITY OF THE GROUPS

2a. Solutions for BHS


2a(i). Expand BHS storage
2a(ii) BHS front-of-house venue

2b. Fund large object shed for Heathcote


2c. Help all groups to attract volunteers
2d. Help all groups to increase their profile
2d(i) Promotion and marketing
2d(ii) Signage
2e. Ensure legal compliance
2e(i) Governance
2e(ii) Assist registration process for Aboriginal items
2e(iii) Register firearms
2f. Boost museum-related skills and knowledge
2g. Encourage performance tracking
2h. Help all groups to attract funding
2i. Help all groups to save money through bulk purchasing

3. ENGAGE IN CONTINGENCY PLANNING

3a. Establish a Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection


3b. Adopt a Collection Policy for the new collection
3c. Brief groups about the Policy
3d. Enter into wind-up agreements with groups
3e. Assist groups to update their wind-up clauses
3f. Help with collection succession preparation
3g. Monitor updates to BRAC policies

4. COMMISSION A MUSEUM FEASIBILITY STUDY

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1. Establish and staff an
an object storage & preservation facility

The most urgently needed museum function currently required in Greater Bendigo is a
staffed storage and preservation facility for objects and artefacts which meets national
standards.

As well as providing a museum-standard preservation environment for objects, the facility


should manage a comprehensive set of public access programs. Recommended components
include an online public access platform where heritage objects can be accessed and
explored via high quality images, videos and interpretation, viewer-curated options, and
education modules for teachers and students. This should be complemented by real-world
public engagement activities such as facility tours, outreach visits, outward loans and object
viewing by appointment.

It is recommended that the facility be built for purpose on the vacant land next to the BRAC
Nolan Street facility as an object storage and preservation facility that was a part of the
original vision for that site, as outlined previously and in Appendix A.

Original design for Nolan St (BRAC) site – front elevation

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Original design for Nolan St BRAC site – floor plan

Together the two facilities would form a specialist preservation complex which might be
named the Greater Bendigo Heritage Centre or similar. Crucially it would keep collections
intact, by storing objects and artefacts adjacent to records and documents from the same
collection. This is vital to retain integrity of collections and to allow for proper research.

On the Nolan Street site, a well-designed object storage and preservation facility could
provide up to 3,000 cubic metres of storage. Around 650 cubic metres of this space should
be allocated to BHS for its objects and artefacts. A detailed outline of requirements for the
proposed facility and images of the recommended components is in Appendix B of this
report. Appendix C provides model examples of existing object preservation facilities.

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At least two City of Greater Bendigo officers with museum training would be based on-site
to manage and preserve the object collections, design and deliver a comprehensive public
access program, co-ordinate and supervise volunteers and ensure the preservation
environment is maintained.

Visits to existing high-quality facilities would be useful to inform this process. It may also be
useful to consider partnering with a large collecting institution such as Museums Victoria in
a shared facility. This would mirror the collaborative approach used in the BRAC model.

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2. Support viability of the groups

2a. Solutions
olutions for BHS
The Specimen Cottage front-end venue for BHS is currently unsatisfactory and the current
back-end facilities at the BRAC Store and Storage Containers at Nolan Street are inadequate
and endangering the volunteers and collection.

This report recommends that Council focus on resolving the current issues in Specimen
Cottage, rather than seeking alternative front of house venues, so that it is appropriate for
BHS to continue to use. The reason for this is that if key issues are resolved the Cottage is a
reasonably good front-end, if not perfect, solution for the group.

The back-end storage issues at the BRAC Store and Storage Containers at Nolan Street are a
far higher priority for Council to focus on and where major attention is needed.

Improve BHS storage at the BRAC Store and Storage Containers at Nolan Street
The BRAC facility at Nolan Street provides an excellent storage environment for BHS’ paper-
based holdings, but improvements are urgently needed in the amount and the quality of
storage space for the Society’s object and artefact holdings. BHS deserves a reliable, long-
term solution to this issue after their collection has largely been inaccessible for nearly
twenty years, relocated frequently, and is currently in extremely poor storage conditions.

Short term storage improvements


Short-term measures that Council should put in place immediately to improve the over-
crowded and risky storage situation. These include:

• Provide extra object storage temporarily by installing three portable ATCO buildings
next to the containers. These must be fitted with customised shelving and tills to
store BHS framed items, boxed objects and uncatalogued new acquisitions which are
currently in the BHS BRAC Store . Some objects could also be moved from the
storage containers into the temporary ATCO buildings if there is room. To be clear,
this is only an interim measure, not a permanent solution. Detailed requirements for
this measure are outlined in Appendix E.
• Replace the broken and unsafe compactus inside the BHS BRAC Store.
• Improve the safety of the BHS Storage Containers: Council should consider replacing
the unsafe BHS Storage Containers with properly fitted out portable ATCO buildings
for the interim, until longer term storage solutions are operational The safety of the
BHS Storage Containers can be immediately improved by fixing the wiring.
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Council should also encourage BHS to free up collection storage space by:

• transferring some paper-based materials to BRAC


• deaccessioning items which do not meet its Collection Policy; making and recording
the relevant decisions as a Committee, and following the process set out in
recognised Museum Codes of Ethics.
• removing the non-collection items such as exhibition display cases from the BHS
Storage Containers. Install a secure shed onsite for the display equipment and
furniture.
• removing the archival supplies from the BHS Storage Container to free up space. Find
another place to store them such as under worktables in the BHS office area in the
BRAC facility.

Long term storage solution


BHS needs a permanent and appropriate solution for the storage of its objects and artefacts.
This study has identified a preferred solution which is for them to be held in a Council-
managed object storage and preservation facility as previously described. Ownership of the
items would remain vested in BHS and collection management carried out by BHS
volunteers with co-ordination and guidance from City of Greater Bendigo officers with
museums training who are based on-site. This arrangement would be governed by clear
terms in an MOU. This model is outlined in Appendix B.

BHS Specimen Cottage front-of-house venue


In order to make the environment at Specimen Cottage suitable as a front-of-house for BHS,
the following recommendations are made to Council:

• Council should continue to pursue collaboration with BRIT to ensure the rising damp
is treated and the roof is repaired as soon as possible.

• The low light levels due to overshadowing BRIT building are actually beneficial to
objects on display. However they are not ideal for viewing objects or for visitors’
safety. Install a track display-lighting system in the two display rooms and extra
lighting over the stairs.

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• Improve security especially around windows and rear door. This includes improving
physical fittings but also a review of procedures e.g. keeping rear door closed and
locked when not monitored.

• Take steps to ensure all external doors and windows are well sealed, especially the
base of the rear door.

• Consider ways to improve signage on or near building to increase visibility of the


Society, possibly on the upper balcony, the large brick side wall and/or power poles
in front of the building.

• Cut back vegetation next to building as far as possible

Until the rising damp issue is resolved, BHS should be aware of the following guidelines:

• Humidity, especially fluctuations in humidity pose a great risk to historical materials,


even more so than temperature extremes or fluctuations. Until the rising damp is
dealt with BHS should avoid displaying:

original paper-based items such as photographs, documents and drawings).


Display copies of these instead
original artworks, especially works on paper or on canvas even if framed
textiles, especially silk or wool
collection items made of or containing wood, fur or leather eg wooden
furniture, fur garments, leather-bound books and leather gloves

• More resilient objects can be displayed in display cases or with a support that raises
the item substantially off the floor and away from the walls. These include:

those which are largely metal, ceramic, plastic or glass


geological specimens
replicas
non-collection reference books and other reference materials

• Consider including silica gel packs in the display cases, and monitor the objects for
any corrosion, mould growth etc and remove immediately if these are observed.

• Borrow an environment monitoring device, such as a thermohydrograph, from


Council to track and assess the environment in Specimen Cottage, with assistance
from staff on how to collect and interpret the data. Depending on the results, de-
humidifiers may be required until the rising damp is treated.

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Other suggestions for BHS are:

• Do not leave entrance doors open even when Specimen Cottage is occupied. This
creates an unstable environment and exposes the objects on display to the outside
climate.

• Consider creating some interpretation about the Cottage itself, since it is a structure
of local and state significance with an interesting history, such as a brochure or
handout for visitors.

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2b.
2b. Display shed for large objects in Heathcote
A large shed is urgently needed to house a number of large items of local historical
significance described in the case study in this report on Heathcote McIvor Historical
Society. Because of their local connections it is important that they remain in the district
and for them to be accessible to view by the public, rather than kept in storage. The
proposed display shed would be around 25 x 9 x 6 metres and would allow 24/7 viewing by
the public without supervision whilst protecting the items from damage. It is estimated that
the cost to build the shed would be $30,000 - $40,000. If Council cannot fully fund the
project, external philanthropic funding should be sought on behalf of the Society to cover all
or some of this cost. A potential source of external funding is the federal Stronger
Communities scheme which provides between $2,500 and $20,000 to community
organisations and local governments for capital projects, through the local Member of
Parliament.

2c. Help all groups to


to attract volunteers
The most important way to improve viability of the groups at this stage is by helping to
boost their volunteer numbers. Council should:

• Help or advise the groups to conduct skills audits to identify what skills they are
lacking
• Assist or advise them to write Volunteer Position Descriptions which describe the
work they want done in key areas
• Help the groups to register with volunteer recruitment services. There is no fee to
join Bendigo Volunteers Resource group, only insurance requirements, which all the
groups already meet. Council might assist the groups with the application forms and
invite the Volunteer Centre to meet with the groups at a Bendigo Heritage
Representative Group meeting to discuss other ways the group can attract
volunteers. There is also a Victorian Volunteers body that also maintains a register
which interested volunteers can search. However it charges a fee of around $80 per
year for a subscription which includes a listing on the register but also training and
support around volunteer management and recruitment. If groups can afford it they
should consider this. Council may be able to negotiate with this body to offer a bulk
or discounted subscription for the five groups in this study. Once registered the
groups should lodge their Position Descriptions on the Volunteer Recruitment
databases managed by these two bodies.
• Assist or advise the groups to create a standard Volunteer Agreement form. This will
set out the regular work period committed to and the tasks set out for each
volunteer. Also advise the groups that having written procedures for core activities

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can be useful to ensure that volunteers carry out tasks in the manner and to the
standard expected. When new volunteers come on board reading these procedures
should be part of their induction. When groups are unhappy with a volunteers
performance they can then refer to the procedures as a way of explaining the issue
to the volunteer.
• Suggest that the groups institute a pricing policy for research requests in which the
fee for service includes a compulsory membership to the group. This increases the
member base and by continuing communications with the enquirer through
membership correspondence, keeps them involved even after the research request
is completed. This may attract volunteers.
• Contact Deakin University Museum Studies department and to request a Call for
Volunteers among its networks.

2c. Help all groups to increase their profile

Promotion and marketing

• Consider creating a Greater Bendigo community groups trail to promote the groups
and boost visitation.

• Submit a written request to the Board of Bendigo Tourism for a waiver of the
membership fees for all five community groups in this study. The submission should
explain the important work these tiny volunteer organisations perform in preserving
the heritage of Greater Bendigo. Meetings with Bendigo Tourism may uncover
further ways that Bendigo Tourism and the groups can work together for mutual
benefit.

• Contact Bendigo Regional Tourism on behalf of the groups to explore possible


promotional opportunities. This body promotes a wider region than Bendigo
Tourism.

• Consider negotiating partnerships between the groups and local schools or


community youth groups in which younger people would do online/social media
tasks for the groups on a volunteer basis.

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• Provide the groups with training, advice or assistance with their online presence,
including social media and websites.

• Consider engaging a specialist in museum marketing or social media for museums to


speak to the groups at a Bendigo Heritage Representative Group meeting, to provide
some suggestions appropriate to the scale and capacities of the groups.

• Encourage groups to be more active online by posting more on social media and
publishing more on Victorian Collections and highlight the validity of engaging with
online audiences.

• It may assist groups if they were aware of the current school curriculum so they can
target appropriate content to visiting school groups. Appendix J lists the areas where
community museums can link their programs into the Victorian school curriculum.

Signage

• Provide more visible signage to interested groups, in particular to the Huntly group.
This could be a vinyl outdoor banner (cost around $150) which affixes to the building
without causing damage or to metal supports installed in the ground. It is up to the
groups whether they wish for the new signage to be permanent or only in place
when they are open. The option they choose will have implications for the style,
attachment method and written content of the signage. It is recommended that
signage for Huntly indicates that visitors are welcome and that there is parking at
rear of the complex.

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2d. Encourage legal compliance
Governance
It is important that all groups are aware of the new regulations for incorporated bodies,
introduced by the Associations Incorporation Act Reform Act 2012 (Vic). There are some
minor implications for incorporated bodies, particularly for their Secretaries. Council
should inform them of the changes and encourage them to update their organisational
documents such as Rules, Constitution and procedures. The consultant can provide
documents and links to helpful resources around these changes.

Assist registration process for Aboriginal items


There are around 35 objects of Aboriginal heritage held among the five groups. It is
mandatory under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic) for holders of Victorian Aboriginal
heritage artefacts to register them on the Aboriginal Heritage Register. The process to do so
is to contact the local Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP), Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung
Clans Aboriginal Corporations, or Aboriginal Victoria which allocates field officers and/or a
RAP to visit the holder and create a list and photographs of the items. The items continue
to be retained by the holder. Council could co-ordinate this process to ensure that all the
groups are complying with these legal obligations. All groups should know that it is
compulsory under Victorian heritage law, even though one group had been incorrectly
informed that this was an optional process.

Register firearms
The BHS firearms collection is currently held by a firearms dealer to comply with
regulations. Ideally the BHS collection of historical firearms should be stored with the rest of
the collection. In order for this to happen they would need to be stored securely and in the
manner prescribed by Victorian Firearms legislation, which is not possible at this stage. In an
ideal storage situation they will have adequate space in a gun safe or safes and be stored
separately from any ammunitions. If they are ever moved into the possession of BHS they
will need to be registered with Victoria Police in order for BHS to obtain a Museum
Exemption License. Although not currently in BHS possession, the firearms should be
immediately inventoried, catalogued and photographed and this list registered with Victoria
Police. This will assist with the transition to a Museum Exemption License when it is needed.
It will also ensure that BHS can keep track of this property even if there is volunteer
turnover.

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2e. Boost museum
museum-
useum-related skills and knowledge

• Provide all groups with copies of key industry guidelines including:

∗ the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries


∗ the Small Museums Cataloguing Manual (and included standard cataloguing
form)
∗ Significance 2.0
∗ Museums Australia Code of Ethics or ICOM Code of Ethics

Encourage the groups to ensure that all of their active members have read these
resources and suggest that in particular active members who manage other
volunteers should become familiar with them.

• Encourage the groups to seek out and engage in any and all museum-related training
they can, whether office-bearers or people from their volunteer pools are the
attendees. Training opportunities are mainly offered by Museums Australia (Victoria)
and Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Their websites list the opportunities
available.

• Encourage any current volunteers who have not done so to complete Victorian
Collections training. Victorian Collections are willing to conduct special training
sessions in regional centres and have previously done so in Greater Bendigo.

2f. Encourage performance tracking


Encourage the groups to try to track their performance in some simple key areas:

• Number of hours worked by volunteers using a central logbook


• Number of visitors and their postcodes of origin using a visitor book
• Number of research requests processed or hours spent on research requests
• Number of items catalogued or digitised

The resulting data can then be used in funding applications, in promoting the work of the
group and internally to celebrate milestones.

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2g. Help all groups to attract funding

• Provide assistance to the groups with identifying funding opportunities and writing
grant applications. This could involve arranging training or helping to write specific
applications. Many of the recommendations in this report require funding. If Council
is not willing or able to fund these measures, then the groups should be assisted to
apply for funding from other sources. It is also recommended that Council make an
adjustment to its own Community Grants program. Currently, applications must fit
into one of the following categories:

o Community Development
o Environmental Sustainability
o Arts
o Community Events
o Active and Healthy Communities
o Print and Digital Publications

Projects relating to history and heritage groups do not appear to fit naturally into
any of these categories, leaving community collecting groups like those in this study
ineligible. A suggestion is to change ‘Arts’ to ‘Arts and Heritage’.

2h. Help all groups save money through bulk purchasing


Making bulk purchases of items that most or all of the groups use, may save the groups
money. This could be done by Council or the Bendigo Heritage Representative Group, with
contributions from the groups. Possibilities include:
• Purchase a bulk license of Mosaic software and training for interested groups.
• Bulk purchase archival materials for groups

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3. Engage in Contingency
Contingency Planning

3a. Establish a Greater


Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection
A new collection should be established and managed by Council which can be a legal
recipient of historical artefacts in Greater Bendigo. This will require a commitment from
Council to become a custodian for such material if current custodians, whether individuals
or collecting groups, can no longer care for it. Different names for the new collection have
different strategic possibilities. A working title of ‘Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection’ will
be used in this report. The first practical step for establishing a Greater Bendigo Heritage
Collection is to draft a Statement of Purpose and a Collecting Policy and guidelines are
provided in Appendix I of this report. Further planning should then look at collection
management, storage and staffing arrangements. The first accessions into this collection
would be known historical Council assets such as the Mayoral regalia and portraits. Some of
these are listed on different Council systems and inventories, but there are other historical
and heritage assets held by Council that are not yet tracked in any way. These need to be
fully audited and brought under a single area of management and budget line. Once an
object storage and preservation facility has been established, the Greater Bendigo Heritage
Collection should be transferred into it. Council should also promote the Greater Bendigo
Heritage Collection as an entity which accepts donations from the public, subject to the
collection policy. If local collecting groups wind up this Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection
can potentially accept some objects and artefacts from their collections.

3b. Adopt a Collection Policy for the new Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection
Collection
Council should not take on objects and artefacts from any group or individual without
assessing them based on an established criteria. Council should apply the Collecting Policy
for the Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection to decide which items will and will not be
accepted from collecting groups or from the public. Most community collecting groups are
aware that it is best practice to have a Collection Policy and to closely adhere to it when
considering items offered for donation. However, for various reasons this often does not
occur and groups end up holding some material that does not pertain to their Collection
Policy. It is difficult for Council to control what groups or donors may hold or what they may
wish to offer to Council, however it can control what it accepts. A template for what the
Policy should cover is included in Appendix I.

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3c. Brief groups about the Policy
Once a Collecting Policy has been adopted, its contents should be carefully explained to any
groups that may wish to transfer their materials to Council custody in the future. It is then
up to the groups to ensure their collections are correctly documented to ensure they can be
fairly assessed. The groups can then also assess which items may not be accepted by the
Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection and explore other possible options for disposing of
them.

3d. Enter into wind-


wind-up agreements with the groups
Having committed to the establishment of a Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection
and allocating staff, resources and storage space to it, Council can then enter into
agreements with groups that wish to do so for succession planning purposes. An agreement
between Council and community collecting group should specify that if the group winds up,
industry-standard procedures for disposal of museum collections16 will be followed and that
when it comes to the relevant step of that process, the Greater Bendigo Heritage Collection
will be the entity to be first offered the objects and artefacts. If the groups have other kinds
of preferred arrangements they can be negotiated with Council at this point. This includes
groups which wish for their collections to remain in situ with community–based
management arrangements.

3e. Assist groups to update their wind


wind-
ind-up clauses
Once wind-up agreements have been created between Council and the groups, then the
groups should also replicate the same instructions in their own wind-up clauses. This is
usually included in a Constitution, and requires official adoption by a resolution of their
Committee of Management.

3f. Help with collection succession preparation


Some groups feel that their collections are comprehensively catalogued. Other groups are
aware that their collections are under-documented. In reality, all groups could improve the
documentation of their collections in the context of being prepared for succession. There is
still knowledge about objects and artefacts which is known to members but not clearly
recorded. The consultant can provide some written advice to guide the groups in preparing
their collections for succession, if this is needed. Given the groups are very under-staffed,
Council could explore the option of engaging a museum support consultant to help
interested groups with collection succession preparation.

16
See Appendix H
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3g. Establish procedures for transfer
It is recommended that if a group folds, the objects and artefacts they held remain in place
in the premises until appropriate wind-up processes have been carefully carried out and an
appropriate storage destination is available. The final destination for particular materials
will depend on each group’s wind-up procedures. However, if the Council is nominated to
accept the items then the transfer process should follow the accepted standard procedures
for disposal as outlined in Appendix H. If this preparation work has not taken place then
seeking out donor information and contacting donors and lenders will have to occur at this
point. Council will need to be ready with appropriate physical storage space and staff
resources before physically transferring objects. Staff with museum training will be needed
to carry out the transfer process, which may include some or all of the following:

• Physical boxing and preparation of items for transport by persons with appropriate
training
• Appropriate transport to prevent damage to objects
• Unpacking into destination storage
• Ongoing cataloguing and collection management

The transfer of legal title will also need to occur at this point, and this should be guided by
professional legal advice.

Items 3e, f & g may require the engagement of personnel or contractors as these processes
are quite labour intensive and would be outside the job descriptions of existing Council
staff.

3h. Monitor updates to BRAC policies


The collecting policies and criteria for what BRAC will accept as a ‘community records’ are
still being refined and formalised. It would be helpful if regular briefings and information
sessions could be given at the Bendigo Heritage Representative Group meetings to the five
collecting groups to keep them informed and answer questions. Once the community
records policy and criteria are formalised, it would be very useful if BRAC could make
individual visits to the groups to give them advice about their specific holdings, what items
might be accepted as a community records by BRAC and what preparation is needed. This
would provide accurate information and in some cases reassurance to the groups.

163
4. Museum feasibility study
If the above recommendations have been carried out and there are still calls and
representations made for a new public museum in Greater Bendigo, the recommendation of
this report is to commission a museum feasibility study.

164
13. References

(2014) National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries Version 1.4

Bendigo and Region Archive/Museum Steering Committee (1989) Bendigo Heritage Centre
Regional Archive & Social History Museum Proposal

International Council of Museums (2013) International Council of Museums (ICOM) Code of


Museum Ethics

Lovell Chen (2013) Greater Bendigo Thematic Environmental History

Museums Australia (1999) Museums Australia Inc. Code of Ethics of Art, History & Science
Museums

NSW Heritage Office (2001) Safe In The Shed : Caring For Historic Farm Machinery, NSW
Heritage Office & NSW Ministry for the Arts Movable Heritage Project

SED Consulting (2005) Bendigo Archive & Heritage Centre, Part 1: Situational Analysis

Smith, D. (2005) Meaning, Purpose and Social Memory: The Archaeology Of Farm
Graveyards Of Vehicles And Machinery, Honours thesis, Flinders University, South Australia.

Volunteering Australia (2012) State of Volunteering in Australia

Whitelaw, J. (2001) Bendigo Regional Museum Strategic Plan

Zilles, L. (2007) Bendigo Historical Society Inc. Collection Management Strategy &
Significance Assessment

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14. Appendices
Appendices

Appendix A. Original concept for Nolan St

The following images are from the original concept design for Nolan Street site, by
Architects P.J. O’Reilly & Associates, dated 17th September 2009. These images indicate the
half of the design which was built and the half which has not yet been constructed.

Original design for Nolan St BRAC site – front elevation (marked up)

Original design
for Nolan St BRAC site – floor plan (marked up)

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Appendix B. Requirements for proposed object storage and preservation facility

Location
Accessible by public transport. Preferably in a central part of the Greater Bendigo
municipality. This study recommends an extension on the vacant land next to the existing
BRAC facility at Nolan Street.

Criteria for fitout


Well-sealed internal and external finish
Insulated
Climate-control system
Museum appropriate storage furniture (eg. no off-gassing materials (eg MDF))
All storage at least six inches off floor
Preferably sustainable building measures such as solar panels and water harvesting
No windows in storage spaces
Highly secure externally with internal and external electronic security access systems
Minimise presence of water pipes near or above storage areas
Few but large spaces are better than many small spaces
Plain straight design shapes such as in the original design’s floor plan
Internal surfaces smooth and easy to keep clean
If two levels, must have substantial lift for people and for collection items
Ramps instead of steps throughout
No carpet in storage areas or workroom.
No gardens or planted landscaping around building

Facilities needed
One or two large open storage area(s)
Quarantine area for unassessed & problem items
a large well-lit workroom with extensive work surfaces
Office space for facility staff
Multiple work-stations for volunteers
Non-archival storage space for furniture/equipment and tools
Loading bay
Lunchroom and toilets
Shed: A large area outside with solid roof, concrete floor and fenced sides to
accommodate very large objects eg large machinery and vehicles.

167
Types of storage furniture
• till units
• open shelving - fixed and mobile
• closed shelving – some fixed, some mobile compactus style
• lockable metal cupboards – some fixed, some mobile compactus style
• pallet racking
• art-hanging screens
• shelf, hanging and rolled storage for textiles
• open floor space for very large objects e.g. vehicles
• a fire-proof safe
• a gun safe of a size that will accommodate BHS firearms collection
• cupboards for storage of admin files, registers and files pertaining to history
of the collections

The amounts of each type of storage unit should be guided by the estimated breakdown of
collection holdings provided in this report under the section titled ‘Quantities of
objects/artefacts’. Some community groups may continue to manage their own objects
successfully in the future, but there needs to be room in the object storage and
preservation facility for future expansion in the eventuality of worst-case scenarios.

Till storage example 1 Example of till storage example 2 (image courtesy


Commando)

168
Example of open shelving (fixed)
Example of open shelving (mobile compactus style)
(image courtesy Commando)

Examples of closed shelving (fixed) Examples of closed shelving (mobile compactus style)

169
Example of pallet racking Example of art hanging screens

Example of hanging storage for textiles Example of rolled storage for textiles
(image courtesy Commando)

Major equipment required


Forklift
Large chest freezer
Photographic studio equipment
Multiple computers
Collection management software
Scanners (including large format)
Substantial server or other data storage
Trolleys

170
Staffing
The facility should be managed by at least two officers with museum training and this may
need to increase over time. One role should be focused on public engagement, including
volunteer co-ordination and training plus outreach and online content. The other role would
be a conservator, registrar or collection manager, focused on the management and
preservation of the collections. Both roles would require museum-related qualifications,
experience and knowledge.

Public access and engagement


As well as storing and preserving objects, the facility should carry out a comprehensive
public engagement program, including some or all of the following activities and services:

• A digital platform which presents objects and catalogue information online along
with high quality images. It could also provide some themed/curated interpretive
content, a blog, and/or educational modules for teachers.
• An arrangement with the National Library of Australia to link the online collections
into its Trove platform, which ( is a standard agreement that many Victorian
institutions have.
• Video-based interactions such as through Facebook Live, Periscope or private
streaming and video-conferencing. Oral history videos could also be linked with
objects published online such as on Culture Victoria.
• Physical presentations of historical objects at schools, supported residential facilities,
clubs, community events, and other venues.
• A talks or lecture program
• An object viewing room
• Loan of items to other venues and institutions, where appropriate
• Conservation advice and/or treatment services
• A research enquiry service
• An image service
• Facility tours

171
Partnering with BHS
An MOU should be established between CoGB and BHS which sets out the conditions for
BHS object collections to be stored in the new object storage and preservation facility, and
to clarify the collections and agreement already held in the BHS BRAC Store, such as:
• Ownership of the collections should remain vested in the Society.
• The Society pays no rent or a nominal fee to stores its collections
• BHS will be allocated a portion of the new and existing storage spaces
• what materials will (and will not) be stored in the facility, and which material types
can be stored in which areas.
• The facility is managed by Council and officers who have museum/conservation
training
• BHS volunteers work under the co-ordination and authority of the Council and
facility officers
• A BHS Committee member is included in strategic management meetings and
decision-making for the new and existing facility.

There should be MOUs between Council and BHS for both the existing facilities and any
future ones at Nolan Street to protect all parties and clarify rights and responsibilities.

172
Appendix C. Examples of object storage and preservation facilities

Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Centre (Maryland)

Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Centre (Maryland)

173
Canadian War Museum (Ottawa)

Museums Victoria’s Moreland Storage Annexe (Melbourne)

174
Appendix D. Examples of access programs in object preservation facilities
Below: Providing digital access to objects via live video programs – Smithsonian Museum of
the American Indian (Washington)

175
Below: Example of digital access to stored objects via interactive online catalogues –
Screengrabs from Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) website

176
Appendix E. Requirements for extra temporary storage for BHS

Three temporary portable ATCO buildings are needed to be placed next to the containers.
They should be fitted with storage furniture and safely allow for entry to access items. The
buildings should be insulated and sealed, connected to power with lighting and climate
control systems. They should have no windows and highly secure doors.

One building should have till units installed to store the large number of framed items held
in the BHS BRAC Store. One buildings should have open shelving fitted to hold new
acquisitions which have not yet been assessed or catalogued. The third should have open
shelving to hold the overflow of boxed objects held in the BHS BRAC Store. The lowest
shelf/till in all the buildings should keep objects at least six inches off the floor.

Once the current storage situation is dealt with, extra portable ATCO buildings should be
purchased to replace the BHS Storage Containers for use until a permanent object storage
and preservation facility is operational. These should be fitted with shelving with a high and
wide span to accommodate the medium and large objects currently stored in the
containers. They should also have some area without shelving for storage of the largest
objects. These should be stored on the floor but raised on foam or wood blocks to provide
six inches of clearance.

The following images show a similar storage solution used at another Central Victorian
museum.

177
Temporary ATCO building used to expand collection storage in at a Central Victorian Council-run
museum.

Temporary ATCO building used to expand collection storage in at a Central Victorian Council-run
museum.

178
Appendix F. Examples of large-
large-object display sheds

Orcharders Shed at Schwerkolt Cottage & Museum Complex (Melbourne)


(ideal example except lacking grille)

Mapletone Tramway (QLD)

179
Echuca Museum Machinery Shed

Cardwell Visitor & Heritage Centre (NSW)

180
Kyneton Museum Vehicle & Agriculture Shed (ideal except for lack of front grille)

181
Appendix G. Recommended signage

Recommended for BHS on large wall at Specimen Cottage

Options for more visible signage at other Societies (Huntly used as an example)

Option 1: Removable vinyl outdoor banner on metal support frame, fixed in ground. Banner
attached by chain only when venue open. Metal frame remains in place.

182
Option 2: Removable vinyl outdoor banner attached by chain to fence during opening hours.

183
Appendix
Appendix H. Ethical procedures for disposal of museum collections

If a community collection in Greater Bendigo has to be dispersed or transferred because the


group has wound up, it is appropriate to follow the proper ethical procedures for disposal of
museum collections. Appropriate steps for disposal in the following order are:

• Return the object to the donor, if donor is in agreement.

• If you can’t find a record of the donor, draw on the memory of past employees,
volunteers, board or committee members to try and establish the missing
information. If this still isn’t established and the organisation wishes to continue the
process, every effort must be made to establish the provenance and the donor’s
identity. The committee needs to ensure that a ‘reasonable amount of effort and
period of time’ is undertaken in trying to trace the donor, e.g. four attempts to
contact the donor by letter or phone call, and /or placing an ad in the local paper.

• Transfer the object to another institution if one can be located willing to accept the
object. This would be an institution with a similar collecting area, eg: if a maritime
related object, a maritime museum would be most appropriate. If CoGB has
established a Collection and suitable storage, this would be the way that community
collections could be transferred to it.

• Sell the object at public auction or by tender. This ensures the fair market price for
an object. People connected with the museum should not be allowed to purchase
deaccessioned items (this should be noted in the deaccession policy). The funds
generated from such sales should be transferred into the acquisition budget so that
items of greater significance to the organisation may be purchased in the future, or
for other purposes such as conservation work for important collection items.

• Destruction - only be considered for an object if it were in very poor condition, had
irreparable damage, etc. Destruction refers to a situation whereby the object would
be simply placed in the bin.

NB: an optional step before Destruction is to offer the items to a school or charity, or to
retain the item only as a prop or interpretive object which visitors can handle.

184
Appendix I. Suggested contents of a Collection Policy

1. A statement of purpose - a formal, written statement which defines the most basic goals of the
organisation.
2. Purpose and scope of the collection policy - What will the policy be used for? e.g. As the guiding
document for the development and management of the collection.
3. What will be collected – key themes, geographic area/region, historical periods, types of items
4. How items will be collected – methods of acquisition, who will make decisions about
acquisitions e.g. Committee, Board, staff members
5. Acquisition Criteria – things which will be considered in acquisition decisions e.g. relevance,
significance (historic, aesthetic, spiritual, scientific), provenance and documentation, condition,
interpretive potential, research value, rarity, representativeness, duplications, legal obligations.
6. Documentation & Record Keeping – How object documentation will be collected and managed
(e.g. donor forms, cataloguing)
7. Storage and Conservation – How the collection be cared for (storage, housings, access,
preventative conservation).
8. Deaccessioning and disposal procedures - acceptable criteria for deaccessioning, process for
deaccessioning,

185
Appendix
Appendix J. Linking history collections with the Victorian education curriculum

The following table indicates the learning key areas in History curriculum where there are opportunities for local historical organisations to
engage with school students.

The Victorian curriculum now uses ‘Levels’ which are not tied specifically to particular Year Levels or student ages, to allow for the varied
abilities of different students.

Level Phase Approximate Concepts/skills learned Knowledge attained


equivalent
B Foundation Stage Later Prep Explore features of objects from the past and
(Years Prep to present
Grade 2)
C Foundation Stage Early Grade 1 Compare features of objects from the past and Link significant local sites and people to events
(Years Prep to present
Grade 2)
Assist to construct a narrative about a significant
person or past event
D Foundation Stage Later Grade 1 Explore a range of sources that describe families in Similarities and differences between their life and the life of
(Years Prep to the past their grandparents
Grade 2)
Explore and sequence the history of a significant place, person
or site

Explore technologies of the past and today


Level Foundation Stage Grade 2 Identify examples of continuity and change in Differences and similarities between students’ daily lives and
2 (Years Prep to family life and in the local area by comparing past perspectives of life during their parents’ and grandparents’
Grade 2) and present. childhoods, including family traditions, leisure times and

186
communications
Identify the significance of a person and/or place in
the local community The history of a significant person, building or site or part of
the natural environment in the local community and what it
reveals about the past

The effect of changing technology on people’s lives and their


perspectives on the significance of that change
Levels Breadth Stage Grades 3 and Describe perspectives of people from the past The significance of Country and Place to Aboriginal and Torres
3&4 (Years 3-8) 4 Strait Islander peoples who belong to a local area
Identify and describe continuity and change over
time in the local community, region or state A significant example of change and a significant example of
continuity over time in the local community region or
state/territory

The role that people of diverse backgrounds have played in


the development and character of the local community.

Levels Pathways Stage Year 9 and 10 Analyse the different perspectives of people in the The history of either Australia or Asia in the period 1750-1918
9& (Years 9-10) past and evaluate how these perspectives are
10 influence by significant events, ideas, location, Australia at War (1914-1945)
beliefs and values WW1 & WW2
• Causes of war
Identify and evaluate patterns of continuity and • Why men enlisted
change in the development of the modern world • Effects of these wars
and Australia • Commemorations

Rights and Freedoms (1945 to the present)

187
Appendix K. Survey Questionnaire used in the study

Survey of community collections in Greater Bendigo


This survey aims to ascertain the status, capacity and needs of the key community
collections within the municipality. This information will be collated in a Strategic Report for
Council which will be used to guide policy development and planning.

Once completed, please return the survey by mail (using the Express Post envelope
provided) to Dr Megan Cardamone, <address removed>.

Note: the term ‘Society’ is used throughout this questionnaire to refer to organisations,
though some may have another legal structure.

Contact Information
Name of Society:

Contact person for this project


Email for this person
Phone number for this person
Physical Address
Mailing address
Website address (if applicable):
Social media profiles for your Society (if applicable):
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Other

Please provide a list of office bearers in your Society


Governance & Legal

Who (or what entity) legally owns your collection?

How often does your governing body or Committee of Management meet?

How many members does your How many of these would you
Society have? describe as active members?

Does your Society have any of the following?

• A written Statement of Purpose, mission or vision statement Yes No

• A Constitution , Charter or Terms of Reference Yes No

• If you do have a Constitution , Charter or Terms of Reference, Yes No


does the document contain a Wind-up clause or similar
statement for what happens to the collection if the Society
winds up? N/A

• A business plan, strategic plan or forward plan Yes No

• Insurance policies:
Public Liability Yes No
Volunteer Insurance Yes No
Building and Contents
Yes No
Other ________________________________
Yes No

Is your Society a member of:

• Royal Historical Society of Victoria Yes No


• Museums Australia (Victoria) Yes No
• Other: Yes No
_________________________________________
Is succession planning discussed by your Committee of Yes No
Management?
Human resources

How many people regularly volunteer at your Society?

Do you use Volunteer Agreements or job descriptions Yes No


for volunteers?

Does your Society have any internally-produced written Yes No


procedures such as a Procedures Manual?

Have any of your volunteers undertaken any museum Yes No


skills training undertaken in the last 3 years.

Is your Society aware of any of the following resources? Has your Society formally adopted
or used any of these?
Aware of Used or adopted
National Standards for Australian Museums and
Galleries
Museums Australia Code of Ethics

ICOM Code of Ethics

Small Museums Cataloguing Manual

Significance 2.0

Have any the volunteers or members of your Society undertaken any Yes No
museum skills training in the last 3 years?

What are the most significant issues your Society faces in terms of skills and human
resources?
(Tick all that apply)
A lack of members
A lack of volunteers
A lack of people with relevant skills
Lack of a shared vision about future of the Society
Lack of advice or support from museum professionals
Interpersonal conflicts which affect management

Other (please specify):

Do you have people in your Society with any of the following skills?
(Please circle how many people have each skill)

Exhibition display and None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


installation skills 5

Making mounts or supports None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


for objects 5

Marketing, advertising or None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


business development skills 5
Public program development None 1 2 3 4 5 More than
skills 5

Front of house/ customer None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


service skills 5

Curatorial skills None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Collection management None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5
Displaying collection None 1 2 3 4 5 More than
5

Writing grant applications None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Financial management None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Governance None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Succession planning None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

General planning None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Volunteer management None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Disaster management None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Conservation None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Significance assessments None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Cataloguing None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Setting up storage/Storage None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


strategies 5

Public access to collections None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Responding to research None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


requests 5

Digital technology/ None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


Digitisation 5
Social media None 1 2 3 4 5 More than
5

Other None 1 2 3 4 5 More than


5

Your Collection

This strategic assessment will only report on artefacts & objects held in Greater Bendigo’s
community collections.
However, for the questions on this page please include all kinds of heritage items so that we
can first get a broader picture of what your Society manages.

How many items does your Society manage?


(Please estimate if exact figure not known)

How many of the items you manage are owned by other people or
organisations (ie they are on loan or they are Council-owned items that
you care for) (Please estimate if exact figure not known)
Please fill out the table below to indicate the quantities of different types of heritage
materials you manage: (please estimate if exact figure not known)

Material type Quantity


3 dimensional objects or artefacts
Textiles and clothing
Artworks – Paintings or drawings
Framed historical prints or reproductions
Photographs – framed
Photographs – unframed
Documents (letters, business records, deeds etc)
Books
Diaries
Postcards
Audio-visual items (records, cassettes, videos, DVDs)
Maps & plans

For this project the term ‘objects and artefacts’ includes the types of items listed in the table
below. Please indicate the number of items your Society manages.
Types of object or artefact Number of items your
Society manages
(please estimate if exact
figure not known)
Paintings

Framed drawings

Sculptures or carvings

Textiles (eg. clothing, soft furnishings, flags)


Jewellery and other personal effects

Furniture

Non-furniture domestic objects (eg. Kitchenware, iron,


sewing kit)
Hand tools and hardware

Machines (eg. thresher, steam engine, clock, projector)

Other farm/agricultural items (eg. Saddlery)

Models or dioramas

Toys

Vehicles (eg. Wagon, cart, bicycle)

Sporting equipment

Musical instruments

Scientific instruments or equipment

Taxidermy/mounted animal specimens

Other major type (please specify):


Does your Society hold or manage any of the following?

If Yes, how many items? (estimate if


exact number not known)
Maritime or shipwreck Yes No
objects or artefacts

Aboriginal objects or Yes No


artefacts
Firearms or other weapons Yes No

Human remains Yes No

What are the five most significant items among your holdings of objects and artefacts?
(Again, for this question please do not consider records, documents, diaries, letters,
newspapers, maps and plans, photographs, reports or books)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

On average, approximately how many new items are added to your None
collection each year? 1-10
11-30
more than 30
Has your Society ever rejected items offered to it for donation? Yes No

If yes, for what reason/s has your Society rejected items (tick all that have applied)
Item/s did not fit within Collection Policy
Item/s were pest-infested
Item/s too damaged or degraded
Already had the same or similar items in the collection
Not enough storage space
Conditions demanded by donor were too difficult to fulfil (or were not
reasonable)
Legal ownership was in question
The item/s posed a safety or health risk
Your Premises

Does the Society own its own premises, Own


or have a lease or written Rented/leased from
arrangement? _______________________
Other arrangement (please specify):

Is your Society the sole occupier of the Yes No


premises?

When were the premises constructed?


Have there been additions to the original premises? Yes No

Are the buildings that the organisation occupies listed on Yes No Don't know
the Vic. Heritage Register, or Heritage Overlay?
- if yes, do you know the VHR or HO number? Please list: VHR/ HO no.:

Is the structure free-standing? Yes No

What is the building fabric? Please fill out this table:


Brick Concrete Glass Safety Steel Stone Wood Other*
Glass
Exterior walls
Interior walls
Ceilings
Structural
supports
Floors
Please describe the security measures used at your premises?

Were the premises purpose-built for museum activities? Yes No

Is the building in an area prone to flooding? Yes No

Are there any plumbing pipes, rainwater pipes, sprinkler Yes No


systems or wet areas located in or above collection
storage or display areas?

How many floors/levels are there in your premises?

If more than one level, what modes of access are there between levels?

Do you feel the premises are suitable for your needs? Yes No

Are there any signs in the district to direct visitors Yes No


to the Society’s premises?

Do you have signage on the outside of the No signage on premises


premises which states the Society's name,
opening hours and contact details? Yes, with some of those details

Yes, with all of those details


What are the main issues or problems in terms of your premises (other than storage which
is dealt with in the next section)?
Storage

Does your Society have storage facilities? Yes No

If yes, are they located in your main premises or All onsite


elsewhere? Some onsite, some offsite
All offsite

Approximately how many square metres of storage space do you


currently have?

Approximately how many linear metres of shelf storage do you currently


have?

Approximately how many square metres of storage space do you think


you currently need?

Approximately how many linear metres of shelf storage do you think you
currently need?

Do you have enough storage furniture and equipment e.g. Yes No


suitable shelving or cabinets, sheds for important machinery?
What issues do you have in terms of collection storage? (Tick all that apply)

Lack of storage space


Poor quality of storage environment (eg dust, moisture, pest issues)
Need more or better storage units/furniture
Lack of appropriate storage materials eg archive boxes

Conservation

Have you ever organised conservation treatment for any Yes No


materials in your collection?

What preventative conservation techniques does your Society employ?

Pest monitoring
Archival storage materials
Disaster planning
Food areas are kept separate from collection areas
Gloves are used when handling vulnerable items
Checking/recording internal building conditions
Use of attachments for displays that will not damage collection items
Rotating light sensitive items like textiles (taking them off display for a rest from
light and replacing with another item for a period of time)

Has there been any assessment of the condition of your Yes No


collection (such as a Preservation Needs Assessment)?
If yes, is an assessment report available? Yes No
If yes, author name:

If yes, what were the main recommendations at that time?

Does your Society have a regular cleaning and/or maintenance Yes No


schedule?

Does your Society use any of the following pest management strategies? (Tick all that
apply)

Pest inspection schedule


Pest traps
Isolating or freezing infested items or new accessions
Keeping food and collection areas separate

Does your Society use any of the following disaster management strategies? (Tick all that
apply)

Disaster plan

Disaster Response Kit


Fire-proof storage areas or units
Collection items raised off floor
Collection management

Does your Society use any of the following:

Accession Register Yes No


Donor form Yes No
Collection Policy Yes No
If yes to Collection Policy, does it include a de-accessioning Yes No
policy or section?
If yes to Collection Policy, how is it used?

How is the collection catalogued? (Please provide approximate figures if exact number not
known)

Number of items not catalogued


Number of items catalogued on paper
Number of items catalogued on a computer system
If you use a computer to catalogue items, which software do you use?

What precautions do you use to protect the records about your collection?
What are the key challenges your Society faces in managing these collections?

Funding
Staffing/volunteers
Skills training & prof development
Storage
Other:

Public access to your collection

Does your Society keep track of visitor numbers? Yes No

Not open to the public

If yes, how many people visited your premises last year in


2016?

Does your Society ever host school groups? Yes No

Does your Society ever host other types of groups (eg. Probus) Yes No

Does your Society keep a record of research requests? Yes No

If yes, how many requests did you receive last year in 2016?

Does your Society charge a fee for responding to research Yes No


requests?

Are your premises accessible to people with mobility issues? Yes No


Are your displays accessible to people with other disabilities, Yes No
such as vision impairment?

Does your Society conduct tours? Yes No

Which promotional tools do you use to reach potential audiences? (Tick all that apply)

Radio interviews Website


Email bulletins Flyers or brochures
Inclusion in tourism brochures Media releases
Advertising Newspaper articles
Social media Books and research publications
Other:

Do you have exhibition/display facilities? Yes No

What percentage of your total premises is used to


display collections?
Describe your exhibition/display area/s (Tick all that One large area
apply) A series of small areas
No exhibition area

What kind of lighting is there in display areas? Direct natural light


(Tick all that apply) Indirect natural light
Energy-saving globes
Fluorescent tubes
LED
Do you currently have enough display space? Yes No

Have there been any incidents of theft or damage to Yes No


your collection items when on display?

Do you have suitable display cases and supports for Yes No


displaying your items?

Are there any hanging or display system installed in the Yes No


premises?

Does your Society have a permanent exhibition on Yes No


display?
What percentage of your collection is currently on
permanent display?

Does your Society present temporary exhibitions or Yes No


exhibits?
If yes, how many per year (on average)?

Does your Society have any of the following: (Tick all that apply)

Exhibition Policy
Education Policy
Interpretation Policy (a combination of Exhibition and Education Policies)
How important is it to your Society that your collection be displayed to the public?

Very important
Important
Somewhat important
Not important
N/A: We don't have our own collection

What are the main things that prevent you from putting your collection on public
exhibition more often? (Tick all that apply)

Nothing - we are satisfied with how often our collections are displayed
Cost
Time
Administration and paperwork
Lack of skills in this area
Lack of suitable exhibition space
We are under-staffed
Our exhibition facilities are not up to standard
We have other priorities
We don't have our own collection

What key challenges does your Society face in terms of displaying items?
Are any of your collection items displayed online? Yes No

If yes, how many items are displayed online?

If yes, at what web address?

Are any of your collection items digitised or photographed? Yes No

If yes, how many?

Of these how many are artefacts or objects?

Are you aware of the Victorian Collections project and website? Yes No

Have you taken part the free training offered by Victorian Yes No
Collections?

Have you put any of your Society’s items on the Victorian Collections Yes No
system?

Does your Society own a digital camera? Yes No

Does your Society own a scanner? Yes No

Does your Society have a permanent area set up to photograph Yes No


objects?

What are the key challenges your Society faces in terms of public access to your collection?
Support

Which areas do you need help with? (Tick all that apply)

Financial management
Governance
Succession planning
General planning
Volunteer management
Writing grant applications
Collection management
Displaying collection
Disaster management
Conservation
Significance assessments
Cataloguing
Setting up storage/Storage advice
Increasing storage
Public access
Responding to research requests
Other:
Which from the above list do you need most help with? (Please pick the two highest need
areas)

1)

2)

Which of the following organisations have you worked with in the past 3 years? (Tick all
that apply)

Schools/universities
Library
Council
Community Centre
Rotary Club or similar
Other museums or collecting institutions
Tourist information centre
None of the above

Which of the following organisations would you consider working with? (Tick all that apply)

Schools/universities
Library
Council
Community Centre
Rotary Club or similar
Other museums or collecting institutions
Tourist information centre
None of the above
Which of the following organisations have you received support or advice from? (Tick all
that apply)

Museums Australia
Council
Public Records Office of Victoria
Royal Historical Society of Victoria
A university
Other museums or collecting institutions
Tourist information centre
Grant or funding bodies
None of the above

What kind of support does Council currently offer your Society? (Tick all that apply)

Project Contractors
Curatorial staff
Museum/Heritage staff member to work with groups
Grants and / or Building/s provided
Utilities and /or rates paid for Community collecting groups
Other

How would you describe the relationship between your Society and Council?
Any further comments on Council’s support for your Society?

Final comments
What is working well for your Society right now?

What are the greatest challenges for your Society right now?

Do you have any further comments you would like to make?


Appendix L. Project Brief
A copy of the project brief from the City of Greater Bendigo for the ‘Strategic report on
Historical Artefacts’ is provided here.

STRATEGIC REPORT
ON BENDIGO’S HISTORICAL ARTEFACTS

PROJECT BRIEF
Introduction
Greater Bendigo is one of the largest regional municipalities in Victoria with a population of more
than 110,000 and Bendigo is the state’s third largest city. According to the Statement of Significance
in the City of Greater Bendigo Thematic Environmental History (2013), Greater Bendigo is of
‘outstanding historical, social, aesthetic, architectural, and scientific significance’.

There are more than 15 collecting bodies in Greater Bendigo, ranging from locally significant
collections to those that have international significance. These collecting bodies are diverse: including
institutions and government agencies, corporations and businesses that retain collections related to
their dealings, cultural bodies maintaining collections of art or items pertinent to particular cultural
groups in Greater Bendigo as well as community groups and volunteer societies collecting for a
geographic area, or related to a theme such as agriculture.

A number of these historic collections are accessible to the public for cultural, educational and
tourism purposes.
These include:
• Bendigo Art Gallery (est. 1887) – nationally significant collection of 18th - 21st century
Australian and International artworks including many locally significant historic artworks;
• Bendigo Heritage Attractions (incorporating the Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo Joss
House Temple and Bendigo Tramways) – regionally significant historic collection of
goldmining, tramway and Chinese religious heritage of Bendigo;
• Bendigo Pottery (est 1858) – historic collection of ceramics and pottery manufacturing
equipment used at the Bendigo Pottery;
• Bendigo Regional Archives Centre – regionally significant historic collection of records and
documents related to the local government area that is now Greater Bendigo;
• Bendigo TAFE – historic collection related to the School of Mines library (1873-1959);
• Campaspe Run, Rural Discovery Centre – historic collection of agricultural equipment
related to Hugh Victor McKay’s innovation, the Sunshine Harvester, developed in the
Elmore area;
• Golden Dragon Museum – internationally significant historic collection of Chinese heritage
of Bendigo and Australia more broadly;
• Goldfields Research Centre – collection of secondary sources on the history and heritage of
the Goldfields region; and
• Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum – nationally significant historic collection of
wartime memorabilia and records related to the service of Bendigo men and women in
conflict and wars.

There are also a number of locally significant historic collections held in Greater Bendigo that allow
limited or no access to members of the public, such as those organisational collections like the
Catholica Diocese of Sandhurst or Sandhurst Trustees, as well as the City’s own collection of
heritage assets. Additionally, there are a number of private collections held by residents. These
collections may be in varying states of preservation, conservation and access to the public for a
number of reasons – a lack of collection expertise and management, privacy laws governing
information access, dispersed storage locations, limited knowledge as to the full extent of the
collection etc.
Some of these ‘closed’ collections loan items for display in exhibitions held at the City of Greater
Bendigo’s social history exhibition space, Post Office Gallery allowing mediated public access.
Established in 2010, Post Office Gallery is a satellite exhibition space of Bendigo Art Gallery
providing an engaging platform for the interpretation and display of the myriad social history stories,
artefacts and objects of the region. Housed in the historic Post Office building on Pall Mall, Post
Office Gallery is a unique venue with a changing annual program of curated exhibitions and events
ensuring a broad and dynamic exploration of the region's varied history with strong ongoing
community involvement., Post Office Gallery is an exhibition space only and does not have a
collection of its own. Exhibition material is borrowed from local and state collecting bodies including
corporate and government collections to community and private collections. Community
engagement is critical and strong relationships have been forged over the years between curators,
the gallery, and the public as well as diverse collecting bodies and private collectors.

Lastly, there are more than 20 community groups and volunteer societies located in Greater
Bendigo that focus on different aspects of history and heritage. Amongst these societies there are a
core group that focus specifically on collecting items related to the history of our local geographic
areas, the histories of local families, and the cultural groups of the Goldfields area. These societies
include:
• Bendigo Historical Society;
• Eaglehawk Heritage Society;
• Elmore Progress Association;
• Heathcote McIvor Historical Society; and
• Huntly and Districts’ Historical Society.

There are also two groups that are now no longer in operation that may have extant collections,
possibly without succession plans for them, and these are the:
• Cornish Association (Bendigo and District); and
• German Heritage Society, Bendigo.

These community collections are significant to the Greater Bendigo municipality because they can
focus on aspects of our social and cultural history that are not accommodated by other collections.
But the very nature of these collections also makes the most vulnerable to change and the most at
risk and so this project will focus specifically on these community collections. Managed and run by
extremely dedicated volunteers, these community collections face ongoing struggles with affording
specialised conservation expertise, sourcing funding, accessing or maintaining storage at best practice
standards, succession planning for the collections, and making their collections publically accessible.

This project will report on the core Greater Bendigo community collections, with a primary focus
on the Bendigo Historical Society, and give clear guidance for the issues they face regarding
conservation, storage and public access to historical artefacts. This project is the first step in the
management of Greater Bendigo’s historic collections, which will be undertaken by a consultant with
input from the project manager, to evaluate and document issues in order to take stock and make
recommendations for the future. At the completion of the project, the final report from the
consultant will be presented to Council.
Study Area
The Study Area is the municipality and those core community groups and societies that preserve,
conserve and manage historical artefacts related to Greater Bendigo’s history.

• Bendigo Historical Society;


• Eaglehawk Heritage Society;
• Elmore Progress Association;
• Heathcote McIvor Historical Society; and
• Huntly and Districts’ Historical Society.

This project may have implications for the community groups that are no longer in operation, but
the focus of this project is those community collections that are currently active, with the intention
of maintaining or improving that activity into the future.

Purpose and Objectives


In May 2016, the Bendigo Historical Society (BHS) made a council budget submission that advocated
strongly for the City’s strategic direction to include consideration of ‘future proofing’ its historic &
cultural past. The BHS preserves Bendigo’s past for the benefit of current residents & future
generations; there is a great deal of work involved in the ongoing care of the existing BHS
collections but constant donations place a great deal of pressure on the current storage
arrangements at the Nolan Street site. Not only is extra storage space required, but the ongoing
preservation, conservation and public accessibility of these historical artefacts is also of concern to
the BHS.

Lack of appropriate storage, preservation and conservation of artefacts, as well as managing public
access are all issues that other community collections also experience in the Greater Bendigo
municipality. In response, the Council allocated a budget in the 2016/17FY for a ‘strategic report to
consider the long term sustainability of Bendigo’s historical artefacts & conservation of BHS
collection’. The situation at BHS is to form a part of the consultation and final report, but Council
was concerned that the report should also assess the broader community to gain a fuller
understanding of the issues. This project will therefore report on the core Greater Bendigo
community collections, with a primary focus on the Bendigo Historical Society, and give clear
guidance for the issues they face regarding storage, preservation and public access to historical
artefacts.

The report will focus on existing core community collections, with a primary focus on the Bendigo
Historical Society, and will not include an assessment of council, business, tourist and cultural
collections, or private collections held in Greater Bendigo. However, the final report will
undoubtedly be of interest to these other collections.

The report will focus, as stated, exclusively on historical artefacts – that is, objects – which include
items such as ceramics, portraits and paintings, furniture, textiles, and other metal-, stone-and
woodworks. It will not consider primary sources such as records and documents, diaries and letters,
newspapers, maps and plans, photographs, or secondary sources such as reports and books. The
Bendigo Regional Archives Centre (BRAC) established in 2007 currently manages council records of
this nature and in the future, BRAC will have the capacity to accept some donations of documents
and archives from community collections.

The purpose of the report will be to make recommendations for the future on how to provide
specialised conservation expertise, accessing storage at best practice standards and make these core
community collections publically accessible.

Study
The study undertaken by the consultant is expected to include the following pieces of work:

• Primary case study: as the primary community group collecting for Greater Bendigo’s history,
the principle case study will focus on the Bendigo Historical Society. Case study analysis will
involve site visits with executive office holders of the society, and arranged in conjunction with
the project manager. The case study will consist of a detailed analysis of the challenges to
conservation, storage and public access for the Society, with photo illustrations;
• Survey / interviews: the design of the questions will be a collaboration between the project
manager and consultant, and these questions will be distributed by the City of Greater
Bendigo either as a survey or undertaken as interviews by the consultant with the core
community groups, with results provided to the consultant for analysis;
• Secondary case studies: if relevant, and within the allowed budget, one or two of the core
collecting societies can be selected following the survey / interviews, for a site visit or further
discussion, to illustrate a particular issue or challenge;
• Report: the report will summarise all the survey data, case studies, provide some
photographic detail, and make recommendations for the future. A draft copy will be provided
to the project manager for review, before a final version is lodged at the completion of the
work.

The project will need to be undertaken in several clearly defined phases, with dates for pieces of
work and payments negotiated and agreed to by the project manager and consultant, with all work
to be completed by end of June 2017.
Expected Outcomes
The consultant shall supply the client with a copy of the draft and final report in Word format as
well as a paper copy of the final report in A4 format.

The report should include, the:


- name of the client (City of Greater Bendigo);
- names of all the consultants engaged in the task and the work they undertook;
- the report date;
- summary and contents page;
- any limitations of the project (for example - limitations in terms of the types of collecting
societies identified; geographic limitations of the collection; access limitations during the
project etc). This should be clearly organised so that the project manager is fully aware
of any further work which may be required as part of any follow up or further
investigation;
- the survey / interview results and analysis;
- primary case study, and secondary case studies where relevant and budget allowing;
- the recommendations for the future on how to provide specialised conservation expertise,
accessing storage at best practice standards and how to make these core community
collections publically accessible; and
- a copy of this project brief.

Upon the satisfactory completion of the requirements and its approval by the project manager, the
consultant shall be paid any outstanding entitlements.

Information to be Provided

A number of documents and resources have been identified which should assist in the
completion of the project. The following information will be made available to the
consultant as background information, if required:

• [1989, Bendigo Museum Steering Committee ‘Bendigo Heritage Centre Regional


Archive and Social History Museum’] This report was the first piece of strategic
work on this issue but though it was produced, a copy of it could not be located in
the City of Greater Bendigo records.
• 1996, Economic Development Unit CoGB, ‘Goldfields Heritage Centre: A draft concept
proposal for discussion’
• 2001, Whitelaw ‘Bendigo Regional Museum Strategic Plan’ (Draft & final report)
• 2005, SED Consulting ‘Bendigo Archive & Heritage Centre: Part 1 Situation Analysis & Part
2 Business Case’
• 2007, Zilles ‘Bendigo Historical Society Collection Management Strategy’ (Significance
assessment & strategy)

Other industry resources which may also be of use include:


• Museums Australia’s ‘Strategic Planning Manual’ 1998 available
http://mgnsw.org.au/media/uploads/files/CAN_1998_Strategic_Planning_Manual.pdf
• Museums Australia, Victoria ‘Local Government & Cultural Collections in Victoria’ 2016
available http://mavic.asn.au/assets/Local_Government_and_Cultural_Co.pdf

Project Management
The project will be managed by Dr Dannielle Orr, Heritage Planner in the Strategy unit,
Strategy and Growth Directorate. The consultant will liaise directly with the Heritage
Planner.

Project Process

The budget for the project is $15,000 (excluding GST) with all work to be completed by
end of June 2017.

Payment will be made upon the completion of the pieces of work, with the dates negotiated
and agreed to by the project manager and consultant.

Information to be submitted in response to the Project Brief


Statement of understanding of the project;
Your description of each piece of ‘Study’ work to be completed with itemised
price;
Project timetable of anticipated dates for completion of pieces of ‘Study’ work,
with all work to be completed by end of June 2017;
Statement of expertise relevant to this project;
Total fee for the project, including a charge per hour for any extra unanticipated
work.