It would be very dull to summarise my 2013 Movable Heritage Fellowship (MHF) with how influential the Powerhouse Museum staff were and how useful and life-changing the experience was. Nevertheless it needs to be said.
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Recently, I spent a week as a guest at the Powerhouse Museum as part of a mentorship through Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. I was asked to write about an item I discovered while I was there but it’s been a difficult choice.
Hi – We are – Beth Anastasiou and David Hampton. We currently work at Newcastle Museum. Beth works as the Business Support Assistant coordinating venue hire and assisting with museum administrative duties and David works as Public Programs Assistant and Senior Visitor Services Officer.
Coming up with an idea for a research project was not difficult for me living on the edge of the Western coalfield of NSW. Evidence of Kandos’ past reliance on the winning of coal doesn’t take much digging. With superior Kandos cement from kilns heated with Kandos coal contributing to the concrete footings and pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, no wonder it stands strong after 80 years. Evidence of the region’s present reliance on coal is also easy to find with many coal mines dotting the landscape. Fascinated by the objects in the Kandos Bicentennial Industrial Museum that came from the Kandos Collieries located within a kilometre of the back door, I want to tell the story of the many men who have mined this black treasure from 1913 to 2001. Having grown up with green coloured glasses, I’m enjoying the challenge of respecting the history of coal-mining, researching the facts about this industry and recoiling at what some mines are doing to the land. In just the same way as you always see the same type of car that you’ve just purchased, but never really noticed that model before, I am finding coal everywhere. From statues of miners in Lithgow to 1936 maps of NSW minerals in my late grandfather’s books. Being a city girl, I have not grown up with any sort of wood heating and cannot share in people’s memories of the smell of coal, but I am a poet and there’s plenty of coal miner’s poetry to be found in Kandos. There must be some time for musing underground. And before you think that coal references can be boring, even Alfred, Lord Tennyson describes the amazing knight, Sir Lancelot: His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot.
Bright and early on a Monday morning in September, Conservators Carey Ward and Vanessa Pitt made the long and sometimes bumpy ride in the Powerhouse Museum (PHM) truck to Alstonville Plateau. Carey and Vanessa had been given the task of taking a very special A category object to the Crawford House Museum - a rare platypus skin rug made from the pelts of approximately 80 platypuses, and bordered in possum fur, backed by soft felt.
My name is Sally Inchbold-Busby and I have had a very rewarding year working on an oral history project at the Tamworth Powerstation Museum (TPM) as recipient of the 2011 Powerhouse Museum’s Movable Heritage Fellowship.