Thursday, November 3, 2016

Research techniques and records for Norfolk Island 1788 - 1814

The Norfolk Island Museum and Research Centre welcome historian Cathy Dunn and her ‘History Lovers Group’ to the island this week.  During this time Cathy has offered to present her latest lecture on research techniques and records for Norfolk Island 1788 -1814, a lecture that has been well received at the Society of Australian Genealogists this past week.

Cathy will take you on a journey back to the first British Settlement of Norfolk Island, providing insight into the archives and records that are available, where copies are kept and what can be found online, a fantastic learning opportunity for budding genealogists or history enthusiasts.

A professional family historian, author, tour guide, heritage and public history consultant, a visit to her website will illustrate the breadth of her knowledge.  This period of Norfolk Island’s history has been a study focus for Cathy for many years evidenced by her many visits to the island, presentations and publications.

The lecture is presented at the Research Centre, No. 9 Quality Row, Monday 7 November, 9am – 10.30am at a cost of $20 per person.  Seats are limited so booking is necessary.  Contact the museum on 23788 to book your seat.

Janelle Blucher

Successful application to the 2016 Community Heritage Grants Program

 Image -  No 10 Quality Row House Museum

We are pleased to announce the Norfolk Island Museum (NIM) has been awarded funding through the 2016 Community Heritage Grants (CHG) Program to provide for a Preservation Needs Assessment.   This funding is by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia and its partners; the Department of Communications and the Arts; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.  

We have been fortunate for this Program in past years providing the Norfolk Island Museum with the capacity to undertake a variety of important projects including; the 2015 Significance Assessment, Conservation of the Bounty Cannon Project, Disaster Management Planning and opportunities for professional development, to name just a few.  

A Preservation Needs Assessment will provide key recommendations for the short, medium and long term management of the collections in our care.  It will assess existing policies and their impact on the collection, broadly outline the types of objects in the collection and their condition, examine building and environment, storage and display, visitor impact, disaster preparedness as well as training and skills.  The outcome will be prioritised recommendations for a Preservation or ‘Action’ Plan.   Also and importantly, it will be the key tool to support future grant applications for conservation projects and planning to protect the collections for the future.

The Grant Agreement specifies the assessment must be undertaken by a qualified conservator therefore we have engaged the services of Sue Valis, Conservator at the Queensland Museum to undertake the task.  Sue is currently based at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville where the artefacts from the wreck of the HMS Pandora are held, this was the ship sent from England to capture the HMAV Bounty mutineers, then on its return voyage became shipwrecked off the coast of Queensland where tragically 34 lives were lost.   Her experience includes conservation and collection management of a diverse range of collection material in various locations.  She has spent many years providing support and advice to museums in regional areas and is very much looking forward to visiting us here on Norfolk to complete the Preservation Needs Assessment.

We are grateful for our successful application to the Community Heritage Grants Program, this year there was a strong field of 172 applications whereby 77 organisations were offered a grant.  Our thanks go to the grant panel, the National Library of Australia and its partners for our selection.

Janelle Blucher

The Australian Society of Marine Artists 20th Anniversary Celebratory Exhibition

The Australian Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) is a body of diverse artists and others interested in marine and maritime art, every painting style is represented amongst its members from traditional to contemporary, realist to abstract.  Local artist Tracey Yager was invited to become an exhibiting member of this prestigious Society.

There are specific membership categories and entry requirements for this Society and membership is by selection only.  Tracey is honoured to have been selected and invited to become not only a member, but to be conferred with an Exhibiting Membership, this enables Tracey to take advantage of her recognition by this Society by using the letters ASMA after her name and her artwork may be exhibited in the Society’s exhibitions.

This National organisation has a rich mixture of expertise and interests supporting its members by promoting maritime and marine art in Australia.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Society and to celebrate this occasion they are holding an Exhibition hosted by the Royal Art Society of NSW at their Lavender Bay Art Gallery in Sydney until 30 October.  This exhibition features two of Tracey’s artworks.

Tracey flew to Sydney for the opening and said, “I’m pretty excited that my works are being exhibited at the Royal Art Society of NSW Art Gallery, it’s a beautiful heritage building in such a gorgeous location in Lavender Bay.  On the night of the opening we travelled to the gallery via ferry and walked up through Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden – such an inspiring beautiful journey.  The gallery was full to the brim and the standard of art work was very high.  I was lucky to have a crew of Norfolk people there as support, it really made it a very special night”.

In 2011 Tracey attended the extremely popular MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart and wanted to become involved, by 2015 she had won the poster competition for that year’s festival and became an exhibiting artist with her work featuring small, lovingly built wooden craft at work, rest and play.  These artworks can be seen on her website at  It is her involvement in this festival that led to the selection and invitation to become an Exhibiting Member of ASMA.


One of the artworks selected for the exhibition at the Royal Art Society is titled ‘Unloading the Norfolk Guardian’ depicting the newly constructed lighter No.3 at work alongside Cascade Pier.  Throughout 2014/15 the Norfolk Island Museum Trust suggested and supported a project to document the construction of this newest addition to Norfolk’s lighterage fleet.  The construction was undertaken by local John Christian Bailey and his team.  Our photographic record starts with a stack of timber, shaped into bare boat ribs, eventually becoming a skilfully constructed craft.  It was ‘dunked’ into the water to season its timbers and the following day it was put to work unloading the ship.  Now, we can see it beautifully depicted in this fabulous watercolour.  Tracey stated that she felt it was important to capture this scene at Cascade Pier as an historical record of the Pier, as it was, prior to the commencement of work that will see it extended, heightened and strengthened.


Tracey’s other piece in this exhibition titled ‘Tender of Friendly Light’ represents a small clinker style wooden boat tethered beside a yacht, it speaks of light and shade with a sublime use of colour and a stunning reflection on water.

Maritime art illustrates the history of our world from almost the beginning of time, a powerful medium providing us with an interpretation of social commentary, trade, travel, war and more; in addition to a presentation of beauty or curiosity.  Norfolk Island by nature and culture abounds with a history connected to the sea.  We are very fortunate for such an accomplished artist to capture our Island’s maritime heritage.   Congratulations Tracey.

Janelle Blucher