Stanley Athenaeum Report (2013)
This year the Friends of the Stanley Athenaeum and the community have been celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the Athenaeum. Celebrations began with an afternoon tea and the exchange of Queens. Patrick Watt, manager of the Burke Museum spoke about the often troubled times of Queen Victoria and Geoffrey Fryer and Mel Tompkins sang an enthusiastic Happy Birthday to the Athenaeum.
The Athenaeum Open days are still a focus for the community, with regular visits from researchers, visitors and people visiting to see the exhibitions and getting together to discuss local matters.
The Main Room continues to be the home for the regular meetings of Stanley Land Care, Stanley Hall and Athenaeum Committee, the Friends group, Stanley Cemetery Trust, Stanley Artists group, the Tennis Club and the new library service.
Indigo Libraries with librarian Wendy Kerr have begun a outreach library service, this has replaced the mobile library service and has been well supported by the community and is held on alternate Thursdays 3.30 –4.30pm (in the one bin week).
Work undertaken on the building includes the construction of 2 large storage cupboards for the collection and community archives, an upgrade to the kitchenette with hot water, more bench space and power points, blinds and a heater.
New front doors have been commissioned from Rob Preston and will be installed soon; the old doors will be conserved and used in the building for display.
Funding received this year includes a $750 Community Grant for the community archives and a $1,684 Assets Grant from Indigo Shire.
Collection Management moves along with the new laptop computer, scanner and printer that assist with the recording and digitisation of the photograph collection. Thanks to Ray Brabants for setting up the computer system and Janet for her work with scanning and organising the photographs from the local community and visitors.
The collection continues to have donations of material for the community archive collection, including a large amount of material from the NE District Fruit Growers and the Tennis Club from the family of Harry Collins, photographs from the William Collins family through Kay Collins and Spring Ditch files from Helen McIntyre. Chris Dormer attended the 2012 Mechanics Institute Victoria’s conference and the Museums Australia training workshop to enter collection information onto the new Victorian Collections Online website. The Stanley Athenaeum now has a presence on the Victorian Collections online; with much more work to be done on this in the future.
Public programs have include three exhibitions: ‘Tutti Frutti: The Apple Days of Stanley’, the 15th Anniversary exhibition and a display on William Howitt and the ‘Land, Labour and Gold’ journals. Thanks to Janet for this and purchasing the books that are for sale. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary in 2013 an afternoon tea was held in April and Geoff Craig Memorial Lecture with historian Richard Patterson is planned for October/November.
Research enquiries have been steady throughout the year with about 2 a month, some are phone calls, others are orders for copies of Geoff Craig’s books or family history enquiries, and others have come from the National Library and the Charles Dickens Museum in London.
The Friends will miss the enthusiasm and skills of Doff Bunting who died recently. She has been a hard-working volunteer, having completed about 600 catalogue sheets for the collection over the last 3 years.
Thank you to our volunteers Helen McIntyre, Janet Sutherland, Anne Visser, Herman Knopers, Leigh Privett, Andrew Box and Jamie Pronk, also Helen for her regular media releases.
The Friends have agreed to support the theme of telling the Chinese story for the 2015 Kerferd Oration and will plan a program of activities based in Stanley featuring the Athenaeum collection along with research and community input.
Thank you to the members of the Hall and Athenaeum Committee for their support of the Athenaeum throughout the year.
Chris Dormer – Coordinator Friends of the Stanley Athenaeum
29 September 2013