Page 1

vol 20 (3) – autumn 2012


Museums Australia

call for abstracts open


Join Museums Australia Be part of conversations, information networks and events for people who love museums and galleries. Museums Australia connects individuals and institutions to the sector locally, nationally and internationally through our National Networks, State and Territory Branches, Chapters and through our partnership with ICOM Australia. Various categories of membership are available – including concession rates – each with their own benefits. Information is available online or through the National Office. Telephone (02) 6230 0346 Email Web


7  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  7


In this issue Museums Australia National Council 2011—2013 Briefing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

The Evolution of the Dax Centre . . 9


Dr Darryl McIntyre FAIM (Retired CEO, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra)


Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki

Belinda Cotton (Head, Travelling Exhibitions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra)

reopened in 2011. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


Redevelopment of the Jewish Holo-


Suzanne Bravery (Manager, Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne)

caust Centre Permanent Museum .21

William (Bill) Storer (previously: President, MA-NSW; Chair, Community Museums National Network; Newcastle)

‘Irish’ or ‘Anglo-Celt’: Issues high-


lighted in an exhibition reviewing

Belinda Nemec (Museum consultant, Melbourne)

the Irish contribution to Australia’s

Meredith Blake (Research Fellow, RMIT University, Melbourne)

history. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Rebekah Butler (Executive Director, Museum & Gallery Services Queensland, Brisbane)

icam Australasia: A Regional

Richard Mulvaney (Director, Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, Launceston)

Network of the International

Robert Heather (Event & Exhibition Manager, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne)

Confederation of Architectural Museums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Soula Veyradier (Curator, City of Melville Museum & Local History Service, Booragoon, WA)

ex officio member

Gallery and Museum Achievement

Frank Howarth (Chair, ICOM Australia), Director, Australian Museum

Awards (GAMAA) 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . 30

public officer

Dr Don McMichael CBE, Red Hill, Canberra

2011 MAGNA Awards. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 COVER IMAGE: Edrick Allson Tabuai, Warrior Dhibal [headdress], mixed media, 1999, Collection of the Cairns Regional Gallery.

state/territory branch presidents/ representatives (subject to change throughout year) ACT Carol Cartwright (Former Head, Education & Visitor Services, Australian War Memorial, Canberra)

Museums Australia Magazine PO Box 266, Civic Square ACT 2608 Editorial: (02) 6230 0346 Advertising: 02) 6230 0346 Subscriptions: (02) 6230 0346 Fax: (02) 6230 0360 Editor: Bernice Murphy Design: Brendan O’Donnell Selena Kearney Print: BlueStar Print, Canberra

Printed on 100% Australian, 70-100% recycled carbon neutral paper stock.

© Museums Australia and individual authors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Museums Australia Magazine is published quarterly and on-line on the MA Website, and is a major link with members and the museums sector. Museums Australia Magazine is a forum for news, opinion and debate on museum issues. Contributions from those involved or interested in museums and galleries are welcome. Museums Australia Magazine reserves the right to edit, abridge, alter or reject any material. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher or editor. Publication of an advertisement does not imply endorsement by Museums Australia, its affiliates or employees. Museums Australia is proud to acknowledge the following supporters of the national organisation: Australian Government Office for the Arts and Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; National Museum of Australia; Museum Victoria (Melbourne Museum); Western Australian Museum; and Link Digital (Canberra). Print Post Publication No: 332582/00001 ISSN 1038-1694

NSW Dr Andrew Simpson (Director, Museum Studies Program, Macquarie University, Sydney) NT Michelle Smith (Curator, Territory History, Museum of Central Australia, Alice Springs) SA Robert Morris (Head of Collections, South Australian Museum, Adelaide) TAS Chris Tassell (Managing Director, National Trust of Australia (TAS), Launceston) QLD Lisa Jones (Curator, Queensland Police Museum, Brisbane) VIC Daniel Wilksch (Coordinator, Digital Projects, Public Record Office Victoria, Melbourne) WA Soula Veyradier (Curator, City of Melville Museum & Local History Service, Booragoon, WA)

8  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012


Positioning the Culture and Creativity of all Australians:

MA is working for you in building advocacy to government


useums Australia’s work on advocacy with government has increased in quantity and quality of output in recent years. There has been follow-up contact from some government officers as a result of MA submissions lodged – seeking more information, dialogue or museums-sector advice. However in 2011, MA’s advocacy work for the first time aroused interest and drew support from the private sector. Some of MA’s submissions around government policy have been noticed by the private sector, producing contact and ongoing discussions with the MA National Office. On the other side, MA has for the first time gained pro bono private-sector support, securing expert independent opinion on the content of submissions prepared for government. One of the most generous offers was expert advice on the final-stage drafting of the National Cultural Policy by an advocacy company across the horizon of government policy-setting (and acknowledged in MA’s NCP submission). In every case, contact and dialogue with business experts in government policy analysis has been positive and reinforcing. It has increased insight into the potential of alignment with policy interests in a whole-of-government perspective. It has strengthened confidence in the importance of many museums-sector arguments. It has highlighted the dynamic social and economic dividends that relate to public good arguments about the value of national heritage; of digital access to cultural resources and authoritative knowledge-banks in an online, interactive world; and the vital primary learning resources that museums and galleries across the country provide in support of a national curriculum and lifelong, life-wide learning.

The Cycle of Culture and Heritage – A modelling of cultural process (Museums Australia, 2008)

Bernice Murphy (National Director, Museums Australia)

MLP 2012: Museum Leadership Program (applications closing 23 March 2012) MLP is a peak training program administered in association with Museums Australia. A Museum Leadership Program, sponsored by the Gordon Darling Foundation, is again offered in 2012. The opportunity is open to senior museum colleagues to seek application for this program, which aims to shape our future leaders across the museums sector in Australia – with some international participants keen to attend again this year.

The wonderful faculty leader. Prof. Jeanne Liedtka (Darden School of Business, University of Virginia), will again be coming from the USA, and other international ‘museum mentor’ enrichments are also offered once more through the MLP faculty for 2012. Jeanne Liedtka’s outstanding ability to take museum leaders on ‘a journey of strategic change’ in an interactive workshop environment will again be provided in a select environment at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, North Ryde (30 Sept. – 5 Oct. 2012. For information: page408.php

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  9

A remarkable collection in Melbourne highlights artworks by people with mental illness

The Evolution of the Dax Centre: Exploring the interface between the arts and the mind

Viona Fung

Launch of the Dax Centre (2012)


he Dax Centre is the new name for the nonprofit organisation and custodian of the remarkable and long-developed Cunningham Dax Collection. The transformation of this resource from a unit of the Mental Health Research Institute into an independent incorporated entity coincides with its relocation to an impressive purpose-built gallery within the Kenneth Myer Building on the grounds of the University of Melbourne, which opened to the public on 1 February 2012. This transformation is the result of a long evolution and changed orientation within the medical community and society at large towards a more multifaceted appreciation of mental health issues, and their relationship with creativity and the practice of art as a therapeutic activity. The stature and longstanding contribution of the Dax Collection towards mental health awareness are no small achievements for an organisation whose archives arose through the singular efforts of Dr Eric Cunningham Dax in the treatment of mental illness.

above: Exterior view of the new Dax Centre. Photo: Brendan Finn and the Dax Centre. left: Interior view of the Dax Centre on the ground floor showing main entrance on the right and exhibition spaces throughout with glimpses of offices on upper levels. Photo: Brendan Finn and the Dax Centre.

The work of Dr Eric Cunningham Dax and his legacy The Cunningham Dax Collection was named after its founder, psychiatrist Dr Eric Cunningham Dax (1908– 2008). A sense of his personal achievements is best glimpsed through his life-long commitment to de-stigmatising mental illness, together with his research into the role that art could contribute to this cause. In 1946, when Superintendent of a modern English psychiatric hospital named Netherne in Surrey, England, Dax introduced innovative art programs facilitated by professional artists for patients with mental illness. This pioneering treatment was the first formal practice of therapeutic art-making within a psychiatric institution in the UK, although there were precedents for these connections already pursued in continental Europe. Fifteen artworks from Dax’s early experimental program in England in the 1940s reside in the extensive Dax Collection now concentrated in Melbourne.[1] According to Belinda Robson, historian and author of numerous papers about Dax, including a PhD thesis, Dax’s approach to the art of people with mental illness was multifaceted. He recognised the potential of the artwork to be a diagnostic tool and medical record for the clinician, whilst at the same time it served as a therapeutic treatment, providing an avenue of unmediated expression for patients. Later, Dax perceived special value in the aesthetic qualities of clinically produced artwork for its ability to teach

and convey the experiences and emotions of people with mental illness to a wider audience.[2] After arriving in Australia in 1951, it was during Dax’s tenure as Chairman of the Victorian Mental Hygiene Authority (1951–1969) that the systematic implementation of art programs within Victorian psychiatric hospitals arose, with the objectives of reform and research into the therapeutic benefits of art practice by patients.[3] Such programs were created at a time when mental illness in Australia was still viewed as a marginalised condition, and attitudes within the medical community elicited mixed responses towards the clinical value of art programs in the treatment of mental illness.[4] A newspaper headline accompanying an article by Geoffrey Hutton, writing for the Melbourne Argus on 10th June 1952, captured Dax’s efforts against the pervasive sentiments of this early period of Dax’s career in Australia: ‘The Mentally Ill Must Be Treated As Patients – Not Criminals’.[5]

1 Belinda Robson and Cunningham Dax Collection (Parkville, Victoria), Recovering Art: a history of the Cunningham Dax Collection (Parkville: The Cunningham Dax Collection), 2006, pp. 8–11. 2 Robson, 2006, p. 7. 3 Art programs were instigated in hospitals such as Royal Park Receiving House, Melbourne; Larundel Hospital, Bundoora, Melbourne; Lakeside Hospital, Ballarat; the Malvern Clinic, Malvern, Melbourne; Mont Park Hospital, Plenty, Melbourne. See Robson 2006, pp. 15–21. 4 Robson, 2006, pp. 12–21. 5 Geoffrey Hutton, ‘The Mentally Ill Must Be Treated As Patients – Not Criminals’, The Argus, Melbourne, 10 June 1952.

10  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A remarkable collection in Melbourne highlights artworks by people with mental illness

below: Joan Rodriquez, Mother in the Moon, 1988-1989, charcoal and pastel on paper, 57 x 59 cm, The Cunningham Dax Collection.

Twentieth century investigations into art therapy and its influences on Dr Dax In the earlier twentieth century, the medical fields of psychiatry and psychoanalysis had attempted to understand and to define art by people with mental illness, generating terms such as ‘Art Brut’ (or ‘raw art’) – which aroused the later coinage in English, ‘Outsider Art’ – to distinguish art produced outside of any influence of art training or the formal artworld, often highlighting works produced in clinical or therapeutic environments.[6] European avant-garde artists in the 1920s, especially, were influenced by new theories of understanding the mind and creativity. International art movements such as Expressionism and Surrealism also impacted upon artists in Australia who worked outside of establishment circles – for example, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester and Arthur Boyd, who were connected in avant-garde circles around patrons John and Sunday Reed in Melbourne.[7] Dr Cunningham Dax was cautious in making definitive statements about the curative aspects of art therapy without cumulative statistical data. However based on significant case studies, he outlined a variety of positive functions that art therapy could offer within a hospital context in his book Experimental Studies in Psychiatric Art, published in 1953.[8] Dax might have been inspired in this area by the activities of German art historian turned psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn, and his steady compilation of a collection of some 5,000 artworks produced by 450 patients from psychiatric hospitals in the period c.1880–1933. [9] Although the collecting objectives of Dax differed from Prinzhorn’s, Dax nevertheless recognised the historical, clinical and educational value of archiving such unique patient records, and continued in his personal efforts to maintain selected artworks produced in Victorian hospitals throughout a long period, from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The development of the Dax Collection A significant portion of the Dax Collection was already formed by the 1970s, comprising artworks from Netherne hospital, hundreds of artworks from Victorian hospitals, and some 3,000 artworks personally rescued by Dax from destruction at Royal Park hospital in Melbourne.[10] However independent accommodation for the Dax Collection and external support for its perpetuity were persistent challenges, and the Collection was rehoused several times over the years of its steady growth.[11] From 1993, the Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI), under David Copolov, became involved in ensuring the collection’s perpetuity by including the

Dax Collection as a research unit within MHRI; and providing storage and two gallery spaces at 35 Poplar Road, Parkville, where the collection remained until October 2011.[12] Throughout the years, funding from the MHRI, and significant contributions from philanthropic organisations and the state government, have enabled the Dax Collection to remain intact and be accessible for research and public viewing.[13] Conservation, documentation and display of the Dax Collection was meanwhile supported by the efforts of dedicated volunteers and professionals in the fields of art and mental health.[14] In 2002, Dax himself retired from the directorship of the Collection at the age of ninety-four, handing the leadership to Dr Eugen Koh as part of a governing Board of Directors.[15] The Board is now supported by a Council of Reference and four consulting Committees that advise on issues of ethics; collections and acquisition; education; and exhibition.[16]

6 See Anthony Fitzpatrick, ‘A History of Art and Mental Illness’, in Framing Marginalised Art (Parkville: The University of Melbourne), 2010, pp. 3–27. 7 For example, Sidney Nolan contributed to the cover of Melbourne psychoanalyst Reginald Ellery’s book, The Psychiatric Aspects of Modern Warfare (1945). Ellery was a regular contributor to the Angry Penguins publications, and a friend of modern art patrons John and Sunday Reed. For further discussion, see Robson, Recovering Art, op.cit., pp. 12–13. See also Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Melbourne, for further details of works by Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, Albert Tucker and Arthur Boyd. 8 Eric Cunningham Dax, Experimental Studies in Psychiatric Art (London: Faber and Faber, 1953).

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  11

The current Dax Collection The Dax Collection currently comprises more than 15,000 artworks – including works on paper, paintings, ceramics and textiles – and is unique in Australia for its content and size. Indeed, there are few comparable collections in the world of its stature – amongst these are the outstanding Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg, Germany, and the holdings of the Musée l’Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland, associated with the significant twentieth century artist, Jean Dubuffet, who championed the cause of Art Brut over many decades and formed a unique collection.[17] Two distinct eras are represented in the Dax Collection: artworks produced in clinical conditions within psychiatric hospitals (1940s–1970s); and artworks later donated to the Collection from people in the community experiencing mental illness (from the 1980s to the present). The experiences represented in the Dax Collection have meanwhile broadened to include people affected by psychological and emotional trauma. Recent acquisitions include artwork by survivors of the Holocaust, children from war-torn Kosovo and East Timor, and survivors from the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires.[18] The shift towards exploring the emotional world of visual expressions beyond the institutional context indicates a new orientation for the Dax Centre: towards greater public accessibility and emphasis on a shared humanity rather than an accentuation of difference.

Ethics and the multidimensional model of exhibition display In approaching the Dax Collection, historian Belinda Robson recommends a multidimensional appreciation of the artwork and its origins. It can be viewed from a clinical perspective, akin to Dax’s original appraisement of the artwork as providing medical records of symptoms; it can be studied from a therapeutic perspective, to investigate the results of art therapy practiced within a hospital, private or community service context; and it can be appreciated from a public educational perspective, as a collection that offers insights into the experience of mental illness or trauma through the personal expressiveness of creativity and art practice.[19] In 2010 the Dax Centre received an Australian Research Council grant to fund a study into the ethics of displaying works by people with mental illness and emotional trauma, in partnership with Melbourne Museum and the University of Melbourne. The resulting report, Framing Marginalised Art (2010), evaluated an ethical, multidimensional model for the Dax Collection’s exhibition program.[20] At the heart of this multidimensional model is an acknowledgement of

The shift towards exploring the emotional world of visual expressions beyond the institutional context indicates a new orientation for the Dax Centre.

below left: Anonymous, Shadow, 2008, glazed stoneware, 13 x 3.5 x 3.5 cm, The Cunningham Dax Collection.

9 During the 1920–30s selections from the Prinzhorn Collection were exhibited in Germany, Paris, Geneva and Basel, with the aim of demonstrating artistic drives as essential creative human expression within the context of modern art movements –to dispel disparaging views of ‘insane art’. Fitzpatrick, 2010, pp. 3–27. 10 Robson, 2006, pp. 24–25. 11 Aside from storage of artworks at Cunningham Dax’s rooms above his office in Tasmania during the 1970s, the first independent accommodation outside of an institution was provided by The University of Melbourne in the Old Physics Laboratory. In 1984, the collection was relocated to a small studio in 254 Faraday Street, Carlton, Melbourne. In 1993 it was incorporated into the Mental Health Research Institute and rehoused in a former library at 35 Poplar Road, Parkville. See Robson, 2006, pp. 24–32. 12 Robson, 2006, pp. 24–32. 13 Robson, 2006, p. 24–56. For a full list of partners and supporters, see the Centre’s website http://www. (accessed 26 January 2012). 14 For discussion of key people who assisted Dr Dax with organising and documenting of the Collection during the 1980s–2000s, see Robson, 2006, pp. 24–56. 15 Robson, 2006, pp. 54–56. 16 See ‘Committees’ on the Centre’s website, viewed 27 January 2012 at <http://www.> 17 ‘About the Cunningham Dax Collection’, see <>, accessed 26 January 2012 at http:// 18 ‘The Cunningham Dax Collection’ in The Dax Centre, 2011, p. 9. 19 Robson, 2006, p. 7. 20 Jones, Karen. and Cunningham Dax Collection (Parkville, Victoria), Framing Marginalised Art: developing an ethical multidimensional framework for exhibiting the creative works by people who have experienced mental illness and/or psychological trauma (Parkville: The University of Melbourne), 2010, pp. 3–27.

12  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A remarkable collection in Melbourne highlights artworks by people with mental illness

the many narratives represented by the Dax Collection – foremost among these are those of the artist’s voice; the interpretations of medical clinicians past and present, and further interpretations supplemented more recently by curators and educators. The capacity for audiences to understand the Dax Centre’s artworks from multiple perspectives eventually rests with the strength of the exhibition program to ensure a diversity of engagements with the collection’s abundant resources, supported by education and public programs. Together these initiatives communicate the various narratives as strands in a rich and meaningful whole.[21] A changing exhibition program that sensitively engages with the multi-layered and richly textured content of the artworks today guides the display of the Dax Collection. Exhibitions have included Canvassing the Emotions (2008) – which contextualised the experience of women with mental illness or trauma within the cultural, socio-economic and political context of the 1950s to the early 2000s; and Healing Childhood Trauma (2003) and Youth Interrupted (2011) – which addressed the difficult issue of trauma in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood caused by abuse or mental illness. Collective trauma and its trans-generational impact were meanwhile explored through the exhibition Out of the Dark: the Emotional Legacy of the Holocaust (2009–2010).

Recent exhibitions have broadened reference points, and addressed aspects of shared human experiences and concerns – for example, Avoiding the Void (2010), which reflected upon existentialist questions; and Melancholia (2011), which studied the diverse manifestations and degrees of melancholy. Significantly, all exhibitions presented by the Dax Centre are co-curated by practitioners who encompass both art historical and mental health expertise, to ensure multidimensional perspectives are represented in any final displays.[22] Accordingly, the new Dax Centre opened with a semi-permanent show of sixty works from the collection, accompanied by a temporary exhibition of fifty artworks focusing on self-portraits, titled Hide and Seek (2012) – also drawn from the collection.

below left: Renne Sutton, No title, 1958, gouache on paper, 50.5 x 38 cm, The Cunningham Dax Collection.

The architecture of the new Dax Centre The new purpose-built gallery opened in 2012 differs dramatically from the earlier Dax Collection and study facilities as previously accommodated in Parkville. Designed by Lyons Architecture – a Melbourne-based firm with significant university buildings designed around Australia (at ANU, RMIT, University of Western Sydney and Victoria University) – a modernist language of concrete, steel and glass, replete with white interior spaces and a

21 For a summary of the multidimensional model of display see ‘Framing Marginalised Art’, <>, viewed 28 January 2012 at <http://www.>. 22 For exhibition catalogues available in print, see ‘Resources. Publications’, <>, viewed 26 January 2012 at http://

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  13

below right: Eva Marks, Donkey, 2009, felt, wool wadding and sheepskin, 20 x 10 x 25 cm, The Cunningham Dax Collection.

museum-standard climate-controlled environment, presents the Dax Centre as a contemporary art gallery, engaging an evolving audience in the dynamic landscape of diverse art institutions and museums today. Adjacent to the entrance and information desk, the exhibition spaces are easily accessed at ground level. Movable internal walls now enable curators flexibility in creating displays. The provision of a space dedicated to multimedia works also reflects active engagement with contemporary art forms and their increasing embrace of changing technologies. Substantially greater storage space has been provided in the new facility to accommodate the growing collection, which is anticipated to expand from 15,000 to 20,000 items within the next five-toten years.[23] A separate education resource room, equipped with computers and a specialist art therapy library, supports researchers and members of the broader community interested in exploring the collection through a digitised database.[24] Whilst it is uncommon in contemporary art museums to find openings that permit daylight into the domain of the white cube, the inclusion of a skylighttopped atrium cutting through the nine upper levels (actually retrieving a nineteenth-century feature of museum design), allows diffused reflected daylight to impact upon the inwardly-focused exhibition spaces. Hari Pliambas, project architect on the Dax Centre, confirmed the values of the atrium’s multiple functions. As a passive design feature, the skylight helps to reduce the building’s energy usage and mitigate direct heat gain, thus constraining the building’s environmental footprint. However the symbolism of the

skylight’s function in transmitting light, and its unifying impact on the arrangement of spaces around it, were also important in the design of the Dax Centre. Pliambas revealed that the atrium’s disposition and diffusion of light was conceived to create a linking space between the scientific research offices on the higher levels and the public gallery on the lower floors. The influx of natural light from beyond the building also serves to interconnect the sciences and the arts.[25] It can be seen as a poetic gesture, capturing the nuanced significance of light as a metaphorical expression of the Centre itself.

The impact of the new Dax Centre The impact of the handsome relocation of the Cunningham Dax Collection in a purpose-built gallery cannot be underestimated for the future of the new Dax Centre. Now housed in a museum-accredited facility and managed by a reinvigorated organisation, the Dax Centre’s collection repositions its future development within art historical, museological and medical discourses. Moreover its relocation to the main campus of the University of Melbourne increases its visibility and accessibility both within the academic community and wider world. Most importantly, co-location on the University campus within the same building as the Florey Neurosciences Institute and the Mental Health Research Institute, strengthens the goals of the Centre to provide simultaneously a research focus and resource hub for understanding mental illness, through embracing a wider orientation to art therapy in all its contemporary forms.[26]

Expanded exhibition and public programs

23 Eugene Koh, ‘From the Director’, in The Dax Centre (Parkville: The Dax Centre and Mental Health Institute), 2011, p.3. 24 Email interview with Megan Lee, Dax Centre Education Officer, 25 January 2012. 25 Telephone and email interview with Hari Pliambas, Lyons Architecture, 27 January 2012. 26 See ‘Mission, Vision, Values and Goals’, The Dax Centre, 2011, p.4. 27 From an email interview with Juliette Hanson, Dax Centre Exhibitions Manager, 27 January 2012.

The vision for the Dax Centre to promote greater understanding of both mental illness and creativity is reflected in its expanded exhibition program, with inclusion of a new ‘access gallery’ in its temporary exhibition space, to accommodate the display of works by external artists or the presentation of artwork from other organisations. Meanwhile touring exhibitions to Australian regional areas where mental health facilities are limited remains a priority, and resources for increased educational outreach and public programs to accompany these exhibitions are in development.[27] In addition to existing public programs that include curators’ and artists’ talks, together with forums involving experts in the fields of mental health, philosophy and the arts, the introduction of a new film club, called Cinepsych, offers audiences screenings of specialist films addressing the relationship between cinema and mental health themes.

14  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A remarkable collection in Melbourne highlights artworks by people with mental illness

left: Tertiary students on a guided exhibition viewing led by a Dax Education Officer. Photo: Brendan Finn.

New education programs and resources In 2012 the Dax Centre has expanded its education program for greater onsite access and online involvement. In addition to existing education programs for VCE Psychology students – such as Mindfields and Making Sense – the Dax Centre has broadened its outreach to address middle-school arts students through its new VCE Art and Studio Arts program, formed in alliance with Arts Education Victoria (AEV). Beginning in late February, an innovative workshop for teachers and students called Kick Start has been prepared, including presentations of student work with A+ folios; a guided discovery of the collection; and a ‘behind the scenes’ tour, illuminating the museum industry context of the Dax Centre. Presented in conjunction with AEV, two professional development teacher workshops addressing Art and Studio Art will be offered in March, promoting a blend of practical skills within a theoretical framework.[28] The organisation’s website <www.daxcentre. org> will meanwhile serve as a resource tool for teachers, and feature online interactive activities for VCE students.[29] According to Megan Lee, Dax Centre Education Officer: Art is a fabulous medium to explore the abstract concept of mental health, and we believe students of this age would especially benefit from an artmaking component. We see 2012 as a year to develop and pilot a program with selected schools that have shown interest in this type of educational program, with wider promotion in 2013.[30] Tertiary students in the field of health and allied health, social sciences, humanities, education and arts,

have opportunities to engage with the Dax Centre through internships and project-specific research. [31] The Dax Centre aims to develop a comprehensive database on scholarship in the effectiveness of art therapy and related fields of mental illness, trauma, the mind and creativity.[32]

Independent evaluation of the Dax Programs An independent evaluation of programs in 2008, by the Centre for Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne, summarised and analysed more than 10,000 responses from the general public, artists and mental health professionals regarding the programs of the Dax Centre.[33] The results indicated an overwhelming desire for the organisation to maintain and grow its activities.[34] Heritage Victoria meanwhile registered the Cunningham Dax Collection for its outstanding significance values in 2009.[35] With such support and extended outreach, along with the potential of the expanded facilities accommodated in a handsome new location with an international profile, the new Dax Centre is now ideally positioned to fulfil its long-term goals.

Viona Fung graduated from the Master of Art program in Curatorship at The University of Melbourne in 2011. She was awarded the Cunningham Dax Curatorial Internship Scholarship in 2009-2010. She is a freelance curator, research assistant in art history at Monash University, and sessional lecturer in design history at Swinburne University of Technology. Citation for this article: Viona Fung, ‘The Evolution of The Dax Centre: Exploring the interface between the arts and the mind’, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol. 20(3), Museums Australia, Canberra, February 2012, pp. 9–14.

28 The Dax Centre VCE Studio Arts/Art 2012, Parkville: The Dax Centre, 2012. 29 ‘Strategic Plan’ in The Dax Centre, 2011, p.7. 30 From an email interview with Megan Lee, 25 January 2012. 31 See ‘Education. Tertiary Education’ at <>, viewed 29 January 2012 at <http://www.>. 32 ‘Strategic Plan’ in The Dax Centre, 2011, p.7 33 Understanding Mental Illness through Art: An Independent Evaluation of the Cunningham Dax Collection (Parkville: The University of Melbourne), 2008. 34 For PDF copy of the evaluation, see the Dax Centre website ‘Our Programs. Past Projects’, <>, viewed 29 January 2012 at <http://> 35 ‘The Cunningham Dax Collection’, in The Dax Centre, 2011, p.8.

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  15

A major art museum dramatically relaunched in New Zealand

Showcasing the Collection: Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki reopened in 2011 Anne Kirker


t seems obvious that ‘expansionism’ is the key theme for art museums at this time in Australia and New Zealand.[1] Almost vanished from discussion is that contested term ‘deaccessioning’, as more and more of our institutions rely more heavily upon their permanent collections to showcase their own holdings, or in tandem with so-called ‘blockbuster’ shows. Our museums are mindful of being highly responsive to audiences as local government support, and more especially the business sector’s sponsorship and the deployment of even the philanthropic dollar, holds all institutions more closely to account through reference to statistical results (attendance figures) and demonstrable outcomes in return for financial support rendered from public and private sector sources alike. Not bad things in themselves. However with regard to philanthropic support, in fact some important values of public good and long-term civic benefit accrue around collection enrichment through donations. Private donor support often means that gifts of both important and less significant artworks to the Collection earn protective sanctions as long-term public resources: ethical principles ensure that such acquisitions must not entail the possibility of their sale in future – to raise funds for sustaining museum operations or perhaps diversion to build new infrastructure. Even arguments for a work’s deaccession because of

1. Endnotes

‘duplication’ in an institution’s holdings – and consequent enabling of the private purchase of a desirable work – are risky in terms of public trust. For without doubt, in the early twenty-first century the successful art museum is not only a key tourist attraction but reflects the cumulative ownership, pride and collective achievements of a city and its inhabitants over time. For these reasons, when Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki (AAG) reopened late in 2011 – after some eleven years of negotiations and planning, and three years of actual remodeling and expansion of its premises – director Chris Saines made sure that the Collection (in all media) was highly visible and evident throughout the handsome new building. When I visited Auckland in September 2011, it was not only the Rugby World Cup that had brought people to the city at that time but also the effective publicity surrounding AAG’s re-opening. People were curious to see how the building had deployed its cost of NZ $121 million, as well as to experience the famed see-through glass impact of the atrium and the glazed northern side of the complex, which allows for a new orientation and close engagement with its civic neighbor, Albert Park. There are already signature features in the public confidence of the new entrance and its cultural address to all New Zealanders – notably the towering kauri canopies at the entrance on Kitchener Street, to welcome and entice locals and visitors alike to enter the Gallery and raise their expectations as they cross into the interior.

below: Auckland Art Gallery redeveloped exterior. Photo: Auckland Art Gallery.

1. Auckland Art Gallery is inseparable from this expansionist movement of public art museums in our ‘Australasian’ region. In Sydney, late in 2011, while publicly signaling his departure from the helm of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Edmund Capon revealed that he and a team of experts (architects, engineers and the like) had been working for 18 months on plans for a second building to augment the current premises of AGNSW. He quoted Melbourne and Brisbane as precedents in this regard, and the increased audience numbers at both campuses of Queensland Art Gallery after its highly popular Gallery of Modern Art opened (now five years old). Similarly, in Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria has had greater visitation since two separate complementary sites were developed within walking distance of each other, with partnering collection displays and exhibition programs marking their distinctive identities (NGV International on one hand, and The Ian Potter Centre for Australian art on the other).

16  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A major art museum dramatically relaunched in New Zealand

below: Part of Toi Aotearoa exhibition. Photo: Auckland Art Gallery.

2. In this respect, I highly recommend an in-depth article written by local art critic Peter Shand: `Light Shining on the Kumara Patch: Reopening the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki’ in Art New Zealand No.140, Summer 2011-12, pps 54-59.

Chris Saines is well known in Australia for having been an effective and enthusiastic senior manager of curatorial programs at Queensland Art Gallery in the 1990s. And unsurprisingly, when I met with him, he stressed that with the relaunch of the AAG, ‘The Collection is the hero of the building’ – and that his overriding objective for the redevelopment has always been that it be shared in an open, fulsome and immediate fashion. The refurbished and extended Gallery was certainly vibrant when I visited. Along with other visitors I was warmly greeted by staff, an AV presentation and several ‘Art Trail’ brochures to provide guidance according to individual inclinations. Diversity is assured through personal choice, with brochures provided for ‘A Relaxing Stroll’, ‘A Wandering Heart’ or ‘A Radical Path’. Other giveaway publications address a general mapping of the three and a half levels (Lower Ground, Ground, Mezzanine, Level One, Level Two); and further: the Learning Centre and space for kids’ activities, a calendar of Special Events, and more. A diverse and self-differentiating public is anticipated through provision of all these thoughtful tools to ensure that assistance is provided for a pleasurable visit. But first a note on the architecture, with its plethora of spaces; and a consideration of the way the Collection has been installed and articulated for the opening year of the enlarged and revitalized AAG.[2] Readers might know that the original building, set on

the edge of the CBD and Albert Park (near Auckland University) dates from the late-nineteenth century, and was built in the style of a French chateau, bearing a distinctive clock tower. They may also be familiar with the modernist character of the Edmiston Wing that was grafted onto the original structure in 1971, to provide additional space for the Gallery’s exhibitions, storage, service and administration areas. The 1971 Wing now appears to have been completely demolished and replaced by an elegant, grey stone structure, with generous window expanses to ensure a sense of a continuum between Kitchener Street, the public areas of the Gallery with their collection groupings, and a variety of visitor interactions, all reaching out ultimately to the grassy slopes and large oaks and cedars beyond the architectural footprint. (A court case was battled out to achieve this last effect.) Brochures to assist visitors in navigating the considerably expanded AAG are actually necessary, given the greatly enhanced variety of the building as an architectural container for a fine collection and temporary exhibitions. There are in fact few large, unimpeded gallery spaces that can be grasped from a single aspect – instead, many new small and intimate areas, opened out corridors and the distinctive mezzanine area, ensure a rich series of possibilities to navigate in any comprehensive visit. For a first-time visitor, the Gallery may seem possibly too complex and difficult to navigate – and, for my taste, even a little too crammed with artworks,

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  17

and distracting in almost fussy details. This threat of congestion and visual overload (always a danger when a collection or whole institution is newly re-launched) grated most with me in the case of the Gibbs Galleries and other spaces showing contemporary New Zealand Art – as also in the way the contemporary International Collection had to compete with the otherwise marvelous vistas of the adjoining parklands. AAG is inescapably suited to small-scale works that can cope with being double-hung; but it is challenged when accommodating robustly large, severely minimalist, kinetic, or installation–format works. And I might add: for works that call for large intervals between them, to provide a buffer from the competing dynamics of expression that mixed collection hangs so often entail. In three interconnecting galleries on the Ground Floor, therefore, uncertain dialogues between artworks became disjunctive. However a general public might welcome the densely compacted display as more closely paralleling domestic spaces, and making individuals feel ‘embraced’ by the Collection, not ‘in awe’ of it. Nevertheless an over-zealous approach to showing as much as possible for an opening audience meant that uneasy couplings too often occurred. For instance, the minimalist gilded disc produced by Max Gimblett, The Kiss (1991), was placed too close alongside Fiona Pardington’s Soft Target 1 of the same period – one of the latter artist’s ornately collaged photographs with a gold-encrusted frame. The two works are certainly from the same period, but they are shaped by completely different aesthetic concerns. However, not all modern or contemporary works suffered from overcrowding or mis-matching: Shane Cotton’s Te Waiwhariki (2005) was conceptually linked with a nearby walkway hung with Ralph Hotere’s magnificent multi-paneled mural, Godwit /Kuaka (1977), from the Chartwell Trust holdings at AAG. When visitors listened closely as they walked along the full extent of the painting’s installation, a soft-recorded chant emanated, well supported by explanatory texts in both Maori and English. With this work by Hotere, who is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished artists, there was no need to juggle eye and mind in the effort of fixing your attention. It allowed for concentration, measured appraisal, and its installation provided both intense experience and ample pleasure. Of course there have been many other positive decisions made in the refurbishment and re-launch of the new AAG, and in highlighting art practice of the past twenty or so years – none more so than the Gallery’s confident affirmation of recent art as the first visitor experience on entering the collection displays. It is contemporary New Zealand art in all its different manifestations that is first encountered; also the deeprunning affinities it shares with Maori and Pacific Island cultures, and to some extent, the evolving cultures of Asia. This decision to embrace the contemporary as firstorientation in the wealth of the Gallery’s holdings and

display, together with the comprehensive stress on the bi-cultural underpinnings of New Zealand society, is reinforced in many ways throughout the new installations – even though much of the non-contemporary work on display elsewhere in the Gallery is Eurocentric in flavor (through historical reasons of the institution’s earlier development, if no longer an abiding orientation of the collections’ continuing development today). The fact that Aotearoa is seen as a Pacific nation is now an undisputed cultural underpinning in this important New Zealand institution.

above: South Atrium air bridge. Photo: Auckland Art Gallery.

18  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A major art museum dramatically relaunched in New Zealand

Colin McCahon is rightly accorded a dedicated room for the diverse aspects of his seminal art practice and its effects on other artists; and he reappears elsewhere in the displays, with key paintings. One case in particular is the artist’s imposing work, On Building Bridges (1952), which infers a series of unfolding links and relationships with Indigenous New Zealand culture, with settler communities, and with the eventual impact of internationalism in the twentieth century. This presentation of McCahon as the link and affirmation of so many productive directions in New Zealand art’s development is realised in the ‘old wing’ from the nineteenth century bordering Wellesley Street. It also heads the forward charge of early abstraction in works by Milan Mrkusich, Gordon Walters, Theo Schoon, John Weeks, Jean Horsley, Louise Henderson, and others. All these works are hung on soft-hued grey walls, and feature nineteenth-century embellished ironwork pillars supporting the mezzanine walkway above. Even here, however, there are rather too many works for visitors to absorb; and the architectural detailing is meanwhile beautiful in its own right and merits equal attention.[3]

On Level One, the collection of New Zealand /Toi Aotearoa historical works has appropriately secured a circular bay for the now-iconic Gottfried Lindauer Maori portraits in oil, along with the marvellous companion-works of the genre by Charles Goldie. A particularly strong grouping of paintings occurs in the room featuring Maori modernists from the 1950s and 1960s (such as Para Matchitt), and this display both solicits and accommodates sustained contemplation. Such concentrated attention is probably assured because the installation also carries a sense of embracing a radical ‘school’ of artists with shared aims, rather than attempting to intermingle or juxtapose works of markedly different interests and qualities. I found that strong conceptual links have been embraced also with the Victorian art in the upper Grey Gallery – as also with works in the Mackelvie Galleries, with their antique red walls well supporting the interpretive theme for this new installation: ‘Victorian Tales of Love & Enchantment’. Included in this gathering is the huge Edward Burne-Jones charcoal and pastel drawing of The Car of Love, which Viscount Leverhulme originally gifted

above: New Learning Centre. Reuben Paterson b. 1973. Whakapapa: get down on your knees 2009, glitter and synthetic polymer paint on four canvases. Image courtesy of the artist and Gow Langsford Gallery.

3 The conundrum for viewers from an early 21st century perspective seems to be akin is to what occurs when confronting a narrativerich Renaissance (or en plein air Impressionist) painting in an elaborate gilded frame. How does one ‘edit out’ the framing component in order to seize on the power of the image itself? 4. Ed. Ron Brownson, Art Toi: New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, AAG, 2011.

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  19

to the Gallery in 1924. The thematic hang also ensures exposure to other artists connected with the PreRaphaelites, such as Lawrence Alma–Tadema. Further late-nineteenth century British artists, and their successors in the first half of the twentieth century – by which the International collection is mainly distinguished – are hung to reestablish links with the Gallery’s earlier history, while recuperating a sense of the Gallery as it used to be disposed (for those whose memory conserves the earlier phases of the institution’s development). Not so fortunate, however, is the presentation of International contemporary art, which has to contend with floor-to-ceiling windows facing out to Albert Park. Efforts to group the displayed works by theme has certainly assisted viewers to some degree, but the constraints of the narrow spaces seem insurmountable. Here visitors can find Bill Culbert’s neon light sculptures and Tony Cragg’s bottle assemblages, along with Richard Wentworth’s spare statements under the category of ‘Found Objects’. Next door, ‘Art in Motion’ is the coordinating theme for presentation of Len Lye’s powerful Universe (1963-66), displayed in

company with kinetic works by the Venezuelan Jesús Soto and German artist Gerhard von Graevenitz. It is refreshing to find the geometric mirrored room, Tower V, by the late Belgian artist, Luc Peire – rarely displayed since Richard Teller Hirsch acquired it for the Gallery in 1973 – now handsomely featured in the new installation from the collection. It is tempting to recapitulate a welter of impressions of other hangs and installations at AAG for its opening year – including art project commissions by New Zealanders et. al, including Peter Robinson (with strong links to Berlin) as well as a very recent commissioned work by Choi Jeong Hwa – but that would require much more space to cover. The fact that Korean artist Choi is represented by a highly visible and wonderfully theatrical Flower Chandelier in the Gallery foyer indicates that contemporary Asian art practices, and their links with culturally diverse New Zealand artists, will inevitably find a stronger place in the collecting policies of the AAG in future. In concluding a short overview of this impressively refurbished and ‘relaunched’ art museum in our

above: View of On Building Bridges, Colin McCahon, 1952, on display in the Grey Gallery. Image courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery.

20  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A major art museum dramatically relaunched in New Zealand

above: Wellesley Gallery: fully restored heritage gallery, looking down to Grey Gallery. Photo: Auckland Art Gallery.

region, there is no doubt that the reopening of Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki is a highly significant milestone for the cultural landscape of New Zealand. The result is a world-class institution and richly retrieved presence in the cultural life of the country. It is also a huge tribute to Chris Saines and his staff, along with the many benefactors who have assisted in ensuring the Gallery will prosper well into the future. As stated in the Foreword to the book Art Toi, published to coincide with the re-opening: ‘Auckland Art Gallery is home to the country’s most extensive collection of New Zealand and International art’.[4] And it is confidence in the director and his Board of Management that has, after-all, led to the Julian and Josie Robertson Gift of fifteen works (from the period 1875–1951) to add to AAG’s International art holdings. On display for the opening, this Gift includes fine works by Paul Cézanne, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian and Salvador Dali. My occasional misgivings about the Gallery’s determination to show almost a surfeit of the Collection for the opening displays should therefore be tempered

in light of the fact that any new art museum takes a while to settle down into a more well rehearsed adjudication between sometimes competing forces: a desired emphasis on an enveloping impact for new or long-deferred visitors, and an assured handling of the building’s architectural positives and limitations. One good means of coming to grips with the fulsome hangs in advance of a visit to Auckland Art Gallery is to consult its opening publication, Art Toi. This smartly designed and fully illustrated resource is a thorough joy to read, and expertly deals with its complex and fascinating subject: Aotearoa/New Zealand Art. [ ] Dr. Anne Kirker is an Adjunct Professor at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane. She was Curator of Prints and Drawings at Auckland City Art Gallery, 1970-76. Citation for this article: Anne Kirker, ‘Showcasing the Collection: Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki reopened in 2011’, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol. 20(3), Museums Australia, Canberra, February 2012, pp. 15–20.

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  21

A newly reorganised complex in Melbourne highlighting a humanitarian tragedy

Redevelopment of the Jewish Holocaust Centre Permanent Museum

Jayne Josem

I 2011

winner exhibition Small Museum – Permanent (budget >$25 000)

Jewish Holocaust Centre Jewish Holocaust Centre

Dr Darryl McIntyre President, Museums Australia

major sponsor




top: Display of sculptures by Holocaust survivor, Sarah Saaroni. middle: Jayne Josem bottom: Detail of MAGNA certificate awarded to the Jewish Holocaust Centre. right: Exhibit at the entrance to the museum, features photos of the murdered brothers, sisters, cousins and friends of museum volunteers.

n March 2010 the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick, Victoria, relaunched its permanent exhibition space, incorporating state-of-the-art technology alongside traditional museum displays. The renovations were undertaken principally because the old museum was in need of a facelift. However the real imperative behind the renovation was the growing need to keep the Holocaust survivors’ voices alive in the Centre, with most now in their eighties. Survivors have been the lifeblood of the Centre, volunteering in all areas, but most significantly as museum guides, talking to visitors about their experiences. This feature has been crucial to the Centre’s success, so our challenge was to ensure that visitors to the museum would continue to learn about the Holocaust directly from the survivors, while expanding our connections with new audiences and supporters as conditions evolve in a changing world. The Jewish Holocaust Centre opened in 1984, when a group of Holocaust survivors in Melbourne felt the need to create both a memorial and an education centre for the general public, highlighting the immensity and scale of this twentieth-century humanitarian tragedy and its ongoing lessons for contemporary society. The original display was akin to a textual account presented on the walls, with survivors ‘inhabiting’ the space and recounting their personal experiences for visitors. However apart from the opening presentation about pre-War life, and some material in display cases, there were few personal stories embedded within the original museum’s evocation of history and human experience. The early Centre proved to be a valuable education destination, with 15,000 students attending annually. However since its recent relaunching, museum visitation has already increased to 20,000 students per annum. The Centre’s education program now embraces an introduction to the Holocaust; a 30-minute talk by a survivor; followed by a guided tour of the museum, where students engage directly with the eyewitnesses to history.

In renovating the permanent museum space, the Holocaust Centre wanted to ensure that the display would communicate effectively to younger and oncoming generations. Equally, however, a firm objective was to achieve the design of a museum with appeal for all ages, because the universal message of the Holocaust need not be limited to school students. To take its place among museum facilities expected today, the Centre needed a cleaner, sleeker design aesthetic to make the challenging content more easily palatable. There was also a clear need to incorporate provision for multi-media, to both captivate younger visitors and provide the Centre with the ability to store large quantities of data in small screens, comfortably accessible to audiences desiring more information. Additionally, artworks were included throughout the spaces for visitors who respond more strongly to visual media. Busloads of students continue to visit the new Centre on excursions. The teenagers who visit are well ‘wired up’, thinking about friendship issues, sport and Facebook. Most of these students arrive indifferent to Jews, and indifferent to the Holocaust generally. A first task of the Centre is therefore to penetrate lively young people’s digital armoury, and get them to focus attention personally and understand what they have come to experience. We want them to listen, hear, learn, engage, react, respond and remember. We therefore needed the museum displays to play an integral role in engaging young people’s interest in the history the Centre conserves and commemorates. Although students may arrive indifferent, it is our experience that after hearing from Holocaust survivors directly, and experiencing the museum displays, they leave different. The museum contains traditional text panels, documenting the chronological history of the Holocaust as well as highlighting themes such as the stories of some of the ‘Righteous among the nations’ – that is, non-Jews who risked their lives to help Jews during that dark period of the twentieth century. This narrative approach has not changed significantly from the original museum, and is consistent with most Holocaust museums around the world.

22  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

A newly reorganised complex in Melbourne highlighting a humanitarian tragedy

Although students may arrive indifferent, it is our experience that after hearing from Holocaust survivors directly, and experiencing the museum displays, they leave different.

Although we considered more radical options, it was decided to retain the original layout of the 1980s, because the Centre does not want to endanger continuing involvement of the 30 survivors who are still active as first-person witnesses to history, and irreplaceable museum guides for visitors. We feel strongly that this is their museum, and we need them to feel comfortable with its layout. To ensure ongoing relevance of the Holocaust Centre to the wider non-Jewish public, however, we have included new material in the refurbished museum. More Australian content has been added, some of which looks at Australia’s response to the events in Germany in the 1930s, especially its restrictive immigration policy. There is also a feature on the Australian indigenous activist, William Cooper, who led a group of Aboriginal people in a protest to the German consul in Melbourne, following anti-Jewish riots in Germany in November 1938. A new display panel was also included, entitled ‘Ongoing genocide: what has the world learned?’ – prompting visitors to consider contemporary genocide issues internationally. A key developmental question the Centre posed for itself internally was: ‘What makes our museum different from other Holocaust museums around the world?’ In answering this challenge, we have incorporated a wealth of original documents, photos and artefacts from Melbourne Holocaust survivors, because the Centre aims to tell the story of the Holocaust through the direct experiences of the local survivor community. A poignant item on display is an orange silk dress that was handmade for a child in the Warsaw Ghetto. The child was later taken by the Nazis and murdered in the gas chambers in Treblinka, a camp established purely as a killing centre, with few survivors. A nowfamous model of the Treblinka camp, made years later by one of its very few survivors, continues to form a centrepiece of the displays in our museum. The model provides a large three-dimensional vista across an otherwise unimaginable and devastating landscape. The Centre has now added an interactive computer and lightshow to augment this unique diorama, so that visitors can learn more about the Treblinka camp while studying the remarkable model.

The refurbished Holocaust Centre has actively incorporated technology to complement the traditional museum displays, while not overwhelming them. Four video screens with short clips from survivors recounting vignettes from their experiences can be found in the small museum, covering the following themes: Rise of Nazism; Life in the Ghettos; the Camps; and Survival. In addition, there are a number of ‘storypod’ computer kiosks, where visitors can explore survivor stories in depth. Users are anticipated as putative detectives, approaching a virtual desk with personal items scattered over it. Visitors can then directly interact with primary source material related to each survivor – precious documents and photos, as well as eyewitness testimony and verbal accounts. Other kiosks enable visitors to access a range of information, such as hundreds of stories of the ‘Righteous among the nations’ as well as a country-by-country exploration of the Holocaust internationally. From its humble origins in the 1980s, the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne has grown to become a vibrant modern institution with a world-wide reputation for excellent programs. The new displays have been built upon the foundations that the original survivors created in the first form of the museum. They ensure that the Centre and museum will continue to play a vital role in educating the Victorian community and other visitors about the horrors of the Holocaust in the twentieth century, as well as cultivating greater attunement to universal themes of human rights and tolerance in society today. [ ] Jayne Josem is Curator and Head of Collections at the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, where she has been since 2001, following completion of a Masters in Public History at Monash University. She recently completed a major upgrade of the permanent museum display and now is focussed on improving access to the JHC collection. Citation for this article: Jayne Josem, ‘Redevelopment of the Jewish Holocaust Centre Permanent Museum: A newly reorganised facility in Melbourne highlighting a humanitarian tragedy’, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol. 20(3), Museums Australia, Canberra, February 2012, pp. 21–22.

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  23

Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia – lessons from an exhibition on the nation’s formation

‘Irish’ or ‘Anglo-Celt’: Issues highlighted in an exhibition reviewing the Irish contribution to Australia’s history [1]

N top: Murphy family headstones in the cemetery of St Matthew’s Catholic Church, Jamberoo, New South Wales, showing the family to have been from Ballymore, County Tipperary, Ireland. Photo: Richard Reid. above: Richard Reid.

1 Key references: The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People, and their Origins; Gen. editor, James Jupp, Angus and Robertson, North Ryde, 1988; rev. edition, Cambridge University Press, Oakleigh, 2001; R.B.Madgwick, Immigration into Eastern Australia, 1788-1951 (Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1937); republished Sydney University Press, 1969.

ot Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia was an exhibition in 2011 that revealed the remarkable influence of the Irish in Australia, from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, to the continuing influx of young Irish backpackers today. From politics and religion, to industry, art, music and dance, the Irish have had a far-reaching influence on Australia. Featuring nearly 500 rare and unique objects from Australian and international collections, this exhibition remembered the Irish immigrants, and their descendants, who made this continent their home, and helped create a uniquely Australian way of life. The exhibition was on view at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, from 17 March to 31 July 2011. The article below by historian Richard Reid – developed from a paper he presented at a symposium organised by Museums Australia around International Museum Day in 2011, Museums, Memory and History (National Museum of Australia, 17 – 18 May 2011) – provides a reflection as lead curator of the exhibition realised for the National Museum. Dr Reid’s article deals with the powerful symbolism and resonance that single objects may carry – in the intangible heritage conveyed, as much or even more than their outward character or ostensible value. This article is instructive not only in its curatorial insights into a major exhibition project’s development, but in its intense ‘drilling down’ as well as imaginative ‘opening up’ to the power that objects may carry and convey for museum audiences, and the significance they may transmit as bearers of history and collective social memory. [Bernice Murphy, Ed.]

Richard Reid


arrived in Australia from Ireland in 1972 and spent the first eleven years of my Australian working life in Wollongong teaching English and History at an all boy’s state high school. For the first five of those years I had little real sense of any significant Irish presence here although, of course, given my origins, I had heard of Ned Kelly, but knew little of the story. My initial teaching needs and academic interests took me to a broad post-graduate course in Australian history – if I had to teach it, I’d better learn it – and to a thesis about the influence of early anthropology (and anthropologists) on English Congregationalist missionaries in Papua c.1900. My reading of those books covering the general history of Australia at the time, while they occasionally picked up on matters such as the division over conscription where Irishman Archbishop Daniel Mannix had played a leading, if not decisive, role, had little reference to the Irish. Such texts were silent about the detail of the Irish presence and woefully inadequate on topics such as the nature and scale of nineteenth century immigration from the ‘western European islands’ – Great Britain and Ireland. Indeed, for many years for the basic story of government-assisted immigration, until the appearance of such texts as James Jupp’s magisterial The Australian People: An Encyclopaedia of the Nation, its People, and their origins in 1988, one relied on James Chadwick’s Immigration into Eastern Australia, 1788-1851 – first published in 1938; and reprinted, for want of anything better, in 1969.

24  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia – lessons from an exhibition on the nation’s formation

above: Model of proposed St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, by James McGowan, for Melbourne International Exhibition, 1880. Photo: State Library of Victoria.

2 Madgwick, op.cit. p.234. 3 James Waldersee, Catholic Society in New South Wales, 1788-1860, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1974. 4 Oliver MacDonagh, ‘The Irish in Australia: A General Overview’, in Oliver MacDonagh and W F Mandle (Eds), Ireland and IrishAustralia: Studies in Cultural and Political History, Croom Helm, London and Sydney, 1986, p.157. 5 Patrick O’Farrell, ‘Double Jeopardy: Catholic and Irish’, Humanities Review, Vol 12, No 1, 2005, p.7.

Now Chadwick at least had the figures, and astonishing they were. Between 1839 and 1851, of the 78,417 free assisted immigrants who poured into pre-gold rush Sydney and Port Philip, 48 per cent, 37,306, were from Ireland.[2] These are amazing figures – virtually as many Irish arrived free in New South Wales over 13 years as had come as convicts from 1788. Tellingly, the 1846 census of New South Wales revealed that 25.4 per cent of the population of east coast Australia was Irish born. Here surely was an Irish presence in some force that one might have expected historians of colonial Australia to be picking up on. The first to begin to analyse just what all this might have meant for the colony of New South Wales was Jim Waldersee, in 1974, when he outlined Irish settlement to the south and south-west of Sydney. It was not without significance, in my view, that although the people he was dealing with were overwhelming Irish, he called his survey Catholic Society in New South Wales, 1788-1860.[3] Personally, I think this was hardly a title he would have arrived at had he been writing a similar work in the United States or even Canada. Indeed, because of that title, Waldersee’s book doesn’t show up on a National Library of Australia advanced catalogue search under ‘Irish’ or ‘Australia’. My own understanding of the Irish element in local society changed dramatically in the late 1970s. One evening I walked around the churchyard of the little Catholic church at Jamberoo, near Kiama, where I was living. To my amazement the Irish were everywhere – a Native of Tipperary, a Native of Donegal, a Native of Tyrone. Further research in the local paper – the Kiama Independent, published by the same family since 1863 and edited between 1863 and 1913 by Derbyshire Methodist Joseph Weston – showed Kiama to have been a hotbed of Protestant Irish/Catholic Irish divisions, and the paper at times full of Irish politics and the doings of the many local Orange Lodges. Census figures revealed Kiama to have been one of most Irish places in NSW, with more than 60 per cent of the population with Irish connections. When I mentioned some of the more prominent Irish Protestant names to someone with significant local knowledge they expressed surprise that these people had been from Ireland. Any understanding of the Orange/Green divide locally had long disappeared. Joseph Weston, an admirable progressive in many ways, showed himself in general comment and editorials to be less than enthusiastic about the presence of so many Irish Catholics in the area, or in the colony. Kiama historians today do their best to avoid this central cultural divide up until fairly modern times in their local history. While I might have overstated the case for the relative absence of the Irish from earlier works of Australian history up to the 1970s, the 1980s saw the Irish explode on the scene. This was largely, although not entirely, owing to the work of two academics – Oliver MacDonagh and Patrick O’Farrell. MacDonagh’s most telling comment was that by

Federation in 1901, Australia was the ‘real’ United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In the UK, by that year, the Irish were barely eight per cent of the population; here by contrast, he argued, the situation was as at the Act of Union in 1800, when the Irish had formed a third of the UK’s population. This situation in Australia maintained itself down to 1914, and well beyond.[4] That is to say, between a quarter and third of Australia’s European population was strongly connected to an Irish past. As Embassy of Ireland officials are only too keen to tell, Australia is the most Irish country in the world outside Ireland. O’Farrell’s arguments about the Irish presence in Australia were a lot more feisty. Moreover, they were many and they were complex. But one is central: namely, that the Irish were the force which compelled colonial and early Federal Australia towards a more openly plural society, indeed, towards something that all could agree was ‘Australian’ and not some pale reflection of Britain or England. In this context O’Farrell rejected totally that description of the old majority immigrant groups drawn from the western European islands as ‘Anglo-Celtic’. For some, those who see Australian immigration before 1945 as producing a rather colourless, homogeneous ‘British’ society rescued by our current dynamic ‘multiculturalism’ – where that old element is being whittled away to between perhaps only 60 to 70 per cent of the population – the term ‘Anglo-Celtic’ holds descriptive power. O’Farrell despised it. The term was, he wrote: ... a grossly misleading, false and patronising convenience, one crassly present-oriented. Its use removes from consciousness and recognition a major conflict fundamental to any comprehension not only of Australian history but of our present core culture.[5] How did this play out in some sections of the National Museum’s exhibition, Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia, in 2011? Well, the responsible curatorial team certainly did not set out through the objects in the exhibition to interrogate terms such as ‘Anglo-Celtic’. Quite the opposite. We sought as many interesting things as we could which seemed to tell of the Irish presence in Australia in a wide variety of social/political and economic situations – guided naturally, in some instances, by the writings of academics such as O’Farrell, MacDonagh and many others. What is evident, however, from some of the objects finally exhibited is that O’Farrell has a point about the way in which that term ‘Anglo-Celtic’ is indeed misleading, and hides from historical memory the complex and often conflicted nature of Australian society before the advent of that modern immigrant stream that has undoubtedly changed the face of modern Australia. Let me demonstrate this by looking at three objects in the National Museum’s exhibition: the 1880 model of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne; the replica of the Cross of Cong brought from Ireland in the mid-1890s

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  25

MacDonagh’s most telling comment was that by Federation in 1901, Australia was the ‘real’ United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

by Cardinal Patrick Francis Moran; and the workhouse box in which 17-year-old Margaret Hurley, from Gort, County Galway, carried all her possessions when she arrived in Sydney in the Thomas Arbuthnot on Sunday 3 February 1850. On the morning of Sunday 31 October 1897, a crowd of more than 10,000 gathered outside the St Patrick’s cathedral, while another 4,500 invited guests were seated inside. At 11am, the moment they had waited for, arrived. Led by three Papal Knights, a Cross Bearer and various acolytes, Australia’s Cardinal Archbishop, Francis Patrick Moran of Sydney, processed to the cathedral door, followed by a host of bishops and clergy. As they moved through the door the congregation, headed by the English Governor of Victoria, Thomas First Earl Brassey, and Lady Brassey, rose to their feet and the choir of 250, accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, burst out into the ‘Ecce Sacerdos Magnus’ (Behold a Great Priest).[6] It was a mighty occasion for the Catholic people of Victoria, indeed a mighty occasion for the people of Melbourne who, in the space of 40 years, had witnessed the majestic rise of St Patrick’s from the first stone laid by Bishop Alipius Goold on 8 February 1858. The cathedral was brought to completion, minus its proposed three steeples, by the tireless fundraising efforts of Archbishop Thomas Carr, since his arrival in the Victorian colony in 1887. To help him show to donors what the completed cathedral would like, Carr possessed a scale model of the building produced by James McGowan for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 – which now belongs to the State Library of Victoria but sits today inside the cathedral’s door. As Carr sat through that ceremonial Mass, he could see around him the evidence of how Victoria’s Catholic faithful, the great majority of them of Irish birth or descent, were now part of the very fabric of God’s house. On a number of the mighty pillars of St Patrick’s, rising out of the earth and holding up the whole edifice, were inscribed plaques indicating who

had raised the money to build them – ‘The Catholic Children of Victoria’; ‘The Catholic Irishmen of the Constabulary Force’; ‘The Catholic People of Richmond’; ‘The Catholic People of Ballarat’; ‘The Catholic People of Emerald Hill’ (South Melbourne) and ‘The Catholic People of Sandhurst’ (Bendigo). That day, the splendour of St Patrick’s towered all around the congregation, as the sounds of the ageless Latin of the Mass, the smell of the incense and the resounding notes of Beethoven’s great ‘Mass in C’ assailed their senses. What more could those who witnessed this imposing ceremony learn of the wealth of meaning echoing around the vast spaces of the great cathedral? That task fell to Cardinal Moran who, as Mass ended, ascended the pulpit and addressed his theme – ‘The Apostolate of St Patrick’: What name is it that I see emblazoned on the portals of this great Cathedral? What Saint is it whose heroism of virtue shall here be commemorated from year to year … Oh! It is the bright name of Erin’s apostle, the glorious St Patrick … whose apostolate is set as a sacred seal on the heart of the Irish race, and which … continues to impart to many nations the divine blessings of religion and to people heaven with saints.[7] For more than an hour Moran immersed his listeners in the story of St Patrick, his conversion of the Irish and their championing of Christianity and missionary zeal. In those early centuries of the faith in Ireland, monks had developed abbeys, schools and universities, argued the Cardinal, evidence of a vibrant civilisation that was the admiration of all Europe: From the 5th to the 12th centuries all Christendom resounded to the eulogies of her piety, whilst the grateful nations of Europe saluted her as the bright star of religion, the home of piety, the sanctuary of knowledge, the island of sages and saints.[8] Then came the centuries of conquest and sufferings, throughout which the Irish held to the Catholic faith in the face of persecution: For 300 years all the terrors of and cruelty of the

6 ‘Consecration of St Patrick’s Cathedral’, The Age, Melbourne, 1 November 1987, p.5. 7 The Apostolate of St Patrick: Discourse of Cardinal Moran, Archbishop of Sydney, At the Consecration of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, 31st October, 1897, F Cunninghame, Sydney, 1897, p.4. 8 Ibid.

26  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia – lessons from an exhibition on the nation’s formation

ten general persecutions were renewed through the length and breadth of Ireland. To the sword of Henry VIII and Elizabeth, succeeded the confiscations of the Stuarts, and then came the deluge of desolation and destruction under the Puritan Commonwealth.[9] As England thrived, Ireland suffered – one wonders what Lord Brassy made of that impassioned assault on the glories of the English monarchs of the Reformation. But the Irish endured all and rose again through years of bondage to bring the faith to Australia: Has not the tree of faith, transplanted from Erin to these shores, found here a genial soil, and has it not cast deep its roots and put forth its branches in gladness, and is it not already clothed with comeliness and yielding joyous fruit?[10] Aware, of course, of the Governor’s presence, and that of many non-Catholic dignitaries among his listeners, Moran now turned his previous anti-English stance around and proclaimed that in Victoria all now belonged to a great English-speaking Empire, celebrated only recently in Queen Victoria’s ‘Royal Jubilee’. There, where that mighty commercial empire ruled: Wheresoever the English language holds sway, thither, through the Celtic Soldiers of the Cross, the Catholic Church extends her conquests. If the domain of that language encircles the globe, we may also in truth affirm that the sun never sets on the spiritual

empire which exults in St Patrick’s Apostolate.[11] That, then, was the great meaning of St Patrick’s, which Moran wanted his Irish-Catholic audience to understand. In Australia they could unite with their fellow colonists in support of the British Empire, to which they all belonged. But set in the very heart of Melbourne was a building which spoke of the great Christian inheritance of the Irish race, and a mighty symbol of that spiritual empire of faith which, unlike the empires of merchants and governors, would never pass away. Moran was a scholar steeped both in the ways of the Roman curia and the history of Ireland under centuries of English attempts at political, cultural and economic domination. But here, for him, was the great ‘Australian’ compromise for the Irish Catholics – acceptance of the reality of British colonial Australia as long as it went with a reciprocal acceptance of what they brought to that entity. During his reign as the first Irish Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, between 1884 and 1911, Moran made this Irish Catholic inheritance and its implications more explicit. In the mid-1890s – we don’t know the date exactly – he brought from Ireland a replica of one of the country’s most significant religious artefacts – the Cross of Cong. This exquisitely wrought processional cross was made for an Irish king, Turlough O’Connor, in 1123, and this fact is engraved in Irish on the cross – A prayer for Tairdelbach Ua Conchobair, king of Ireland, by whom was made this ornament. Another inscription indicates that the cross was also a shrine made to contain a relic of the piece of the true cross of Christ. The cross’s golden brilliance was attested to by its name in the Irish language – an Bacall Buidhe, the yellow staff. The cross remained in the care of the Augustinian order in Cong until the 1820s. In 1839 it was given to the Royal Irish Academy and was eventually transferred to the National Museum of Ireland.[12] At a time of Gaelic cultural revival, in which Moran participated through his scholarly interest in the Irish language, the cross was a powerful symbol to the Irish church of the continuity of the Catholic faith in Ireland and of the allegedly close bond between belief and Irish identity. By having this replica of a famous Irish cross carried before him, as he processed down the nave towards the altar for high mass, Moran was, it seems to me, delivering an object lesson in Irish history to the congregation. Can we not hear him say: ‘The English might speak to you of the Reformation, the Armada, Good Queen Bess, the Battle of Waterloo and Wellington, but cast your eyes on this and remember you have an inheritance every bit as splendid and grounded, moreover, in the glory of the eternal truths of the Catholic faith, a faith for which many Irish people have given their very lives.’ There was nothing ‘Anglo’ about this ‘Celtic’ message, but you won’t find a single description of the powerful cultural symbolism of a high mass led by Moran in the scholarly historical analyses of his life in Sydney. Let me finish with a completely different sort of

left: Replica of the Cross of Cong. Image courtesy of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.

9 Ibid, p.20. 10 Ibid, p.28 11 Ibid, pp.28-29. 12 For a fuller account of the origins and history of the Cross of Cong, see the website of the National Museum of Ireland <>.

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  27

cultural memory, one which set Ireland off completely from the island of Great Britain in the nineteenth century. It is a memory that would have distinguished mid-century Irish immigrants from other colonists, but about which they would rarely have talked, given the pain and grief with which it could be associated. The story emerges from one of the plainest objects in the Irish in Australia exhibition, a simple wooden box. When she arrived in Sydney, aged 17, on Sunday 3 February 1850 along with 194 other young Irish women on the immigrant ship Thomas Arbuthnot, this simple object contained all that Margaret Hurley owned in this life. In 1848, the Union’s Medical Officer Dr Martin Nolan wrote of the conditions in the workhouse: ... the whole House is one mass of disease and infection without accommodation, classification, clothing, bedding or proper attendants, and in my opinion it would be much safer and more charitable to close the house altogether than keep it open in its present state….[13] By mid-1848 in the area served by Gort Union in general, there were more than 8,500 people being kept alive by handouts of free food from the workhouse – so-called ‘outdoor relief’.[14] Indeed by 1849, this was a part of Ireland where nearly 50 per cent of the total population was being kept alive, at the height of the Great Famine, by ‘outdoor relief’. By mid-July 1849, when we can safely assume Margaret was in the workhouse, she was surrounded by 2152 other starving and destitute people. Margaret’s father was dead but her mother still lived in Gort. She was accepted into the workhouse, however, as a virtual orphan. Deliverance came in the form of an offer from the Government Emigration Agent in Dublin: of a free passage to the Australian colonies. For this Margaret would be provided with the necessary clothes and other personal items, as well as transport to an emigrant port and to Australia. The list of what she received, and for which she was accountable, was affixed to the inside lid of this sea-chest and, despite the ravages of the years since her voyage from Ireland, part of the list is still legible. Margaret became part of a British government scheme whereby 4114 Irish workhouse orphan girls received free passages from fever-ridden and grossly overcrowded Irish workhouses to Australia, between 1848 and 1850.[15] The sea-chest was made for Margaret by a carpenter employed by the Union sometime in mid-1849 – before she left Gort to travel across Ireland, and then over the Irish Sea, most likely on the deck of a cross-channel steamer either between Dublin and Plymouth or Cork and Plymouth, to the Plymouth Emigrant Depot. In Plymouth she was met by Surgeon-Superintendent Charles Edward Strutt, an English doctor recently appointed by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners to take charge of the 194 Irish workhouse girls outward bound for Sydney on the Thomas Arbuthnot.[16] These girls were but a small fraction of the million or so emigrants who left Ireland between 1845 and 1850

during the famine. During the course of that event about another million died, mainly of diseases associated with malnutrition, and during those awful years Ireland’s population shrank from about eight and a half million to six and a half million – and went on shrinking to just under four and a half million by 1901. Irish Famine and immediate post-Famine emigrants to Australia left, in the majority of cases, from a devastated and depopulating environment. They would never have forgotten it. As the Thomas Arburthnot, in heavy weather, rounded the Cape of Good Hope on Christmas Day 1849, Surgeon-Superintendent Strutt wrote in his diary: Yesterday [Christmas Eve] was devoted to keening[,] that is, to deploring their fate, old Ireland and their friends and relatives.[17] A startling and arresting image – young Irish girls on the deck of an emigrant ship, their voices raised in the Celtic lament for the dead. The memory of ‘An Gorta Mor’, the great hunger, is not an historical memory held in common by something called ‘Anglo-Celtic’ Australia. As Patrick O’Farrell said, such a conflation removes too much from ‘consciousness and recognition’ – the consciousness and recognition not of shared, but quite separate and distinct, histories and narratives that belong to those whose ancestry in this country is ‘Irish’ not ‘Anglo-Celtic’. It took until the late 1990s for that buried memory to surface in Australia in a public recognition of shared heritage, with the unveiling of the memorial in Sydney, at Hyde Park Barracks, to the ‘Great Famine’. A glass window, a window between the worlds of Ireland and Australia, carries the names of 400 of the Irish orphan girls who came to the colonies, and among them is that of Margaret Hurley of Gort, County Galway. I feel sure she would be pleased that the curators of the National Museum’s Irish exhibition have placed her old sea-chest on display, and equally pleased that I am using her story, and that of St Patrick’s Cathedral and Cardinal Moran, to remind us all that her, and indeed my own, inheritance as an ‘Australian’ is ‘Irish’. [] Dr Richard Reid, a native of Ireland, has been a high school teacher, museum education officer, historian, parliamentary research officer and an exhibition curator. In this last role he led the small curatorial team at the National Museum of Australia responsible for the museum’s exhibition, Not Just Ned - A true history of the Irish in Australia, in 2011. Richard Reid sees himself very much as a ‘public’ historian, one who tells accessible stories for all who care to listen. He now works for the Department of Veteran Affairs as an Historian. Citation for this article: Richard Reid, ‘ ‘Irish’ or ‘Anglo-Celt’: Issues highlighted in an exhibition reviewing the Irish contribution to Australia’s history’, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol. 20(3), Museums Australia, Canberra, February 2012, pp. 23–27.

above: Sea chest made in the Gort Workhouse for Margaret Hurley, Gort, County Galway, Ireland, 1849. Image courtesy the Perry family.

13 Minutes of Board of Guardians Meetings, Gort Union Workhouse, February 1848, Dr Martin B Nolan, Galway County Council Archives, GO1/12/5, pp.538-539. 14 Minutes of Board of Guardians Meetings, op.cit, GO1/12/7, p.215. 15 For accounts of the scheme, see Trevor McClaughlain, Barefoot and Pregnant: Irish Famine Orphans in Australia, Genealogical Society of Victoria, Melbourne, 1991. 16 For the story of the orphan girls on the Thomas Arbuthnot, see Cheryl Mongan and Richard Reid, A decent set of girls: The Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-1850, Yass Heritage Project, Yass, 1996. 17 Charles Strutt’s diary, in Cheryl Mongan and Richard Reid, A decent set of girls, op.cit, p.39.

28  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Thirty-three years of ‘icam’: An ICOM Affiliated Organisation for architecture

icam Australasia: A Regional Network of the International Confederation Of Architectural Museums

Christine Garnaut The opening of the Centre Pompidou in Paris in January 1977 was the catalyst for the idea of bringing together, ‘for future contacts and collaborations’, representatives of museums and institutions in various parts of the world devoted to architecture.[1] Two years later, in 1979, delegates from twentyfive institutions located in fifteen countries gathered in Helsinki for a conference convened by the Finnish Museum of Architecture. The event was titled the International Confederation of Architectural Museums (icam). The program in Helsinki focused on discussions about the role of architecture museums and similar organisations; on the exchange of information regarding exhibitions as well as practical experiences of collecting and managing architectural and allied records; and on identifying ways in which architecture museums could collaborate in the future. Participants elected to meet again, and have held a biennial conference ever since (icam16 will take place from 1 to 6 September 2012, in the Frankfurt/RhineRuhr Metropole, Germany). Delegates at icam1 formed a general committee and several working parties, agreed on a charter and resolved to apply for affiliation with the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The structure established at that first meeting continues. Although reworded, the core aims of the original charter survive today. They are to: • Preserve the architectural record • Raise the quality and protection of the built environment • Foster the study of architectural history in the interest of future practice • Stimulate the public appreciation of architecture • Promote the exchange of information and professional expertise.[2] Since 1979, icam has grown into an organisation of 141 members from all parts of the world. They include dedicated architecture museums as well as national, state and/or regional organisations like libraries, archives and government and professional organisations holding architectural collections. Some collections are held in purpose-built museums – such as the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute,

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  29

left: Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris. below: Entrance to the Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris. Photo: Christine Garnaut.

Although architecture museums, galleries and archives like those established in the northern hemisphere are rare in Australia and New Zealand, a number of Australasian institutions have been building up collections of architecture, design and allied records.

Rotterdam; meanwhile others like the Cité de l’architecture and du Patrimoine in the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, are housed in adapted buildings. icam is dedicated to fostering links between its members, and to that end the organisation encourages the formation of regional networks that meet on an occasional basis, normally in the non-conference year. Over time, regional groups have been established in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and the United Kingdom and Ireland. Recently, a network has been formed in Australasia. Although architecture museums, galleries and archives like those established in the northern hemisphere are rare in Australia and New Zealand, for various periods of time, a number of Australasian institutions have been building up collections of architecture, design and allied records.[3] Typically they are held in universities, state libraries and state archives, and in limited instances by the professional body, the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Members of icam Australasia include representatives of these collections.

icam Australasia Initiated in October 2010 at a seminar organised by the Architecture Museum at the University of South Australia, icam Australasia meets annually. Like the initial gathering of the parent body, the first two seminars for this new network in our region have provided opportunities for participants to meet each other, exchange information about their collections and activities, and discuss issues of common concern as well as potential avenues for collaboration. At the second meeting organised in October 2011 in Melbourne by the RMIT Design Archives, the State

Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne Archives, participants heard presentations from Professor Miles Lewis, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, on a ‘Proposal for a short course for curators: collecting and interpreting architectural drawings’; and from Mr Peter Johnson, architect and heritage consultant and a member of the AIA National Heritage Taskforce, regarding a ‘Proposal to establish a process for Institute [AIA] State and Territory Chapters to more effectively assist cultural institutions to collect and archive documents of notable Australian architects’. Although in its infancy, icam Australasia has been embraced enthusiastically and promises to be a focal network for those involved in collecting, managing, preserving, promoting and utilising architectural and related records – as well as interconnecting those with emerging interests in developing collections in this culturally important but sometimes overlooked field. For further information about icam, see: http://; and for icam Australasia: http:// [] Dr Christine Garnaut is Associate Research Professor and Director of the Architecture Museum, located within the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia <>. Citation for this article: Christine Garnaut, ‘ICAM Australasia: A Regional Network of the International Confederation Of Architectural Museums’, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol. 20(3), Museums Australia, Canberra, February 2012, pp. 28–29.

1. The overview of icam1 draws on J. Pallasmaa, ‘icam 30 years, the founding of a confederation’, pp. 4-6; and A. Giral, ‘International confederation of architectural museums, a history’, pp. 8-9, in M. Platzer (ed), icam print 03, Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna. An e-version is available at: http:// 2. icam, ‘General information’. Available online at: about.php. Accessed 23 January 2012. 3 For an overview of architectural and related collections in Australasia, see Christine Garnaut, ‘Responding to circumstance: Challenges, opportunities and directions in architectural archives collection policy in (South) Australia’ (2010). Available online at: http://www. binary/original/1284051109.pdf.

30  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Museums sector awards in Queensland

Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) 2011

Debra Beattie


he Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) have been presented annually by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) for the past eight years. The GAMAA awards promote and inspire best practice in Queensland’s museums and galleries, and recognise the significant contribution that these vibrant organisations make to the cultural life of their local and wider communities. The GAMAA also celebrate the outstanding talents and contributions of paid professionals and volunteers working in the industry. M&GSQ’s 2011 GAMAA results were announced by guest presenter Deborah Miles, Director of Creative Communities, Arts Queensland, at the Awards presentation evening on 9 December, generously supported and hosted by the Griffith University Art Gallery in Brisbane. The 2011 winners were presented with impressive trophies created by Brisbane artist, Glen Skien. Each year, a different Queensland artist is commissioned to produce the GAMAA trophy. Winners were recognised in five categories. In the category for Organisations with staff of five or more, Cairns Regional Gallery was announced the winner for their international touring exhibition, Malu Minar:

Art of the Torres Strait. The exhibition featured 38 artworks from the region’s most dynamic Indigenous artists, and represented the first exhibition focused on contemporary Torres Strait visual art that has toured internationally from a Queensland regional gallery. The venue for the exhibition was the acclaimed Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea, New Caledonia. The winner in the category for Organisations with staff of under five was Caloundra Regional Gallery for its project, TreeLine – people, art, science, nature. This six-month eco-art program was the lead community event for TENX10, a program celebrating Caloundra Regional Gallery’s tenth year through ten signature events. Challenging, interdisciplinary and interactive, the program focused on the impact of our lifestyle choices on our ability to sustain a healthy planet. Treeline comprised more than 45 events at over 30 locations across the Sunshine Coast, connecting with existing arts, heritage and cultural festivals and delivering new exhibitions and installations in the virtual, built and natural environments. The 2011 GAMAA event also celebrated the significant achievements of volunteer-run organisations. The Mount Morgan Museum in central Queensland was the winner in this category for their exhibition display, Mt Morgan Murri: Indigenous stories of the Mt Morgan region. This project was initiated as a result of the museum’s 2009 volunteers noticing that visitors were disappointed to find only one small cabinet displaying local Aboriginal artefacts. Realising that this important community group was being left out of the town’s social history collection, the museum worked with the local Museum Development Officer to establish an Indigenous Reference Group, and began regularly meeting to share stories and shape the groundwork for a new display to be achieved in the Mount Morgan Museum. Over a two-year period museum volunteers learned about community consultation processes, grant writing, research techniques, developing professional displays, copyright issues, project management, publicity and other skills involved in implementing a professional display. The exhibition officially opened in July 2011 during NAIDOC celebrations. GAMAA awards were also presented in two Individual categories. Richard Baberowski was announced the winner in the category for paid individuals in his recent capacity as Cultural Development Coordinator at Moreton Bay Regional Council. Richard was recognised for his vision and commitment to creativity and originality, reflected in a significant list of new and innovative infrastructure projects he directed between 2008 and 2011. These included the award-winning Bribie Island Seaside Museum; a five-year project to refurbish the Caboolture Historical Village; his work as senior project advisor on the gallery and creative industries cluster

left: Mt Morgan Murri art workshops. Photo: Mt Morgan Museum.

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  31

of the proposed Caboolture Central Project (now the Caboolture Hub opened in 2011); and his leadership in developing the regional council’s Cultural Heart branding and ‘one-stop’ online information portal. Finally, the vital role that volunteers play in the museums and galleries sector was recognised in the category for ‘Individuals: Volunteer’. The winner here was Elaine Madill, the volunteer President of the Wondai Regional Art Gallery. The judging panel recognised Elaine’s energy and commitment to the community, resulting in a diverse and invigorated program that includes programs for younger audiences; the Blue Poles public art project; working with local Indigenous artists in Wondai, Cherbourg and Murgon; stimulus and encouragement of women’s art groups; and various competitions and workshops. Elaine’s leadership has expanded the volunteer base to enable the Wondai Regional Art Gallery to open to the public 7 days a week, 363 days a year, with exhibitions changing every month. And finally, her commitment to best practice was evidenced through her leading the Gallery in their year-long participation in M&GSQ’s 2010 Standards Program. The 2011 GAMAA Judging Panel also awarded five Special Commendations to: Cobb+Co Museum, Toowoomba, for their Reminiscences Program; Gatakers Artspace, Maryborough for their Collective Insites exhibition; Emerald Art Gallery for OBJECT: Uncovering the Significant Objects held in the Historical Collection of the Central Highlands; Deborah Tranter, Director, Cobb+Co Museum, Toowoomba (individual award); and Camille Serisier, Acting Art Collection Manager, Griffith Artworks, Griffith University (individual award). Museum and Gallery Services Queensland congratulates all recipients of the 2011 GAMAA awards. Further details of the winning nominations and photographs from the presentation event are available on M&GSQ’s website,, and on the Facebook page,

Acknowledgements: The 2011 GAMAA awards were proudly sponsored by Griffith University Art Gallery: Brian Tucker Accountant; Brandi Projects; Archival Survival; Pacific Data Systems; Regional Galleries Association of Queensland, and Museums Australia (Queensland). Sincere thanks to the 2011 Judging Panel and GAMAA Advisory Committee (details on the website, as above). [] Debra Beattie is the General Manager of Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ), based in Brisbane. Citation for this article: Debra Beattie, ‘Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) 2011’, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol. 20(3), Museums Australia, Canberra, February 2012, pp. 30–31.

above left: 2011 GAMAA recipients. Back row: Lisa McNamara, Emerald Art Gallery; Lara Clark, Sunshine Coast Council; Gwen Scott, Mt Morgan Museum; Karen Tyler, Redcliffe City Art Gallery; Susan Rogers, Fraser Coast Regional Council; Kim Morland; Lynda Griffin, Sunshine Coast Council; John Waldron, Sunshine Coast Council.Front row: Elaine Madill, Wondai Regional Art Gallery; Janette Laver, Cairns Regional Gallery; Josette Stansbie, Cobb+Co Museum; Janelle Insley, Cobb+Co Museum; Judy Barrass; Camille Serisier, Griffith Artworks. top: 2011 GAMAA trophies by Queensland artist, Glen Skien. bottom: Artwork developed during the TreeLine: people art science nature project. Photo: Caloundra Regional Gallery.

32  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA)

2011 MAGNA Awards below: AICCM Chair Julian Bickersteth accepting the award for National Winner, and winner, Sustainability (Small Museum)



he Museums and Galleries National Awards were established this year by Museums Australia to celebrate and reward excellence in museum practice across the cultural heritage sector, highlighting the success of Australia’s museums, galleries and cultural organisations from small volunteer-run associations to the largest state and national institutions. The Awards program encourages excellence and recognises the significant positive impact of our highest achievers in contributing to the sector by establishing benchmark excellence in Exhibitions, Public Programs, and projects and developments that promote ethical and sustainable practices. The 2011 awards were presented at the Museums Australia’s National Conference gala dinner held at the Hackett Hall Gallery, Western Australian Museum in Perth on Thursday 17 November 2011. magna2011_winners.php

NATIONAL WINNER Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) Development of Guidelines for Environmental Conditions for Museum and Galleries The Australian museums sector has relied on European and North American environmental standards to set local conditions for display and storage spaces, ignoring the reality of the vast differences in climate with which Australian museums have to cope. The AICCM have, for the first time, developed a series of guidelines that not only take into account the latest thinking on more energy-conscious conditions, but also are written specifically for Australian conditions, to help move Australian museums to more sustainable models of operation. Judges Comments: This project holds great significance for the cultural and heritage sector throughout Australia (arguably the world) as it builds knowledge, skills, understanding and standards for keeping collections safely into the future, both in storage and whilst on display. These guidelines will become the well-thumbed or bookmarked resource that remains on every gallery, library, archive and museum professional’s desk.

WINNER Small Museum

Temporary Exhibition (Budget $5,000 - $25,000) Mosman Art Gallery, NSW Australian Accent: The designs of Annan Fabrics and Vande Pottery in the ‘40s and ‘50s A community exhibition of national significance, Australian Accent presented a cohesive and comprehensive story about an aspect of Australia’s design history. The exhibition reignited interest from the design sector, redefining objects and materials usually associated with the craft and souvenir genres in the context of a public art gallery.

HIGHLY COMMENDED Small Museum (Budget <$5,000)

University of New England Heritage Centre, Armidale NSW Through the Collector’s Lens: Dissecting Booloominbah

1. Endnotes

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  33

WINNER Small Museum

Temporary Exhibition (Budget >$25,000) Gold Coast City Gallery, QLD Kuru Alala - Eyes Open This touring exhibition showcases new work generated as a result of an extensive residency and workshop program held over two years in remote desert communities in Central Australia. The collaborative nature of the development of the exhibition aimed to stimulate greater awareness and insight into concepts of culture, country and community.

WINNER Small Museum

Permanent Development (Budget >$25,000) Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne Refurbishment and Restructure of the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s permanent exhibition space The total refurbishment and restructure of the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s permanent exhibition space has greatly improved the engagement and accessibility for visitors to the Centre’s extensive collection, much of it previously unseen. The new exhibition now also incorporates survivor stories through the introduction of new technologies.

WINNER Large Museum Temporary Exhibition

Art Gallery of New South Wales The First Emperor: China’s Entombed Warriors An exhibition drawn from 13 Chinese institutions, this beautifully designed exhibition provided a rare opportunity to see into the world of China’s first emperor. Extensive public programs and new media applications were developed in conjunction with the exhibition.

WINNER Large Museum Permanent Development

Museum Victoria Science And Life Gallery Redevelopment Dinosaur Walk, Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world, 600 million years, and Dynamic Earth form part of Melbourne Museum’s redeveloped Science and Life Gallery. This comprehensive redevelopment, incorporating innovative design, multimedia and interactive technologies, engages intergenerational audiences in contemporary scientific issues from past, present and future using the museum’s extensive science collections.

top: The First Emperor: China’s Entombed Warriors, Art Gallery of NSW. above: Examples of Vande Pottery from Australian Accent below: Science And Life Gallery, Museum Victoria

34  Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012

Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA)

public programs

WINNER Small Museum Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum, Bathurst NSW Scattered Bones Scattered Bones addresses the geographic disadvantage a regional museum faces in delivering educational programs and attracting new audiences, and delivers a scarce resource to remote and isolated students. The project provides a unique combination of dinosaur-themed educational modules to remote schools via video conference, linking multiple schools to one cultural access point in a low cost, zero carbon footprint model of educational best practice.

HIGHLY COMMENDED Small Museum Western Australian Museum Albany Young Naturalists Club Western Australian Museum Albany Mini Muses Great Explorer’s Hall of Fame, Laverton WA Museum and Memory

WINNER Large Museum National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Art and Alzheimer’s Program The National Gallery of Australia’s Art and Alzheimer’s Program provides people living with dementia with an opportunity to connect with the world in enriching and life-enhancing ways. A discussionbased tour of works of art provides intellectual stimulation and social inclusion which support wellbeing and increased quality of life for people living with dementia.

HIGHLY COMMENDED Large Museum National Film and Sound Archive Cooee Cabaret: Touring the sounds of Australia

Museums Australia Magazine – Vol. 20 (3) – Autumn 2012  35

WINNER Medium Museum

left top: Children’s author Paul Stafford and Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum public programs officer Penny Packham. Photo: Zenio Lapka. left middle and bottom: Participants in the Art and Alzheimer’s Program of the National Gallery of Australia. Also see: “The NGA’s Art and Alzheimer’s Programs”, Museums Australia Magazine, Vol.20 (2), Museums Australia, Canberra, pp.16-18.


below: Eastern Precinct Development, Australian War Memorial

Watch this space for news about a 2012 edition of the Museums and Galleries National Awards launched by MA in 2011

1. Endnotes

Orange City Council, NSW Orange, Blayney, Cabonne Regional Sustainable Collections Project The Regional Sustainable Collections project supports museum volunteers in the conservation of their heritage. The key focus of the program is environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability for museum and col-lections. This innovative approach provides a model of national significance in the museums sector, particularly for regional and community museums run by volunteers.

WINNER Small Museum

WINNER Large Museum

Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) Development of Guidelines for Environmental Conditions for Museum and Galleries The Australian museums sector has relied on European and North American environmental standards to set local conditions for display and storage spaces ignoring the reality of the vast differences in climate with which Australian museums have to cope. The AICCM have, for the first time, developed a series of guidelines that not only takes into account the latest thinking on more energy conscious conditions but also, are written specifically for Australian conditions, to help move Australian museums to more sustainable models of operation.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra Eastern Precinct Development A culturally and environmentally sustainable project that balances the competing needs of a cultural institution that must be accessible to all, maintain its contemporary relevance, respect its historic resonance, and honour its commemorative purpose while achieving innovative and environmentally responsible design.

Museums Australia thanks the MAGNA 2011 Sponsors:

Museums Australia Magazine 20(3)  

Museums Australia Magazine 20(3) Autumn 2012