In this week’s episode, Geoff is talking to Steve Pearce from the Glen Innes & District Historical Society who was a Winner in the 2021 Community Achievement Awards for Regional NSW & the ACT.
Semi-retired. Originally from ‘Old’ South Wales; in Australia over 40yrs; living in Glen Innes 4.5yrs – moved from Melbourne to take up a volunteer position at the Land of the Beardies Museum. Many different previous occupations, including visitor services for Western Australia Museum (Fremantle & Perth); also worked for a national conservation organisation whilst based in WA; passion for history and the natural environment.
Glen Innes & District Historical Society Inc. has been serving as the proper custodian of the cultural heritage of the Glen Innes & District community since 1968. The Historical Society functions as a community chronicle, recording and informing successive generations through artefacts, documents and records at the Land of the Beardies Museum History House Museum and Research Centre. The Land of the Beardies occupies the former Glen Innes & District Hospital, which is listed as a heritage building. Over the past three years, the Society has been actively engaged in repairing and refurbishing the buildings, storage facilities and display areas. The Society has 255 members.
To find out more about the Land of the Beardies go to www.Beardieshistoryhouse.info
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Today’s guest is brought to us by the New South Wales government and Crown lands who are major categories, sponsor of the community achievement awards for regional New South Wales and the U.S.A.. I’m really delighted to be chatting with this week’s podcast guest, Steve Pearce. He’s representing the Glen Innes, historical society, Steve, along with all of those involved with the historical society of true community champions for Crown lands and for their community. And it gives me great pleasure to chat with Steve today because these people really make their time freely available to make a difference in the community. Steve, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you, Geoff. And welcome for the opportunity to chat.
Yeah, it’s really great. Now some of our listeners may not know, particularly those outside of New South Wales. A lot about Glen Innes, where it is, and what are some of the attractions that they would be I guess enticed to come and visit? Can you fill us in?
Okay, well, Glen Innes is in the New England district on the northern tablelands. So we’re about four and a half hours from Brisbane, about seven hours from Sydney. And we’re just as a matter of interest, we’re quite high up on the table answer with something like a little over a thousand metres above sea level. So at the moment, we’re quite brisk and wintry and we’re on the crossroads of New England highway and the gwydir highway. So we’re on a crossroads which is a good good spot to be for passing traffic. And you mentioned about some of the attractions, while some of your listeners may know we are we host the National annual Celtic festival. We have standing stones up on, on the hill, which are based on the ancient, some of the ancient stone circles on the Isle, a broad broken North of O, North Scotland. So that happens this first weekend of May. Every year we had it recently and we celebrated Wales Cornwall and Brittany next year, Scotland last year it was Ireland and Isle of man. So it’s a three year cycle way. And then of course, we’ve got the Land of the British Museum, which is a major regional Museum, which I’m proud to be a part of. We’ve also got abbeville mining Museum abbeville is about forty four K’s out of Glen part of the district. But it’s a great Museum. I’ve got a amazing collection of minerals and gems and other artifacts. So that’s another Museum. We’re also on because of our location. We are close to some really important national parks. We’ve got welshpool over the waterfall and Gibraltar range national parks and they’re actually part of World Heritage listed. So they’re quite significant and they’re actually high conservation value, old growth forest. So part of, I believe it’s gondwana Land for those people who know about that stuff. So we’re ideally suited for people wanted to come for a weekend visit for longer with a family. Couples says there’s lots to see and do, especially if people like the outdoors and fossicking. There is a major mining area. And so there are opportunities to go fossicking for sapphires, so it’s a wonderful spot to sort of visit. And I really enjoy living here.
Fantastic. And we’re on the we’re on dry Land here in Melbourne where I live. So it’s good. It’s great to know some of our history and Heritage, and of course the Museum provides a lot of that as well. So I’m looking forward to delving into a little bit more about that in a sec. You were nominated in the twenty twenty one department of planning and environment, a Crown Land manager excellence award. And you were nominated praised the significant work you all do and for the value the society brings to the broader community. When did the glynis and district historical society come to be and how and why
The first about nineteen sixty eight is, is the date that it was sort of inaugurated and incorporated and like a lot of these organizations, driven by the community that was back in sixty eight, there was a need within know of feeling within the community. That steps should be taken to preserve some of the Heritage within the district. So it was supported by both the then municipal Council and the Shire Council. They, everybody got together because obviously predates me. Got together and formed the society, then they cast around for a property to use as a Museum. And the Museum which we’re in now or the building was the old hospital which closed in fifty six. And it actually opened as the Museum in nineteen seventy. So we’re in our fifty second year, well over half a century. So the society has become the trustee. I became the trustee of the Land of the buildings, and now better known as Land managers under a tram trade reserves. So that’s, that’s how and why really in a nutshell,
fantastic. So it must be quite a large property or complex that you have there. If you run the old hospital site,
it is, it’s not just the central hall we see building, we’re on something like a little over one hectare. We are also responsible for there are a number of machines etc. in the grounds, which is part of the, the collection we’ve got within the Museum proper. We’ve got something like twenty six rooms or galleries. And then on top of that, we’ve got two machinery sheds. There’s an old nurse’s quarters which is quite extensive, and that’s where our accessions, when something is donated, we session that that goes into there for processing. It’s also the textile studio and the storage. And then another separate building is the children’s memorial Ward. So that was opened in nineteen twenty six, so it’s a first World war memorial. And it was used as a children’s Ward, but we use it as maintenance and function, some storage, and then also the Glen Innes park and use it for storage of them instruments. So we are fortunate upkeep notwithstanding, we’re really fortunate with regards to the property we’ve actually got to look after.
That’s huge. It sounds massive and certainly sounds very, very worthwhile visit for our listeners. General. If you’re not in New South Wales, get into it and make your way up to Glen Innes and visit the historic society and all that’s going on there. So you said about seven hours from Sydney. Now we want people to come to Sydney but otherwise if you’re in Brisbane only four hours. So you feel like Brisbane arts or more like sydneysiders
or no Glenn arts, I think you’d have to say It’s an interesting but like a lot of these smaller regional areas as the I’m blowing, I’ve not been here for a little over four and a half years but there is definitely a specific feel about Glen. People are friendly, it’s kind of, it’s got a long history. Going back to the first European settler was eighteen thirty eight. So on a European Australian level, it’s got a reasonable history, which people appreciate. So I think, I don’t know I’ve, I’ve moved here from Melbourne, but I lived in Brisbane for something like sixteen years, but I feel at home here. So I call myself a Glen even though I’m a blow in.
What’s your history? And might I ask what your involvement with the society there?
I, as I mentioned, I moved up from Melbourne about four and a half years ago to take up a volunteer role within the Museum. And the title of the role currently is Museum coordinator. We have a coordinator system whereby people nominate for particular roles. So we have a display coordinator, research coordinator, and accessions coordinator, a various different coordinators in different areas and they, they accept responsibility for managing and you could say those sort of areas. I’m here four days to week over in front of house, and I’ve got that the, the Museum coordinator role. So I oversee, I’m not the manager. I don’t tell people what to do, but I coordinates all the other coordinators tell me what’s going on. So at least one person has an idea overall what’s happening in the Museum on I’ve lucky, two of my passions is history and environment. And I’ve been fortunate in my working career to have done a lot of work within both of those. So I worked in visitor services, services with West Australian museums in Perth and Fremantle. And I also worked ten years in a conservation organisation in Western Australia. So I’ve been very fortunate and I’m semi-retired and I moved to Melbourne from Melbourne to Glen, to just volunteer and enjoy one of my passions.
Wow. So still if you’re semi-retired, you still still work and you do all this volunteering in around that?
Exactly. Yes. So well, you have to have a reason to get up in the morning. And as I said, one of, I mean, I love, I love museums. I love history. And it’s a great Museum. So it’s, it was an opportunity which I took to get away from the big city to come up to a spot which we’re, as I said, we’re on cross roads. We’ve got great national parks really close. And there’s great opportunities to enjoy life.
How many people live in there in the region?
I had a quick look at that. It’s something in the region as of twenty, twenty three as of this year, I think about ninety nine thousand in the
district. So there’s a few
fair few. It’s like a lot of areas that have shrunk over the years because the heyday of agriculture etc.. Unfortunately, we’ve lost our rail line then and we have an airport, but we lost the flights. So the name is the flight is armidale as well as the name as well as station. But it’s, it’s a fair sized community. Yeah.
And you mentioned other coordinator volunteers as well. How many members are involved in the society?
abetz about two hundred and seventy plus members which, which has been good. We’ve had a slight increase in members joining since about two hundred and seventy plus members. And that within the state interstate, and overseas we’ve actually got a member in Canada. Then you’ve got the active volunteer Corps, which is something like twenty to twenty five depending on when they volunteer. That could be once a month on a weekend that could be four days a week, like myself, or even a research coordinator, who does something like four or five days a week. And other volunteers sort of do anything from two days a week, three days a week. So it can Vary, but the active Corps is about twenty to twenty five.
Well, and there must be a significant number of hours put into the maintenance of the assets.
That is, that’s the big challenge. And I think anybody listening who is also involved in a similar institution with buildings, We are very fortunate to have such a great building. But the challenge, of course, is upkeep, and the oldest part of the building is eighteen seventy seven, and it’s double brick. And all the bricks were actually made in Glen at the now defunct brickworks, but eighteen seventy seven onwards. So it’s something one hundred and forty years plus. So luckily it’s solid but ongoing, ongoing maintenance. We’ve got a, we are fortunate to have our mate, one of our maintenance volunteers, Simon, who is a Jack of all trades. So he’s madly doing work. So our aim of course is to we’ve inherited it after fifty odd years. Our aim is to when we hand it over for the next fifty years, that it’s in an improved condition, very ready for the next half a century.
Fantastic. Yeah. Well, no wonder New South Wales government and Crown lands, all of you and all of those who look after Crown lands because the work you do is huge and we can imagine where we would be without you. So thank you. On behalf of all of us. Well, the assets that we don’t think about every time we visit a park or in a public park or a forest or somewhere where you don’t realise that there’s a lot that goes into it. And there are a lot of people like yourself behind maintaining these facilities and these locations that we take for granted. So really appreciate all that you’re doing and understand in just a little bit. Now the complexity and the size of what you do is enormous. And I’m really, really interested to learn more about the Land of the buildings. Now that conjures up all sorts of things. And the Museum, of course, is the Land of the berries, history, house Museum and research center. So what is the Land of the Betis?
It’s a bit of a mouthful. So Land of the babies, that is a legend or a story and the, the accepted story shall we say is back in eighteen. Thirty eight. As I mentioned earlier, the, the first European settler was back in eighteen, thirty four prior to that, leading up to that the story goes that there were two stockmen Duval and Chandler, who were ex-convicts. And they were the first, supposedly the first Europeans to see the expanse of grazing Land to the North of armidale, which we are. And the story goes, they had long beards. And when people gentlemen from elsewhere were looking to gain properties or runs as they were called they were told we’re going to walk to the buildings. So that was the origin. Except well, shall we say origin of the legend. So it became known as the Land of the buildings. Now, of course, being Australian, we have to accept that you never let hard facts get in the way of a good yarn. So our Heritage adviser, Graham Wilson, who very kindly advises us sort of pro-bono, did some research and found that they weren’t quite contemporaries. So there’s a question mark over exactly that legend. But then he also came up with two possibilities. A lunch is a local fish. And excuse me, while I read this bit, which resembles a European catfish and it’s referred to in Northern England, Scotland and parts of Southern Queensland as ability. Then another one is many Scots migrants settled here, hence, hence the Celtic connection along with Irish and Welsh. And they would have brought with them their sheepdogs and the long bearded collie which was called a beard. So there are a number, but it’s become accepted as, as the Land of the beards. And the idea it is, they were, they were bushes with Long beards. So that’s where the name came from.
Well, sounds like a multiple. Yes, a crime for reasons why it’s claimed, but it’s certainly intriguing, isn’t it? ? Land and beard. And that’s actually the name of the Museum, isn’t that the Land? It is
Museum and research centre
at Folkestone. So what are the main attractions of the other Museum? You talked about a lot of staff which is fantastic. All fascinating. What are one of the main attractions, for example, would you have different exhibits or are they all fixed and long term attractions?
Well, there are, I suppose you could say there are some that are sort of semi fixed. As I mentioned, we’ve got like twenty six rooms of galleries. So for instance, a couple of years ago, we revamped the medical way because although we did have a medical exhibit, we wanted to revamp that because obviously being the EX hospital from eighteen seventy seven to nineteen fifty six, we wanted to sort of expand that and we were able to reopen the operating theatre, so it’s only been open a little under two and a half years. We’ve got the, the operating table, the big lights, and then quite a few of the machines. So that is, that will really always be there in one form or another. And then we’ve got a large, quite a large exhibit of Dres and parts, etcetera. We’ve got Sharon mine in Glenn in his district was a major mining district. Everything from as well, tin, arsenic bismuth, some gold, sapphire Molybdenum and stuff like that. We’ve got a costume room. We’ve got an area like what we call the chapel area for some of the old churches. We’ve got ancillary, ancillary medical, optical, dental, pharmaceutical. We’ve got what we call the slab hut, which is an old hut that was actually dismantled on a property and moved in and rebuilt and people used to live in it. So it’s actually, it’s not a reproduction. It’s actually the original that was moved in. Are there lots of other interesting, so we’ve got, well, convict make breaks. We’ve got, we’ve even got a collection of different barbed wires shoemaking. It’s. It’s something for everything. Everybody. So it’s, it’s a wide collection.
It sounds amazing. No wonder you need two hundred and seventy volunteers to to run it. And I, I read that he’s given a bit of notice for groups who actually do a guided tour around.
Yes. Yes, we’ve got obviously we’re open seven days a week. Vary in hours, but we also take coach groups, school groups and other sort of groups and different organisations. So we have, you know, the large coaches with forty odd people coming in. So we will give a talk and a bit of a bit of a tour before letting people sort of wander round. We also have complimentary tea and coffee for people to make themselves. We also provide catering for morning cheese and lunches. And there’s the cost involved with that, but also prior booking. So certainly we try and cater for different groups and individuals.
Absolutely brilliant. I can only imagine what people’s reaction would be to seeing the nineteen twenty seven replication of the medical a suite where operations occurred and the equipment that they had then compared to now would be quite amazingly stark.
Well yes, I mean we have a, a cabinet with a series of drawers which there are with which are displayed. You can pull them out of the display of various medical instruments and you’d, you would need to be unconscious when they were using those on the air because some of them. So I think the advances in medical procedures, i.e., keyhole surgery and little robotic things. I think that’s, that’s a great advance in the medical World. But having said that, they were certainly tougher than I am. When you look at, you know, they’re living their lifestyles and living conditions. They were a tough, tough, very tough generation.
And I guess they had to be denied.
They had to be and as not crude, that’s the wrong word. But we perhaps might be guilty of looking back and say, well, that looks a bit crude for instance, but saved many lives um, which otherwise, you know, being out in a rural area without any medical facilities. You either you either survived or you didn’t. So but it’s great to actually be able to represent that some people can see what it was actually like back then.
Yeah. And that goes for all of the farming agricultural equipment and so on and so on. There’d be so much to say, I imagine. And yes, certainly just put that on my bucket list. Come up and say,
Yes. I do remember travelling through to armidale over the mountains down the mountains. Yeah, it’s quite a way out and it does get quite cold in the winter.
It can too.
But it is beautiful, but such a beautiful area. The region is just magnificent. Views are spectacular. As you coming down, coming down those, those mountains, There’d be such an extraordinary history stored in the news. And I imagine that would be, must be you must pinch yourself from time to time yourself when you see some of some of the equipment. Some of the things that you do must make you very proud that you’re able to present this to the community.
Yes. From, from the everyday, from the everyday things that we use now, for instance, their version of that nobody thought when you’re using something, you don’t think, well, we should keep that for future. You just use it. That’s it. So different. So it’s time to be fortunate enough to have those things which were common everyday back then, but we don’t see our use anymore to be able to start to present that and. And again, give people a perspective on how things were and how they changed. And we’ve got some fascinating things, for instance, we’ve got well, it’s a tractor, it’s called the black, strong crawler. And it’s circa nineteen nineteen, nineteen twenty made in the UK. But we’ve being told a little bit of research seems to back it up, is that it’s the only working time of its kind in the World. Well, we run that periodically and we have a connection with the New England traction society who are based in England. So they, they look after the work and equipment. So something like that, which I think was advanced for its time. Originally it had fuel injection, all the things that we take for granted. Now they didn’t make a huge number of them and they did, they weren’t that successful. And as far as when you’re out in the paddock, you want something you can fix with a hammer and a piece of baling why. So if all of a sudden you’ve got to deal with a track vehicle, which that technology came from, the first World war. When you’ve got a jet with a track vehicle that’s got to know fuel injection, etcetera. And it breaks down, most farmers of the year would, you know, would be scratching their heads. But it’s an amazing machine. And as I said, we’ve been told it’s the only one of its kind. Then we’ve got a set of spurs, which we’ve been told were born at the battle of Waterloo.
which is what I watch my eighteen fifteen. So and then other things which people come in and they have a little bit of knowledge and expertise and say, Oh well, you know, that’s rare. Now it could be somebody came in and said we had a, we have what’s called a pelican, pick in the mining section and interest and it’s shaped like a pelicans beak. And the chap said, Oh, you know, I’m and he collects things like that. And he said, so I’ve never ever see any of those. He said, I haven’t got one in my collection. He said they, now I’m not, you know, we can only take what people say. So you’re learning things like that all along. And we have items which are extremely rare, like every other Museum, but so it’s, I’m really, I consider myself really fortunate to, to be in that position and to be involved and as one of the custodians of the community’s collection, which it is the community’s collection for future and for future generations.
Well, sounds like they have got good people on board to look after the future just talking with you on stage. So thank you for that. And I’d hate to think how many volunteer hours in a week or month or a year collectively there would be. And without putting you on the spot too much. Could you hazard a guess in a year? ? How many volunteer hours there might be given to the maintenance and preservation?
Well, looking at all the coordinators in the different areas, it’s got to be anywhere up to one hundred and fifty to two hundred a week. So you’re talking, you know, thousands of hours over a year. Yeah. I
potentially yes. And then we have things like working bees where, you know, will, we’ll clear out one of the, you know, the machinery, whether the machinery sheds and the traction society will come over and we’ll have a big, clean out and, and check and all that. So you add that into the mix. And then we also do But what, what’s, what’s the term we go out as well, and we, we get involved with the Celtic festival once a year. We, we have a Celtic music evening. Unfortunately, not the last couple of years because of the lockdowns, but so on the Thursday before the weekend will hold a music event in the Museum we, we get involved with displays of the decline in his show. So there’s all that external involvement that you add into that. So it might be actually, you prompted me, I might actually do a little extra curricular activity and see if I can work out approximately how many hours over the twelve months that be a worthwhile exercise. I
think, yeah, well, I hope you get a, a calculator with a lot of figures on it because it would mean I can, it’d be brilliant tonight. So Steve, what’s the research centre about, and what do you do there?
That is a research now that, that they’re always very busy Eve who’s our research coordinator does amazing things. And he’s been involved Eve travel has been involved with the organization, basically since the beginning. So over fifty years now, family tree research, historical research from people sort of students doing theses, academics doing research. We’ve got something like three hundred thousand record cards that are being built up over the over the half a century. And prior to that, we are working ever so slowly towards digitizing things. But we also we also hold all the local newspapers in this examiner, both hardcopy and lot of digital. We have something like sixty thousand plus photographs included in the examiner’s database. We have some very old photographs going back. We are very fortunate in that the district in the early days of photography, they were traveling, photographers going around and like at other regional and rural areas, probably hosted them as well. But we’ve got lots of great photographs of Early, early Glen Innes with cats and the dirt, roads, and things like that. So we have, we hold archives from the rotary apex quote, all those organisations. So we have a huge archive database and they’re all even during lockdown. Because people couldn’t go anywhere they, a lot of people got interested in family tree. So we did a lot of remote phone and Internet and email research. So it’s a, an incredible both local community and historical resource. And Eve and the other research volunteers do an amazing job at that. So While I had three different, lots of people come in this morning with research inquiries. So it’s, it’s great to be able to, to, to help people out with that sort of stuff.
But an integral and really important part of the historical society just just amazing so much that you do and there’s a Heritage tour. Is that part of the historical society as well? The Heritage tours
the app that has the Heritage. There’s a there in conjunction with the Council, provided the funding, we provided the research and again, research section did ninety nine point nine percent of the work. It’s a downloadable app, and it provides a tour of forty of clarence’s historical buildings. Wow. And also so knowing, you know, I, you can do that walking and also there is a nineteen location tour Heritage tour drive as well going at different properties. So that’s free to download both, both Apple and Android. So people can sort of walk around town or drive and have the information there. So that’s again, a great resource, especially in today’s technological age.
I reckon so people can, can come to the region and be blown away by their beauty. And there is and no comfortably there is so much to be able to do and access to see and to appreciate terms of the history, which I think a lot of us are really fascinated by our history. And you’re quite right. You mentioned before what I actually think at the time that they’re going to be developments, you know, in terms of technology after us. So we just think we know it. Oh, but so much happened so quickly and we forget about today and what we may leave behind as a memory for those who follow us. So for you to have all of that is really sensational and the amount of work that you will do is tremendous. And I can’t wait to to have a look. I chastise myself for any of it passing through in the past. But as I get a bit older, I guess holidays are beckoning.
Definitely, yes, you’ll be welcome, Geoff. Come and visit us.
I would love to. And as I mentioned earlier, you were nominated, of course, in the twenty twenty one department of planning and environment. Crown Land manager excellence award. It must have been really rewarding to have made the finals when you did.
It was we get, we’ve been, we nominated Originally in twenty twenty and we were fortunate to get through to the finals which was which was great. And then obviously we renominated in twenty twenty one and it was we were very, very happy to reach the finals again. So obviously when it was announced that we won, obviously there was a bit of a bit of celebration going on. But it certainly, I mean, the recognition it was about the recognition of the volunteers over the last half a century. I mean, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. Yeah. And also the to have that work. Appreciated was, is very significant for our volunteers and to, to realize that, you know, it is worthwhile to get involved with organized organizations like a historical society. And certainly as I said, the recognition was well received. So thank you very much. Kram LANCE. Yeah,
, absolutely. And I certainly understand the longer I am involved with the Crown Land awards. The more I appreciate speaking with people like myself and how much it means and why the New South Wales government, and particularly Crown lands, so passionate about these awards and recognising people like yourself who’s, who really do so much for Crown lands to make such a difference. They wouldn’t simply be able to do that. It’s important, I think, for the community to understand. And as I mentioned earlier, the breadth of the work that goes on that we wouldn’t realize in Crown lands through the management of so many properties and organizations that are doing all of that. So thank you. Crown lands, New South Wales government saying thank you. Yeah, we really appreciate their support to be able to recognize people like seals. Unfortunately, as you know, the awards were decided to be online last year again, which was very, very, very sad for all of us. We love meeting people like yourselves and seeing the three groups of being announced as the winner. And of course the winners don’t know who they are and to actually announced. So it’s always such a through and a joy to see the reactions and the pride on people’s faces as they marched to the stage to to be to acknowledge and people like yourselves, Steve and all of your volunteers there. Don’t do it for the reward or the accolade, but to get that is really special. It’s really nice to receive it. So we’re very thankful for what you do. Making a difference for so many. And I would say to our listeners that the young achiever awards are currently open for nomination for under thirty year olds. I think you and I just miss out on that stage so for our listeners, please ever think about who you know that might be contributing to the community and let us know who they are get onto awards, Australia become have a look in your state the categories icon and think about who you could nominate. And I should add that the twenty twenty two community achievement awards across the country are currently in the judging phase. And we wish all the nominees for this year’s program all the very best of luck. And we thank you for the contributions you make in your communities. Steve, just in a slightly different tact. What’s something we might not know about the historical society. Huh.
Well, as I say, as a recent blowing up, Some of the families in Glenn can trace their Australian ancestry back to You know, early European settlement in the district. So, you know, there are like a number of different family names that are quite strong and well known in the district. And there can be, of course, when, when you get a situation like that, there can be some, shall we say, some debate regarding events and the actual outcomes etc. of the past. And that’s purely as an observer and that nothing acrimonious, but it is interesting when discussions are casual discussions and disagreements come up with regards to what actually happened. So I found that a little enjoyable and fascinated, and I’m sure a lot of other societies with families that can trace way back in different areas would, would sort of have similar experiences.
So you from time to time might get a situation where the society comes across one undertaking or an understanding of a situation or history. And you might get another family or someone saying, hang on, we were responsible for all that. Not then
it’s a guess. Yes, it’s sort of that time time sort of what’s the term colors that memory one way or the other? So I think we all experience it, but it’s brought out more when you have actually families sort of yes, in a cycle context. Yes.
Yes. And as you said before, why let the truth get in the way of God? Exactly. Yes. There must be times when it all gets a bit too much. You know, you guys. And ladies, of course, are all doing such a tremendous job. But times where it all gets a bit overbearing and feeling a little bit low about all the work that’s got to be done. What do you do as a group to bounce back or recharge or reconnect in terms of the challenge ahead
We, we, we endeavoured to have a monthly social gathering within, within the Museum. And sometimes that is just gathering on a particular night. We have one this Friday evening, BYO a plate and drink and just get together and just chat and enjoy each other’s company. Occasionally we will do a gathering where we will. We have some really good cooks within the volunteers, so they’ll do a cake to one which is always always fun. And then certain it’s usually a Tuesday morning where most of the active volunteers are there. We on Tuesday morning. And so will will have morning tea. Some of us calling cake Tuesday because somebody usually brings a cake and so we try and make it as, as or less like work work as possible and try and keep the humour and have had a laugh. Because if you, if you’re volunteering and you can’t have a laugh, you start to wonder why, why, why you volunteer it. So we try and keep it as light as possible. And also try and remind ourselves as much as the to do list is never ending. It just keeps growing as fast as we take one off. Three, go on. The bottom is to remind ourselves, just how far we’ve come over that peak a period, year, two years, four years, fifty years. And so to try and give ourselves encouragement for what we’ve achieved and I would strongly encourage every similar organisation to take time to do that too. Well, rather than think, Oh we haven’t done this or we need to do this. This is a problem is to step back and actually give yourselves pats on the back for Well, no, we’ve, we’ve achieved this, we’ve got this, we’ve done this. And that’s what is so good about the prevalent managers award system. Is that it actually it actually does that, but it does that on a, in this case, a state level, an index and it is external appreciation and recognition of what volunteers do. And I think you’ve mentioned a number of times, I think off the top of my head the last time I looked there was something of which amazed me. Something like thirty thousand Crown reserves, large and small of different sizes. And that’s a huge number. And all those volunteers that actually work within those reserves and I think they and we really appreciate the words because that is an external recognition of the work that the amazing volunteers do. And as I said, the last hundreds of volunteers over the last fifty years. So thank you lads
to shine sort of the driving passions that make you in the society continue to do what you do, other than the camaraderie you just mentioned. I guess some good reasons to stay involved, but what was the driving passions?
Personally, as I mentioned, I just love history. I love A lot reasons. I love I love the stories. I love being able to to maintain those and to collect those and hand them on to future generations. And I believe that for people that are volunteering within the society and the Museum, very similar if not exactly the same. And I’m a bit of a DIY and Simon maintenance sort of guy. He’s a bit of the same. We like to fix things as well. And it’s to be able to take something, make it get it working again, and move forward as far as passions for the, for, for the community and the future. So we’re, none of us are going to be here forever and to be able to leave it in a better condition than it was when we took over custodianship is, is, is what we’re aiming for.
Yeah, fantastic. So what’s next for this society?
Well, we’ve got quite a bit of work happening at the moment. Thanks to the Crown reserves improvement fund. We’ve had work on the fabric of the building. I mentioned the children’s memorial Ward that is in the end part of refurbishment funded from private reserves improvement fund. So New roof gutters, jam, pipes, Windows and glass repaired and replaced and is currently being painted inside an act. On the rear entrance, we’re down about stage three. I’ve put in a New entrance, double doors on and that’s been painted so we have a long list of infrastructure projects to be done. Upgrading, Also digitisation of collections, Both archives and research, archives and, and data. But also what we’d love to do is to be able to put more more of our collections online. So people, when they’re searching for something, you know, photographs can come out and say yes this, this is available for viewing at Land of the buildings. So digitization, but for those listeners who are involved it’s can be a long, a long and winding road to get all that done. Especially when you have three hundred thousand record cards, sixty thousand photographs and in excess of ten thousand artefacts on display and in storage. But that is all now we’re working towards that bit by bit. We’d like to we had a virtual tour, but it was deplatformed the platform that was hosting it for whatever reason stopped doing that. And we’re trying to get that virtual tour back again. So that people can actually tour the Museum via the Internet. We are trying, we’re looking at bringing in audio and visual assets within each gallery. So when you locate it breaks a beam and you get a video or an audio, or you go up to an artifact and it tells your story that it has. And so there’s lots of things on the list
trace, enable volunteers,
and we always need volunteers please. Yes.
Okay, that’s it. Well actually,
especially if they can bake cakes. Yeah.
Well, you need to act now to our producer on your team. She. She’s an extraordinary cook. It is an asset to our team for many reasons, that’s certainly one of them. Do you have any other words and you’ve given us plenty or any words of wisdom or encouragement for our listeners. And in particular, the groups and organizations that might be listening
other than to reiterate what I’ve said before, but also what we as well as also to when these awards come up. Because they obviously they’ve been, they’ve been happening for quite some time now. And, and we looked at them, nominating them, we went down. Yeah. You know, we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t get through, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And then come twenty twenty. Because we had, because of lockdowns etc. with we thought, well, you know, we’ve got some time on our hands on that respect. Let’s, let’s see if we can put something together. And they, the process of actually putting together the nomination was very worthwhile. Just going back to what I just said, the realisation of what just what we’ve achieved and it’s not telling. It’s like taking stock you suddenly think. Oh well there’s this business and there’s this. So it was well worth the effort. So if there are any organisations out there that have maybe thought, well, shall we do it? And if I’ve, I’ve dismissed it because I thought, well, who are we, you know, and it’s not worth it is to, is to step back and at least go through the process of the nomination. Even at the end, you might not even launch it, but go through the process and see where that takes you. And I would say, even if you were thinking I will do the process. Well, Blodget. If you’ve done the process logic
to it, you never
know it’s an eye opener. It really is. And, and it’s also good for the volunteers with internally to say, well look, we put this together. This was one of the chiefs. So don’t dig yourself put it together and launch it if not this year, obviously. Then next year.
Yeah, good advice. Appreciate that. Thank you. Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about that you’d quickly like to mention about society or what you’re doing?
Well, other than we are always, we are always keen for New members and also keen for active volunteers. And if arrow collections policy is items, whatever they may be that have a direct or indirect connection with Land in district that that’s the policy. And that is because obviously if somebody has an interested artifact but is outside the district somewhere, there will be a Museum or institution involved in that district that that item should go to. Yeah, that’s, that’s the policy. But if anybody has things like whether it’s whether it’s a journal, a photograph, an artifact, even some information that has a connection with the Land or district. Then we’d happy to be it be great to hear from you whether you wanted to donate it or we can copy it etc.. But also if you want to just become a member or you live in a district and you’d like to become a member volunteer. We’re always happy for New faces.
Sounds good. And where can listeners connect with you online or learn more about the Glen Innes, innocent district historical society?
We’ve got the website, which is W, WW dot beds. And that’s B A, the IRS, Betty’s history house info. Now that’s our Facebook page. We readily frequently post on that and obviously, sorry, I’ve just got off track there. That’s our website. So that gives information about the Museum, the society, the district. And there is some historical information on there as well. And then we have Facebook, which we frequently post on. And then if you type in Glen Innes, district historical society, Facebook that will give you the link. So we post on that. Fantastic. But probably the website is the first more to
- Yep. And then anything immediate, what’s going on, check out the Facebook pages,
, Facebook page. We also have an events page on the website, but Facebook is usually where it goes. First of all,
page. No, no, it’s generally we are. We recently did a couple of workshops, one which was on communications, and it was discussed about the various other social media pages. We are sort of currently discussing that. But we are conscious of the available volunteers and volunteer hours and not to spread ourselves too thin.
It becomes a
beast. It can become a beast. At the moment, we’ll probably stick with the website on Facebook, but we’ll see how we go in the future.
Yeah. Well, on behalf of all of your members and volunteers, Steve, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast. You all do so much for the local community for the district and the broader Australian community. So thank you so much for sharing some of your story with us today.
Well, thank you Geoff. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you to Crown lands for facilitating all this and best of luck to the award nominees for twenty twenty two
Thank you. Stay tuned. The final details will be out in the not too distant future. I’m sure. While everyone until next week, please be kind and remember together we make a difference.
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