Last Friday a number of representatives from local historical societies, and a representative from Old Gippstown, attended a farewell coffee get-together for Dr Julie Fenley, past Director of the Centre for Gippsland Studies. Julie has been a great supporter and historical mentor for Old Gippstown and has produced two Significance Studies for the Dr Andrew’s and Narracan Mechanics’ Institute Library collections in our care, as well as proof reading our ‘Telling the Gippsland Story’ book. Dr Julie Fenley will not be appointed to the position of Director of the Centre for Gippsland Studies in 2016. The position will remain vacant. Federation University says it cannot afford to fund this position and that this situation will be reviewed at the end of 2016. The local historical community will be much the poorer for Julie’s departure.
With funding received from the Federal Government’s ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program, Old Gippstown is in the process of having the four wheels on our WW1 horse-drawn field ambulance repaired. The wheelwright at Sovereign Hill advises that these are nearly finished. These photos show the most recent pictures of the restoration process.
Old Gippstown was awarded a federal Community Heritage Grant to fund a Preservation Needs Assessment of the Dr J.M. Andrew and Andrew Family Collection in October 2014. This grant is an important part of supporting the effort to preserve the extensive Dr J.M. Andrew collection in our care at Old Gippstown. The collection is housed in a rare, old Yallourn attic house donated by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and relocated to the park in 1975 for the sole purpose of housing this significant memorial to commemorate the life of the ‘Father of Yallourn’ for future generations. Dr Andrew was the first resident medical officer appointed to Yallourn in 1926 and served the local community for the next forty-six years until his death in 1972. The grant provides the funds to conserve this valuable heritage asset through carrying out a preservation needs assessment by a professional conservator which has just recently been completed. This report gives a conservation and preservation analyses including a building condition assessment, recommendations for storage, care of the material types involved, environmental control advice and display recommendations etc.. A three-day preservation and collection management workshop was also held in Canberra as part of this grant and attended by an Old Gippstown collections manager, thus offering further expertise and insight to help protect all of our significant collections at Old Gippstown for our community.
With funding from Victoria’s Heritage Restoration Fund Grant - Heritage Victoria Places, restoration work commenced last week on ‘Loren’ iron house at Old Gippstown. The approved scope of works involves six different contractors and will include repairs to the outside iron sheets, downpipes, windows and timber fixtures, exterior and interior painting and investigation and repairs to wallpaper as well as termite treatment. ‘Loren’ was originally erected in 1853 in North Melbourne and was moved to Old Gippstown in 1968 – the first building on site. It is an historically significant building being one of only a few remaining iron houses of this era in Victoria, and unique with its two-storey construction. Thanks to this grant funding, we are now able to protect this irreplaceable heritage asset in our care.
Recently we had a visit from Gary and Kim Rodgers (pictured outside Sarah Carter's dressmaking shop display at Old Gippstown). Gary is Sarah’s great-grandson and Kim is Sarah’s great-great granddaughter. Gary's wife, Jill and Kim's Mother, Dzintra also accompanied them. Sarah Carter (pictured) was a local dressmaker of renown, originally renting a small shop in Traralgon and later managing the dressmaking section of the Gippsland Trading Company, Traralgon for eleven years and then went onto manage the dressmaking department of Layton Brothers, also in Traralgon, for a further 25 years until her retirement. The building at Old Gippstown is an old shop from Traralgon, but is not Sarah's shop which burned down. Sarah's only son, William, was killed during WWI at the 25 April 1915 landings at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli. We have his original photo and military memorabilia in our Military display at Old Gippstown.
Gippsland Heritage Park relies solely on volunteers for the cataloguing and care of its collections. There are many significant items and stories at the park which need to be kept intact for future generations.