Preserving the Dart: a piece of working history from the Murray River

A very clear image of DART with its pile driving machinery set up for work, and moored beside the shoreline at Waikere on the Murray River in South Australia, in 1930. ARHV <a href"http://arhv.anmm.gov.au/en/objects/details/149688/dart?ctx=b346e9c3-7f7a-4113-98fe-e838cd2c5c95&idx=0">HV000221</a>.

A very clear image of Dart with its pile driving machinery set up for work, and moored beside the shoreline at Waikere on the Murray River in South Australia, in 1930. ARHV HV000221.

The traffic on the Murray River owes a big debt to the simple working vessels that serviced the infrastructure that made commercial operations possible. One of these crafts, the barge Dart, lies onshore at Goolwa, shaded and partially protected by the big Hindmarsh Bridge that spans the passage between the port of Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island. Dart is out of the water for a much-needed restoration. Recently I visited the Dart as in-kind support to inspect the Australian Register of Historic Vessels (ARHV) listed barge and write up a Vessel Management Plan (VMP), thanks to a  Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) grant.

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MMAPSS travel to regional NSW

PS Ruby in dock at Wentworth

PS Ruby in dock at Wentworth. Photo: D Payne.

Every year the museum awards various grants through its Maritime Museums of Australia Support Scheme (MMAPSS). These can take the form of financial assistance or in kind support, for which museum staff travel to the institution involved. This is an excellent outreach opportunity for the museum, and being onsite greatly improves the quality of the work its staff can do. As Curator for Historic Vessels I travelled well out into regional New South Wales to work with two of the successful recipients in the most recent round of grants. I was visiting two very different craft: the 107-year-old paddle steamer PS Ruby and an oyster punt built by Gus Cole, possibly as early as 1918.

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How MMAPSS is Funding Australia’s Maritime Heritage

Oyster punt. Merimbula–Imlay Historical Society Inc / Old School Museum.

Oyster punt. Merimbula–Imlay Historical Society Inc / Old School Museum.

The museum is thrilled to announce the 2014–2015 recipients of grants through the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS), supporting not-for-profit organisations to care for Australia’s maritime heritage.

We’re also pleased to announce that applications are open for 2015-16.

In total, we received 61 project applications for 2014-15 requesting $474,376 in funding, as well as six internship applications. Grants were awarded to 29 organisations including in-kind support offered to ten organisations and Internships were also offered to three applicants. Continue reading

National Science Week grant: Endeavouring Science

NSW 2013

2013 National Science Week on HMB Endeavour replica
Photo: A Frolows, ANMM

The museum is pleased to be a recipient of a 2014 National Science Week grant from the Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia program. Our program, Endeavouring Science, looks at how science has both evolved and remained the same from the 18th century to the 21st century, featuring a range of activities located aboard the iconic HMB Endeavour replica as well as activations across the whole museum site. It will cover themes of weather and navigation, biology and botany, signals and communication and the scientific principles that underlie these.

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Grants available for diverse maritime heritage projects – due 31 August.

The diversity of projects seeking to be funded by MMAPSS is really rich.  A wave of applications come in each year and give the Selection Committee a snapshot of the amazing organisations all over Australia who are passionate about caring for Australia’s maritime heritage.

The subject matter is diverse with examples of past projects including oral histories, a journal, a diving outfit, a map, river charts, ships portraits, photographic collections, and of course vessels; bark canoes, pearling luggers, skiffs, flying boats.

The funding is for grants up to $10,000 and this year there is extra pool of funding for grants up to $5,000 specifically for organisations that want to develop educational or public programs.  Internships are also available for up to two weeks with funding up to $3,000.

MMAPSS funding is not just for maritime museums.  All non-profit, incorporated organisations that care for and provide access to maritime items of historical and national significance are encouraged to apply.  This includes for example, museums, indigenous organisations, historical societies, local governments, religious organisations and community clubs.

Head over to the MMAPSS website for a list of past grant recipients; application forms, details about the application process, key dates and eligibility.

Balmoral Beach Club used the funding they received last year for the development and preservation of their archives.  The club is nearly half-way through this six stage project to digitise and preserve over 90 years’ worth of club materials with a plan to be completed by 2014.

This great photo showing a group of swimmers in the early 1920’s was among the items that have been digitised so far.

Balmoral Beach Club - swimmers early 1920s

Balmoral Beach Club: ‘Digitisation of the Collection’ project – swimmers early 1920s

The club is steadily preserving their records and plan to use the information in a centenary book in time for the celebration of their centenary year in 2014.

Among the individual and season race records were the results of a race from 1928 (which you can see in the picture).  It was a freestyle race ‘From beach to buoy and return’ with men and women racing together.

Balmoral Beach Club - swimming race results 1928

Balmoral Beach Club: ‘Digitisation of the Collection’ project – club swimming race results 1928.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the grant program or the application process. You can find my contact details on the MMAPSS website.

– Sharon Babbage, MMAPSS Coordinator

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Applications for MMAPSS grants now open

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (or MMAPSS) annual grants program is now open to support eligible Australian organisations that care for and preserve Australia’s rich maritime heritage.  The closing date for applications is 31 August 2012.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for General Maritime Heritage Projects, and for 2012 only a separate category gives grants up to $5,000 for Education and Public Program Development projects.

Internships for up to two weeks are also available for staff and volunteers from regional and remote organisations; a great way to develop skills and knowledge and to create a valuable network of professional contacts.

The grant program focusses on the areas of collection management, conservation, presentation, education and museological training. Since 1995, the program has distributed over $900,000 to support organisations across Australia to run amazing and diverse projects.

Last year supported projects included an archaeological dig for shipwrecks, a traditional canoe building workshop and the analysis of a sea chest, untouched for almost 100 years!

Sea chest filled with medicine

Richmond River Historical Society: ‘Healing Sickness at Sea’ Project – A medicine chest from the SS St George. Photo & Clipping: Geoffrey Foley (RRHS)

If your organisation would like to apply, check out our website for details about the application process, key dates, eligibility and a list of past grant recipients (including a great Google map showing the spread of projects across Australia).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the grant program. You can find my contact details on the website.

– Sharon Babbage, MMAPSS Coordinator

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum.