Thursday 27 April 2017

Landscape heritage of Yaralla Estate at Concord – Talk by Stuart Read

YarallaHidden in inner-west Sydney, on the Parramatta River are two peninsulas marking the domain of the Walker family: merchant Thomas and only child, Eadith. Both were willed to NSW’s people as convalescent hospitals. Yaralla (Dame Eadith Walker Convalescent Hospital)’s expansive grounds are a little-known surprise. Paddocks in Concord (much of it a Walker gift), this nineteenth century estate retains many components and quirks: Australia’s largest private grotto and earliest private pool. 

Stuart Read was fortunate to win an overseas fellowship from the Pratt Foundation/ International Specialised Skills Institute, travelling through Spain in 2005 studying the management of change in old and new parks and gardens. He led a tour of Spanish gardens for the Friends of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, in 2010. Trained in science, amenity horticulture and landscape architecture in New Zealand, he has specialised since 1991 in working on Australian World, National and now NSW heritage areas. Stuart strives for acceptance of landscapes as a valid type of heritage place worth managing sensitively. Particular passions are lessons from historic gardens, tracing global plant movement, better management of cultural landscapes as part of our future identity and economy.

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Time: 5.30 for 6 pm

Cost: Includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12

Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001 or email history@rahs.org.au

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Woomera and the Anglo-Australian Joint Project – Talk by Kerrie Dougherty

Woomera Rocket Range! Once it was a name synonymous with high-tech weaponry, Cold War intrigue and the excitement of spaceflight. To mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Woomera Range, space historian Kerrie Dougherty will present an overview of its origin and operation under the Anglo-Australian Joint Project for guided weapons development, from 1947-1980. She will also discuss some of the security issues surrounding Woomera and how the missile research there drew early space-related projects to Australia in the 1950s and 60s.

Kerrie Dougherty is an independent space historian, author and freelance curator. Formerly Curator of Space Technology at the Powerhouse Museum, with over 30 years’ museum experience, Kerrie is also a lecturer in Space and Society studies for the International Space University. A Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, she also serves on their History of Astronautics Committee. In 2015 she was the winner of the Sacknoff Prize for Space History.

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Time: 5.30 for 6 pm

Cost: Includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12

Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001 or email history@rahs.org.au

Thursday 8 June 2017

Saving the Powerhouse Museum – Talk by Dr Lindsay Sharp

The Powerhouse Museum has been a much-loved part of Sydney’s cultural landscape since 1988 but its origins lie in the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879.  The rise of the Powerhouse Museum as a world class institution of decorative arts, science, technology, design and social history drew on a rich tradition of collecting, researching and teaching.  The Powerhouse, the principal public face of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), has become inseparable from inner city Ultimo, the home of its collections since 1893.

In February 2015, the NSW State Government announced its intention to relocate the Powerhouse from Ultimo to Parramatta as part of a new arts and cultural precinct in Western Sydney and to sell the Powerhouse site.  Public reaction to this announcement was mixed but serious concerns were soon raised.  This led to the establishment, in June 2016, of an Upper House Inquiry into Museums and Galleries.  At the time of writing, the report of the Inquiry is with the Government.

In this talk, Dr Lindsay Sharp presents a forensic analysis of how the normal processes of government and due diligence can easily be subverted by political agendas.  It also examines governance issues, the complex nature of museums and their critical relationships with their many stakeholders and the importance of the public voice in changing outcomes.  Dr Sharp will also look at some relevant projects from overseas that will assist planning for more creative, community focused museum options for Parramatta. Lastly, the current state of the “Powerhouse to Parramatta” proposal will be discussed, within the context of the potential benefits of consultation and collaboration.

Dr Lindsay Sharp is a museologist, consultant and writer and was the founding director of the Powerhouse Museum (1979–1988). Born in Britain and raised in Australia, he received his doctorate in the History of Ideas at Oxford in 1976. Other major directorships have included the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (1997–2000) and the National Museum of Science and Industry, UK, where he led the team that replanned the institutions within the entire Science Museum group from 2000 to 2005.   In recent years, Dr Sharp has consulted widely in Asia, Australasia and the USA, assisting cultural organisations to engage with broader audiences and become more sustainable. Dr Sharp, assisting Ms Kylie Winkworth (a former MAAS Trustee), prompted the holding of an Upper House Inquiry into Museums and Galleries, commencing in June, 2016.

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Time: 5.30 for 6 pm

Cost: Includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12

Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001 or email history@rahs.org.au