The 2017 Cultural Heritage Award Winners

The winners from the 2017 Awards are listed below.

Creative Reuse of a Heritage Place

Les and Irene Young & Glenn and Connie Young for the adaptive reuse of the former Commercial Hotel, Mooroopna

The Young family – Les, Irene, Glenn and Connie have restored the former Commercial Hotel in Mooroopna with a fine attention to detail and authenticity. They have reconstructed a number of the internal areas to a high standard, and this includes a very fine timber staircase.

The upper floor can now be used and its redesign provides a sympathetic re-use of the old, in addition to the creation of new spaces. The ground floor has been remodelled internally and this has created a suite of stylish and modern commercial spaces while still respecting the unusual architecture of this building. The adaptive works in conjunction with the restoration works allow the former hotel to have a new use and to continue to contribute to the commercial life of Mooroopna.

Conservation of a Heritage Place

Goulburn Valley Water for works to the Water Tower, Ross Street, Tatura

The Water Tower in Tatura has long been a landmark structure. Sir John Monash the much-celebrated war hero, and innovative engineer, designed the water tower. Monash was responsible for many other similar water towers, silos, bridges, viaducts and other engineering projects. He was also associated with the design of the State Library dome which, when constructed, was the largest such dome in the world. He was an innovator, and is recognised for introducing reinforced concrete into mainstream building.

Goulburn Valley Water to their credit, recognised the historic importance of this water tower, and set about restoring it with sensitivity, and have managed to maintain the technical and historic significance of this structure while ensuring that it still functions. This was not an easy task with one of the main issues being the atypical concrete construction when compared to modern concrete. This was a technical issue that was addressed with a professionalism that ensured functionality and the preservation of the historic values.

Best Research Publication or Manuscript

Ian Pleydell for his publication “Reserved for the People (Mooroopna)”

Ian Pleydell has provided a much needed analysis for what has largely become a piece of forgotten history. Ian has undertaken his research with a high degree of professionalism and then used this material to write an informative and well written publication that will interest all of those who live in Mooroopna and the wider community.

It will also provide a bench mark for further publications of this type. Mooroopna has a diverse history and there are other specific histories yet to be fully explored. Hopefully, Ian will turn his attentions to more of these areas as Mooroopna has much to celebrate and to learn from.

Other Publication

Katandra & District History Group Inc. for their publication ‘"Marionvale memories" - a historic account of life in the Marionvale district’

The Katandra & District History Group has prepared a publication that will have a wide audience. It is more than a history of the district, it conveys an intimate understanding of life then – a life that was often difficult, when families had to battle the elements, and at the same time deal with an unwieldy bureaucracy.

This publication has achieved a fine balance between providing an accurate historic account of the history of the area while at the same time providing a lens through which those in 2017 can get a glimpse of the character of the community of Marionvale. The text and images illustrate the struggles, the successes and above all the families who helped to establish the district. This history is a valuable document both for its accuracy as well as for its identification of the community values that sustained the Marionvale District.

Interpretive Signage

GOTAFE for the GOTAFE Historical Wall, GOTAFE Campus, Shepparton

The interpretative signage at GOTAFE has achieved a synergy between the contemporary and the historical. The contemporary graphic presentation of this signage is engaging while still providing clarity. Unlike some graphic presentations, where the graphics can become the focus, and the message gets subsumed. There are different facets within this display, such as static elements, text and reproduced contemporaneous articles. This combination works well and will be appreciated by most who pass through the doors of GOTAFE.

The text and displays are descriptive and informative but perhaps the most powerful aspect of the interpretation is the blown-up newspaper articles that have become the ‘wallpaper’ for the interpretation. The placement of the articles was not haphazard – despite appearing at first glance to be ‘eclectic’, instead, many articles through their prominence, will have a particular resonance with many of the GOTAFE community. This signage demonstrates that a lot can be done with little.

Community, Multicultural and Indigenous Events and Tourism

Merrigum & District Historical Society Inc. for Heritage Day 2015 and Heritage Day 2016

Merrigum & District Historical Society could be said to punch above its weight. Through its Heritage Day, the Historical Society provides a very enjoyable visitor experience. This is achieved through demonstrations, activities and displays that entertain all who attend. The quality is high and it is well managed. However, if one takes a broader view of the day, this type of celebration of the heritage of the area can provide an insight and foster a greater understanding of the early heritage buildings and the history behind how this area was settled.

Merrigum and district is home to a large number of highly significant log structures that were constructed in the mid to late 19th century. These were constructed by selectors, in part to provide shelter, and in part to satisfy the regulations of the period. While they appear primitive in finish they are a testimony to the bush skills of the farmers. This pioneering can-do attitude is celebrated in many different guises at the Merrigum Heritage Day. It can be found in the static displays and the workshops showing off all manner of bush skills. By celebrating heritage in this manner, the Historical Society manages to bring to life the history of the area and in particular a period of settlement that is little understood by many in the local community.

Other Contribution

Murchison & District Historical Society Inc. for the research, promotion and dissemination of cultural heritage through the Murchison Heritage Centre

Heritage Societies are often the unofficial custodians of the cultural heritage of their district. Murchison has taken this duty seriously and have in a highly professional manner provided considerable support through publications, research and the development of a very fine local museum. Their wide-ranging collection and area of expertise is of note.

The society has provided sensitive management assistance for post contact Aboriginal cultural places and items. This has been done in response to the particular needs of Aboriginal family members. The early squatters and later selection of this area has been recognised by the museum through its publications and museum displays. They also have on display a number of images, maps and other artefacts that provide the viewer with a snapshot of the Prisoner of War Camps. The history of the camps is not well known and it is important to recognise these events and to understand the character of internment during this period and how it was dealt with. History can sometimes seem distant and unrelated to our lives but these types of camps and their intent and character are being relived today for the same ideals of containment and national security. History is not just in the past.

Murchison Historical Society provides an excellent service to the local and wider community and like all such organisations relies on volunteers. In this instance the professionalism, the reliability, high standards and their positive engagement with all who venture into the Museum deserves to be rewarded.