Meals on Wheels: building towards a new social experiment for our times (Associate Professor Melanie Oppenheimer)

An ARC Linkage Project (LP100200065, $92,673) with LaTrobe University. This 3 year project includes a PhD scholarship and aims to undertake and national and international study of Meals on Wheels. CI Associate Professor Melanie Oppenheimer will be working with Professor Jeni Warburton from La Trobe University and the Australian Meals on Wheels Association to develop new business models for volunteers.

Protection of volunteers in the workplace (Associate Professor Melanie Oppenheimer)

A pilot study of Great Community Transport Inc, Blue Mountains & Penrith'. In association with Great Community Transport and funded by HACC and Transport NSW, will undertake a six month study to assess and evaluate the role and responsibilities of transport volunteers and the non-profit organisations that they work for. Funding of $24,500

The role of Queensland Museum collections in producing knowledge of Aboriginal people from Federation to the present day

This is an ARC funded Linkage Project (LP0561944), conducted by Prof Iain Davidson and A/Prof Russell John McDougall, in partnership with the Queensland Museum, and administered by the University of New England. The project investigates the production of knowledge about Aboriginal peoples by the Queensland Museum since the late nineteenth century. The focus is on the changing role of material culture collections in the construction of Aboriginality. The grant supports the doctoral research of Shawn Rowlands, who is analysing the Museum's material culture collection in the context of nation building and considering both the changing meanings and the contemporary relevance of such collections to Aboriginal communities. The project will produce a body of research that can be used in the design of new exhibitions that will reveal the true complexity of cross-cultural interactions in the development of the Museum's collections. Shawn presented an overview of his research in the Humanities Research Seminar series in September 2009

The Family Ties Project

Family Ties is an ongoing, collaborative venture with the Inverell and District Family History Group and the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, assisted by A/Prof Janis Wilton. Originally proposed in 2006 in preparation for the Tom Roberts Festival, the project aims to locate, document and utilise the variety of sources related to the history of the Newstead pastoral property, near Inverell. The project data forms part of the Heritage Futures database, and has been used for the re-interpretation and presentation of the Newstead North homestead as a heritage site.

Different Sights: Immigrants in New England

Funded and supported by the NSW Migration Heritage Centre and the Heritage Branch, NSW Department of Planning, and pursued in cooperation with local historical societies and museums across New England, Different Sights records the histories of immigrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds who have settled on the New England Tableland in northern New South Wales, Australia.

The project is connecting individual immigrants and their families to sites, objects, images, oral histories and other sources that help to tell their stories, and to establish themes and patterns in these stories. The project has produced a thematic study which provides an overview of the patterns of immigration and settlement in the region, and connects those patterns to the histories of individuals, sites, objects and communities. The project data forms part of the Heritage Futures database. The thematic study is available here.

A Land Fit for Heroes? A Social, Cultural and Environmental History of Soldier Settlement in NSW, 1919-1939

An ARC Linkage grant shared by UNE and Monash University, in partnership with the State Records NSW and the Department of Veterans' Affairs Website.

Gamilaraay Resource Use Project (Iain Davidson, Maria Cotter & Steve Porter)

This project is a three-year linkage research project focused on the documentation of Gamilaraay people's historical and contemporary knowledge, use and management of natural resources within the Namoi, Gwydir and Border River catchments of northern NSW. The research is funded by the Australian Research Council, Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources and UNE, and supported by the Heritage Futures Research Centre. The project is innovative being designed and co-ordinated by members of the Gamilaraay community in full partnership with academic researchers and the government agency responsible for land use decisions in Gamilaraay country.

Views of Maitland: Art + History

This project, a collaboration with Maitland Regional Art Gallery, is documenting aspects of the history of Maitland in the lower Hunter Valley in NSW, and is exploring the connections and conversations that can occur between art and history in the interpretation and presentation of the past. To date, there are two sub-projects: Maitland Jewish 'Cemetery: Place, People and Paintings', and 'West Maitland Technical College and Museum: An Installation and Memories'. Outcomes include an installation by artist Fiona Davies titled Intangible collection and drawing on oral history interviews and research on the Maitland Technical College; and Undertow, a painting exhibition by artist Hanna Kay, in conversation with an installation and publication titled Maitland Jewish Cemetery: A Monument to Dreams and Deeds researched and written by Janis Wilton. Members of the project team will also be presenting a paper at the International Oral History Conference in Prague in 2010. The project data forms part of the Heritage Futures database.

Past Projects

Members and associates of the Heritage Futures Research Centre have been involved with the following current and completed projects.

Archaeological Management Plan for Armidale Dumaresq Council (2003-2006)

This consultancy project was produced by HFRC PostDoc Fellow, Dr Pamela Watson, in conjunction with Armidale Dumaresq Council and the NSW Heritage Office. Archaeological sites within Armidale were systematically identified from historical documentation, recorded, mapped and assessed for their current condition, significance and potential. The information is currently being entered on the Heritage Futures Research Centre Database which is compatible with the NSW State Heritage Inventory, and includes a cultural mapping component (GIS). The results will be integrated with the Local Environmental Plan for reference in strategic planning and development.

McLean's Corner Conservation Project

A consultancy undertaken by HFRC PostDoc fellow, Dr Pam Watson, to display and interpret the archaeological remains of a mid nineteenth-century flour mill, house and store established James McLean, a founding pioneer of Armidale. This related group of buildings had long disappeared from view and public memory in Armidale. The site was excavated in 2001 and 2002 prior to its destruction by a supermarket development. A sample of substantial basalt footings of two of the buildings will be displayed through a viewing window, accompanied by explanatory signs. The location, on the corner of Marsh and Dumaresq Streets, is close to the Visitors' Centre and will form part of the walking heritage trail through the town. The project represents co-operation between the HFRC at UNE, Armidale Dumaresq Council, the NSW Heritage Office and New England Properties Pty. Ltd.

Golden Threads: The Chinese in regional NSW 1850-1950

Janis Wilton's Golden Threads project traced and presented the history and heritage of the Chinese presence in regional NSW. It was carried out in collaboration with the New England Regional Art Museum, NSW Heritage Office, Powerhouse Museum, Australian Museums and Galleries On Line (AMOL) and local museums across the region. The Project involved ongoing work with local museums, historical societies and local residents to collect, enter and share information and understanding about the Chinese contribution to New England. It has included the Golden Threads Travelling Exhibition, and material from across the region is also included on the Golden Threads website hosted by AMOL. The project resulted in a monograph titled Golden threads: the Chinese in regional NSW 1850-1950, published in 2004 (ISBN 978 186317 107 6 (186317 107 X).

Heritage of Australian Railways Project

This was orchestrated by HFRC Research Members Andrew Piper, Robert Hayworth, John Ryan and Iain Davidson, in collaboration with numerous external partners including Unions NSW; Rail Tram and Bus Union; Australia ICOMOS; Powerhouse Museum; National Museum of Australia; and the Railway Workshops Museum. Outcomes included a National Railway Heritage Conference, Thinking Rail, Lessons from the Past, the Way of the Future, held at Tamworth (NSW) on 28-30 September 2005, held as part of events associated with the 150th anniversary of the beginning of steam railways in NSW and coinciding with the official opening of the Australian Railway Monument and Rail Museum at the Werris Creek Railway Station. The conference featured over 100 participants from every Australian state and territory, plus international speakers and delegates, and was opened by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fisher. It featured a forum titled 'How can railways be a vital part of regional economic and social development?', with panellists including Senator Kerry O'Brien (the Federal Opposition's spokesman on transport) and Brian Nye (Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Railway Association). The conference was supported by a 44 page book entitled Train Whistle Blowing: Celebrating 150 Years of Australian Railways and the Culture it has Inspired, compiled and edited by Andrew Piper (HFRC) and Brian Dunnett (Railway folklorist and Australian Railway Story Project Manager). A collection of papers from the conference were published as Thinking Rail: Lessons from the Past, the Way of the Future: Special Volume of Historic Environment (Australia Icomos), Vol. 21, No. 2, July 2008.

See UNE Media Releases: 2 September 2005, and 23 September 2005

The Heritage of Gunnedah and how this could be used for tourist purposes (John Ferry)

This project produced written report and public address for Business Gunnedah. The work culminated with a public meeting attended by about sixty people in Gunnedah on 19 March 2002. Promotion of the town's Koala population was one recommendation in this report. As a result of promoting itself as the Koala Capital of the world the town has experienced record numbers of tourists.

Heritage, Identity, Tourism: Maintaining our Lifestyle (Andrew Piper)

The primary focus of this project is engaging local communities with their cultural heritage and developing community based heritage projects which further both social and economic sustainability. The project will investigated the social and economic role of cultural heritage in the New England region. Specific attention is to be given to the application of the research to tourism, and in particular the development of a regional New England heritage trail.

Manganese Mining in Werrikimbee National Park (Janis Wilton)

A series of oral history interviews provided key material for recording and evaluating the historical and social significance of the manganese mines which operated during the 1940s in what is now Werrikimbee National Park.

New England Lives (John Ryan)

A joint University and community, in this case largely with the Armidale and District Historical Society, project concerned with recording the lives of deceased figures from an area up to 30-35 miles out from the centre of Armidale. New England Lives Vol II was published in 2001 and Vol III is in progress.

New England On-line (Janis Wilton)

An innovative research database is being developed for recording and disseminating data from interdisciplinary research via online access to a range of the projects undertaken by the Heritage Futures Research Centre. The aim is to produce a user friendly means to link heritage places in New England to the stories, objects and people which give them meaning, and to make the material available on-line.

The New Italy Settlement Interpretative Management Plan (Maria Cotter)

This project builds upon the New Italy Conservation Management Plan completed by Maria and Jane Gardiner (a colleague from Southern Cross University) in August 2002. The purpose of the project is to produce an interpretative management plan for the historic New Italy Settlement Area with the view to formulating signage for incorporation into a New Italy Heritage Trail. It has been carried out in consultation with the New Italy Museum Committee, the New Italy School Reserve Trust (local residents), descendants of the original settlers and Richmond Valley Council, and in collaboration with the Centre for Regional Tourism Research at Southern Cross University, with funding from the NSW Heritage Office.

North Coast Railway History (John Ferry)

A 7,000 word contribution to a study commissioned by State Rail of the Glenreagh to Dorrigo Railway Line completed in December 2001.

Parry Shire Heritage Study (John Ferry)

This project for Parry Shire Council and the NSW Heritage Office, in collaboration with EJE Architects of Newcastle has been completed. It involved a lot of community consultation and produced a 7000 word thematic history of the shire. As a result of this heritage study, Parry Shire appointed a paid heritage consultant.

Saumarez Store Excavations (Pam Watson)

The old Store at Saumarez homestead, a National Trust property just outside Armidale, was archaeologically surveyed and sampled for the National Trust of Australia (NSW) prior to urgent renovations to the foundations of the structure. The core of the building may date back to 1835, making it the oldest standing structure in the Armidale region, predating the establishment of the town. Information on subsurface construction and phases of curtilage activities was retrieved. Like the archaeological excavations at McLean's Corner, this project has allowed archaeology students from UNE to gain valuable practical experience in archaeological field methods and post-excavation processing.

The Tenterfield Project: A Study of the Inherited Culture of the Tenterfield Shire (Martin Auster)

Local history, personalities, buildings and social organisations are an important part of the cultural identity of a town. An awareness of this community history can be gained from written publications, but books get out of date or go out of print. Unlike books, websites are instantly accessible from any computer anywhere and can be continually updated. The Tenterfield project has established an online archive of historical and cultural information relating to the town of Tenterfield in northern New South Wales. This project is a living ongoing work, to be taken over eventually by the local Tenterfield community.

Wing Hing Long (Tingha) Archival Collection (Bill Oates)

In collaboration with Wing Hing Long and funded by a Community Heritage Grant from the National Library of Australia. The project is coordinated by the UNE Heritage Centre Archives Staff.

Writing Tenterfield (John Ryan)

This was a major component of the Tenterfield Project. It was supported by the Tenterfield Shire Council, the School of Arts (now the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences), Library, Border Arts, Historical Society and Tourist Information Centre. The project took the form of a book of essays: Writing Tenterfield, covering environmental, ecological, historical, economic, biographic, architectural, transport, literary and general cultural material. It was completed at the end of 2001, and the book was launched in July 2002.