Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 25-11-2014 Contents 15 - Tuesday, November 25, 2014
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Hidden gems undiscovered in storage
National Archives assistant
director of preservations services
and projects Ian Batterham in the
archive's lab.Photo: Matt Bedford
Inside our institutions
The historic document written by the
Whitlam government to decide the
wording of the motion against the
Governor-General is just one of the
many millions of fascinating items
stored in the repository of the National
Archives of Australia.
Rows and rows of dusty files, either
owned or created by the
Commonwealth, fill the storage
spaces, enveloping national treasures
that haven t yet been rediscovered.
While most of them are "just boring
documents", a few of them hold
Staff have recently uncovered
disintegrating Mickey Mouse
figurines, confiscated on their import
to Australia in 1937 as they infringed
Walt Disney copyright. Other notable
finds include the original history of the
Bounty mutineers, with a handwritten
list of births, deaths and marriages
beginning from 1853, and incoming
passenger flight cards from The
Beatles Australian tour in 1964.
Assistant-director of Preservations,
Services and Projects Ian Batterham
said his job of 33 years combined two
passions: science and art.
"It is first-hand history and it s
exciting . . . it s about beautiful things
and historical things and I like the fact
you can do both in this field," he said.
Mr Batterham said when he first laid
eyes on particularly special pieces it
sent shivers down his spine.
"We ve got documents in the
archive signed by Walt Disney, so
seeing the original signature is lovely
. . . we found the original coat of arms
of Australia on file, the original hand-
drawn coat of arms, he said.
We have the proclamations from
Antarctica from when Douglas
Mawson was there . . . then there s the
iconic documents from when the
Whitlam government, the note they
wrote, deciding the wording of the
motion against the Governor-General,
so that is a really solid piece of history.
"When you look at rows and rows of
dusty files and you think, oh they re
just boring old documents, you never
know what you re going to find, Mr
About 150 kilometres of archives
exist in the secure, temperature-
controlled facility at Mitchell.
Mr Batterham does not think all of
the gems in storage would ever be
unearthed, as more material was being
We ve got a job for life, he said.
We know the collection on a fairly
broad level, but getting down to the
sort of level of what s in this particular
file, we will probably never finally
A trial bus service which stops directly
outside the homes of the elderly and
people with a disability has been
extended to Tuggeranong.
It will ferry passengers between
their homes and community facilities,
including the Hyperdome, Erindale
Shopping Centre and the Canberra
Hospital, on Tuesdays and Fridays free
Territory and Municipal Services
Minister Shane Rattenbury said the
addition of Tuggeranong brought the
number of areas serviced to five,
alongside Belconnen, Woden, Weston
and the inner south.
The service means far more than a
simple trip from one point to another.
It is an opportunity to enhance social
inclusion across Canberra, he said.
Each bus is wheelchair accessible
and is operated by a member of the
Special Needs Transport team.
Carers who hold a valid carer s card
are also permitted to accompany
people on the service.
CAMPAIGN TO RAISE
To mark its 25th anniversary,
Volunteering ACT is staging a 25-days
of volunteering campaign leading up
to International Volunteer Day 2014
on December 5.
Politicians, athletes and media
personalities are all contributing to the
campaign to lift the profile of
volunteering in Canberra. They will
record their experiences using the
The campaign will end with a
twilight garden party.
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