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2019 - Awaiting feedback from the office of the Attorney General on the Moss Report
Reinstating Government funding to Wakefield Press
Wakefield Press is our State's premier independent publisher, and the only substantial publisher of SA historical works, and of works by SA-based history writers. The reported funding cut of $110,000 pa will mean that few history works will be published. If the publisher goes out of business, this will have an even more serious impact on an already poorly funded area of arts activity in SA.
Adelaide has some excellent museums devoted to various kinds of natural, cultural and social history. But unlike Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and a number of smaller regional cities and towns, we lack any institution specifically dedicated to displays and exhibits which explore how this particular urban setting came to be the sort of place it is today.
A museum devoted to the historical development of South Australia’s capital city is a worthy cause, and one which is not going to go away. For Adelaide remains unique among Australian state capitals in various interesting respects. Ours was the first Australian city to be laid-out and built according to a formal plan. And while still maintaining an unrivalled demographic and economic dominance over the rest of the state (South Australia has no major regional urban centre comparable to Victoria’s Ballarat and Geelong, or Newcastle in NSW), Adelaide was slower to industrialise than Melbourne or Sydney. This also helps explain the city’s distinctive appearance; Adelaide still boasts a remarkably large colonial architectural heritage, especially cottages and houses, within its metropolitan core.
An extensive report on options for a Museum of Adelaide was prepared in 2009 by the consultant Bronwyn Halliday. But after her feasibility study was submitted to the Adelaide City Council, the whole issue seems to have faded from view.
But perhaps we should really be pushing for a new Museum of Adelaide and South Australia combined, as both a significant drawcard for tourists and a cultural and educational resource for all South Australians. Located in central Adelaide, such an institution would fill the large gap left by the regrettable 1990s closure of the former Constitutional Museum established in the old Legislative Council Building. It would also enable History SA (the History Trust that was) to display much of their large collection of historical materials and memorabilia illustrating the unique development of our city and state, which at present languishes in storage.
You can read an opinion piece about this issue , written by our President, which appeared in The Advertiser in July 2012.
Photo Credit: Flickr: GreenTreeFrog
It is pleasing that after hectic campaigning by many groups and individuals, and with the History Council taking a lead role, things are looking up for public archives in South Australia.
From a position where the Adelaide NAA regional office was to be closed and even more of our records sent interstate or destroyed, we will now have both a continuing regional presence and see the return of a number of records to SA which were taken in the 2002 ‘rationalisation’. At the State level a crisis due to inadequate storage space and restricted accessibility of records has been averted.
A key to this outcome has been the proposal, vigourously pushed by your Council to have the purpose-built Collinswood facility at Collinswood returned to its previous function. Sold by the Howard Government in 2002, it is fortunate that the new owner did not demolish or reconstruct the building as he had planned, and it can be used for its designed purpose again, but this time serving both Commonwealth and State.
The National Archives has already agreed on a co-located reading room at Leigh St, and is placing its local records in the Collinswood facility on a lease basis. Meanwhile the State Records Office, already out of space at Gepps Cross, is planning to make use of Collinswood on a long-term basis.
The end result should be better reading rooms, and more records which are accessible and retrievable from both levels of Government in co-located venues.