Museum Update January 2017

A Review of 2016

During 2016 there was a lot of maintenance and adjustments as the Batchelor Museum gains more visitation and recognition.

Early on we received a Grant applied for to remove five Mahogany trees from the main garden area. These trees had grown during a period when the place was not being used, and they were taking over the area. As well they can be dangerous-two deaths in Darwin- and also a problem for the buildings.

It was decided to renovate the additional block building to provide for a café situation and also as a place to sell our cards, booklets etc. Two Tourism Grants allowed this and contractors did the trade parts. However the organisation (Jan) and the transport (James with his truck) plus other manual jobs and purchasing in Darwin was a big factor for the volunteers.

It did enable us to cater for several groups who came by bus from Darwin and required morning teas. However it is not the intention that it be volunteer-based in the future.

In late March two couples arrived to assist with the opening of the Museum for the tourist season. Bill and Cheryl came for 6 weeks, during which the couples could cover all the Museum hours as well as assist with the on-going projects. Terry and Cheryl stayed on until early September, and locals cover the two days each week when they have respite.

Apart from all the regular duties Cheryl re-covered a number of donated chairs; Terry built the counter for the café, as well as built in shelves in each of the two Museum buildings to enable visual material from our collection to be shown in 2017.

A very tall donated bookshelf was strengthened, painted, and covers a wall in the café. Second hand books are displayed, as well as local craft items. A volunteer, Prue, takes a large selection of the books to the Market each month and raises funds for the Museum.

Terry and James contrived a display system for 12 posters of WWII-previously produced by the Education Department. Permission was sought to scan and display. Also in WWII more pictures with text depicting the Aboriginal involvement in WWII were added. There are two new larger panels and five panels pending in the main WWII areas.

Relatives of men and women who served in this area find it very emotional to see the display, and our visitor’s book has comments relating to this. Also some visitors have donated small items and photographs for display.

In the Aboriginal area there has been additions to display items and also new panels. Two very pictorial panels depict life at Meneling for Ros Jones (nee Sargent) with the Aboriginal Muk Muk group who lived and worked there-so involved in the Rum Jungle story.

In another area stories of the traditional people- Kungarakan and Warrai –are being developed. A lot of time and research has gone into the panel about Alyandabu and her legacy. This panel will be mounted this month- January 2017.

There were several panels added to the social life display in the Rum Jungle area, as well as small adjustments to the room which shows the original lay-out of the individual bedrooms. A sewing machine is in the lounge area of the ladies quarters similar to the one they purchased to make curtains -Joan Whitcher supplied that information.

A big thank you to our committee- Treasurer Carol. We have to report to the Australian Charities Commission (ACNC) each year after the accounts are audited so the job is demanding. Jan acquits Grants but the treasurer has to get the allocations correct for our report-much more complex these days. Denise, Manager of volunteers, bookings, communications with Grey Nomads etc; James- transporter, fixer and manufacturer of many things, Sue-volunteer recruitment and helper; Richard, assistant in projects and liaison re WWII contacts.

Ros continues to be a conduit for communications with Rum Jungle people and her contacts enable questions to be answered. Bruce has wound down his considerable physical involvement due to ill health. We are also appreciative of Museum supervisors Sean and Rex.

Visitation increased markedly in 2016 and we anticipate it will increase again this year. We have exposure through our membership of Tourism Top End, and also NT Tourism has been expanding advertising about our area.

Denise and Jan present our product to other operators at the annual Trade meeting and for this year the committee committed to paid advertising in a booklet distributed in venues across Darwin.

There is also a large number of people coming to Darwin for the 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942 and we will open especially to enable those visitors to have the opportunity to visit around that date

Jan Hills     President and Curator.

MUSEUM UPDATE February 2016

BMDA is delighted to launch their new website!

When you are reading this you will be on the Batchelor Museum renewed website, and for those of you who have been around from the beginning, I hope you enjoy looking at just some of the panels the Museum has on display.

I know some RJ people do look at the website and it would be good to have feedback from you regarding what has been achieved to tell the stories, so please send your comments regarding the website and the content. If you know of RJ people whose email addresses have changed then ask them to renew their email addresses, as we get some notifications returned.

Over the past month the upgrades have been made to the proposed café area, so that the correct plumbing for a café is installed and there is a much improved door system. We will have a ramp made to allow wheelchair access as required.

The Museum grounds are looking good as there has been enough rain to green the grass-some areas of the Top End have not had much rain- and the grounds have been improved by the removal of five mahogany trees which were well established when we took over the lease, and they had the potential to grow to a huge size as well as be a danger. Two people have died in Darwin as a result of falling mahogany branches.

We received an NT Government Community Grant to remove them (not including the stumps) plus remove branches of other trees which were a threat to the original buildings. This increases the visibility of the Museum from Tarkarri road and also allows an increased lawn area.

We are expecting couples from south to come by end of March to live on site and assist with the opening of the Museum 7 days a week as from April 1 2016. Last year saw the visitation numbers double and hopefully we will have many visitors this year.

There are three major management items to be negotiated for the Museum and I will provide further details as they evolve. Thankyou to Linda from Web Noise for her work on the website.

Jan Hills   President