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Museum Update January 2019

A Review of 2018

BATCHELOR MUSEUM UPDATE

This bulletin is well overdue and whilst I apologise, please consider the demands and variety of tasks dealt with over the time lapse.

When I asked for financial assistance with our getting solar power installed there were generous responses and I do want to acknowledge here that it has been a great help to us to have smaller and sometimes no costs for power. Power is separately installed to the two residential buildings so panels had to be installed on both roofs. Power to the added building-now a café- is connected with the Kirra Crescent block.

Over the last couple of years we have had African Mahogany trees removed from the site as they grow very large and drop limbs. There have been two fatalities in Darwin. Those trees were well established but not huge, but there is one remaining which is huge. During a storm weeks before Christmas a large branch fell from about forty feet-fortunately no one was around, and all is well. We now plan to have that one cut down also. The trees are prolific seeders and now invade bush land and establish anywhere.

Removal of those trees enhanced the grassed area. Selected smaller trees have been planted and the grounds look well. Also placed along the Mardango Crescent side is an agricultural seeding machine used on the Government Batchelor farm over one hundred years ago. Donated recently from a local property, it has modified wheels, but otherwise is original. It is placed not far from the mining machine placed at the corner with Tarkarri.

We also had donated a pictorial booklet from that era-circa 1912- which the gentleman who contacted me, purchased in a second hand bookshop in Victoria.

Whilst the early upgrades to the original buildings were in progress and we had assistance from (mainly overseas) back packers, they used the added concrete block building for cooking, eating; and then as a bedroom after the second old building became the focus for upgrade. All very memorable times.

That block building now houses our Archive, as well as an extensive collection of second hand books utilised for fund raising. Local librarian, Prue, runs the bookstall at the Batchelor Market which functions eight months of the year.

After installing a storage shed to transpose materials stored, the building then became the Barking Owls Café. “”Barking Owls” to represent the resident owls who live in and rear their young in the Tamarind trees near building A. We also sell a postcard depicting the original babies born since the Museum was developed. I am sure those of you who lived here years ago will recall the sound of the barking owls around Batchelor over night-it is so pleasing to hear them.

Committee member, Denise, opened the café in March 2018. With outdoor tables and colourful umbrellas it presented well, and many visitors enjoyed coffee and refreshments there. It also attracted local residents who welcomed the alternative venue.

Whilst our volunteers assisted during the 2018 year there is likely to be a commercial operator in 2019. This will cut the responsibilities of those operating the Museum and we are hoping to get assistance from travellers in 2019.

I do need to note that we have had wonderful people stop and help at the Museum over the years. Several of us keep in touch and hope to catch up again, wherever! For 2018 we thank John and Michelle, Joy and Neil, Malcolm and Helen, Terri and Bob. Safe travels and a good 2019.

Rum Jungle associated visitors to the Museum in 2018 included Linese (nee Marilyn Dark). Marie Snowball and Ian Landon-Smith.

Before the Museum opens for 2019 there will be an upgrade to the enclosed verandah of the café building. The external wall covering will be extended so it is fly-proof, the cement floor ground and polished, and direct doorways made. This will increase the area available for customers and provide a dedicated space for when Ethical Adventures comes- Rob brings people multiple times per week in the season. This year he will start his tours in February.

Currently I am caught up with recording the archived material with a professional archivist. I note more input needed to enhance some existing displays. Also I am hopeful we can get some of the wonderful pictures portrayed on screen.

Jan Hills     President and Curator.