Annual Report Batchelor Museum 2020

As for people everywhere, the situation for the Museum has been very different over this year.

Usually we open by April 1, and earlier when Easter falls in March. The Administrator, the Honorurable Vicki O’Halloran came on Wednesday March 11 to look at the Museum and have morning tea with members of the committee. She was most impressed with the Museum and people in the area were gratified that she visited a number of places and spent time at the Coomalie Council over the day. March 14 Sue was supervising and there were just two visitors. March 18 there were people from ANSTO, (Lucas Heights) and James hosted the ten members of the group.

Our single caretaker for the year, Daryl, came on site on March 20 but left whenvthe restrictions on travel and visiting with regard to Covid were announced soon after.

Once Darwin people were permitted to travel we had people from May 31 and then there were visitors from Adelaide later. A few did not sign our visitor’s book, but the count is little more than fifty (civilian) people for the year. The previous year we recorded 1741 visitors. A lot of those were international as the Ethical Adventure tour came several times a week on their way through to Litchfield Park. That tour operator has no participants for the tour currently and is having to re-invent his operations.

On June 30 an Army group from Larrakeyah Base in Darwin came to the Museum as part of a two-day tour in the Coomalie region looking at wartime sites, memorials etc.

Sue and Sean (committee) have been available for weekend visitors over those months, but we have closed now unless there is a specific request. We do have the required Covid Plan , visitor recording QR code etc.

For the past few months Lucinda and I have been spending Tuesday mornings at the Museum working on several fronts. The records have been copied on to digital devices. An index has been developed. Photographs with attached name/description have been selected and loaded on to a device so that the photos will run on a screen in each of the World War II and Mining areas.

There will be further information in the Aboriginal section, and the story of the development of the Museum will be displayed along the passageway in the entry building. As much of the buildings were recovered from white ant damage there was considerable work and we had many volunteers and adaptations along the way.

Lucinda and I also spent a few of those mornings-starting 7/8am- in the garden as it has sorely needed attention. I have asked the Council to assist in removing logs as that needs special equipment. A large mahogany where people would set up camp started to drop branches so has been cut down completely. The recent white-ant inspection indicated white ants in various logs lying around, though not in the buildings, thankfully.

There is no plan to re-open the café facility at all, though we will provide the facility to make a tea or coffee, and maybe get a drink dispenser in the future. Hopefully there will be people travelling who will come and assist in opening the Museum in 2021, and that others will include a visit on their travel plans.

My thanks to all the team.

Jan Hills     President and Curator.