Five Canberra community groups have been awarded a 2005 Federal Community Heritage Grants.

Announced by the Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator the Hon. Rod Kemp, at the National Library of Australia (Wednesday evening), the successful groups are Catholic Welfare Australia, Australian Academy of Science, Fire Brigade Historical Society of the ACT, Australian Dance Council (Ausdance) and the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS).

A total of $377 865 was distributed to 76 groups from around Australia to assist in the identification and preservation of community owned but nationally significant heritage collections. In addition, recipients are attending a three-day intensive preservation and collection management workshop being held at the National Library of Australia, the National Archives, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra .

Senator Kemp said the Community Heritage Grants are very important in supporting the effort to preserve our national heritage at the grassroots.

“From Broome to Burnie the grants provide funds and expertise to ensure our national heritage is protected and accessible with the collections remaining in their local context.

“This year sees the Community Heritage Grants program come of age with a stronger emphasis on training, the inclusion of artefacts, and the participation of the National Museum . The program’s maturity and national significance as part of the government’s Strengthening Australian Arts commitment is recognised with a near doubling of grant funding and the raising of the grant ceiling to $10 000,” he said.

2005 is the 12th anniversary of the program. In that time 426 projects throughout Australia have received more than $1.6 million in funding and extensive training opportunities. The grant money is used for collection assessments, preservation surveys, conservation treatments, preservation training, digitisation, and purchasing quality storage material or environmental monitoring equipment.

Jan Fullerton AO, Director-General National Library of Australia , said the Community Heritage Grants demonstrate the commitment of the National Library and all the partner institutions to preserving our heritage, particularly through training.

“It’s about our national institutions coming together to share their expertise which is then taken back to communities throughout Australia . This skills transfer aims to have heritage collections remain in the community and available for the pleasure and research interests of future generations of Australians,” she said.

The Community Heritage Grants Program is managed by the National Library of Australia. It is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, the National Archives of Australia, the Australian Film Commission, the National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia.

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Catholic Welfare Australia received $2500 for a significance assessment of the organisation's historical documents and library collection associated which the development of social policy in Australia .

Catholic Welfare is an organisation of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference that promotes the ministry of Catholic social welfare as integral to the mission of the Catholic Church in Australia .

Australian Academy of Science received $2600 to assist in p reserving audio and audiovisual material significant to the early history of the Academy and making transcripts of the audio material available on the Academy website.

The material relates to the early days of the Academy which was founded in 1954 by Australian Fellows of the Royal Society of London. The distinguished physicist Sir Mark Oliphant was founding President while Foundation Fellows included Sir John Eccles, Sir Macfarlane Burnet and Sir Douglas Mawson.

Fire Brigade Historical Society of the ACT Inc received $2750 for preservation training on the Canberra Fire Museum collection with a view implementing best practice in preservation procedures.

The collection includes 26 motorised fire appliances, hand drawn appliances and memorabilia associated with emergency services ranging from photographs, uniforms and Occurrence books from 1924 to 1968. The collection comprises more than 50 000 items.

Australian Dance Council – Ausdance Inc received $9900 for digitisation and archival storage materials as recommended in the collection’s preservation survey, funded in the 2004 Community Heritage Grants program. The Ausdance collection contains clippings, journals, ephemera, pamphlets, programs, photographs and other items that document Australia ’s important contribution to dance and choreography.

Ausdance Inc was founded in 1977 to promote the awareness and understanding of dance throughout Australia ; develop lobbying and advocacy opportunities and foster international links with dance and dance related organisations.

ACT Council of Social Service Inc. (ACTCOSS) received $3000 for a p reservation survey of the ACT Council of Social Service Inc records and resource collection comprising material on social policy including ACTCOSS, state and federal government and ACT community sector publications, internal records, media clippings and photos.

ACTCOSS is the peak representative body for not-for-profit community organisations and disadvantaged and low income citizens in the ACT.