Fifteen Victorian groups will receive grants to help preserve the state’s heritage following the announcement of the 2008 Community Heritage Grants.

The successful and popular program is providing grants worth $62 390 to 15 community groups and organisations around the state in 2008. The groups include museums, historical societies, Indigenous, migrant and religious organisations. Each will receive funds to assist in the preservation of community owned but nationally significant heritage collections.

Victorian highlights include $4 400 to the Women’s Art Register; $4 400 to the Polish Museum and Archives in Australia and $4 500 to the Koori Resource & Information Centre for significance assessments of their collections. La Mama also received $3 600 for a preservation needs assessment.

Recipients attend a three-day intensive preservation and collection management workshop held at the National Library, the National Archives of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

National Library Director-General Jan Fullerton said the Community Heritage Grants program showed the commitment by the National Library, along with its partner institutions and the Federal Government, in encouraging communities to care for the nation’s heritage, be it in small country towns or capital cities.

“It is all about working together to help spread the message that if we don’t preserve our history now, it could be lost forever,” she said.

“Through sharing this knowledge, the information can be taken back to the communities where it is most needed to ensure that local heritage collections are still there for future generations.”

The grant money is used for significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation treatments, preservation training, digitisation, and purchasing quality storage materials or environmental monitoring equipment.

The Community Heritage Grants Program is managed by the National Library. It is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive; the National Museum of Australia and the National Library.

Sally Hopman, Media Liaison Manager, 02 6262 1704; 0401 226 697;
Erin Stephens, CHG Coordinator, 02 6262 1147;

Red Cliffs/Irymple RSL Military Museum received $4 500 for a significance assessment of the collection. Red Cliffs R.S.L. was established in 1925 in a soldier settlement area. The collection includes a number of primary sources such as World War I diaries and postcards, original paper, linen and silk maps and flags from locations such as Singapore’s Changi Prison, German prisoner of war camps, the Middle East and New Guinea. There is a cloth signed by prisoners in Changi Prison including Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

The Women's Art Register received $4 400 for a significance assessment of the collection. The Women's Art Register documents the work of Australian women artists dating from 1840 to the present by archiving written articles, photographs, transparency slides, compact discs, documents and ephemera of their artistic endeavours. Artists represented in the collection include Dorrit Black, Stella Bowen, Elizabeth Gower and Carmel O'Connor.

Australian Gliding Museum Inc received $6 400 for archival storage materials. The collection contains historic aviation literature, documents and audio visual material.
Established in 1999, the museum collects, preserves and displays items of sports aviation interest; stimulates awareness of all forms of sport, particularly gliding; promote interest in restoration, display and flying vintage gliders.

Nepean Historical Society Inc received $4 950 for a significance assessment of the collection. In 1803 the first European settlement of Victoria took place at Settler's Cove, Sorrento. The settlement was abandoned due to a lack of fresh water. The museum holds one of the original wooden barrels used to filter water from the beach – one of more than 5 000 items that provide a unique insight into the development and history of Sorrento and Portsea.

Polish Museum and Archives in Australia received $4 400 for a significance assessment of the collection. The collection contains 60 continuous metres of archival materials that reflect Polish community life in Australia dating back to 1910 and representing organisations based in Victoria, NSW, SA, WA, Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand. Notable collection items include documents from the collection of the Polish Rats of Tobruk in Hobart and oral histories of Polish elderly migrants about their experiences during World War II and life in Australia.

Christ Church (Anglican) Geelong received $4 000 for a significance assessment of the collection. Christ Church, Geelong, is the oldest Anglican Church in continuous use on its original site in Victoria. Subsequently, Christ Church archives provides a unique record of the early development of the social, cultural and community life in Geelong and Melbourne, with baptismal, marriage and death (including burial) records that predate those of the Melbourne Diocese.

Lord Somers Camp and Power House received $1 800 for training in archival documentation. In 1929, Lord Somers, the Governor of Victoria, initiated a one week camp for 16 year old boys to develop tolerance, teamwork and promote a better understanding between diverse sections of the community. Camps for girls commenced in 1986 and now the organisation conducts a range of personal development and leadership programs for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds including the disadvantaged and the disabled.

Briagolong Mechanics' Institute Committee of Management Inc received $1 800 for preservation and disaster planning workshops. The Briagolong Mechanics' Institute was built in 1874 and is believed to be the oldest continually operating Mechanics' Institute building in Gippsland. The library has been recognised as the most complete example of an early Mechanics' Institute library in the state of Victoria.

National Vietnam Veterans Museum received $4 800 for a significance assessment of the collection. The museum collection consists of over 27 000 items including artefacts, photographs, books, models, memorabilia, weapons, vehicles and aircraft and is the only museum in Australia dedicated solely to the period of the Vietnam War.

Merri Creek Management Committee Inc received $4 000 for a significance assessment of the committee archives. In the 1970s a range of environmental action groups along the Merri Creek joined with local councils to form the Merri Creek Coordination Committee, which later established the MCMC. The photographic collection documents the emergence and ongoing activity of one of the first major urban waterway restoration projects in Australia and Merri Creek has become a widely quoted example of good practice in urban waterway restoration.

Villa Alba Museum Inc received $4 000 for a preservation needs assessment of the collection. The Villa Alba Museum has two major collections: the general collection and the Cardamone collection. The Cardamone collection consists of over 40 000 samples of wallpaper and fabric sample books amassed over the last quarter of the 20th century by a Melbourne interior decorator and is a unique comprehensive summary of furnishings offered to the Australian public in that period.

La Mama Inc received $3 600 for a preservation needs assessment of the collection. This includes posters, prints, flyers, photographs and audiovisual materials which record the development of Australian theatre and artists. La Mama Theatre was formed in Carlton in 1967 for the creation of Australian and experimental works.

Fire Service Museum of Victoria Inc received $4 400 for a preservation needs assessment of the collection. The Fire Services Museum of Victoria collection comprises items from pre-1891 brigades and contains in excess of 13 000 items. These items include: fire fighting vehicles aged from the 1830s through to 1993; original hand written records of the Insurance Companies Brigade (Insurance Brigade) and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Board (MFB); artworks; uniforms and protective equipment; fire extinguishers and tools and audio visual items. The collection represents the profession of fire fighting in the 19th and first half of the 20th century.

Koori Resource & Information Centre Inc received $4 500 for a significance assessment of the collection. The Koori Resource and Information Centre (KRIC) was established in 1988 to provide information and support to a range of local Koori organisations and programs that shared a common vision. The collection comprises magazines, books, audio visual materials, media files, archives and photographs relating to political, sporting, community and health matters.

Wonthaggi and District Historical Society received $4 840 for a significance assessment of the collection. The collection contains oral histories, photographs, newspapers, maps, books and Indigenous artefacts. Represented in the collection is the history of the State Coal Mine, the Wonthaggi Coalminers' Union and the Wonthaggi State Model Town Project.