MMHN June 2021 Update

  


Greetings

June 2021 MMHN Update contents: 
(Click on the headings below for specific items, or scroll down for the full Update)

1. Congratulations are in order!
2. Osborne House – Naval Museum Update
3. Wind Farms – new clean energy ‘extractive’ maritime industry
4. Submarine News   – and related matters
5. Call for Papers – Special Edition on Submarines
6. CSIRO’s Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR)
7. The Otama saga continues
8. Southern Ocean BIG News??
9. International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS)
10. HMAS Castlemaine Ship Museum Update
11. Waterways – Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council – Invitation
12. OSSA – Lauritzen Plaque Project News
13. Gargantuanisation – think BIG – or may not 
14. Shed 21 Maritime Infrastructure (obscure – yet noteworthy)
15. MMHN June 23 Forum Seminar Report
16. MMHN Advocacy 
17. Recent MMHN Submissions 
18. An opportunity for those committed to capturing history 
19. Naval Shipbuilding College (NSC)
 20. Polly Woodside Volunteers 
21. Next generation of Maritime enthusiasts
22. World Ship Society – Victorian Branch
23. MMHN Advocacy rewarded!
24. In conclusion – Maritime Graffiti

1. Congratulations are in order!
In the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours awards this month MMHN Board Member Dr. Liz Rushen was awarded an AM for significant service to community history and heritage preservation and Dr Peter Harris (Alma Doepel Project) was awarded an OAM for service to maritime heritage preservation. Maritime heritage is gaining due recognition – one maritime activist at a time! We sincerely congratulate them both for the important work they do for us all.

2. Osborne House – Naval Museum Update
In a wonderful example of collaborative maritime heritage advocacy, four naval organisations: Naval Association of Australia, (Victoria Section), Naval Historical Society of Australia (Victoria), Navy League of Australia (VIC/TAS Chapter) and Naval Commemoration Committee of Victoria joined forces to make a powerful submission on the management of the Naval and Maritime Collections to the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG). The submission primarily addressed particular concern about the appropriate preservation of the Geelong Naval and Maritime Collections currently stored within the former stables at Osborne House. Here is an extract from the submission: ‘The collection when properly displayed, has the potential to convey the important connection between Geelong, the Royal Australian Navy and the wider maritime industry. It is the product of many decades of effort by a few dedicated ex-Navy and ex-Merchant Navy identities. Many in the naval organisations have links to several of these volunteers and fondly remember Geelong identify Bob Appleton OAM (deceased). Since its closure following amalgamation with Corio Shire, CoGG has endeavoured to discover a method of commercialising Osborne House. It is understood that CoGG’s support for preservation of Osborne House is defined by a stipulation that any future development should consider the Lovell Chen Conservation Management Plan of 2009 which includes consideration of the important naval heritage aspects of the site. Retention and management of the naval collection gives comfort to many as it points to a viable future. In our view, this decision by CoGG enables our several organisations to formulate a critical interest in seeing the collection at Osborne House appropriately preserved. The current allocation of CoGG funds to some degree compensate for decades of inattention to conduct essential repairs at Osborne House and the Stables. It augers well for the way ahead. Constituents and interested Navy orientated organisations regard Council’s proposal to retain ownership of Osborne House and the Stables as being particularly encouraging. Several Navy orientated organisations state their preparedness to support the rebuild of the collection within Osborne House and/or the Stables at Osborne Park, North Geelong. The collection assembled within the Stables is substantial and will remain the responsibility of CoGG. Involvement of individuals with specific knowledge of the Royal Australian Navy and the Merchant Navy will be mandatory if the best outcome is to be realised but CoGG must acknowledge that a small, professional museum staff must be funded if the Stables Museum is to become viable.’ MMHN completely agrees!

3. Wind Farms – new clean energy ‘extractive’ maritime industry
Offshore wind will generate jobs. Greg Brown reports in The Australian on 25 June that the federal ALP recognises that offshore wind farms have the potential for tens of thousands of jobs – including maritime sector jobs, but the Coalition is yet to develop a regulatory framework for the emerging offshore wind farm sector, even though there are currently eight proposed wind farm projects off Australia’s east and west coastlines, including a $31 billion proposal to construct wind turbines off the NSW coast at Newcastle, Wollongong, Ulladulla and Eden. Chris Bowen noted in a letter to Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor that these proposed wind farm projects could provide more than 10 gigawatts of total generation capacity, but they cannot proceed because of a lack of regulatory framework. The 2021 Star of the South wind farm is of particular interest to MMHN as the project ‘deliverables’ by 2021 include the Marine Ecology Survey Program of baseline studies (marine mammals, seabirds and shorebirds, benthic ecology, fish, fisheries, and coastal processes) and the Offshore Approvals and EIA include initial impact assessment work and regulator engagement for the coastal and marine components. See
https://www.rpsgroup.com/projects/offshore-wind-star-of-the-south-victoria-australia/
 
4. Submarine News   – and related matters
‘It’s time to sink French sub deal’ – Ben Packham (The Australian, 16 June, p.5.) reports Independent Senator Rex Patrick has called for the $90bn contract with France-based Naval Group to be scrapped, arguing that it is ‘unsalvageable’. Patrick contends that Australia should move immediately to a Plan B for the contract to replace the Collins-class submarines. He has also urged the federal government to shelve plans to refurbish the Collins-class vessels, arguing that ten new submarines could be built for the same price. The contract to build Australia’s new submarine fleet is expected to be on the agenda when Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
The situation is ‘fluid ‘- Bloomberg’s Jason Scott reported (17 June) PM Scott Morrison as having ‘candid’ discussions with President Emmanuel Macron over delays and cost overruns in his government’s deal with France’s Naval Group
SA to build a new fleet of submarines stating that Macron had a direct role ‘in ensuring that we’ve seen a much-improved position come forward from Naval over the last six months’. PM Morrison told reporters in Paris: ‘We are coming up to important gates in that contract and there have been issues that we have had to address’. AFR European correspondent Hans van Leeuwen reported that French President Emmanuel Macron and shipbuilder Naval Group ‘have pushed back against the Defence Department in a budget dispute over the future submarine program’. The PM said there had been ‘improvements in the troubled $90 billion project and that his discussion with Mr Macron had been ‘candid’ but noted that the President’s personal interventions had been helpful, ahead of a September deadline for the company to submit a revised contract offer for the next phase of design work after two earlier bids were rejected as too expensive. The PM warned there was ‘still a long way to go’ on ‘value for money, and the performance of the contract, and the building up of our workforce’. The situation seems far from resolved.

5. Call for Papers – Special Edition on Submarines
The Great Circle, a peer-reviewed journal published twice a year by the Australian Association for Maritime History, is seeking papers for a special edition on submarines, exploring any relevant research, including:

  • The history of submarines in naval, military and defence contexts;
  • The use of submarines in marine archaeological research and historical oceanic exploration;
  • submarines as subjects of heritage protection;
  • the historical, civil uses of submarines; and
  • articles exploring sites and objects, events, organisations and people associated with submarines.

For author guidelines, see https://aamh.asn.au/great-circle/. The submission date is 30 June 2021. If you are interested in submitting a paper or if you have any questions, contact Dr Erika Techera (Erika.techera@uwa.edu.au) editor of The Great Circle.

6. CSIRO’s Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR)
The relationship between oceanographic research and global submarine operations is obvious – although unspecified. The Weekend Australian (13 June, pp.1 & 8) reports that CSHOR will not renew a five-year research agreement with China’s Qingdao National Marine Laboratory when it expires in June 2022. Established in 2017, CSHOR brought together researchers from Australia and China to further scientific understanding of the southern hemisphere oceans and their role in global and regional climate.
See:
https://www.csiro.au/en/research/natural-environment/oceans/centre-for-southern-hemisphere-ocean-research/
The decision follows a recent call by Director-General of Security Mike Burgess for research bodies to reconsider ocean temperature modelling projects with foreign researchers, with Burgess warning the information gained under such projects could be used to target Australian submarines. CSIRO has a strong history of international collaboration, including over forty years of collaboration with China. Qingdao National Marine Laboratory has strong military connections and leads a program that seeks to use satellite-mounted technology to pinpoint submarines at depths up to 500 metres. More than 80% of the Southern Hemisphere is covered in oceans and until very recently these vast oceans were largely unmeasured and poorly understood. Researchers do know that the southern oceans play a critical role in the global climate system through absorbing more heat and carbon dioxide than any other ocean region; influencing cycles of floods and droughts, and controlling the fate of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea level rise.

7. The Otama saga continues
Recent severe storms have threatened the survival the Otama submarine – an important example of our naval heritage. The Coast Guard at Westernport is warning the public to stay clear.
https://www.facebook.com/cgwesternport/
The situation is unfolding. Latest information to hand is that an inspection with the Harbour Master found the Otama on a very precarious lean. The Port of Hastings have deployed marker buoys for the exclusion zone.
Latest dire news: Max Bryant President, Western Port Oberon Association Inc, is appealing for urgent assistance  Email president.wpoa@maritimecentre.com.aum  or call M 0438 023648
A reminder: Otama was laid down by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Greenock, Scotland on May 1973, launched in December 1975, and commissioned into the RAN in April 1978. It was the sixth and final Oberon-class submarine to enter service with the RAN.
 

8. Southern Ocean BIG News??
Make of this what you will: The National Geographic Society (NGS) began making maps in 1915 and in the past recognized just four oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. NGS stated on 8 June, World Oceans Day, that it will recognize the Southern Ocean as the world’s fifth ocean. The Washington Post reports ‘for the first time in 100 years the NGS has mapped the world’s oceans and now it recognizes five: The body of water that encircles Antarctica and runs along Australia’s southern coast near Victoria and Tasmania is the 5th [ocean]’. Until now there has not been international agreement on the name. Formerly several names applied – Antarctic Ocean or the Gerlache Strait which lies off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and would once have been considered part of the Pacific. The large band of ocean around Antarctica has been reclassified by NGS cartographers as the Southern Ocean. NGS now recognizes most of the waters that surround Antarctica out to 60 degrees south latitude, excluding the Drake Passage and Scotia Sea, constitute the newly acknowledged Southern Ocean. Some dispute still surrounds the name. A rose by any other name? – depends on who you ask!
See:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/theres-a-new-ocean-now-can-you-name-all-five-southern-ocean
But those of us who’ve had the good fortune to spend time on the magnificent South would agree with Seth Sykora-Bodie, marine scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Anyone who has been there will struggle to explain what’s so mesmerizing about it, but they’ll all agree that the glaciers are bluer, the air colder, the mountains more intimidating, and the landscapes more captivating than anywhere else you can go.


9. International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS)
MMHN has a keen interest all aspects of maritime skills and training – as does the International Specialist Skills Institute (ISS) which is committed to ensuring that specialist skills of the past are not lost. Many maritime heritage enthusiasts are only too aware that this happening to maritime specialist skills – as entirely new skills sets are required. MMHN takes the view that all types of specialist maritime skills need particular attention in this seafaring nation. The newly appointed ISS CEO, Dr Katrina Jojkity joins the Institute at an exciting time: one when skills acquisition is arguably even more crucial to Australia’s success – now more than ever – with Australian borders still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia needs a skilled community of artisans, scholars, teachers, craftspeople, tradespeople, professionals, care workers, innovators, artists, and ‘creatives’. Katrina says At the ISS Institute we aim to enable Australians to discover best practices and skills acquisition in order to bring knowledge back into their own domain as well as share their newly acquired skills and knowledge with the wider community. The ISS Institute, with the view to developing a Fellowship, is keen to hear from members of the Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network and other maritime enthusiasts in answer to the question: What skills and knowledge are in short supply or need preserving before they are lost? Email your thoughts on this question to info@mmhn.org.au

10. HMAS Castlemaine Ship Museum Update
The HMAS Castlemaine has a new display, telling the story of Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean VC 80 years after his death describing the circumstances of his being awarded the Victoria Cross. The HMAS Castlemaine connection is as follows: In November 1941 HMAS’s Castlemaine, Armidale and Kuru set out on a mission to resupply troops and evacuate other from Betano Bay, Timor. During transit from Darwin, the ships were individually attacked by Japanese aircraft, delaying the planned midnight meeting at Betano Bay for the troop transfer. At close to daylight the ships sailed, only partially completing the mission. Command from Darwin ordered that the Armidale return to Betano Bay while the Castlemaine and Kuru returned to Darwin independently. All three ships were further attacked by Japanese aircraft that afternoon. Unfortunately, the Armidale was sunk and while the ships company, including Teddy Sheehan, were abandoning their ship, the Japanese continued the attack on the sailors in the water. Teddy Sheehan was wounded but instead of abandoning the ship, he made his way to a 20mm Oerlikon cannon, strapped himself to it and fired on the aircraft, shooting down at least one aircraft. Teddy was last seen by his mates still strapped in the gun while the ship sank.
Sadly only 48 were to survive of the 149 on the Armidale. Teddy’s family donated to the Castlemaine ship museum their replica medal set and his VC citation. The HMAS Castlemaine was visited by the Awards and Honours review teams during the review of Teddy’s award, so they played their part in Teddy getting his belated award.

11. Waterways – Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council – Invitation
The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council is pleased to announce that 3,721 square kilometres of Country and Waters will now be formally cared for and protected by its Traditional Owners. The combined area includes the Melbourne CBD and 24 local councils.
The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC) and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (WWWCHAC) have accepted Council’s proposed variations to their registration boundaries.  The variation will take effect from 1 July 2021
The VAHC is hosting an information session for anyone interested and all affected by these variations on 1 July 2021. The event, Welcome to Country – Melbourne, a Place for Our People, will be live streamed from 10.15am-11.45am. To register your interest, please email 
vahc@dpc.vic.gov.au
More information on the VAHC website: 
https://www.aboriginalheritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/traditional-owners-melbourne-cbd


12. OSSA – Lauritzen Plaque Project News
A reminder that this wonderful Project – a bronze plaque commemorating four Lauritzen ‘Dan’ vessels together with the Seafarers and Expeditions – is to be installed at Seafarers Rest Park located between the Mission to Seafarers and North Wharf from which ‘Dan’ vessels sailed in service to the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditioners (ANARE) between the years 1953 until 1987 when the last vessel, Nella Dan sank off Macquarie Island. During the years 1953-1975 the ships operated from North Wharf. but when Grimes Bridge was constructed, the ships were no longer able to access North Wharf and the ANARE operation was transferred to Hobart, thus ending Melbourne’s involvement with the ships. For the past 18 months OSSA has been working on the project with the Danish group ‘Friends of the Nella Dan’ (FND), the City of Melbourne and Riverlee Developers and the placement of the plaque has now been confirmed. An important milestone indeed. An interesting connection is that the final agreed plaque design came from Knud E. Hansen who also happens to be the ship architect for the new Antarctic ship Nuyina. The plaque will be cast at a foundry in Svendborg, Denmark. Although initial project costs will be shared equally between OSSA and FND, when total project costs are known, formal fundraising for this wonderful project will commence. Stay-tuned. It is highly probable that the plaque will take a prominent position in a forthcoming exhibition at the Danish Maritime Museum between October 2021 and May 2022 before it is shipped to Melbourne for installation at the Seafarers Rest Park due for completion late 2023

13. Gargantuanisation – think BIG – or may not
MMHN Board member Jeff Malley shares a stunning, topical and fascinating article by John Lanchester which appeared in the London Review of Books (22 April, Vol.43 No.8) reviewing the new book by Laleh Khalili Sinews of War and trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula published by Verso, April 2020 – so topical post the recent SUEZ debacle. It cleverly unpacks the economic imperatives behind the global push towards ever larger ‘gargantuan’ vessels, and the dangers. Provocative and mind-boggling, here is an extract to whet your appetite: When the Ever Given wedged itself into the side of the Suez Canal on 23 March, many, many people were annoyed and upset. The ship’s yet unnamed captain and all-Indian crew, for a start. It was also a definitively bad day for the Egyptian pilots who were in charge of the ship during its passage through the canal. Also annoyed and upset was everyone stuck on board the several hundred ships waiting to go through. Everyone worried about the stupefyingly diverse cargo on board all these ships: oil, of course, but also many tons of the world’s most mined commodity (can you guess? it’s sand); and, of course, everything else, from widgets to trainers to computers, from coffee to consoles, from plastic crap of all types to medicines to, well, everything. Since 12 per cent of global trade passes through the canal, the economic damage caused by its closure was significant: a boggling $9.6 billion a day. And then there’s a smaller community of people who, while not exactly glad to hear about the Ever Given, welcomed the opportunity it presents for consciousness-raising. This is the group who see shipping as the great ignored subject at the centre of the global economy. The truth is that shipping is responsible, as Rose George put it in the subtitle of her classic 2013 book on the subject, for ‘90 Per Cent of Everything’. It is the physical equivalent of the internet, the other industry which makes globalisation possible. The internet abolishes national boundaries for information news and data; shipping abolishes these boundaries for physical goods. The main way it does this is by being almost incomprehensibly efficient and cheap.
The book focuses on the centrality of the Suez Canal, Saudi Peninsular oil, and the evolution of maritime trade. In 1901, oil represented 1 per cent of traffic through the canal. By 1960, it was 82 per cent – and maritime gargantuanism proliferated. It’s a great read.
See
https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v43/n08/john-lanchester/gargantuanisation

14. Shed 21 Maritime Infrastructure (obscure – yet noteworthy)
The Age, 3 June, carried public notification that Shed 21 – 206 Lorimer Street, Docklands is to be included in an amendment currently being prepared by the City of Melbourne to the Melbourne Planning Scheme C394. Shed 21 in Lorimer Street, Bolte West Precinct, Docklands, was among five industrial sites nominated for heritage protection as part of the City of Melbourne’s independent heritage review of Fisherman’s Bend. The precinct of South Wharf was established as a berth from 1908. Shed 21, was constructed in 1956 for mechanised handling of steel. Shed 21 played a major role in the importation of steel, vital to the economic growth of Victoria, for 27 years. The CoM review refers to Shed 21 as ‘large with distinctive transverse cranes that travelled on tracks beyond the extent of the shed on both the Yarra River and road sides for loading’. The construction of the Bolte Bridge changed the equation for Shed 21. Development Victoria (DV) now owns the shell of Shed 21. Fortunately, the heritage value of industrial maritime heritage infrastructure is increasingly acknowledged. The report stated that DV ‘is committed to the retention of Shed 21 on the river’s edge and will ensure a sensitive high-quality interface [buildings] on any future development [in Fisherman’s Bend] to the south’.


15. MMHN June 23 Forum Seminar Report:
Ferries of Melbourne: Past, Present, Future – Good, Better, Best
MMHN events seek to inform, engage, and persuade both the public and responsible authorities, especially those who fail to acknowledge the economic, cultural and social importance of our maritime legacy. We advocate via formal submissions – wherever and wherever ever we can – and public events. The MMHN June event was almost scuttled by lingering constraints of a COVID-19 lockdown, but MMHN decided that, rather than postpone the event, we would re-locate to the iconic, marvelously accommodating and COVID-safe, Magnet Gallery in Docklands. We are most grateful to Magnet Gallery for enabling MMHN to proceed with this eagerly anticipated Forum which effectively encapsulated the MMHN’s Ferry Agenda. The program had distinct contributory components:
First, Bruce Gooley, well-known U3A presenter, researcher and writer on maritime heritage, comprehensively described and illustrated Melbourne’s energetic, colourful, successful and safe ferry ‘scene’ in days gone by. Many were astounded at the vitality and popularity of waterways transportation in the 19th century and surprisingly this enthusiasm for punts and ferries continued well into the 20th century.
Second, MMHN Board member, maritime lawyer Assoc. Prof. Dr David Goodwin (VU), led an expert panel discussion to unpack the current ferry situation. Panelists included ferry operator Matt McDonald (CEO Searoad Ferries), ferry regulator Gareth Johnson (Transport Safety Victoria), ferry infrastructure Jamie Gillingham (Development Victoria), and waterways management Adam Buchholtz (City of Melbourne) and joining us by Zoom was safety and licensing Brad Roberts (Australian Maritime Safety Authority).
Third, the audience effectively set the agenda for the discussion by presenting provocative, well-informed questions to the expert panel for comment. In essence, questions sought responses from those exerting influence or power: How can we enable an expansion of Melbourne’s ferry services? What is getting in the way? How can these impediments be overcome? Issues raised included infrastructure (deficit and neglect), zealous regulation and constraint, unhelpful plethora of responsible authorities – and the frustrating state government ‘amnesia’ around recognizing waterways as a public asset. MMHN promotes collaboration – and it is often lacking among responsible authorities. Our hope is that MMHN Forums facilitate greater understanding on what matters to the informed public and this exchange will have a positive impact on those making decisions.
Another important contribution to the Forum came from participants in MMHN Interns Program – three Monash University Business Masters students, Khushboo Majmundar, Ashik Shajahan and Srikar Vishnu, who conducted an investigation over recent months into The current state of our ferries. Access to this research and a recording of the Ferries forum will in due course be on our website:
www.mmhn.org.au. Regrettably, ferry operator Murray Rance (Little Group) was unable to join the expert panel, but his Channel 7 interview conducted that evening is illuminating and optimistic.
See:
https://fb.watch/6iV3ed1odx/



16. MMHN Advocacy
Around Docklands MMHN recognizes that Docklands is a KEY element in Melbourne’s rich maritime heritage. We advocate at EVERY opportunity that the multiple authorities governing Docklands should also demonstrate their recognition that Docklands is a unique waterways precinct. These authorities include: Development Victoria, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Tourism Victoria and City of Melbourne. This is a ‘no brainer’ to many of us. Sustaining our maritime legacy – vessels, infrastructure, industry, precincts etc. in Melbourne and beyond – will continue to languish unless there is a radical re-focus by those managing waterways. Momentum is gathering. There is obvious benefit in activating this under-developed and under-valued public asset – our waterways.
More needs to be done, urgently – waterways infrastructure investment and urban planning must prioritize waterways activation. The state government should be backing ferry expansion NOW as valuable public transport and tourism options. MMHN invites all in the MMHN network to contact us – share your ideas, proposals, and views on expanding the ferry network. Email
info@mmhn.org.au. The future recovery and prosperity of Docklands is NOT just about land-based real estate, it’s about optimizing the unique location – and that is ALL about the water. The economic and social benefits recognizing this are obvious.

17. Recent MMHN Submissions
To inform and persuade those responsible authorities who fail to acknowledge the economic, cultural, and social importance of our maritime legacy, we advocate via formal submissions wherever and wherever ever we can. This month MMHN made two submissions to the City of Melbourne.
The first MMHN submission was to the Draft Economic Development Strategy 2031 (DEDS). MMHN agree that the City of Melbourne should recognize, build upon, and optimize the value of all existing assets, both physical and cultural, but there are deficiencies in the economic equation in relation to waterways. We argued that the Key Priorities, as outlined in the DEDS failed to adequately recognize the economic value of particular ‘assets’ within Melbourne – our multifaceted maritime heritage, the maritime industry and waterways. Such assets are, if properly understood, recognized, and addressed, capable of contributing much to the economy and more generally to ‘brand’ Melbourne.
The second MMHN submission to the City of Melbourne proposed an opportunity to activate the Docklands at minimal cost by re-locating the vessel, Steve Irwin which must leave Williamstown due to degeneration of the wharf. In collaboration with Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia (OSSA), MMHN proposed thatthe Steve Irwin be towed to, and berthed (permanently or for an agreed term) somewhere in Docklands at a location with public transport access with no financial requirement of the CoM except berth or mooring support (to be negotiated)’. MMHN argued that ‘the presence of the vessel will enliven any maritime precinct. When mooring large vessels, pier infrastructure is a key determinant. Regrettably in Victoria, maritime infrastructure has been woefully neglected because those charged with maintaining wharves have either neglected wharves or built wharves which are only capable of servicing small vessels for recreational boating. Both Parks Victoria and Development Victoria appear to prioritise land-based projects.

18. An opportunity for those committed to capturing history
You may wish to register for the forthcoming Making Public Histories webinar: Australia’s Marine Environment: The History and Politics of Exploitation and Conservation. Climate change and resource exploitation is posing acute challenges for Australia’s marine environment. In this webinar three historians draw on their research to address key issues in the history and politics of marine exploitation and conservation. Lynette Russell (Monash University) reflects on ‘Looking Out, Looking In: visitors from the sea rethinking ocean voyages and Indigenous Australians’. Alessandro Antonello (Flinders University) examines the history of ‘Protecting and possessing the cold Southern Ocean’. Joseph Christensen (University of Western Australia) considers ‘Reconstructing a history of recreational fishing in Western Australia’.
Book here:
https://www.historycouncilvic.org.au/australia_marine_environment
 
19. Naval Shipbuilding College (NSC)
The Naval Shipbuilding College (NSC) in collaboration with Australia’s defence industry has established an online jobs ‘portal’ called the National Workforce Register designed to facilitate and publicise opportunities, from trades to PhDs, generated by the naval shipbuilding program in SA. The register offers those with relevant skills to move into exciting careers in the shipbuilding sector.  Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price states that By 2030 about 15,000 workers across the country will be employed in Australia’s National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, carrying out the largest regeneration of our naval fleet since the Second World War. Industry can also access the register to recruit qualified jobseekers registered on the site. The NSC is tasked with building an Australian workforce of naval shipbuilding and sustainment professionals through partnerships with industry and the education and training sector.
See
https://wfr.navalshipbuildingcollege.com.au/ and https://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/naval-shipbuilding-college-launches-jobs-portal

While MMHN is delighted to see evidence that government is recognizing the need to satisfy industry demand for workers with skills applicable in the shore-based maritime industry, given there is a dearth of maritime skills training, this focus and investment in ‘recruitment’ rather than training is a puzzling response by the federal government. We await tangible evidence that government at any level also recognises that Australia has a deficit in relation to blue water maritime skills training. MMHN and OSSA have long advocated that as an island nation, Australia is dependent on maritime trade. With a seriously diminished national fleet, it is critical that we invest in growing our maritime skills capability ahead of ‘recruitment initiatives.

 
20. Polly Woodside Volunteers 
In their Annual Report for 2020, like many other organisations the Polly Woodside Volunteers describe 2020 as a year best forgotten! Volunteer activity in the Polly ceased prematurely the end of February, regrettably leaving some repairs uncompleted. After negotiations with the National Trust, work re-commenced on 17 November, under COVID-19 regulations after almost nine months of unavoidable neglect of the ship. Remarkably, by the end of 2020, the staunch group of Polly Volunteers completed an impressive catalogue of overdue work: repairs to the port side aft accommodation door into the hold; temporary repairs to the deckhouse roof, noting that a new canvas roof covering is essential in the very near future; repairs to, and re-installation of, the gangway landing stairs; they made and fitted a temporary main-mast coat to prevent water leaking into the hold while the new mast-coat is completed; pressure cleaned and scrubbed half the deck, removing a large amount of general gunk, mould, as well as cleaning the inside of the bulwarks. So much admirable work.

21. Next generation of Maritime enthusiasts
The MMHN is committed to raising awareness among young people that our maritime heritage is fascinating. Recent news from the Polly Woodside Volunteers Group is that the National Trust’s Children’s Interpretive Centre alongside the Polly is most disappointing. Much to the dismay of many, the National Trust has leased the Polly Interpretive Centre (museum area) to Showtime Entertainment Group. Consequently, public access to the Polly site will be curtailed. Similarly disappointing was the decision some time ago by Museum Victoria to dismantle the ‘shipboard life’ exhibition at the Immigration Museum. Engaging the next generation of maritime enthusiasts is obviously critical – more reason to redouble our efforts to create the proposed Maritime Experiential/Education Centre on Central Pier. Our maritime inheritance is simply too important to ignore. MMHN will be advocating strongly to Development Victoria during their forthcoming consultations about the future of Central Pier.

22. World Ship Society – Victorian Branch
WSS reports sad and disturbing news about the untimely demise of a sound ship familiar to many: the Searoad Tamar, which departed Devonport on 31 March in good shape heading for further service in the Mediterranean. Market forces intervened. The vessel was constructed in heavy, high-grade steel and the extraordinarily high price of scrap metal in Bangladesh led to its untimely demolition! The WSS reports that Searoad Tamar was discharged in Melbourne on 1 April, moved to anchor before returning briefly to Webb Dock on 3 April for auxiliary engine repairs, then on to Victoria Dock on 5 April for handover on 8 April to Athens-based Ainaftis Shipping, leaving Melbourne on 13 April. On 5 May, it reached Chittagong, Bangladesh anchorage. Plans for the vessel appeared to have changed rapidly – and possibly were not even conveyed to the crew. The Searoad Tamar was run up on the beach at Chittagong because the scrap price in Bangladesh hit US$495/tonne and the owners of Searoad Tamar would profit an estimated US$4.2 million, having paid an estimated US$900,000 (about A$1.3M) plus delivery costs. A disturbing story on many levels. MMHN thanks WSS for the image below who apologise for not being able to acknowledge its source. It shows the Searoad Tamar beaching at Chittagong in Bangladesh.


23. MMHN Advocacy rewarded!
MMHN is delighted and grateful indeed to the English-Speaking Union (ESU) which recently awarded MMHN a Major Project Grant of $3500 to improve its digital advocacy via its website and the management of online events. ESU states: The MMHN is a relative newcomer to Victoria’s heritage sector, but it has quickly demonstrated its value to people involved with Melbourne’s maritime activity, including state and local government decision-makers. It wants to see Melbourne acknowledged as a port city with a rich maritime heritage that is celebrated, preserved, and sustained. The MMHN notes that blue-water maritime engagement has underpinned Australia’s national development and prosperity, and thus contributes to our heritage and culture. Melbourne remains the nation’s largest port. The Australian identity is built on more than two centuries of maritime discovery, daring, expertise, innovation, and competence. The MMHN has, however, encountered widespread amnesia in relation to maritime heritage, culture, and identity across the public realm as well as within the plethora of responsible authorities and all three levels of government. The MMHN has also noted that many maritime groups, although valiantly struggling to preserve and share the stories of our maritime heritage, have rarely engaged in collective endeavor. The MMHN therefore aims to act as a conduit, facilitating connections between a diverse and geographically dispersed group of maritime sector stakeholders. The MMHN website is a critical element of this work, central to fostering fellowship among existing stakeholders and reaching out to the wider public. With improvements supported by the ESU’s grant, the MMHN’s digital advocacy will inform, educate and foster due recognition of our rich maritime heritage”.

Note: The ESU was founded by Sir Evelyn Wrench in London in 1918 as a movement to draw together in bonds of comradeship the English-speaking peoples of the world. The ESU Victoria Branch is an educational and cultural charity, established in Melbourne in 1919. It is a non-government body, reliant on its members, volunteers, supporters and donors to undertake their work and fund its activities.

24. In conclusion – Maritime Graffiti
Strange indeed to find examples maritime graffiti in the back lanes of Carlton? So, a question for all our readers: Do you know of other maritime graffiti sightings – or murals perhaps? Please email your findings to info@mmhn.org.au

Until next month,

Kind regards
Jackie
Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Chair,
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network
0400 305 323 or email info@mmhn.org.au

 

 

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Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network
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https://www.mmhn.org.au/