Vice President’s Report 2021

Presented at AGM 21 May 2021

Let me start off by saying that 2020 – 2021 was a particularly sad year with members, past members or partners of members dying. 

  • In May 2020 we lost past president Steve. 
  • Bill, partner of Jenny died in October 2020
  • Adrian, a long time member and office holder, died in December 2020
  • Di, a former member passed away in December 2020

Ill health or injury was also a significant factor for several members including Lois, Laurie, Neil, Lyn, Chris, Sue and Maria.

The year 2020 -2021 was a year in which everything had to be seen/conducted through the veil of COVID 19.   Restrictions put in place to prevent the spread the disease meant that events were postponed or not even planned due to possible cancellation threat.  Consequently, there were no events of significance planned by the Society other than the annual ANZAC Day Memorial Services.  This is a service, organised by the History Society, for which Evandale has become quite renown.

I want to thank the members of the Society that made this event happen again in 2021 after cancellation in 2020.  In particular, I want to thank Vice President Bob for all his efforts in making this last ANZAC Day service successful and for also undertaking, from all accounts, the fairly onerous task of developing the COVID Safety Plan for the event.

And while I am giving thanks, I want to thank the members of the committee for their ongoing efforts.  Laurie, as our Treasurer is to be commended for his work in doing the books literally single handedly.  Having an injured hand made it hard to sign the cheques.  One wonders whether the bank ever checked the signatures against the original.

The other person to single out for thanks if Secretary Lyn.  The work that she does for the Society is phenomenal.  She is the real power house behind the Society and we will miss her when she steps back from her tireless work as secretary and researcher due to health reasons.  Well done Lyn and thanks very much.

Thanks should also be given for the work carried out by Ana, Lea, Sue and more recently Rod on the Society’s collection of information and artefacts.  Many of our documents have been scanned further enhancing the security and longevity of our collection.

As usual, the Society undertook numerous family history research projects that arose from requests from visitors and people from interstate or even overseas.  These were mostly done by Lyn and Jenny.  Apart from adding to the knowledge of the those requesting the information, these efforts also added to our history records.

Throughout the year, there were issues that came up at our meetings again and again.  Prominent amongst these were, the ANZAC mural, the Boer War Memorial, the Murray Vault, our website and the ongoing work with our museum collection and records.

I should also put on record all the fabulous and tireless research carried out by Stephanie.

One of Steve’s legacies to Evandale was the ANZAC memorial mural at the Memorial Hall.  Unfortunately, this mural fell into disrepair due to lack of maintenance by the Council.  This mural was an ongoing topic of discussion for the Society over the last 12 months.  There were letters to and verbal discussions with the Council, discussions with mural experts on how it could be repaired, talk of grant applications and a donation from Rotary for its repair; all with no immediate action.  However, I can now report that this mural has been repaired by Council, at their expense, and is once again on display.

On the Murray Vault, it would seem that members are resolved to clear the weeds and the grevillias that are growing on the site and to construct a metal surround to clearly delineate the vault area.  Hopefully the President’s report at the next AGM will highlight this as completed work in 2021-22.  My thanks to Laurie, Charlie, Stephanie and Bob for your efforts and contributions so far.

On matters Murray, the Murray Medallion which we provide each year to the Evandale Primary School was presented to Georgina Layton. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, a member of the Society could not be present the medal.

Other matters of note include:

  • Had a visit from the Tasmanian Roving Curators to talk about caring for our collection.  They could not offer too much more than we are currently doing in regards to the museum pieces and basically nothing on digitising our paper records.  Instead we just got on with it.  For example, Laurie undertook some strategic bombing to get rid of silverfish and Lea, Ana and Sue have done a tremendous job with digitising and organising some of our paper records.
  • Chris researched the value of books denoted from “Clairville” to help us decide what to do with them.  Most will be offered for sale.
  • Ruth & Steve Plowright donated 3 rather large musical instruments which may have previously belonged to past Evandale Brass or Silver Bands?
  • Laurie sorted documents donated by the children of David von Stieglitz. As some were duplicates of documents we hold on Lt. Col. Harry Murray V.C., Laurie arranged for these to be donated to the RSL memorial in Muckadilla in Queensland.  Laurie also assisted Muckadilla with additional information about H. Murray V.C. for their Memorial.
  • Barry researched Earthquakes in Evandale and discovered that between 1883 and 1885, there were hundreds of small felt earthquake shocks.  An article has been prepared for the web site.
  • Bob maintained our web site.
  • Sally arranged for a leather Saddle Bag from the Murray Room to be restored at Lake Leather.
  • The correct placement of McGregor headstone at St Andrew Presbyterian cemetery was actioned by Kim & Lyn.
  •  Boer War Names for Memorial. – Members agreed that the names of any additional names be limited to the old Evandale Council area of: Breadalbane, Evandale, Nile, Blessington, Deddington.  White Hills will also be included.
  • Stephanie started a campaign to have Lake Youll renamed to its original name of Lake Glover.  Despite her best efforts on presenting the facts, the wheels of bureaucracy are not turning too well.
  • Laurie liaised with the Tasmanian Government in respect to our security of fire arms in our collection.

There were many other interesting matters that members researched or discussed.  This report should not be too long so my apologies if I have missed somethings that should have been reported.

Barry Lawson