Presidents Report – August 2020


Another year has gone and our members find themselves in a different world now with the onset some months ago of the Coronavirus. Things are vastly different from this time last year. To adapt, our Annual General Meeting is held electronically, a new and different way of running our meeting. I thank all our members for taking on new challenges like ZOOM and for attending our online meetings and focus groups. We hope to shortly add research and training sessions via ZOOM until we can return to our centre once the threat of Coronavirus has abated.
We have had a busy year, our group reached a milestone 35 years and we celebrated with a birthday in November 2019 and later held a Christmas party in December. Both were successful events. As a group, we still take on community projects and one that was finished this year was the memorial wall that was built in Bathurst Cemetery. This wall was constructed by our stonemasons, Leif Hummelshoj and Julian Phillips. It stands proudly in the monumental section of the Bathurst cemetery. Plaques can be ordered from the group as a remembrance to relatives who are buried in the cemetery, but the location of their grave is not known.
Unfortunately, our wall sustained some damage recently and Leif and Jullian are working on restoring it. We thank them for all their hard work. For information on purchasing a plaque please contact our committee.
Our research centre has proved popular with drop-in days and research days as well as focus groups held regularly. We thank the volunteers and members for making this a great success. 2020 has seen our 200th edition of the Carillon Chimes published. Our Chimes just gets better. The larger format has allowed us to produce a very readable and enjoyable quarterly magazine. We are pleased with the many comments about the Chimes and many thanks go to our members for their contributions to it especially Marie Larnach and to our long standing editor, Barbara Knox for her time and effort in producing the magazine.
February again saw our group involved in the NSW Seniors Festival. In the past few years we have held specific events focussed on aspects of the heritage of Bathurst. This year we organised four bus trips, The Cox’s Road Tour proved so popular we had to run it a second time. The other tours were to historic Peel and Windradyne’s Grave on Brucedale and a tour through the Historic Precinct of Eglinton starting at Abercrombie House and learning about the people who lived and developed the community of Eglinton and the large estates that surround it. Many thanks to our members who helped with the tours especially Marion Pearce who conducted the two Cox’s Rd tours and Andrew Prior, who ably drove the bus each time. Thanks also to Christopher Morgan who graciously opened his home Abercrombie House, for the Eglinton event. The Peel tour told the poignant story of Windradyne, the great leader of the Wiradjuri people and we thank John Telfer for presenting a very interesting tour.
As we do each year our group organised a jam-packed Autumn Colours program but due to the Covid-19 outbreak the program had to be cancelled for this year. It was a shame because our group had put so much effort into the walks and tours developed. Prior to the threat from this virus we enjoyed a Grave and Grub tour of Blayney Cemetery presented by the Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group and a very enjoyable day was the result. Just as the shutdown was being considered, our last event was a tour of Machattie Park, learning about its unique history and the hidden stories of this beautiful part of Bathurst. The tour was organised by Jan Page and we thank Jan for a very enlightening and interesting morning.
September saw our Ground Penetrating Radar of the former Female Factory Site Project come to fruition. We thank Dr Louise Steding and her team Stedinger Associates for their efforts in carrying out the GPR survey. Louise and Gerald returned on 14th March to deliver the results of their findings. Louise was excited about a specific straight line that showed up in Charlotte Street that could indicate a wall or a side of a building that may be linked to the old female factory. This will require further investigation but has resulted in the site being registered as a place of historical significance which should help to protect it if any developments were to occur in the area. Many thanks go to Janet Bingham, Manager of Strategic Planning at Bathurst Regional Council and Councillor Jacqui Rudge for their support for the project and also thanks to Lee Steele and Dr Robin McLachlan for their contributions, without their support the project could not have come to fruition.
Due to the threat of the Covid-19 virus we closed our rooms on 15th March and Senior Citizens Centre Management also closed their hall. Since this has happened, our committee has assessed when it would be appropriate to re-open safely. We have formed a Covid Safety sub-committee to enable us to develop a covid-safe plan in line with the NSW Government regulations to ensure all members and volunteers attending our centre can do so in a safe environment. We hope to have our plan finished and a timeline developed to open again within the next few weeks. Restrictions will be tight for some time to ensure social distancing rules are abided by, Government regulations are met and those attending are kept safe but as the pandemic eases we will be able to reduce some of the restrictions.
To keep in contact with each other during these difficult times we have established a members only facebook page. We are developing ways to present research and training sessions via ZOOM so that members will be able to log on and learn. I thank Graeme Hill for his expertise in developing our ZOOM meetings and look forward to us running specific training sessions of interest to members. Our website is updated regularly so check it out and Graeme does a fortnightly information sharing email through Mailchimp to keep members informed. Let us know if there is research assistance or specific training sessions you would like to attend via ZOOM for example, navigating the new TROVE website, DNA, using online resources hints and tips. We will try and provide whatever assistance we are able to.
I would like to thank our committee members who have worked so hard this last twelve months and especially thank those committee members who are retiring this year for all their efforts over their time on the committee. A special mention of thanks to Joy Richens, who as Secretary also has the role of Research co-ordinator; to Anne Huges who maintains our extensive library and Mary Fletcher who looks after our finances. Thank you to Jan Page, our Vice President and committee members, Graeme, Marion, Colleen, Liane, Chris, Marie and Brian. All the best for the rest of the year.
Our Annual General Meeting was held on 25 July 2020 (see front cover) For those who were unable to attend, the minutes from the 2020 AGM, together with reports and Audited Financial Statements to the 2020 meeting are available by logging into the members area then clicking on the Meetings button.
We hope all our members and their families are remaining safe and well during these difficult times. We would like to acknowledge any loss our members may have suffered and we look forward to being able to come together again soon.
Kind regards
Dianne Barnes