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David Bell
David Bell


Chairman’s report 2021

First and foremost, I would like to thank all volunteers for their contributions during the year towards the effective management of the museum and ancillary activities, regardless of the level of involvement. I also wish to acknowledge the additional responsibility undertaken by the committee. It has been a somewhat turbulent year but there were, in my opinion, several outstanding achievements which I will mention later in this report.

Increased Government regulations for COVID management were imposed during the year with which we were able to comply without any great inconvenience. There is some indication that visitor numbers are on the improve. The epidemic forced the cancellation of the NTSA Annual General Meeting in November which took place “online”. Our Christmas luncheon was another victim of COVID.

We received a shock to discover an infestation of white ants in the cells, particularly the cell housing the photographic display. This display was dismantled and stored away for future recreation and damaged timbers were dumped. We accepted a quote from Murray Pest Control for treatment in and around the buildings and monthly inspections which made a severe dent in our limited cash resources. We wrote to the Alexandrina Council requesting some assistance to help mitigate this cost and subsequently received a donation. There has been no white ant activity for the past six months. The final Murray inspection was in late July and it is appropriate that the new committee determine our future inspection strategy.

Early in the financial year the committee addressed the options of increasing revenue and/or reducing costs. It was thought that installation of solar panels may achieve both objectives. We were given permission to pursue this proposed project by Adelaide office and Treasurer Ken Knight carried out the number crunching due diligence and coordinated quotes and the later installation of a 6 kilowatt system. The cost was the largest single capital cost expended by the museum for many years, possibly ever. A chance conversation with Andy Doube resulted in a donation from Aberdeen Park Community Trust being received which helped to defray this cost. Ken will no doubt provide details in his Treasurer’s report.

The Bell’s store display was further delayed by COVID and the deteriorating health issues of the grant coordinators Trevor and Jill Riches. Warren and Ann Doman earned high praise points when they voluntarily stepped up and provided considerable and invaluable support to Trevor and Jill to advance the project towards completion. Ken Knight restored an old display case and made pedestals for use in the display and also arranged an in-kind donation from the Men’s Woodshed. Other volunteers assisted from time to time. It was a humbling experience to witness the great dedication, courage and perseverance Trevor and Jill have shown through adversity. An opening of the new display will be arranged later in the year.

The finial affixed to the courtroom fell victim to the ravages of time. Ken Knight turned up a replacement on a wood lathe – an almost perfect replica. The only sensible method to install it was to have scaffolding erected to provide a safe work place. Ken and Warren Doman jointly organized the work, aided by other volunteers. We arranged for an article to appear in the Southern Argus which also served to advertise the museum and invite new volunteers to join our activities.

Our major fundraising activity continued to be garage sales, held in October and May. Geoff and Edna Poyner again provided their property as the venue and Geoff, as usual, placed the signage at strategic places about town in the early morning and collected them after the event. Ever the quiet achiever. The committee has decided not to participate in the STA Trash and Treasure event this year.

Committeeman John Fox organized a donation from Strathalbyn Rotary club to fund a new and updated museum brochure and coordinated the printing of same. Warren Doman provided valuable design and layout input.

Our tireless Secretary Barry Quemby was approached by the Library coordinator, Alexandrina Council offering temporary use of two display windows at the Strathalbyn library and Barry recommended that we accept this offer. We now have on display some historical exhibits which we hope will help to advertise our presence in town. Warren and Ann Doman helped select exhibits for placement in the display cases.

A promotional article on the museum appeared in the Adelaide Hills Herald in June.

The regional meeting arranged for 25th August 2019 at Coromandel Valley was cancelled due to a health issue with the host Chairman and has not been rescheduled. The future of Regional meetings now seems in doubt. If the new committee considers that these meetings are of value, perhaps we should be proactive and offer to host a meeting before the end of the year.

The committee appointed Ann Doman as Display Coordinator in place of Jill Riches.

A test and tag inspection of electrical items was untaken during the year, coordinated by Bob Weckert. Bob efficiently continued with his Kitchen management duties.

We successfully applied for a MaC grant to update our Mosaic programme. Warren Doman has been appointed as the “MaC entity” in lieu of Jill Riches.

Lorraine Finnie continued in her quietly effective manner in the weekly maintenance of the lawns and gardens within the museum grounds.

A new volunteer offered to create and manage a new museum Facebook page which was short lived as the volunteer was not able to continue and the page has been taken down. Trevor Riches is continuing to manage our website.

My main concern for the continued viability of the museum is not financial but rather the volunteer base. Many of us became volunteers when in our sixties and to state the obvious, we are all ageing and no younger new volunteers are joining our ranks which is a concern. There is also a noticeable imbalance between the sexes and it would be advantageous to address that situation. Some may disagree but I think that the volunteer numbers at our Thursday working bees is satisfactory. In recent years it has become more difficult to fill the executive positions on the committee and as you are aware, the position of Vice Chairman has not been filled for at least four years. Having said that, we always seem to manage but I would rather thrive than just survive and that is my hope for the future.


Terry Watson




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Video tour of Museum