President’s Report to Members at the 2017 AGM of Avoca & District Historical Society Inc.
We currently distribute our newsletter to 131 financial members, 4 Life Members, 3 Statutory bodies, 1 local newspaper and 33 other Societies. Fortunately the majority are sent electronically, with the proportion of the total sent that way increasing as time goes by, which reduces our expenses.
Digitisation of the 1869 Avoca Mail has been delayed due to budget cuts experienced by both the SLV and NLA. We have recently been pressing for answers about when it will happen, and is looking like mid-2018. They are no longer microfilming the old newspapers and then scanning to OCR from the film. They scan to OCR direct from the hard copy, and need to get a sufficient quantity in the pipeline to warrant bringing in a contractor with specialised equipment to do a large batch and upload it direct to Trove. They first need the conservation department to assess the quality of the hard copy, and repair any tears or folded pages, and this also takes time and expense. In the meantime ADHS Inc is holding more than $1,000 which has been donated by members for that purpose, and we welcome further donations to the fund.
Anne Young volunteered to take over from Denis Strangman “just in time” and has done a great job of re-jigging it in a now format, with a new URL: <avocahistory.net.au> which is easier to remember that the previous URL. It is operating satisfactorily, with ongoing “tweaking” happening regularly and increasing viewer statistics. We are also seeing an increase in paid research jobs, which keeps us on our toes!
Since being relieved of the responsibility for our website, Denis has been busy downsizing the contents of his residence with a view to moving into a retirement village, and has donated parts of his personal library to ADHS Inc., NLA and various worthy repositories.
We were sorry to learn recently of the death of long-time member Betty Beavis, and have been thanked by a number of members for publishing the eulogy delivered at her funeral in our recent newsletter. She was a great contributor to the collection and researching of our early local history, and publishing the results. ADHS Inc reprinted “Pioneers of the Pyrenees” which is still selling well. We recently had an order for 10 copies from the Avoca Visitor Information Centre.
Several years ago ADHS Inc erected a Memorial Wall in the old section of the Avoca Cemetery, to enable memorialisation of early citizens of the district buried in unmarked graves. This has been popular, with 13 bronze plaques affixed so far, together with a larger one explaining the purpose of the wall. We recently added nearby a 3-metre long aluminium seat with a backrest, facing north, to enable visitors to relax in view of the entire old section, across to the final repose of Henry Knott who donated the ten acre site upon which the cemetery was established in 1858. We ordered the seat on the internet from a supplier in central New South Wales, and it was installed by Simon Davidson and John Burnett at no cost using concrete mix materials donated by Steve & Tracey Gleisner.
The Op Shop / Garage Sale at 182 High Street continues to be our second-largest source of income, thanks to the efforts of Dorothy Robinson, Glenice Allen and Elizabeth Williams, and to Peter Howell’s generosity in allowing us to use the premises rent-free.
17th November, 2017.