ISSUE 14 - AUGUST 2004

Australian Folklore Network
Australian Folklore Research Unit
Curtin University of Technology

CONTENTS

  1. FROM THE CONVENOR
  2. HANDMADE NATION
  3. ST PAULS, MOA ISLAND CD
  4. MACEDONIAN BAGPIPE TUNES
  5. EUREKA 150 CONFERENCE
  6. INITIATION AND NEW STARTER PRANKS
  7. PIONEER OF AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN'S FOLKLORE
  8. AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN'S FOLKLORE COLLECTION GOES GLOBAL
  9. SCOTTISH BROADSIDES ONLINE
  10. AFN AFFILIATES
  11. THE MOE FOLKLIFE PROJECT Part 1
  12. LINKS

FROM THE CONVENOR

This issue includes responses to our request for information on current activities, news of new and forthcoming publications, conferences and projects. Thank you to those who sent contributions.

We also run the first of a 3-part series on the Moe Folklife Project by the project's director, Gwenda Beed Davey. The results of the project provide valuable insight into regional community folklife and into the possibilities and the problems of carrying out such projects in Australia. This first instalment details the steps in initiating and setting up the project. The next two will feature illustrated selections of the collected materials.

Transmissions continues to encourage contributions in the form of reviews, articles, comments, queries and news. Please send them to g.seal@curtin.edu.au

Graham Seal


HANDMADE NATION: TRADITIONAL AUSTRALIAN CRAFTS AND THEIR MAKERS

This is the second title in the Australian Folk Traditions series published through the Australian Folklore Network (AFN) and Curtin University Books. It will follow a similar style, structure and approach to the very successful first title, Verandah Music: Roots of Australian Tradition (2003).

Handmade Nation will present a selection of folk crafts, arts and skills traditional in Australia.

As with Verandah Music, there will be an emphasis on the bearers of the traditions. Articles on each bearer/tradition will be c. 1000-1200 words and will be illustrated by one or more photographs demonstrating some aspect of the craft and the craftsperson in action.

The aim is to present c. 50 individual crafts and their makers within the context of their communities, with an emphasis on the continuity of the traditions featured.

We seek a range of such traditions practised by men, women and children from a diversity of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

There will be an overview Introduction written by the co-editors (Graham Seal and Rob Willis), together with reference and other scholarly documentation at the back of the book. A CD or DVD may also be included, depending on cost and availability of suitable material.

We now invite collectors to contact us if they have material that might be appropriate.

Please contact Graham Seal g.seal@curtin.edu.au 08 9266 3234 or Rob Willis rwillis@westserv.net.au 02 68512687, 0427911962


ST PAULS, MOA ISLAND CD

Karl Neuenfeldt, Constance Saveka and Nigel Pegrum have completed a CD for the Centenary of St Pauls Community on Moa Island, Torres Strait. St Pauls was settled by South Sea Islander maritime workers exempt from the repatriation provisions of the White Australia policy of 1901. Many had families with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal women. The CD features traditional and contemporary songs, including religious songs known as kores. For information contact Karl Neuenfeldt k.neuenfeldt@cqu.edu.au


MACEDONIAN BAGPIPE TUNES

Our book of transcriptions of Macedonian bagpipe music from northern Greece comes out this week! 15 years in the writing, it's a great relief to have it out. There's a sample page on our website: www.xenosmusic.com

GAJDA TUNES OF MACEDONIA: TRANSCRIPTIONS OF GAJDA PLAYING FROM NORTHERN GREECE

52 dance tunes from Serres, Florina and other regions as played on the Macedonian bagpipe. Also suitable for fiddle, whistle and other melody instruments.

Music collected and transcribed by Rob Bester & Anne Hildyard


EUREKA 150 CONFERENCE
– Releasing the Spirit of Democracy

A Conference at the University of Ballarat,
25-27 November, 2004
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Call for Papers

As part of the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, the University of Ballarat is organising a conference to explore the democratic impact of the goldfields protest movement in Victoria in 1854, the contribution of the Eureka Stockade and its flag to democratic movements, and the state of democracy today.

The organising committee will be inviting keynote speakers to give national and international perspectives on the health of democracy in the world today.

The committee also invites proposals for papers which will examine five aspects of the conference:
Please submit proposals not exceeding 250 words by 30 June 2004. Papers will be allowed 15 minutes delivery time, with time for discussion and questions. It is anticipated that the conference proceedings will be published, including a refereed section. Once abstracts have been received, details re the submission of papers for the refereed section will be distributed.

Please send abstracts and correspondence to:
Dr. Anne Beggs Sunter, Eureka 150 Conference sub-committee,
School of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Humanities,
University of Ballarat,
PO Box 663, Ballarat, Vic. Australia, 3353.
Email a.beggs-sunter@ballarat.edu.au


INITIATION AND NEW STARTER PRANKS

Hard to find nowadays...

Sending the apprentice off for "the long weight" or "the can of tartan paint" was not workplace bullying. It was about lightening the tedium of the daily job but also about teaching scepticism and whether you are really listening. It was initiation into the world of work at (generally) a fairly gentle level with often an absurd or surreal touch. Even today young people are sent off for film for the digital camera or white ink for the laser printer... Do you know of any such apprentice tricks?

Mark Thomson: email: thomsonm@senet.com.au
Ph 08 8278 7843 or 0419 865 821


FORTHCOMING BOOK ON PIONEER OF AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN'S FOLKLORE

June Factor writes:

Museum Victoria, now home of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection, is to publish later this year a book centred on the remarkable American children's folklorist, Dorothy Howard's, 10 months of collecting children's lore and language in Australia in 1954-55. The book will republish - mostly for the first time in this country Dorothy Howard's dozen monographs on aspects of her research here, as well as a chapter on the social and cultural environment of Oz in the mid-1950s by the historian Dr Kate Darian-Smith, a chapter on DH and the significance of her work here by me, and a chapter by the American scholar Dr Brian Sutton-Smith on contemporary international research which supports Dorothy Howard's pioneering analysis of children's folkloric play.


AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN'S FOLKLORE COLLECTION GOES GLOBAL

The Australian Children's Folklore Collection has been placed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. Congratulations to June Factor, Gwenda Davey and all who have been involved with this irreplaceable archive of Australian folk heritage.


SCOTTISH BROADSIDES ONLINE

Bill Fletcher writes:

Some of you may be interested in a fascinating collection of Scottish broadsides (see description below) which are online in both facsimile and machine-readable form. The collection is searchable by word or phrase and browsable by subject. While modest in size by corpus standards, this collection may be useful for student projects.

The Word on the Street - Broadsides at the National Library of Scotland
http://www.nls.uk/broadsides/index.html

The National Library of Scotland's online collection of nearly 1,800 broadsides lets you see for yourself what 'the word on the street' was in Scotland between 1650 and 1910. Crime, politics, romance, emigration, humour, tragedy, royalty and superstitions - all these and more are here.

Each broadside comes with a detailed commentary and most also have a full transcription of the text, plus a downloadable PDF facsimile. You can search by keyword, browse by title or browse by subject.


AFN AFFILIATES

Alan Musgrove
Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria
Bill Scott
Bill Wannan (dec.)
Bob Bolton
Brian Dunnett
Brian Shepherd
Brian Wilkins
Bruce Cameron
Bob Rummery
Bush Music Club
Campbell Irving
Chloe Roweth
Chris Kempster (dec.)
Chris Woodland
Chris Wright
Christine Mimmocchi
Colin McJannett
Dani Rocca
Danny Spooner
Dave Hults
David De Santi
David Mulhallen
Dawn Anderson Dieter Bajzek
Folk Alliance Australia
Graham Seal
Gregan O'Leary
Gwenda Davey
Hugh Anderson
Ian Russell
Jan Orloff
Jason Roweth
Jenny Gall
J D A Widdowson
Jeff Corfield
Jim Low
John Harpley
John Low
John Marshall
J S Ryan
June Factor
Karl Neuenfeldt
Katie Andrews
Keith McKenry
Kel Watkins
Luisa Del Giudice
Mabel Kaplan
Mark Cranfield
Mark Gregory
Mark Moravec
Martin Chatfield
Martin Goreing
Mike Martin
Moya McFadzean
Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University
Noris Ioannou
Olya Willis
Patrick Watt
Peter Ellis
Phyl Lobl
Rob Willis
Roger Hargraves
Ron Brown
Ron Edwards
Ruth Hazleton
Social Science Department, Aranmore Catholic College
Steve Bullock
Steve Gadd
Susan Faine
Terry Clinton
Top End Folk Club
Valda Low
Vic Orloff
Victorian Folklife Association
Warren Fahey
Wendy Corrick
Western Australian Folklore Archive


THE MOE FOLKLIFE PROJECT

Gwenda Beed Davey

PART 1

INTRODUCTION

The Moe Folklife Project was Australia's first regional study of Australian folklife, and one which significantly addressed the 1989 UNESCO Recommendation on Safeguarding Traditional Culture and Folklore. The project showed conclusively that an industrial town, economically one of the most depressed in Australia, has a rich culture of everyday life and a talented population. It has shown that such studies could be carried out in any Australian community, and that a greater knowledge of a community's traditional culture can have cultural and economic benefits.

This report has been written as a confidential report to the two main funding bodies for the Moe Folklife Project, the National Library of Australia and the Department of Communication and the Arts. It is anticipated that another public document will be produced which will both highlight methodology and the research findings from the project.

HISTORY OF THE PROJECT
Moe - the town
The City of Moe is the first of the three towns in Victoria's La Trobe Valley, the towns of Moe, Morwell and Traralgon. This region is the centre of the state's brown coal mining and electricity industry. You can't see most of the industry until you cross the Haunted Hills between Moe and Morwell. What you can mostly see from Moe are the beautiful rolling green hills to the south and the snow caps of Mt Baw Baw to the north. Moe has a major suburb Newborough, and it is closely connected to a number of small settlements in its hinterland, such as Hearnes Oak, Coalville, Trafalgar East and Thorpdale.

Moe has about seventeen thousand people, most of them brought in as immigrants from all over the world by what was the powerful State Electricity Commission, to work in the mines and power stations. It has more elderly, more single parents with dependent children and more overseas born than the other towns in the La Trobe Valley. It has lower incomes than the rest of the Valley or Victoria in general, and more unemployment than the Valley or Victoria.

In colonial days, Moe was a tiny stopping place for travellers on their way to the gold rushes at Walhalla. It stayed a small settlement until 1946, when the Housing Commission of Victoria began to build houses in Moe and its suburb of Newborough. It grew and lived vigorously between 1946 and 1986, when the restructuring, retrenchments and privatisation of the Victorian electricity industry began to bite into Moe's prosperity. During 1995, the Victorian Government's restructuring of local government resulted in the amalgamation of the Cities of Moe, Morwell and Traralgon into the La Trobe Council, creating further uncertainty and problems of identity for Moe.

The Cultural Mapping Project

Moe was one of two areas in Australia chosen by the Commonwealth's Department of Communication and the Arts for pilot projects in cultural mapping during 1994; the second area was Katoomba in New South Wales. Moe's cultural mapping project produced a CD-Rom and a three-volume report. Volume 1 of the report is A Profile of the City of Moe, Volume 2 a series of Appendices, and Volume 3 a Bibliography of material relating to the City of Moe and district. The research for these three volumes of the cultural mapping project was carried out by one researcher over a period of approximately four months, and drew heavily on published documents. According to Latrobe Regional Commissioner David Pargeter,
    A diverse and rich collection of cultural experiences within Moe and its surrounding district have been identified through the cultural mapping. These cultural experiences include the settlement of migrants in the post World War Two era, their cultural practices and participation in the wider community and the influence of the electricity industry in the development of the community.


Request from Latrobe Regional Commissioner

David Pargeter's statement was contained in a letter of 5th August 1994 which he wrote to the National Library of Australia. As well as his membership of the Latrobe Regional Commission, David Pargeter was also a representative of the Cultural Mapping of Moe Community Advisory Committee. In his letter to the National Library he stated that

    The significance of many of the experiences in relation to the development of the area are in danger of being lost as community members, and communities themselves die. Within Moe this is particularly apparent within ethnic communities which are ageing and often do not have the opportunity to record information about their heritage and cultural contributions due to language barriers, a lack of access to appropriate organisations for support, and/or a lack of appreciation either by the individual, or the wider community, of the importance of their experiences.

David Pargeter went on to request that the National Library 'conduct a folk life study in the project area'. The request was handed by Library's Assistant Director General (Collections and Reader Services) to Mark Cranfield, head of the Oral History Section, for action. Mark Cranfield approached Dr Gwenda Davey, a consultant in Australian folklife to the National Library concerning the project and her availability to act as coordinator. Mark Cranfield also approached the Heritage and Industry Development Branch of what was then the Australian Cultural Development Office (now Department of Communication and the Arts). The correspondence relating to the initiation of the Moe Folklife Project is contained in Appendix A.

Establishment of the Moe Folklife Project
During September 1994 Gwenda Davey prepared a draft proposal for the Moe Folklife Project for the National Library and the Department of Communication and the Arts. By October 1994 a final proposal/plan was agreed. The final proposal/plan (see Appendix B) included the following sections:


The proposal acknowledged that only a selection of Moe's folklife could be studied with the resources available. It was proposed that six sub-projects be undertaken, to document the following aspects of traditional folklife:

        handcrafts
        music and dance
        customs, celebrations and special events
        children's playground games
        foodways
        storytelling, including stories about working life.

The following were the objectives of the project, as outlined in the original proposal.

Objectives and outcomes
In 1995, the International Year of Tolerance, this project will

  1. Document living folk culture in the multicultural community of Moe.

  2. Demonstrate a methodology for documenting folk culture in Australia.

  3. Demonstrate that further, similar projects can evolve from the Australian Cultural Development Office's cultural mapping projects.

  4. Examine the cultural tourism possibilities which might result from a detailed examination of Moe's traditional folk practices and beliefs.

  5. Specifically, identify handcraft and other traditional skills such as woodwork, knitting and crochet and develop a strategy to link these skills into the tourism industry.

  6. Engage the Moe and regional community in the project and cooperate with local organisations, both public and private.

  7. Provide employment and new skills through the training provided by the project director.

  8. Assist ongoing tourism projects such as the Yallourn Heritage Trail and the Gourmet Deli Tour through provision of detailed information about industrial heritage and local and regional food production and customs.

  9. Produce a calendar of traditional folklife in Moe, a printed report, a collection of sound recordings and a photographic exhibition.


Achievement of funding

By November 1994, a total of $50,000 had been guaranteed, including $20,000 from the National Library of Australia and $30,000 from the Department of Communication and the Arts. The National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University had agreed to auspice the project without cost. Both the Moe City Council and the Latrobe Regional Commission were asked to contribute $10,000 each, unfortunately, to no avail. Later in 1995, after the amalgamation of the cities of Moe, Morwell and Traralgon, a grant of $10,000 was sought from the new LaTrobe Council, and $1000 was granted. Yallourn Energy contributed $500 and Sunicrust Bakeries $100. This slender financial support from the region was a great disappointment. However, valuable in-kind assistance was provided by Skillshare Moe and the Moe Motor Inn.



Briefing for project director
Although the project director had some family connections with the LaTrobe Valley, she was essentially an outsider. A great advantage was, however, the continuity between the Cultural Mapping Project and the Moe Folklife Project. The Cultural Mapping Facilitator, Cathy Lewis, was of invaluable assistance, particularly as a resident of the LaTrobe Valley. She provided lists of key contacts and, in many cases, introductions. During November and December 1994 and January 1995 the director engaged in an intensive 'immersion' in Moe, attending functions such as an Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and a Multicultural Day at Old Gippstown Pioneer Village, and meeting with numerous individuals.



Advisory committee
The following persons accepted invitations to become members of the Moe Folklife Project Advisory Committee:


The first meeting of the Advisory Committee was held on 15th February 1995 at the Moe Offices of the LaTrobe Council.

Planning
Planning for the Moe Folklife Project, Australia's first major regional folklife project, was guided by some important overseas policy documents and research models. Of particular importance was the 1989 UNESCO Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore, which charged member nations (including Australia) to take action with regard to the identification, preservation, conservation, protection and dissemination of their traditional culture and folklore, and with regard to international cooperation and exchange. Two earlier Australian Government committees of inquiry which provided important guidelines were the Committee of Inquiry into Folklife in Australia and the Consultative Committee on Cultural Heritage in Multicultural Australia. The Folklife Inquiry published its findings as Folklife: Our Living Heritage (1987), and one of its major recommendations was for the establishment of an Australian Folklife Centre, which would
  1. initiate, encourage and fund folklife collection, documentation and research;
  2. support maintenance of traditional arts and craft skills in the community;
  3. promote education and training in folklife studies;
  4. promote appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of Australia's folklife.

Folklife: Our Living Heritage (1987, p.274)

The Consultative Committee's report was titled A Plan for Cultural Heritage Institutions to Reflect Australia's Cultural Diversity (1991), and recommended that 'collecting institutions should respond to cultural diversity in Australia primarily in the way they develop their collection policies. These policies should encompass the collection of: