ISSUE 14 - AUGUST 2004
Australian Folklore Network
Australian Folklore Research Unit
Curtin University of Technology
- FROM THE CONVENOR
- HANDMADE NATION
- ST PAULS, MOA ISLAND CD
- MACEDONIAN BAGPIPE TUNES
- EUREKA 150 CONFERENCE
- INITIATION AND NEW STARTER PRANKS
- PIONEER OF AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN'S FOLKLORE
- AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN'S FOLKLORE COLLECTION GOES GLOBAL
- SCOTTISH BROADSIDES ONLINE
- AFN AFFILIATES
- THE MOE FOLKLIFE PROJECT – Part 1
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 08 9266 3234
or Rob Willis firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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
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.
- Setting the Scene: Democratic movements in the 1850s - in Ballarat, other goldfields, and in urban areas. especially examining the beginnings of responsible government in the Australian colonies.
- From Eureka to Federation; the impact of the Eureka Stockade on the style and temper of government in Australia, and its impact on later democratic movements.
- The moulding of Australian identity, considering the use of the Eureka flag, literary and artistic responses, political and social movements, celebrations and monuments.
- A consideration of those excluded from the democratic process Aboriginal people and the Chinese in the nineteenth century, refugees etc.
- E-democracy. Current and future trends of using technology to increase participation in government.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
Alan Musgrove |
Australian Children's Folklore Collection,
Bill Wannan (dec.)
Bush Music Club
Chris Kempster (dec.)
David De Santi
Folk Alliance Australia
J D A Widdowson
J S Ryan
Luisa Del Giudice
Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University
Social Science Department, Aranmore Catholic College
Top End Folk Club
Victorian Folklife Association
Western Australian Folklore Archive
THE MOE FOLKLIFE PROJECT
Gwenda Beed Davey
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:
- Objectives and outcomes
- Partnerships and in-kind support
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:
music and dance
customs, celebrations and special events
children's playground games
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
- Document living folk culture in the multicultural community of Moe.
- Demonstrate a methodology for documenting folk culture in Australia.
- Demonstrate that further, similar projects can evolve from the Australian Cultural Development Office's cultural mapping projects.
- Examine the cultural tourism possibilities which might result from a detailed examination of Moe's traditional folk practices and beliefs.
- 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.
- Engage the Moe and regional community in the project and cooperate with local organisations, both public and private.
- Provide employment and new skills through the training provided by the project director.
- 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.
- 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.
- GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PROJECTS. The achievement of local funding proved extraordinarily difficult, despite considerable effort by the project director. Maximum use should be made of local networks, both formal and informal ('who knows who'), and requests for funding for specific part-projects (such as interviews with past and present railway workers) might have some success.
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.
- GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PROJECTS. Local knowledge is invaluable for a project of this type, although objectivity is essential. Ideally, a project director for a regional folklife project would be a locally resident and professionally trained folklorist. At present, few such people exist, although the future looks brighter. The Department of Employment, Education and Training has provided the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University with funding for 1996 to develop a Post-Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife Studies. It is hoped that this training program will begin in 1997. It would be Australia's first.
The following persons accepted invitations to become members of the Moe Folklife Project Advisory Committee:
- Cunningham MP (ex officio)
- Cranfield (National Library of Australia)
- Damien Stephens (Dept of Communication & the Arts)
- Lewis (Cultural Mapping Facilitator)
- Whitelaw (Old Gippstown Pioneer Village)
- Professor Peter Spearritt (National Centre for Australian Studies)
- Kerr (City of Moe)
- Mutsaers (Moe artist and community activist)
- Meredith Fletcher (Centre for Gippsland Studies, Monash University)
- Faine (Victorian Folklife Association)
- Pargeter (Latrobe Regional Commission)
The first meeting of the Advisory Committee was held on 15th February 1995 at the Moe Offices of the LaTrobe Council.
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
- initiate, encourage and fund folklife collection, documentation and research;
- support maintenance of traditional arts and craft skills in the community;
- promote education and training in folklife studies;
- 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:
- material (including folk-life) reflecting the collective or shared cultural heritage of diverse groups in the past and present Australian society;
- material (including folk-life) reflecting the cultural heritage of particular groups defined by culture, ethnicity or language, in the past and present Australian society; and
- material (including folk-life) from the place of origin of particular Australian groups defined by culture, ethnicity or language in so far as it relates to their traditions, attitudes and experiences in Australia'.
(A Plan for Cultural Heritage Institutions
to reflect Australia's Cultural Diversity,
Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment,Tourism and Territories, Canberra, AGPS, 1991, p.7)
In October 1988 the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress had presented its Report to the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission. This report was of particular interest for the planning of the Moe Folklife Project, since Moe is in many ways evocative of the American city of Lowell in Massachusetts. Lowell was a former industrial centre in deep decline in the 1970s. Since then, a combination of new high-tech industries, a cultural tourism program linked to its industrial heritage and the rich cultural life of its multicultural population, have led to new possibilities and developments. The American Folklife Center's Lowell Folklife Project was carried out over a twelve-month period in 1987 and 1988, and contributed substantially to Lowell's ongoing revitalization. The Report states that it
discusses the project's course of development and implementation, briefly surveys the project holdings, reviews some cultural issues involved in folklife research and programming in Lowell, and presents a number of recommendations for further implementation of folklife studies in Lowell.
Report to the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission
(de Natale,1988, p.4)
The cultural issues referred to above were as follows:
- the relationship of the newer immigrant groups (Portugese, Hispanic, Southeast Asian) to the city's existing population,
- mistaken perceptions by others about the homogeneity of each of these groups,
- positive cultural stereotypes regarding Portugese and Southeastern immigrants and negative cultural stereotypes regarding Hispanic immigrants,
- the severe cultural dislocation suffered by Southeast Asian refugees,
- 'the long period of economic and psychological depression that preceded Lowell's rediscovery of self [which] was in part an outgrowth of failures to connect public policies with cultural considerations' (p.44),
- the importance of Lowell's public agencies in promoting cultural activities and in developing 'a respectful interaction between Lowell's people and Lowell's visitors' (p.44),
- the value of festivals in providing 'a neutral environment where ethnic heritage could be celebrated' (p.44),
- the challenge for the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission in 'integrating its cultural programs with neighborhood life' (p.45), and in establishing the Mogan Cultural Center 'under the direction of a citizens advisory board' (p.46).
Despite the great usefulness of the Lowell project, it was clearly carried out on a much more elaborate scale than permitted by the resources of the Moe project. Lowell had a project team of nine professional folklorists (including postgraduate students) plus a photographer, working under the supervision of Project Director Peter Bartis from the American Folklife Center and Field Coordinator Douglas DeNatale. Moe had one half-time professional folklorist, the director Dr Gwenda Davey, and six untrained field assistants. The Moe Folklife Project also concentrated on the documentation of folklife forms (such as handcrafts) across ethnic communities, rather than on the cultural life of communities as such. All of Lowell's cultural issues are relevant to Moe, although given the comparative lack of inter-ethnic tensions in Moe, issues numbers 5 to 8 are most apposite, since they deal with the complex relationship between tradition and tourism and with the necessity to preserve the privacy of communities whilst presenting their cultural heritage to a wider public.
With hindsight, the closest parallel to the Moe Folklife Project is another project of the American Folklife Center, the Colorado Field School, which also used initially untrained assistants. In July 1994, Colorado College provided a week of coursework called 'Documenting Traditional Culture: An Introductory Field School' for nine participants who were 'natives or residents of the region between Albuquerque and Colorado Springs'. The participants had 'little or no previous training in cultural documentation', and conducted a cultural study of the small town of San Luis and a nearby farm owned by Corpus Aquino Gallegos and his family. Information about this project did not become available to the Moe Folklife Project until well into 1995.
A methodology for the Moe Folklife Project was developed, which included oral history and ethnographic research techniques. This project made substantial use of interviews recorded on audio tape, using procedures developed at the National Library's Oral History section. Ethnographic techniques used included observation, interview, audio tape recordings and photography. A major guide was Peter Bartis's Folklife and Fieldwork: a layman's introduction to field techniques (American Folklife Center, 1983). Peter Bartis's guide addressed issues such as
- folklife and fieldwork
- to collect
- to interview
- to do it
- to do with the results
- tape log
- fieldwork data sheet
GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PROJECTS. Some of the research
assistants found difficulty with the data sheets which were adapted from Bartis and which were not always appropriate for the particular folklife form (eg handcrafts) which the assistant was studying. A revised data sheet is in Appendix F.
Proposed Budget (16-2-95)
| National Library of Australia Oral History Section
|Australian Cultural Development Office
|Moe City Council
|Generation Victoria (ex SEC)
|Latrobe Valley Trades and Labor Council
|Director's fees and
expenses (for research, interviewing, planning etc.)
|Research assistants' fees and expenses
(tape recorders, audio tapes, film, film processing, stationery,
mounting, publications,raw materials for handcrafts)
In practice, because of the lack of local funding, the final budget for the Moe Folklife Project was little greater than the $50,000 provided by the National Library and the Department of Communication and the Arts.
GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PROJECTS: The greatest disappointment of the Moe Folklife Project was the reluctance of local and regional bodies to provide financial assistance. In essence, the project was funded totally by the National Library of Australia and the Department of Communication and the Arts. Some guarantee of local funding needs to be obtained before the project begins. Government funding bodies might need to act as brokers here, approaching local bodies with the offer of funds provided local support is also forthcoming. It is not appropriate for the individual project director to be responsible for local funding.
Appointment of local research assistants
The first research assistant for the Moe Folklife Project, Sally Grant, was appointed in October 1994 in order to document Christmas and New Year traditions in Moe.
An advertisement was placed in the Moe-Narracan News late in January 1995, and twelve applicants were interviewed, and a further five appointed. One assistant, Marie Smith, worked as a volunteer throughout 1995. Only one male applied for a position, a well-known local historian, Peter Morrison, who was appointed to work on the storytelling component.
Marlene Drysdale, the director of the Centre for Koorie Studies at Monash University, Churchill, was consulted for advice about research into the local Koorie communities. It was decided that a Koorie research assistant should be appointed to study all aspects of folklife within local Koorie families. Final appointments were:
- Kanellopoulos - foodways
- Pollock - handcrafts and folklore for children
- Schakau - children's games
- Morrison - storytelling
- Smith - handcrafts
- Grant - customs, celebrations and special events
- Paton - Koorie folklife.
Regrettably, two successive appointments to work on music and dance quickly dropped out of the project due to ill-health and hospitalisation. All other researchers then shared research into music and dance. Peter Morrison went overseas in September 1995 and was replaced by Robin Begalo. Sally Grant left the project when she obtained a full-time position with the SEC Archives. Jennifer Aitken was appointed as a professional photographer in October 1995.
GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PROJECTS: although all the Moe research assistants performed splendidly, supervision and training occupied a great proportion of the project director's time. A smaller number of researchers with proven skills would be a more efficient plan. A professional photographer should be appointed from the outset. The allocation of one researcher to a particular folklife form (such as handcrafts) had some merit but researchers had to consider more than one form where informants were multi-talented.
Several full-day or half-day training sessions were arranged, and in practice approximated the one full week provided by the Colorado Field School at Colorado College (USA). One full-day session considered 'What is folklife?', using Graham Seal's table of folkloric forms (see Appendix C), relating the table to the researchers' own and local experience. A video-tape of the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife was also shown.
A second full-day training session considered oral history and interviewing skills, including ethical issues such as the obtaining of written consent from informants and providing them with explanatory letters about the project. Peter Bartis's guide Folklife and Fieldwork: a layman's introduction to field techniques (American Folklife Center, 1983) proved an invaluable text. Subsequent training sessions were sometimes held with the group and sometimes individually. They consisted of report-backs from researchers with discussion and guidance from the project director.
DEVELOPMENT OF NETWORKS AND SUPPORT STRUCTURES
At the very beginning of the project, preliminary discussions were held by the project director with the Mayor, City Manager, Cultural Development Officer and Councillors of the City of Moe, members of the Moe Development Group, and the Chief Executive Officers of the Latrobe Regional Commission and of Old Gippstown Pioneer Village. All were extremely positive in expressions of support. Valuable discussions were also held with staff from the Office of Cultural Development's Cultural Mapping Project in the Latrobe Valley, Ian Clark and Cathy Lewis. The Australian Broadcasting Commission's David Mulhallen expressed a wish to broadcast some stories and songs from the area on his program on ABC Radio, A Swag of Yarns. Because of David Mulhallen's illness during 1995 and 1996, another ABC program Music Deli recorded an evening of songs about Moe and the Latrobe Valley, organised by the Gippsland Acoustic Music Club and broadcast on the ABC on March 2nd 1996.
In the original Budget for the project, it was stated that
expected partnerships and in-kind support would include the following:
- Latrobe Council: infrastructure support and meeting space
- Latrobe Regional Commission: Consultation
- Skillshare Moe: Provision of office accommodation and transcription of audio tapes
- Motor Inn: Accommodation
- Gippstown Pioneer Village: exhibition space and sale of handcrafts
- Library: Exhibition space
- Newspapers: Publicity, printing
- Colleges: Student fieldworkers
- Rocklea Spinning mills: Materials for handcrafts
- National Centre for Australian Studies (Monash University): Infrastructure and other support for Project Director
- Centre for Gippsland Studies, Monash University, Churchill Campus: Consultation and student fieldworkers
Of these expectations, those for the Moe Library and TAFE student fieldworkers were not realised during the life of the project. The Latrobe Regional Commission was abolished by the Victorian State Government during 1995. Rocklea Spinning Mills did not produce suitable materials and instead provided a cash donation to the project. The Moe Library was in reorganisation (along with all local government in Victoria), and the Central Gippsland College of TAFE had some independent cultural heritage programs under the LEAP Scheme. Nevertheless both the TAFE College and the LEAP scheme became important networks for the Moe Folklife Project. Gwenda Davey provided some oral history training for a LEAP Voices of the Valley project, and subsequently two of the Moe Folklife Project research assistants were offered positions with other LEAP schemes.
The Multicultural Resource Centre at Morwell (the Centre for the whole La Trobe Valley) provided an invaluable list of names. These individuals were recommended by the Centre's director, Lisa Sinha, as actively involved in maintenance of traditions, and represented many different nationalities. The Folklife Project had already decided to proceed through the location of 'key informants' rather than through organisations, and this practice worked well, with individuals recommending others. Many of these individuals were, of course, also involved in organisations. By the end of both funding and fieldwork, all researchers still had lists of names to be seen. The Moe Folklife Project could have engaged sixty field workers rather than six.
The Yallourn Heritage Trail was the second key network for the Moe Folklife Project. Based at Traralgon Skillshare, its director, Joanne Newey, was a former resident of Yallourn and one of the many who deeply regretted the destruction of Victoria's Garden City, Yallourn. The Yallourn Heritage Trail is a project in cultural tourism, centred on the relocated Yallourn houses now in Newborough, a suburb of Moe. As part of the Moe Folklife Project's commitment to contribute to Moe as well as to study it, some interviews were carried out by MFLP researchers with former Yallourn residents now living in relocated Yallourn houses, particularly those in Avon Court, Newborough. Mrs Edna Nicholson described living in Yallourn as 'just wonderful...it was a horror to have to leave'. The residents had found it hard to believe that they would have to go. She knew it was real when the SEC removed sixteen street trees in full cherry blossom; 'it was to give us a message'.
The Moe Folklife Project also arranged for further interviews with former Yallourn residents by Monash Students, through the Centre for Gippsland Studies at Monash, Churchill. Its director, Meredith Fletcher, was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Moe Folklife Project. At the beginning of the folklife project the Centre for Gippsland Studies was showing an exhibition on the life and death of the City of Yallourn, and the Centre remained a key cog in the network.
The director of Moe's Old Gippstown Pioneer Village, Jenny Whitelaw, was also a member of the MFLP advisory committee. As well as advice to the folklife project, Old Gippstown hosted groups of Gwenda Davey's students from the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. The National Centre for Australian Studies auspiced the Moe Folklife Project and supervised its financial management.
A Moe artist and community activist, John Mutsaers, was an advisory committee member. During 1995 he was directing a six-month project funded by the Department of Employment, Education and Training with ten unemployed artists. The MYACRE PROJECT carried out oral history interviews and other historical research and produced a final exhibition of paintings, sculpture and models based on the historical research. Gwenda Davey provided a one-day training session on methods in oral history for the MYACRE team.
Moe-Narracan Skillshare became one of the Moe Folklife Project's most valuable partners. It provided free accommodation throughout the folklife project, both large training rooms and small offices. It provided all infrastructure and services needed locally, such as photocopying, telephone and FAX, and transcribed about two-thirds of the audio-tape interviews for the Moe Folklife Project. About one third of the transcriptions were done gratis, and the remainder paid for by the folklife project. Moe Skillshare is willing to supervise the publication of the Moe Folklife Project's calendar and recipe book when funds can be obtained.
One of the most important in-kind sponsors was the Moe Motor Inn, which provided free overnight accommodation for the project director on approximately twenty occasions. The managers, Shirley and Hugh Neil retired early in 1996 and were replaced with Karleen and Tony Huggins.
The Moe-Narracan News became increasingly important to the project, both as a source of information and for publicity. The latter is discussed later in this report. The News reporter, Megan Neil, was a most interested and helpful journalist.
GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PROJECTS. The establishment of networks was one of the most gratifying activities and outcomes in the Moe Folklife Project. The sense that the folklife project was contributing to the town, as well as studying it, removed any sense of exploitation of a region in severe economic difficulties. Some of the networks are likely to be long-term and seem to have provided mutual benefits. The project director needed more time on site, not least to make more use of local radio and television.
National Register of Folklore Collections
Folklore Australia - resource base
Australian Folklore Research Unit - Australia Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
Simply Australia Online magazine of folklore and social history
National Library of Australia Oral History/Folklore Archive
Trad&Now - Australian Folk Music magazine
Play and Folklore- Australia's journal of children's folklore
Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife
Moonlit road - traditional tales and associated lore.
Verandah Music: Roots of Australian Tradition A joint project between the AFN, Curtin University and the National Library of Australia.
Folklore Weather Forecasting - well worth a look. .
Weather Forecasting and Folklore
Australian Folklore Research Unit
Australia Research Institute
Curtin University of Technology