Roslyn Russell, Kylie Winkworth
© Commonwealth of Australia, 2010
ISBN 97 80977544363 (pbk)
Nominating to a register
Significance underpins nominations to many types of registers. The nomination process fosters research into the history, provenance and context of an item or collection, and requires use of the significance criteria in formulating a statement of significance. Using a standard set of criteria facilitates consistent judgements about which items are important enough to be on a register, for example, the Australian Register of Historic Vessels or the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register for documentary heritage. Nomination forms ask nominators to set out the reasons why their item or collection is significant under the significance criteria outlined in this guide; and to sum this up in a statement of significance.
Significance assessment in nominations to registers lays particular stress on how the item or collection compares with similar examples. Applicants need to demonstrate the high significance of their item in relation to other items or collections. With increasing online access to library catalogues, archival records and museum and gallery catalogues, it is easier now than ever before to make these comparisons.
Australian Register of Historic Vessels
The online Australian Register of Historic Vessels aims to build a national picture of historic vessels, their history, provenance, design, condition, and changing uses. Initiated by the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Heritage Fleet, the register covers vessels in private and public ownership. With the high cost of keeping vessels in museums, private owners play a vital role in caring for historic vessels and preserving maritime heritage. The register is an important way of fostering research and sharing skills and knowledge.
Riawe, a motor launch built in 1912, private owner, Tasmania
Photo courtesy of private owner and Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney
There are now some 250 vessels on the register, ranging from a humble corrugated iron dinghy used in floods and for duck shooting to luxury yachts. The significance criteria are used as a framework for considering nominations and assessing significance. The nomination process is encouraging owners to research and document their historic vessels. As the listings grow, the register is starting to give a better picture of the scope and character of historic vessels found throughout Australia's vast coastline and inland waterways.
Excerpt from the statement of significance
Riawe was built in Launceston by 'Ned' Jack for the Holyman family, for recreational use and for guiding herds of cattle across the Tamar to island pastures. Built of Huon pine and carvel construction, the vessel has had many uses including transport, cargo and cray fishing. In World War II it was fitted with a machine gun for patrol between Devonport and Low Head and used for minesweeping.
The Riawe is significant as the work of a noted Launceston boatbuilder, showing traditional construction of Huon pine, a highly regarded timber for boatbuilding, and for its associations with important themes in Tasmania's maritime history. The vessel is well provenanced with ten owners over nearly 100 years and a richly documented history of changes and adaptations to keep the vessel in active use.
Significance in action
Significance assessment applications and case studies
- Conservation treatment
- Collection risk assessment
- Collection care
- Copying and digitisation
- Collection analysis and policy development
- In situ collections
- Shared collections
- Exhibitions and interpretation
- Online exhibitions
- Online access and education
- Assessing cultural heritage website quality
- Nominating to a register
- Applying for a grant
- Advocacy and resourcing
- Fundraising and promotion
- Thematic studies and regional surveys
- Collections mapping
- Significance training
Links to another web site
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