Albert Park South Melbourne
Rowing Club


            Rowing Club

2014 Significance Assessment


1956 Banner

The 1956 Olympic Banner

In 2013, APSM received a Community Heritage Grant through the National Library of Australia to fund a Significance Assessment of the Club's collection of memorabilia. 

The Significance Assessment is a document which assesses the significance of our memorabilia and equipment on a national, state and local level and can be used to support further grant applications for conservation work and digitization projects. 

Through Significance International Pty Ltd, the Club engaged Margaret Birtley to conduct our Assessment.  Margaret is a museum consultant with many years' experience in sporting memorabilia.  She also has a background in rowing, having rowed at Oxford and at the YWCA on Albert Park Lake, making her an ideal candidate for this project.

The process of conducting the assessment was very involved.  The Club does not have an in-depth, published history or a formal system for managing its collection, so before Margaret began writing it was necessary to learn as much as possible about the collection's items and the people and events they represent.  This information was included in a summary of the Club and the collection within the Assessment.

Margaret Birtley at Margaret visited the Club seven times between May and August 2014.  She was given an inventory of the collection and full access to the items it contains.  She had many questions, which prompted the need for further research into our collection of annual reports as well as external collections housed at the Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Centre, Melbourne Cricket Club Library, and the Rowing Victoria archives.  This helped us to ensure dates were correct and people were correctly identified.  Margaret's questions also prompted an oral history project with interviews of current and former members as well as boat builder Jeff Sykes, which helped us to interpret the items more fully and to fill in the gaps in our history.

Margaret also conducted her own research by consulting experts, museum catalogues, and online resources as well as visiting the collections of the Essendon, Melbourne University, Mercantile and West Australian Rowing Clubs.

The Assessment included Statements of Significance for the whole collection as well as two specific items which were deemed nationally significant.  These were the 1956 Olympic banner, which denotes the members of the Albert Park Rowing Club who were part of the Australian Rowing Team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and the photo of the South Melbourne Rowing Club crew that won the first Interstate Championship for Lightweight Fours in 1958.  A third item, the Moore Sculling Machine, denotes collaboration between the Club and the local manufacturing community, as well as between the two antecedent rowing clubs.

The report also provides a number of recommendations, including further research, targeted collecting, collection management, interpretation, preservation and promotion.  The Club's Committee responded by purchasing archive-quality storage materials to protect our collection from further damage and supporting a grant application for a Preservation Needs Assessment.  

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