April Fools Day at the Abbey Museum

The Story Behind April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s History

Everyone enjoys a good joke, (whether practical or otherwise) and April 1st or April Fool’s Day is recognised almost universally as the day on which pranks are played. They may be close to home such as sending your brother to find a can of elbow grease so you can shine your shoes or as widely reported as the BBC Panorama report on 1 April 1957 about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland which had many people asking where they could obtain spaghetti plants themselves.

There are a number of theories about the origin of April 1 being celebrated as April Fool’s Day. The most widely accepted is that it goes back to when the western world adopted the Gregorian calendar in place of the Julian calendar during the 1500s. Under the Julian calendar the year began on March 25; festivals marking the start of the New Year were celebrated on the first day of April as March 25th fell during Holy Week. When the Gregorian calendar was adopted, New Year moved to 1 January. The theory goes …

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Fundraising for Abbey Museum

Santa’s Helpers Fundraising for Museum

“This may be too difficult for you…”  This is often the opening comment by a person who is not sure whether we can wrap a gift for them. Invariably the response is “not too difficult –maybe a challenge”.

In the fortnight leading up to Christmas 2017 volunteers operated the gift wrapping tables outside Target in the Bribie Island shopping centre fundraising for the Abbey Museum. Situated right alongside Santa’s grotto we had a great opportunity to see merchandising in action especially noting which appeared to be the most popular gifts for 2017. Many children lined up to meet Santa and have their photo taken, whether they wanted to or not! Some so tiny they will never remember it…

Fundraising under Wraps

Gift wrapping is a very social occasion and, in the experience of this writer, the vast majority of people are very pleased to offer a donation (in some cases, very generous) to have an onerous task taken off their hands. Most parcels were fairly straight-forward and could be wrapped and decorated with a ribbon or bow in a minute …

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Viking Fun at the Abbey

Did you meet the Viking?

Did you catch up with the Viking horde during the school holidays?

This year the Abbey Museum hosted its Kids Dig It – Viking Family Fun Week for the January School holiday program.  It was an extremely successful and engaging week of fun and activity in and around the Museum. Over 502 visitors enjoyed a full program which included meeting Norm the Viking and hearing all about his tools and viking equipment and also having a photo with him. There were many craft activities such as making a longboat, helmet, shield, mask, naal binding, lucet weaving, viking embroidery and using the viking iron to be enjoyed.

Viking Games afoot

One of the popular activities was dressing up in viking clothes or playing a viking board game called Hnefatafl (try getting your tongue around that one) which is also know as the “The Kings Table”. Another game enjoyed by parents and kids was the lawn chess-type game called Kubb.

 

Of course – the most popular of all activities was the archery and the archaeological dig.

 

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Stained Glass presentation in Abbey Church

Celebrating a Stained Glass Milestone

Invited guests – donors who had supported the program – gathered in the Abbey Church in early December to help celebrate the conclusion of a ten year project of conservation of the stained glass windows in the Church.

Stained Glass Thank You

Director of the Abbey Museum, Edith Cuffe OAM, explained the obstacles which had to be overcome in order for the conservation project to be undertaken, not least of which was the substantial fundraising effort required. The presentation was a ‘thank-you’ and acknowledgement of those who donated or assisted in other ways to raise the funds necessary for the conservation work to take place. Edith introduced guests to Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn, the conservators who undertook this mammoth task.

Conservator’s stained glass presentation

Gerry’s presentation included a power-point showing before and after photographs of each window as it was subject to the conservator’s attention. He told how the removal of some windows was made very difficult because of the age of the glass and fragility of the …

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Grant to Assist Build of new Joust Arena

Celebrating Festival Funding

There was great cause for celebrations recently at the Abbey Museum when we were advised of the successful applications for not just one but two important funding grants to assist in planning and hosting the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Funding From TEQ

The first, from Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) is to support marketing for the Abbey Medieval Festival throughout Queensland and interstate.  TEQ has been a long standing supporter of our Festival and of the region in general and this funding will enable us to:

employ specialised graphic personnel to design engaging graphics and Festival images; employ specialised video personnel to create video clips to promote the Festival online; have a much-needed refresh of the festival website with supporting SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media campaigns the funds might also stretch to assist us partially in a new billboard campaign

These funds are vital to help us retain our cutting edge in a busy and competitive tourism environment and to enable us to attract as wide an audience as possible.

Stronger Communities Program Funding

The second, from the …

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Trivia Night Fundraising for stained glass

Trivia ‘Fun’draising at the Abbey Museum

Trivia at the Abbey Museum – it’s here to stay!

Trivia Night at the Abbey Museum has been held regularly for a few years and historically we have always had similar numbers of players attend. Now, our reputation for providing an entertaining evening and fantastic supper has reached a wider audience, making our recent November trivia night the most successful to date! And did we have fun?!

Need more chairs!

It was fantastic to see so many tickets purchased online and twenty-one adults and seven children took advantage of this, so we arranged a couple of tables additional to our usual number to accommodate them.  This was great, however we were in for a surprise and did not anticipate the large number of people who paid at the door.  In fact, we had to find extra tables and chairs to seat them. What a great problem to have!

On the night there were thirteen teams (over seventy people) vying for Trivia supremacy. Competition and rivalry was keen, and nobody wanted to be outdone! Fortunately there was plenty of supper …

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Cuneiform Tablet

Cuneiform Expert Visits Abbey Museum

A standing room only audience accepted the invitation to hear Professor Wayne Horowitz speak on the lost Jewish communities in ancient Babylonia on Tuesday 19 September . Professor Horowitz is a Professor of Assyriology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was here working on the Cuneiform Project Australia and New Zealand. This project aims to identify and publish all the cuneiform artefacts in Australian and New Zealand collections. Dr Horowitz has been examining 10 such objects in the Abbey Museum’s Middle East collection.

In his presentation Professor Horowitz spoke of the commencement of the Jewish Diaspora when the population was transported to Babylonia following the sacking of Jerusalem. The Jewish people spent 2500 years in exile in Babylonia. His colleague and research assistant, Peter Zilberg, completed the evening with his talk titled “Ezekiel and the Grand Canal of Babylon”. Mr Zilberg explained how information gleaned from cuneiform tablets have added to our knowledge of the Jewish nation in captivity. In an enthusiastic and energetic presentation he showed how seemingly mundane items recorded on cuneiform tablets tied in to biblical …

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Abbey Museum Friends Bunyip trip

The Great Bunyip Hunt of 2017

Are you familiar with ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night – like maybe a bunyip?

The bunyip is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia.

On 2nd-3rd October the Abbey Museum Friends are organising a two day coach trip, Finding the Bunyip, which will take us to many places around the Scenic Rim where bunyips may well lurk. Along the way the Museum’s Senior Curator, Michael Strong, will explain the historical significance of the various sites and their importance to the Aboriginal people of the area.

We will be staying overnight at Beaudesert  and taking the opportunity to visit the Beaudesert Historical Museum. We will visit many places of significance – bora rings, lagoons, caves and natural features – hearing the dreaming stories along the way.

Cost will be $180 per person which covers bed …

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Abbey Museum Volunteer receives acknowledgement

If You Hang Around Long Enough

Our very good friend Maurice O’Connell (that is “o apostrophe c,o,n,n,e,l,l” as one local business noted on his membership card) was recently honoured at the Longman Volunteer Awards.

These awards are given during National Volunteer Week to honour volunteers in various categories for their service to an organisation within each Federal electorate. Under the category Arts and Culture, Maurice was honoured for his long and dedicated service to the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology.  He has been a volunteer at the Museum for over 20 years. During that time you may have met him:

taking visitors on a tour of the stained glass windows in the Abbey Church running an educational dig for a class of school students spruiking at the Medieval Festival acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Picnic at Pemberley keeping a photographic record of some Museum activities assisting with activities during Family Fun Weeks driving the tractor to replace the sand in the archaeological digs

Congratulations Maurice – lovely to see your dedication appreciated by a wider …

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Dr Geoff Ginn talks about the Abbey Museum history

A Morning out of the Museum Office

The Moreton Bay History Seminar was held at North lakes Community Centre on 11th May 2017 as part of the National Trust sponsored Australian Heritage Festival. A number of Abbey Museum staff and volunteers attended and were especially keen to hear the second speaker, Dr Geoff Ginn, who spoke about the history of the Abbey Museum and its founder J.S.M Ward.

The morning consisted of three speakers on very diverse subjects – but all related  in one way or another to the local region.

The first speaker, Dr Regina Ganter, professor of Australian History at Griffith University, spoke of the missions at Zion Hill and Stradbroke Island. Her talk examined the social experiment that these missions represented and why they both failed to achieve the results that were initially expected of them. In discussing the difficulties encountered by the missionaries, Dr Ganter touched on the expectations placed on them by their home societies, as well as local issues which affected their efforts.

Dr Geoffrey Ginn, Senior Lecturer in History at the University …

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