GAMAA awards

Abbey Museum is GAMAA award winner

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology wins GAMAA award

3rd November 2017

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology was last night announced as a winner and a finalist at the GAMAA awards.  The awards – Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards – are presented annually to honour the achievements of individuals and organisations in striving towards excellence in the museum and gallery industry.

With six categories for organisations, (including projects, engagement and sustainability) and two for individuals, the Abbey Museum was proudly announced as a finalist for engagement in the organisational category and also as a winner in the individual awards for volunteer staff.

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology is situated near in the Moreton Bay town of Caboolture, an hour north of Brisbane and is one of Brisbane’s most unique museums. It has one of the finest collections of European and Classical artefacts open to the public in Australia. The Museum’s collection includes prehistoric artefacts, ceramics, glass, stained glass, metalwork, woodwork, lacquer, sculptures, manuscripts and rare books, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, water colours, icons and frescos. The collection …

Read More
Cuneiform text

From Clay Tablets to Digital Tablets

The Reed Stylus and Clay Tablet

From clay tablets to digital tablets.  Today texting, typing, writing, memes, … there are so  many ways in which we communicate with others;  technology has opened a veritable Pandora’s box of possibilities. Communications have become shorter and more frequent, full of the expectation of an immediate response.  The result is our modern world seems to travel at break-neck speed.  It is hard to imagine what it was like at the beginning of recorded time when humankind first put pen to paper… well, actually not paper — or pen for that matter — but a reed stylus to clay tablet.

Clay Tablet with Cuneiform

As you may be aware, one of the earliest forms of writing is called Cuneiform. Cuneiform is thought to have been first developed by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia c 3500 – 3000 BC. Mesopotamian scribes recorded everything from daily events such as trade records and sales dockets to astronomical happenings and political events. I was surprised to learn that some tablets inscribed with cuneiform were written in several different languages …

Read More
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 …

Read More
Pilgrim Badge Abbey Museum

Medieval Pilgrim Badge Donation Excitement

The Abbey Museum recently received a generous donation of a 14th century Pilgrim Badge of St Thomas Becket. A pilgrim badge, like the suit of armour also acquired this year, has been on the Museum’s wish list for a number of years as they represent an aspect of medieval life not previously represented in the collection.

Pilgrim Badge – Tourist Souvenir of the Middle Ages?

Pilgrimages were an important part of life in medieval England, and individuals were expected to make at least one major journey in their lifetime. Market stalls often lined the entrances to shrines, and here pilgrims could buy a variety of souvenirs such as badges and small vessels known as ampulae. This badge is in the form of St Thomas Becket and is one of a well-known series of badges that are miniature copies of the 14th century, life-sized, mitre-bust reliquary of St Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral. The badge would have been worn on the hat or outer clothing and would have been used as an amulet. The supposed miracle-working powers of the reliquaries that …

Read More
society

The Jane Austen Society of Australia

About Jane Austen Society of Australia, Brisbane

A regional group of the Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA), situated in Sydney, this organisation is the largest literary society in Australia. There are currently 120 members of JASA Brisbane. The  members are admirers of Jane Austen’s works primarily, but are also interested in her life and the era in which she lived.

JASA began in May 2002 in the format of a book club with eight members. In order to accommodate their rapidly increasing membership and the numbers of international and interstate guest speakers that were available, they soon found that they had to change the format to that of a book society. Meetings generally consist of an address from a guest speaker followed by a series of short presentations and activities ranging from formal to informal. Everyone is encouraged to participate, but it is not compulsory. Each meeting is allotted a theme by the committee. Themes can be quite specific relating to the books or more broad, relating to the author’s life, family, social position or to aspects …

Read More

Abbey Museum Celebrates 30 Years

Thirty years ago on a warm Saturday afternoon in late June a group of friends, members of the Abbey Community, builders and museum staff gathered with over 100 invited guests  to hear the Abbey Museum declared officially open. It was a moving moment: the culmination of more than six years of research, design and fund raising.

There were times when it seemed that the modest design for the gallery would run out of funds and remain an empty shell. Despite the nightmares, remarkably money always came just in time to pay the bills. The Museum team became incredibly inventive in attracting funds and in-kind gifts of materials. At one stage the deputy director of the Queensland Museum (itself nearing completion) remarked to Michael Strong that there were more members of his staff working as volunteers at the Abbey Museum than there were at South Brisbane! Most of the case designs were done with the help of David Bligh and Robert Allen, two senior design artists at the Queensland Museum, and they relished the task of designing a museum without strictures …

Read More

Cuneiform – Mysteries of Ancient Script

Abbey Museum’s Cuneiform Collection

One of the earliest known systems of writing in the world is cuneiform which developed in Sumer in the Middle East from about 4000 BC and then spread north to Syria.  Rulers maintained vast libraries of clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform that listed everything from taxes to marriage proposals, declarations of war and tributes to the temples. However, cuneiform is difficult to read, hundreds of tablets have never been published, and there are very few people that are able to read this text.

You can see some fine examples of Cuneiform tablets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York…..or you could simply visit the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, north of Brisbane,  to see their small but very significant collection of artefacts with cuneiform inscriptions. When you visit, you can see them in Museum Case 21.

In July, 2015  we were approached by Dr Luis Siddall from Macquarie University, who can read cuneiform. He was working on a cross-university project to read and publish all the artefacts with cuneiform script in Australia and …

Read More
stained glass fragments featuring a scourger in the Abbey Museum collection

Stained Glass Funding Success

The Abbey Museum staff are having a “pom-pom” moment!! What is that you may ask? Well, it is the way we celebrate when great things happen, those unexpected successes or some very good news. And we have just received some VERY GOOD NEWS. Late last year we applied to the Copland Foundation for funding for the conservation of nine of our medieval stained glass windows from our collection. Last week we received notification that our application was successful!!! Definitely a “pom-pom” moment!!

Why are we so very excited? Well it is because when we started fundraising for the conservation of the medieval and Victorian stained glass collection, over ten years ago, we had to raise a massive $165,000. For our small and predominately volunteer organisation that seemed a daunting task. However, through the generous donation of many wonderful individual donors who have funded the conservation of specific windows and through the fundraising efforts of the Abbey Museum Friends, who with the assistance of a grant from the Regional Arts Development …

Read More
St Michael the Archangel 2

The Abbey Museum’s Icons Travel Interstate for Art Exhibition

We are so excited that two of the Abbey Museum’s icons from our wonderful Art Collection have been chosen as part of a special exhibition at the Ballarat Art Gallery in Victoria.

Abbey Museum’s Icons on display

EIKON: Icons of the Orthodox Christian World”, features eighty high-quality works, including some really sumptuous examples of Orthodox art. Most of the icons in the exhibition originated from Greece and Russia, with examples as well from Cyprus, Syria and Palestine, and date from the twelfth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries.

This exhibition is a rare opportunity to view two stunning icons from the Abbey Museum collection, so if you are in or around Ballarat why not join one of the special tour the Gallery is offering through the exhibition and hear the stories behind these wonderful artworks. These special tours are on at 11.30am from Wednesday to Sunday during the exhibition which opened on Saturday 18 October and will close on Monday 26 January, next year.

The …

Read More
Museum Prepares for Brisbane Parade

Abbey Museum Volunteers on the World Stage

While some of the staff at the Abbey Museum were busily preparing for our recent Jousting Spectacular event, our Abbey Museum Volunteers were keeping up a busy social life for the Museum with parades and visits to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Abbey Museum Volunteers show off at the G20

The Queensland Government pulled out all the stops ahead of the G20 Summit to showcase Brisbane through live shows, street performances and interactive light shows across the cities CBD. The one event that caught our eye on the G20 Cultural Celebrations program was the ‘Brisbane on Parade’ event – a parade designed to showcase Brisbane and its finest. What a great way to not only promote the Museum but to celebrate what we do best. Between a group of Chinese Lion Dancers and Brazilian carnival stilt walkers was a group of wonderful and loyal Abbey Museum volunteers and re-enactors highlighting the eras represented by the Museum’s fundraising events and education programs. We say ‘wonderful and loyal’ to describe our Abbey Museum volunteers because not only did they …

Read More