New badge received by Abbey Museum

Medieval Artefacts Donated to the Abbey Museum

There was great excitement in the Abbey Museum office last week; in fact, it felt a little like Christmas, as the Director unwrapped a group of medieval artefacts that had been donated to the Museum. We are trying to grow the medieval collections because of the association with the very popular Abbey Medieval Festival.

The first object to be revealed was a small but deadly collection of nine iron medieval arrow heads. They possibly come from Scandinavia as most are tanged, a form which was more common in northern Europe than Britain, and date to the 9th to 11th centuries.

The second object to be unwrapped was a very small but delightful pilgrim’s badge of a fighting cock. The bronze badge is in the shape of a running cockerel with textures detail to the body, wings and comb, spurs to the rear of the feet and dates to the 13 – 14th century. It is said that cockfighting was originally introduced into Britain by the Romans. It was popular with all classes of society and …

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Young Woman with a Stylus

Wax Tablets Roman Style

Wax Tablets….. the Roman Way!

What was your favourite excuse for not handing in your homework? Did the dog ever eat it?  Perhaps your kids have come up with some creative reasons as to why assignments were overdue! I seem to recall ‘the wind blew it away’ or ‘a glass of juice spilled on it’.  We have all heard a few good ones but in ancient Rome,  students had an even better excuse! Their homework had melted by the sun! (Sometimes assisted by holding their wax tablets close to their body).  Now that’s a good one!

Wax tablets and stylus was the means of writing at that time. Paper did not become readily and cheaply available in Europe until the Middle Ages. So, it was necessary to have an effective means for keeping lists, general correspondence and legal documents.  The wax tablet was used as the everyday notebook for thousands of years, although there is increasing evidence that ink was used on thin sheets of wood also.  A number of these have been found at Vindolanda, a Roman Army …

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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 …

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picnic

A Picnic at Pemberley – Recreating the Regency Period.

The Regency Period – a great artistic era or a bad royal joke?

The Regency Period was a  period of nine years, starting in 1811 when a bill was passed declaring that King George III was too unfit to rule, naming his 48-year-old son, the future King George IV, as Prince Regent. While the actual regency only lasted until the death of the King in 1820, the entire Regency Era is generally thought to be from the 1780’s until George IV’s death in 1830. However, the bill was made with reluctance as the Prince Regent was extremely unpopular. He was discouraged from making decisions regarding official governing business and war, so he instead spent all the money from the treasury on things such as balls, fashion, food, and pageants!  People did not view him as the ‘Great King’ they originally had hoped he would be, and by the time of his official coronation in 1821, he had become a symbol for senseless extravagance and a national joke.

A great period of change

But although the Prince Regent was a disliked person …

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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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Teaching the Value of Archaeology

To many people archaeology embodies adventure, excitement, very old things and, of course, thanks to the Indiana Jones franchise, unfortunately Nazis. The image of Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s archetypal archaeologist, has been burned into the minds of the “baby boomer” generation. These days, finding anyone under the age of 20 who has seen these films is an adventure in itself. Archaeology is so much more than “digging up old stuff” and putting it into a museum; it plays an important role in society, more than most people realise. Instilling that idea into a student’s mind is a definite challenge.

Curiosity plays an important role in the public perception of archaeology and history. Why are people so fascinated by King Tut and the Pyramids? It has to be more than, “they look pretty cool” right? Well, that’s because it is. Human beings have a natural desire to know more about where they have come from, especially if it relates to themselves. There is no doubt that there is economic value associated with archaeology as well. Museums all over the world are …

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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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Abbey Museum Joust

Horsing Around – a great Joust

One of the favourite activities at the Medieval Festival is the jousting tournament. What is not to love about knights in armour, galloping steeds dressed in the colours of their riders, lances and cheering crowds? If you cannot get enough of this spectacle, or you are a volunteer and cannot get to see it at the festival itself, fear not! For the first time this year a Friday afternoon joust will take place at the festival jousting arena commencing at 1.30pm.

You will be able to see all ten jousters participating in this premier event of the festival – taking approximately one hour. We plan to show off eight Australian jousters and two internationals (including a French Knight). Limited seating is available and tickets must be pre-purchased online; no tickets will be available for purchase on that day or at the event.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase throughout the afternoon. Book online now!

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Abbey Museum Stained Glass

An Impressive Achievement

The Abbey Church is a very special place, not least because its beautiful stained glass windows. The windows are a large and significant collection dating from the 14th to the 20th century. Some of the most famous are those consisting of fragments originally from Winchester Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.

One of the problems associated with items of such a venerable age is the need for conservation and repair. In 2004 leading glass conservators Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn of Eumundi examined the stained glass collection and compiled an inventory of the conservation requirements and the cost involved. This amounted to a substantial sum and Museum staff set about finding means of raising the necessary funds.

Fundraising for stained glass conservation

Conservation of individual windows was undertaken as funds become available; through donations and various fundraising efforts. The Abbey Museum Friends undertook the task of raising the funds required specifically for the Winchester Windows. From 2009 to 2012 we held “Walk for Winchester” where participants were sponsored to complete a ‘pilgrimage’ from Sylvan Beach on Bribie Island to the …

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