AS part of the Victorian Government Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour Grant Program, the Archies Creek Hall was successful in achieving a significant grant to restore and create a memorial display for the Archies Creek and Ryanston State School Honour Rolls.
The restoration project funding was achieved with support from the Archies Creek Hall committee and Rod Gallagher of the Wonthaggi RSL as well as Trevor Foon of Foons Photographics.
The Ryanston Honour Board was finally located by the hall’s dedicated treasurer Vicki Vanzet and initially taken several years ago to Trevor for safekeeping and restoration by past president Gerald Abrahamson.
However, comprising of 31 original photographs and postcards that have significant areas of loss, staining and fading, Trevor declined the repair and assisted Ric in applying for grant funding for the board’s restoration.
“The extent of work it will take to restore this piece is complex, so to hear that the funding was approved for the vast restoration project is so pleasing,” said Trevor.
The condition was assessed by Peter Mitchelson of The Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation who is a Conservator of Paper and Books.
He evaluated the piece and acknowledged that the images are taped and adhered onto a mount board with a wood veneer overlay and the current condition of the board is spoiled with overall dirt and discolouration to all surfaces including the images and the mount boards.
“There are numerous minor accretions to both the wood veneer and the image areas,” said Peter.
“The proposal for the conservation treatment of the Honour Board is to remove and clean all original photographs and postcards including the consolidation of the emulsion layers where possible.”
Digital reproductions will then be made, including digital retouching to infill areas of loss and the originals rehoused within an archival, buckram covered folder inside Mylar sleeves.
“The wood veneer will be cleaned, and the historical board will be displayed at the Archies Creek Hall alongside the restored Archies Creek Roll of Honour,” said Ric.
“The Ryanston Honour Board in itself completes the overall honour board picture for Bass Coast and contains some names of veterans who are not in the RSL’s primary database,” said Rod.
“It is the last of the 54 honour boards and cenotaphs that have been identified in the Bass Shire.”
The memory of those enlisted are still within the minds of those related. Ric and Rod hope to gain further insight into those featured on the Ryanston board to formally document the names and background for the Bass Coast Shire Veterans Virtual Honour Board.
“This is an important project to maintain the local history and to honour all of the men and women who served from the district of Bass,” said Ric.
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale joined Ric at Foons Photographics to view the piece in its existing condition before being preserved, acknowledging the effort of those involved in preserving the town’s history.
“It’s wonderful to see the community involvement in the project and I am glad we’re working hard to protect the legacy of our veterans so it can be passed onto future generations,” said Jordan.
Ric added: “Our aim for the project is to involve the founding families within our community in search of the photographs and stories of the troops to feature on the interactive interpretative displays that will accompany the restored honour boards.”
Once restored the boards will return home and be housed within display cabinets made with the help of Wonthaggi Men’s Shed and local trades.
The work is due to be finalised by ANZAC Day 2020 in time for a dawn service and a gunfire breakfast as part of the unveiling ceremony, followed by an annual ‘welcome home the troops’ evening ball at the Archies Creek Hall.
Preserving and protecting the legacy of Bass veterans