Her­itage chief weighs ‘stun­ning re­source’

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS - KRONBORG

jkro­n­borg@ne­me­dia.com.au

BURKE mu­seum and Beech­worth his­toric precinct and Indigo her­itage man­ager Cameron Auty be­lieves the im­me­di­ate task in his new role is to de­vise strate­gies that in­te­grate the mu­seum and precinct.

The for­mer col­lec­tions man­ager of Mu­se­ums Aus­tralia (Vic­to­ria) said it was “a pretty ex­cit­ing time for the her­itage-listed mu­seum and precinct”.

“There’s a lot hap­pen­ing in the wider tourism sec­tor across Indigo and (Indigo coun­cil) tourism man­ager Su­san­nah Doyle has thrown me straight into it,” Mr Auty said.

“There are amaz­ing things hap­pen­ing here in terms of reimag­in­ing the whole area – there’s mas­ter plan­ning go­ing on, there’s the old Beech­worth gaol rede­vel­op­ment – so the num­ber one goal for me is to make sure that the his­toric precinct and the Burke are re­ally well in­te­grated into the wider tourism frame­work.

“I also want to make sure that the staff we have here – the tour guides are such an amaz­ing re­source, a bunch of peo­ple with so much lo­cal knowl­edge and who pro­vide a such a great ser­vice – are re­ally front and cen­tre in the tourism offer that we present.”

Mr Auty said Burke mu­seum and the Beech­worth precinct were some­what sep­a­rated, as were the teams which worked in each of them, and he en­vis­aged in­te­gra­tion that would cre­ate a holis­tic group.

“For this rea­son I’ll spend more time in the his­toric precinct than just here (in the mu­seum),” he said.

“My role is as man­ager of her­itage across Indigo shire, too.

“I’ll be re­ally try­ing to make sure that we build links be­tween this or­gan­i­sa­tion and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“That’s been my back­ground – work­ing in com­mu­nity col­lec­tions, digi­ti­sa­tion and mu­se­ums and her­itage and arts sec­tor.

“I think there’s a great op­por­tu­nity – and they’ve got the re­source here in this her­itage precinct which is so well sup­ported in terms of staffing and coun­cil fund­ing com­pared with other shires.

“So if we can get this group to sup­port the wider com­mu­nity that’s what I’ll be push­ing for.”

Mr Auty said much of what he an­tic­i­pated was yet to be dis­cussed.

“It will prob­a­bly take a lit­tle while to set­tle in here be­fore reach­ing out to the wider com­mu­nity, but my pre­vi­ous job was run­ning a pro­gram on com­mu­nity col­lec­tions digi­ti­sa­tion, and mak­ing sure that groups across Vic­to­ria could digi­tise their col­lec­tions,” he said.

“I’ll be push­ing heav­ily for that to hap­pen here.

“We need some way by which we can have our col­lec­tions ex­posed on-line – be­cause the Burke doesn’t have a pres­ence there yet – so I’ll be push­ing for some­thing along those lines and also mak­ing sure that other groups around Indigo can join us in that.

“I see a new future where all of the col­lec­tions across Indigo are on-line and shared in some form of ‘North East col­lec­tions por­tal’.

“That ties into the tourism strat­egy be­cause we are such a cen­tre of his­tory and her­itage up here and I want peo­ple across Vic­to­ria to see that.

“If they can see all the amaz­ing sto­ries and ob­jects and art­works and all of the strange and won­der­ful things here – and they’ve got ac­cess to that – we will get them talk­ing about the North East as a place to come for his­tory and her­itage.”

Mr Auty said it was one of the “the great ten­sions” in her­itage man­age­ment that his­toric towns like Indigo’s also had to work for life to­day.

“We’re talk­ing about liv­ing com­mu­ni­ties and peo­ple who have needs and peo­ple liv­ing in a liv­ing town and not a mu­seum,” he said.

“But, on the other hand, this place is such a stun­ning his­tor­i­cal re­source that we have to make sure we’re us­ing it in sus­tain­able ways and in ways that keep peo­ple ex­cited.

“Peo­ple want to live here – but there is that sense that it’s very set­tled as a his­tor­i­cal place.

“How we main­tain it as a liv­ing com­mu­nity is some­thing we’re go­ing to have to think about a lot.”

PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg

VI­SION: Burke mu­seum and his­toric precinct and Indigo her­itage man­ager Cameron Auty with precinct guide Ian Sin­clair in Beech­worth’s for­mer colo­nial govern­ment cen­tre.

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