Ian Batterham, National Newsletter Editor


National Archives of Australia – National Office, Mitchell Conservation Laboratory

Recent UC graduates Laura Daenke and Caterina Agostinetto recently finishing their three month contracts in the lab as File Repair Team members. They have been in invaluable in freeing up time for the conservators to undertake higher level treatments.


International Conservation Services

We welcome Bronwyn Tulloh to the Objects and Outdoor Heritage team. Bronwyn is a recent graduate of the Masters of Cultural Material Conservation at Melbourne University.

Australian National Maritime Museum

In March we welcomed objects conservator Sarah Murray to the ANMM conservation team, replacing Rob McLeod. In May Agata Rostek-Robak was appointed as our new Manager of Conservation, replacing Jonathan London who is now Head of Conservation at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse). Agata joins us after many years of service at the State Library of NSW.

For those of you in the conservation community who have worked at ANMM in past years, we want to share the news that Jack McBurney one of our much valued conservation volunteers for over 20 years, retired at the end of 2014, just prior to his 90th birthday. We miss his excellent skills as maker of book boxes and folders / heartfelt poet and storyteller. He has recently moved from his home of 60 years in Beecroft, to live in a retirement village close to his family in Bunbury WA. We miss him and wish him all the best!!  We welcome Sue Brian as our new volunteer, having previously provided her invaluable skills and services at the Norfolk Island Museum for 5 years.

State Library of NSW

The Collection Care Branch at the State Library of NSW would like to welcome two new team members.  Paula Thorby is an Assistant Conservator with the Paper and Photographs Team.  Paula completed the Diploma of Library and Information Services with WSI TAFE in 2014 and was a Research Assistant at Parramatta’s Heritage Centre and the Local Studies and Family History Library before joining SLNSW.  Natalie Cassaniti has joined us as an Assistant Conservator for the Digital Excellence Program.  She was awarded a Master of Museum Studies (Sydney University) in 2014, and afterwards gained the position of Collections Officer at Fairfield City Museum & Gallery.  Currently Natalie is working on rehousing portrait miniatures from the Library’s Dixson Collection.

Nicholas Beckett, Assistant Conservator with the Digital Excellence Program, recently completed a diploma in Library and Information Services at Sydney Institute of Technology.  One of the key subjects undertaken was regarding digital repositories which are used for creating metadata files for digital library collections.

Conservator Kate Hughes has been announced as a 2015 Churchill Fellow. This will enable her to travel to the Natural History Museum, London for eight weeks to document the artist materials in their First Fleet watercolour collections.

Conservator Bronwen Glover was awarded a 2015 George Alexander Foundation International Fellowship which will assist her as she undertakes a Masters of Conservation Studies- Books and Library Materials at West Dean College in the UK in September.

Since February 2015 Barbara (Basia) Dabrowa has been undertaking a secondment from the AGNSW as Senior Conservator, Conservator of Artworks.  


Artlab, Australia

Artlab Australia’s 30th Anniversary was celebrated on the 19th of June with a lovely evening of reminiscence and laughter. Senior Preventive Conservator Anne Dineen was awarded the inaugural 30 year trophy for her dedicated service. Several past staff members, volunteers and special guests attended including Artlab’s first director, Ian Cook who travelled from Sydney for the event!

A smaller scale nine month project recently came to completion with Projects Conservation Manager Abby Maxwell-Bowen welcoming daughter Mia Blossom May into the world.


Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has a new Director, Janet Carding. Janet took up the role in early April, and was formally Director at The Royal Ontario Museum in Canada (since 2010). Janet has also worked at the Australian Museum in Sydney and has been very supportive of our upcoming National Conference.


National Gallery of Victoria  

After 12 years at the NGV, Annette Soumilas has left the position of Textile Display Specialist.  Annette has been an important member of the Textile Conservation team since 2002 and integral to the success of more than twenty NGV Fashion and Textile exhibitions. Her knowledge, experience, attention to historical accuracy, and eye for detail has played a significant role in enabling the NGV to deliver displays of extraordinary quality.  We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

In May, one of the wittier members of our department, Conservation Administrative Coordinator Toby Miller left to take on the role of Assistant Curator, Interim Collection Storage Improvements Project at the NGV, a position which will allow him to take full advantage of his skills and education in the areas of Art History and Professional and Applied Ethics. With Toby’s departure, MaryJo Lelyveld has left the bench as a Frames and Furniture Conservator to take on the mantle of Coordinating Conservator for the department.

In February, the department welcomed back Conservator, Exhibitions and Loans, Janelle Borig from two years maternity leave spent with her beautiful girl Alev. Janelle jumped straight back in to the thick of things with preparations for the always popular ‘StArt Up Top Arts 2015’ exhibition and Conservator of Photography Pip Morrison will be returning in mid-July from maternity leave spent with her sweet daughter Tilda.

The department has also appreciated the skills and company of several contract conservators and interns over the past few months. Rebecca Clark, employed with the Textiles Conservation team for several weeks in April-May did an extraordinary job creating underpinnings for works from the 19th century Australian fashion collection for the Culture Victoria digitisation project. The Textiles Conservation team is also currently hosting intern Michelle Hunter undertaking her 3 month work placement as part of her conservation degree at Textiles Conservation Centre, Glasgow.

In the Frames and Furniture lab, Emma Rouse continued on as a volunteer following her university work placement undertaking treatment of Joseph Highmore’s ‘Anthony Highmore’ (c.1745-7) until her departure in March to take up a new role at the Heritage Conservation Centre in Singapore. Siobhan O’Donovan joined the lab from April – July to assist with a number of treatments including the major restoration to corner ornament on John Ferneley’s ‘Squire George Osbaldeston on Assheton taking the fence side by side with Sir Frances Holyoake-Goodricke on Crossbow‘.

Sandi Mitchell completed her two year placement as Hugh Williamson Conservation Fellow in March and whilst she remained with the NGV, ably overseeing the paintings treatment of the John Rogers Herbert Conservation Live Project, we sadly farewelled her in June as she left Melbourne for the warmer climes of Sydney, to take up a position as Paintings Conservator.