Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Special Place "In the Archives"Port Melbourne

Yesterday (Tue 8th Mar"05)I was working in our newly opened room, which is to store much of our archival material.
I had not connected it to being like a mine ,but in many ways it is, as it stores .....papers,books,photos,sketches, paintings,memorabilia,snapshots taken over a 100 years ago .It is a room of only the past.It is a place for one to mine for information.
The room has special temperature control and all is packed in special archival boxes and folders,carefully labelled.
Yesterday I labelled books dating back to to 1860's of council records .Our town was then called the "Borough of Sandridge"
Why the name "Sandridge" well it was because my town was all high sandunes at that time as was the whole of Port Phillip Bay's shores. As I read and put the details in these books onto a card to have them put onto computer discs I marvelled at the simplicity of those ,who were known as the Borough people
Constant work was found for residents shovelling the sand away from buildings,laying road metal ,lighting oil lamps,rowing settlers from the sailing ships out in the bay to the shore.There were many ships not able to tie up at the one and only Town Pier,so this was a worthwhile profession.
As I read the ink written faded minutes of the meetings I come across different ways of spelling ,one for instance is by-law spelt in those times as bye-law.
Married women carried the name of their husband like
Mrs Archibald Smith...not Mrs Heather Smith ,so be it.
I feel like I am on an adventure into the past ,a bit like archeologists in the desert,not knowing what I am going to find and then being so excited when I find something that leaves me in awe .
I find the name of many the same as mine but not knowing if they were a part of our family.I know that my descendants were not in trade,the judicary,the hiearchy but were boilermakers,wharf labourers,welders,chocolate dippers,fish factory workers, cart horse drivers,sewing workers,abbatoir workers etc.So their names do not make the council minute books.
So each Tuesday for 3 hours I will work in the mines of my ancestors documenting their history for those who wish perhaps to trace their roots or research a story of a life or the adventures of a family travelling across the sea from England,Scotland or Ireland..
I am indeed blessed to be able to work in the archives of the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society.
My heart is full and a feeling of joy comes over me as I wander through a history I feel proud to be a part of.

So each Tuseday till the end of this year & on , I will be
a small but important part of a team effort that for each of us means so much....Lois (Muse of the Sea)
Port Melbourne Wed 9th March'05.


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