SLQ’s Conservation Unit comes to the rescue

Guest blogger: Geoff Wharton, historian

On 27 May 2013, Her Excellency Mrs Annemieke Ruigrok, the Netherlands Ambassador to Australia, visited the Mapoon community on Western Cape York Peninsula to participate in the official opening of the First Contact Memorial – a joint project of the Netherlands Parliament, the Queensland Government and the Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council. (See Queensland Memory enewsletter, July 2013) As part of the celebrations on 27 May, the Ambassador presented to the Mapoon Cultural Keeping Place a rare book about early Dutch expeditions to Australia in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is by J.E. Heeres and entitled “The part borne by the Dutch in the discovery of Australia 1606-1765”, published in 1899.

Librarian Ruth Gardiner with historian Geoff Wharton

Librarian Ruth Gardiner with historian Geoff Wharton

I was project manager for the First Contact Memorial and sought the assistance of the State Library of Queensland to create a permanent archival case to safely store the 114 year old book. Queensland Memory Executive Manager, Louise Denoon and Librarian, Ruth Gardiner kindly agreed to assist the Mapoon community and arranged for State Library’s conservation staff to undertake the work.

I was delighted with the magnificent conservation case, which I will be returning to the Mapoon community during my next visit to the far north.