In late 2006, Peter Thornton (35th electronics tradesman) discovered a large quantity of photographic material and documents relating to the AAS at the Army Museum, Bandiana Vic. The items included photographs, slides, negatives, video tapes, movie films, journals, graduation booklets, standing orders, handbooks and histories. The overall quality of the material was in good condition but the storage location (dexion shelving) was less than ideal. The material is owned by the Army History Unit through the Army Museum, Bandiana. The items were rescued by Lt Col Jim Hislop (Rtd), from almost certain destruction, at the closing of the AAS Balcombe and AAS Bonegilla and given to the Museum.
Peter decided that, in order to preserve the material, it needed to be surveyed, digitised, catalogued and put into archival standard storage. The longer term outcome and aim of this project was to make the digitised material publicly available via the World Wide Web for the general enjoyment of all ex-apprentices and visitors and to eventually make more complete the catalogue record for each item of the archive. Because of the size of the task, he realised a formal approach would be necessary to acquire the necessary resources. Peter developed Project Proposals, ToRs and all the necessary documentation to get the Project started. Finally in early 2007 Project SPAASSM, (Special Project for Army Apprentice School Special Material) was established by the Australian Army Apprentices Association Inc (AAAA Inc) with the generous support of Chief of Army Lt Gen Ken Gillespie, AO DSC CSM. Peter was appointed Project Manager and a Project team set up, consisting of:
A core group including:
Peter Thornton (35th ET/RM)
Ian Morris (12th Tels)
Frank Poole (10th Architectural Draughtsmen)
Bill Mertin (22nd VM)
A variable group including, from time to time:
Chris Moon (32nd C&J)
Rod Eagleton (24th F&T)
Chic Henry (19th Blacksmith)
Ray Dawes (21st F&T)
Ian MacLean (22nd Musician)
Archival storage materials were purchased and the items were moved from Bandiana to the Australian War Memorial which provided workspace for Project work to be undertaken. Over the next three years, Project SPAASSM transformed the miscellaneous assortment of photos, slides, and documents etc into the “AAAA Inc Historical Collection”. The items were surveyed, digitised, catalogued and put into archival standard storage.
Peter continued in the role of Project Manager until ill health forced him to stand down in 2009. Ian Morris (12th Tels) took over and continued in this role until the completion of the Project in May 2010. On 5 May 2010, a function was held at the AWM to officially mark the end of the Project. The Project deliverables (all archivally stored items, digital images on DVD, a catalogue written in MS ACCESS 2007 and accompanying documentation) became known collectively as the “AAAA Inc Historical Collection”.
This Collection was handed over to The Army Museum Bandiana on 7 Aug 2010 where it is now stored. Work is underway to make the digitised images available on the AAAA Inc Website.
Click here for more background information on the project.