Skills creation - the wealth of a Nation

Balcombe 1948 - 1982

Bonegilla 1982 - 1995

Project SPAASSM

Background

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 LTCOL 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 LTGEN 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.

Project SPAASSM pt2

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Project SPAASSM (Special Project for Army Apprentice School Special Material), initially led by Peter Thornton.

Project SPAASSM was instigated after members of the AAAA Inc. discovered that the Army Museum at Bandiana (AMB) had a vast quantity of historical material relating to the Army Apprentices School, which was wasting away in an old warehouse and not available for the general enjoyment of Apprentices far and wide.

The material was originally rescued by LTCOL Jim Hislop (Rtd), from almost certain destruction after recovering it from an industrial waste bin, at the closing of the AAS Bonegilla. Jim then organised to have the material and a display set up at the Army Museum Bandiana who are now the official owners and custodians of our history.

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The items include photographs, slides, negatives, video tapes, movie films, journals, graduation booklets, standing orders, handbooks and histories. There were approximately 16 boxes of material (approx 600m x 500m x 400m) and 4 boxes half that size stored on shelves in an old warehouse at the Army Museum. This material was relocated from Bandiana to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

After a detailed survey, the SPAASSM team assessed that the archive actually contains 7300 photos, 750 x 35 mm slides, 30 videos, 1 film, and approximately 10,000 pages of documents. SPAASSM has achieved a significant profile in government circles with a recent decision by the National Archive of Australia to use our video collection as a pilot to assess and forge a new preservation standard for Australia! Work was done by Silvertrak http://www.silvertrak.com.au/news/2008-sep-17.html

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The longer term outcome and aim of this project is 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 (a lot of photos have no context to them and we will be calling upon the Apprentice fraternity to fill in the gaps).

The aim and scope of the project

  1. Survey all Army Apprentices School written and photographic material;
  2. Once surveyed, decide what material is worthy of preserving, cataloguing and scanning;
  3. Catalogue material (both manually and electronically) into a format acceptable for the longer term management of the inventory (e.g. for Army Museum Bandiana and the AAAA’s electronic storage repository / Web site). It is important to mention here that the activity be structured up front in such a fashion as to reduce any double handing of information e.g. Association electronic cataloguing records are easily importable into AHRMS (Army History Records Management System) for the benefit of Army Museum Bandiana.
  4. Further develop the Army Apprentices Association Web site to enable interactive access for association members to assist in material identification and to also enhance Web Site administration through automated processes.