Winton Fire Response – the next phase of recovery

After the enormous effort by volunteers from the Winton and District Historical Society and Queensland Museum staff Ewen McPhee and Sue Valis to recover objects from the fire damaged Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, the next stage of the recovery process could begin.  Ewen and Sue returned to Winton with MDOs from across the state, Melanie Piddocke, Josh Tarrant, Lydia Egunnike and Jo Wills, to assist museum volunteers with the next step in cleaning and conserving objects retrieved from the fire.  During the week we were also joined by Deborah Bailey, Director of Operations & Communities for Queensland Museum, who lent an extra pair of helping hands.

Despite extensive damage to the main building at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, a significant number of objects were retrieved for cleaning and conservation.  As other parts of the facility containing the remainder of the museum’s collections were untouched by the fire, this provided excellent working spaces for the cleaning process.  The excellent documentation, organisation, and knowledge of the collection by the volunteers further added to the efficiency of prioritising and locating items to be cleaned.

Most of the items recovered had suffered surface damage from soot, while some paper based materials had suffered water damage in the fire fighting process.  Under the watchful eyes of our conservators Sue and Lydia, we all learned special techniques for dealing with the unique challenges of object recovery post fire. Against the continual hum of generators and vacuum cleaners, the cleaning process was started.  After a solid week of cleaning, significant inroads had been made on many of the objects, and the area reserved for clean objects began to fill up.  It was time for the MDOs to say a regretful farewell to all the volunteers at Winton, who have not only worked incredibly hard since the fire but had also been wonderful hosts to the MDOs throughout the week.  But, with a long road still ahead of them in recovering and rebuilding their museum, the MDOs and Queensland Museum will continue to support them in this important process.

Advertisements

Posted on 29 July 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Once again a very interesting blog. Great to see so much of the collection has survived. Excellent work from the MDO’s and of course the volunteers, who will no doubt continue to work tirelessly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: