Act heritage Grants Program : 2008-09 Grant Application Hall School House Museum – Interpretation, Access, Promotion. Project Summary

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ACT Heritage Grants Program : 2008-09 Grant Application

Hall School House Museum – Interpretation, Access, Promotion.

Project Summary

This project seeks funding for development of a heritage education program in an original heritage-listed school building. There are some limited developed resources for public interpretation of the building. Interpretation will give special emphasis to twentieth century heritage, and early rural history and heritage in the Hall district.

It will engage a skilled person to develop presentations, deliver a set number of presentations – available to target audiences – and provide training for local volunteers, in order that interpretation may be delivered by volunteers in the future. The project will also establish a ‘Friends of Hall School House Museum’.
Interpretive activities at this location will promote heritage through education (for all ages), tourism, and interpretation of the Hall School House Museum (Laurie Copping Heritage Centre) at Hall Primary School. The rich collection and traditional school atmosphere will be shared with ACT school children, Hall community members, visitors to Hall, ACT trainee teachers, groups of the elderly, and the public at large.
The project will:

  • facilitate and encourage public access

  • development of interpretive resources

  • train volunteers

  • facilitate research and documentation by students and community members

  • add documentation to the Hall community website

  • sustain promotion of the Museum and its resources locally and regionally

  • initiate a ‘Friends of the Hall School House Museum’ group

[NOTE: Currently the heritage listed building is managed by Property Group TAMS, but control is being passed, we understand, to the Department of Disability Housing and Community Services. Access to the building since closure of the Hall Primary School has been via TAMS Property Group. Elizabeth Burness currently has a lease agreement for use of the building. Advice has beenn sought from Luke Jansen, Property Group TAMS on this application]

Relevance to 2008-2009 priorities (in priority order)

  1. This project will promote heritage through education.

Through the availability of a highly skilled part-time ‘heritage interpreter/custodian’, supported by the Association and community volunteers, the project will facilitate access to this special place and its embodiment of past educational practices, by a range of groups – school-children, institutionalized and other elderly people, the local community and other Canberrans, trainee teachers, museum and conservation workers, tourists and other visitors.

2. This project addresses the thematic gap in early 20th century rural heritage.
The Hall Progress Association itself is 105 years old. Hall school opened in 1911. Large families from the region formed a close-knit and supportive rural community, and the village of Hall became a vital part of the new Canberra in 1913.
This history is reflected in the intact building and massive range of artefacts and original school furniture within the building. Many descendants of the early families remain in the Hall district.
This project will consolidate and enhance the present collection, encourage and support access to it, and use it in the creation of promotional and educational material.

3. The project will contribute to the Canberra centenary in 2013

This project will contribute to the 2013 Centenary by helping to ensure that the early rural history and heritage of the ACT is better documented, better understood, and more accessible than at present. It will significantly increase the probability that by 2013 the Hall School House Museum is a well-recognised, accessible, and living element of Canberra’s heritage.

Project objectives

  1. To enable and encourage public access to a unique rural ACT heritage listed site as we approach the Centenary of Canberra.

  2. Through a trained and experienced Custodian, to provide innovative and stimulating interpretations of the site and its special collection.

  3. To provide short structured programs for ACT school children and school teachers (and particularly trainee teachers) which nurture awareness of early educational practices.

  4. To build awareness and ownership of this rich heritage within the village and district of Hall, through public access and communications via the district newsletter ‘The Rural Fringe’ (bi-monthly) and the Hall community website -

  5. To recruit, train, and generally give guidance and direction to community volunteers with an interest in documentation of district history and heritage.

  6. During the project period, to explore, in partnership with Governmental and other stakeholders, options for a longer term management plan for the Centre after completion of this project.

Products / activities
Employment of a highly skilled part time ‘interpreter / custodian’ will animate the Museum and be the catalyst for a range of developments. Amongst these we will undertake:

  1. At least eighty presentations, of one hour duration, to the target audiences identified above.

  2. A volunteer induction and training program for Hall and district volunteers.

  3. Establishment under the auspices of the Progress Association of an informal group of ‘Friends of the Hall School House Museum’ to help support and promote the centre’s on-going development.
  4. Consolidation and further development of links to related organisations such as the ACT Heritage Library, ACT History Teachers Association, the Australian National Museum of Education, the National Trust, higher education teacher training faculties and museum practices courses, and others.

  5. Exploration with the ACT Government of longer term management options for the Museum, such as the creation of a Board of Trustees.

  6. Opening and attendance at the Museum for special occasions and activities such as Heritage Week, and National Trust ‘Heritage Walks’ around Hall.

Benefits to the heritage of the ACT
The project will consolidate the heritage status and values of the heritage listed precinct of Hall, and further develop a unique place where Canberra’s early rural heritage and educational practices can be accessed by the public.
The Progress Association, and Elizabeth Burness personally, have a range of relationships with local families and institutions, professional associations, educational institutions, heritage professionals, and others. Through a range of activities, including establishment of a project reference group, and of the Friends of the School House Museum, the Association intends to systematically build on these relationships
A fascinating and vitally important ACT heritage resource will be maintained and enhanced, and be made accessible in an innovative and stimulating way.
Induction and training of community volunteers will deepen appreciation of the Museum as a heritage resource and build capacity for future promotional and educational activities.

Who will benefit in the ACT community?
Schoolchildren will benefit through visits and structured presentations on Canberra’s rural heritage and early educational practices.
Teachers and Museum practitioners in training will benefit through access to a small, specialist heritage resource centre and the special challenges and opportunities that centres of this sort represent.

Hall and district community members will benefit from the further development of the heritage status and values of the village, with the Museum as a local resource and focal point for on-going heritage work.

The Canberra community at large and visitors to Canberra will benefit from the conservation and animation of a special part of Canberra’s early history by being able to access the centre.

Need for this project
The future of the Hall School House Museum (Laurie Copping Heritage Centre) and its collection has been uncertain for some time, but particularly since the closure of the Hall Primary School in December 2006. A recent inventory undertaken by the Australian National Museum of Education (copy attached) has established the high value of the collection, and the building itself is heritage listed.
Funding of this project will ensure that while the longer term future for the Hall Primary School site as a whole is being determined and given shape, access to the Museum is maintained, opportunities to develop the collection are taken, and the importance and relevance of the resource can be widely promoted using newly developed interpretive materials.

Project Staffing.
Interpreter / Custodian – Elizabeth Burness
If this application is successful the Association will engage Elizabeth Burness as interpreter / custodian. The project brings together the standing and capabilities of the VHDPA, and the extensive experience, energy and creativity of Elizabeth Burness.
The Association has a long history of its own, is widely recognized as an effective umbrella and representational body for Hall and district, manages a community website and newsletter, and is strongly committed to protection and enhancement of the heritage values of the village and district. The Association played a strong role in the representations and consultations that lead to the heritage listing of the village.

This project proposal is built on the special skills and experiences that Elizabeth Burness brings to the task. She has been a tenant at the Laurie Copping Heritage Centre whilst undertaking an ACT Government-funded project in 2008, is very familiar with the building and its unique collection, and is an experienced and accomplished museum educator, story-teller, writer and illustrator. Her CV, and examples of her previous work are attached.

She has the experience, the vision, the ‘props’, and the expertise to fully exploit the atmosphere of the building, and has already produced some of the materials that will be used in the presentations proposed as part of the project – work sheet/story sheets, story-board featuring pupils of the school in 1918, and illustrated cards and envelopes.
She is currently preparing a ‘Sound and Light’ experience for visitors to the Hall School House Museum using her own props - such as child mannequins and oral history recordings of Hall residents from the National Library.
We are confident that the Association and Elizabeth Burness working together in this project will deliver exceptional value.
Project Manager – Alastair Crombie
Alastair Crombie is a very experienced project manager. Currently a self-employed consultant, he was for three years a Program Consultant with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, and prior to that Executive Director of Adult Learning Australia – the national peak body in adult education and training – for six years. In that capacity he initiated and directed Adult Learners Week for its first five years. He was also at that time an Executive Member of the International Council for Adult Education and the Asia-South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education. He is currently President of the Australian Rugby Choir Inc.
A list of all current VHDPA committee members is attached. Additional details available on request.

Project Budget
We are not making undertakings in relation to possible revenue generated by the project. There are some cost recovery possibilities which can be explored in the course of the project, but we believe it premature to anticipate income at this stage.

While we do not at this stage have other funding sources for the project, if this application is successful, we would continue to explore additional funding sources in order to be able to extend the hours for which a Custodian can be remunerated.


  1. Insurance Certificate – VHDPA Inc

  2. Letter from VHDPA President re funding contribution

  3. Letters of support:

    • Neil Manton, St Michaels and All Saints historian

    • National Trust of Australia (ACT)

    • Australian National Museum of Education

    • ACT History Teachers Association

    • Reverend Bronwyn Suptut, Rector, Parish of St Barnabas Charnwood

  1. Curriculum Vitae - Elizabeth Burness

  1. Elizabeth Burness – supporting documents

  • Public Liability Insurance policy

  • Letter re 2007-08 Heritage Grant

  • Two photographs of Elizabeth Burness working as story-teller / interpreter.

  • Two examples of interpretive materials / teaching resources

  • Illustrated card featuring the Hall Schoolhouse

  1. Members of VHDPA committee 2007-2008

  2. Inventory of Hall School Museum

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