Lord Howe Christmas bush, with inset of painting by Ida McComish

2022 in review

2022 has been a big year for the Lord Howe Island Museum.

Merry Christmas!

The cover of our 2022 Christmas Card and the image above both feature a painting of the Lord Howe Christmas Bush, by Ida McComish, a naturalist who visited the island in 1936-37. Read more about Ida McComish.

This has been a very big year for the museum… here is a brief summary of the most signifiant events of 2022.

Displays in the Historical Gallery

Progress was made towards completion of the new Historical Gallery displays. 

Hobart based exhibit designer Michael Bugelli made three visits to the Island, and with the Curator and craftsman Ken Lees, radically changed the layout of the room to create what is a stunning informative, inviting space. 

Floor plinths were constructed to house all artefacts – nothing is on the floor itself; several old traditional museum cedar Australian Museum cabinets were refurbished and used to house artefacts; locals Craig Thompson and Michael Nobbs constructed part of a traditional palm thatch cottage and Anna Thompson completed a lifelike painting of a through-the-door look outside scene of the island as it might have been in 1834. 

Michael has one more visit in January to complete this gallery. Detached organisation in Hobart has sponsored Michael’s visits. The project was made possible by a grant from the New South Wales Stronger Country Community Fund, with support in our application from the Lord Howe Island Board and our State member Lesley Williams.

Capital Projects

Two capital projects were completed in winter 2022 – refurbishment of the museum foyer floor and rebuilding of the external fencing.

After 20 years the timber flooring had become quite worn and tired looking. This required removing every item out of the room, off the floor and the walls. 

Port Macquarie painter Brian Leslie volunteered to paint all the walls, a big job; then the sanding and coating was carried out by local tradesman Neville Prout. 

Neville also rebuilt the wood fence surrounding two sides of the museum building. These projects drew on the museum finances but were essential.

Our Website, Digital assets and Donations

The Museum website, designed and managed by John MacLulich, was put online, and John is working to keep it up-to-date and maintain blogs and newsletters of interest. 

The digital assets continue to be protected and improved by volunteer Peter van Dijke of Sydney based Galexia. Peter manages the whole computer and internet system and this year we had to purchase another iMac computer. 

We also purchased and installed a new Starlink internet system, which provides the visitors with the fastest and most reliable internet service on the Island. 

Another project Peter is working on is to source as many digital reports, journals, magazine articles about Lord Howe Island as available. These are placed as searchable PDFs onto the backup hard drives, and also loaded onto an iPad pro with a software program called PDF Search, enabling lightning quick location of any article containing any chosen word, held in all the archives. 

Peter also set up a SQUARE card donations system this year which has greatly increased the visiting public donations to the museum, as many people do not carry cash any more.

Community Activities

The museum continues to provide a community hub for locals and visitors. The shop sells locals books and products; the Visitor Centre provides information daily for visitors; the café is open 7 days for lunch and coffee, and three nights a week for dinner; weekly audio-visual presentations are given for visitors to learn about the Island; and on wet weather days documentaries are screened.

The museum continues to receive donations of photographs and artefacts to add to the island historical repository.  Rhondda McCallum, Ross Deutschbein and Jacqueline Thomas all donated photographs taken by their parents in the 1930s and 1940s.

Special projects

The Museum assisted author Brendan Atkins with the publication of his book detailing the life of naturalist Allan McCulloch, titled The Naturalist The Remarkable Life of Allan Riverstone McCulloch. Allan McCulloch visited Lord Howe Island numerous times between 1900 and 1926 to study the fish and other fauna of the island, and his ashes are buried beneath the monument at Signal Point.

With funding from the Dick and Pip Smith Foundation the museum sponsored Hobart PhD student Peter Pusick with his seabird research, placing satellite loggers on shearwaters as part of study into where seabirds are foraging and intercepting ocean plastics.

With the Friends of Lord Howe Island, the museum ran a Citizen Science project in August with Dr Chris Reid from the Australian Museum, to carry out the first post rodent eradication beetle monitoring on the Island.

The Museum continues to run regular workshops sorting beach plastic collected on local beaches by residents and visitors. Data are lodged online with Tangaroa Blue and the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.

Thank you and best wishes

The Museum committee (Robyn Warner, Ian Hutton, Chris Murray, Kevin Rickard and Anna Thompson)
thank all supporters, sponsors and members and wish everyone a 

Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year

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