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Putting Swan Hill on the map: Roy Grounds, the People of Swan Hill, and the Pioneer Folk Museum in the 1960s-1970s


Nichols, D and Darian-Smith, K, Putting Swan Hill on the map: Roy Grounds, the People of Swan Hill, and the Pioneer Folk Museum in the 1960s-1970s, ICONS: Proceedings of the 13th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference, 31 January -3 February 2016, Gold Coast, QLD, pp. 64-75. ISBN 978-0-646-95689-3 (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Copyright 2016 Australasian UHPH Group


In 1972 artist Robert Ingpen, writing of Swan Hillís Pioneer Folk Museum, suggested that "seeing how our forebears lived, we discover how they fitted themselves into the new land and established a balance which we must maintain for the sake of future generations." For fifty years, the Museum has been a key element of the Rural City of Swan Hillís suit of tourist attractions. Its creation, to a design by Roy Grounds in collaboration with Victorian National Gallery director Eric Westbrook, coincided with both menís research work on the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne. Inspired by Stockholmís "living Pompeii" of Skansen, its example would go on to inform the creation of numerous historically based "folk villages" around Australia.

This paper uses newspaper reportage and previously unexamined material in the Folk Museumís archives. It examines the role of the museum within Swan Hill, its creation as a "by-product" of Groundsí and Westbrookís (and the people of Swan Hillís) interest in furthering a founding narrative. It also positions the iconic Folk Museum in the space between Groundsí fame as a modernist architect of consequence in Australia; the mid20th century expectation or understanding of pioneer life; and the desire of progressive regional cities such as Swan Hill to make its way in the automobile age as a tourist destination.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architectural history, theory and criticism
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Darian-Smith, K (Professor Kate Darian-Smith)
ID Code:124990
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2018-03-21
Last Modified:2019-10-23
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