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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 537


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honourable member for Robertson will not answer interjections. He will address the Chair. Honourable members who are interjecting will be quiet.


Mr COHEN - Thank you for the protection, Mr Deputy Speaker.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - You do not need it.


Mr COHEN - After the Committee of Inquiry had been established, the then Special Minister of State, Mr Bowen, and the then Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Cavanagh, announced that a separate committee under Professor Mulvaney would examine and report on the possibility of establishing a gallery of Aboriginal Australia. The report was incorporated in the Museums in Australia 1975 report, otherwise known as the Pigott Report, after the name of its Chairman, Mr Peter Pigott.

At this stage I would like to pay a special tribute to the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Peter Pigott. Australia is very fortunate in having citizens of the calibre of Peter Pigott. Too often we fail to acknowledge the debt our society owes to men who give up years of their lives to public duties with no other recompense than the personal satisfaction of knowing that they have made a contribution to their community. Peter Pigott is one such person whose love of his country, its heritage and its unique flora and fauna has led him to become involved in a whole range of activities involved with conservation and the preservation of the national heritage. I count myself fortunate to have known the Pigott family for over a quarter of a century. Both Peter and his brother Robert have given Australia sterling service in their roles as public citizens. I pay tribute to Peter's selfless service and in particular to his chairmanship of the inquiry into the museums of Australia.

The Australian Labor Party is very proud of its initiatory role in bringing about the Museum of Australia and the fact that at long last the Aboriginal people of Australia will have their history, which dates back some 40,000 years, properly recorded and presented in an honest, dignified way rather than in the totally inappropriate, often patronising and sometimes insulting manner in which it has been told in so many Australian museums. Recommendation 2.1 1 of the Pigott report had this to say:

We recommend that a Museum of Australia be established in Canberra and that its board of trustees be charged by Act of Parliament with the collecting, preserving, study and display of materials related to the history of man in Australia and the interaction between man and the Australian environment. The new national museum should not attempt to imitate or duplicate those fields in which older Australian museums are strong, but should concentrate on three main themes of galleries: Aboriginal man in Australia; European man in Australia; and the Australian environment and its interaction with the two main themes.

Obviously a building of this nature cannot be erected overnight. I would expect that a project of such national significance would take a great deal of detailed planning and design not dissimilar in size and scope to that required for the new and permanent Parliament House. This is the case not so much in respect of the grandeur of the design or even the cost, because the Committee strongly recommended against a major monument, but in respect of the considerable thought that is required in integrating the three themes and the considerable amount of planning and acquisition that will be required to ensure that the museum has quality material for its display when it finally opens.

It is not possible to put an operation like the Museum of Australia together in a year or two. In view of the historical nature of museums, and this museum in particular, what more appropriate time could there be to aim for its opening than 1988, the bicentennial of European civilisation in Australia. With 1 980 almost three-quarters over and the need to have the museum completed by the end of 1987, that would leave a full seven years for all the intricate design planning and construction that I believe is required. Let me assure the House that when we take over in a few months, a Labor government will ensure that the Museum of Australia, conceived by a Labor government, will be open and fully operational by 1988.

There will, of course, be criticisms of this proposal. There will be those who will seek to make capital out of the fact that this is another major item of government expense and, of course, that it is to be located in Canberra where all the nation's major buildings now seem to be located. The High Court of Australia building has just been completed, the National Gallery will be open, I understand, in 1983, and the new and permanent Parliament House is on the drawing board. Now it will be said that Canberra is to get another magnificant national building. I have never been one of those members of parliament who try to secure a few political points back in my electorate by attacking expenditure on the nation's capital.

Canberra, despite its critics, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and increasingly it is becoming a place to which millions of Australian and international visitors come to visit. Outside of government, tourism is its major industry. In excess of two million visitors come here every year and a large proportion of those visitors are school children. Surprisingly, though, despite the fact that it is a mecca for so many tourists, there are remarkably few major man-made attractions to occupy the tourist time outside the unique design of the city itself and its myriad of embassy buildings. The Royal Australian Mint, the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Academy of Science, this Parliament House and perhaps the High Court building are really the only public attractions that would occupy a visitor's time for more than a few minutes. A visitor is hardly likely to spend a great deal of time at the National Library unless he has a specific project in mind. The National Gallery, of course, will be a different proposition but that building does not open until 1983.

Canberra's problem from the tourist's viewpoint is that the majority of domestic visitors are in and out of Canberra in a day or two. Attractions such as the National Gallery and the Museum of Australia will assist materially in encouraging visitors to lengthen their stay in Canberra and, in the case of international visitors, their period of stay in Australia. However, the tourist value of the Museum of Australia is secondary to its true importance - its real importance - which is to provide the nation with a museum that for the first time tells accurately, entertainingly and educationally a history of Aboriginal and European society in Australia and the interaction of both with the unique Australian environment.

The Pigott report puts the case for a national museum very effectively and succinctly. The report states:

Virtually every nation has its national museum but here the argument ibr a national museum is particularly powerful. For the nation covers a whole continent; and moreover that continent, because of its long isolation from the other land masses, has had an unusual natural history and human history. A new comprehensive museum offers - for the first time - an unsurpassed opportunity to display the geological, climatic, natural and human histories of an entire continent.

It should be stressed that a continent, rather than a nation, is the ideal focus for a museum, because the natural boundaries are more permanent and powerful than man-made boundaries. Hitherto, because of natural boundaries, no continent has constituted the central theme of a large museum ... the major museums which were created in Australia in the nineteenth century tended to divorce Aboriginal man from European man and to divorce European man from Nature. The achievements of Aboriginal society over 40,000 years were minimised. Accordingly, many of the factors which moulded the human history of both black and white settlers were neglected.

The report also made the point that Sydney and Melbourne had museums of national significance at a time when their populations were smaller than Canberra and that Hobart and Launceston with much smaller populations than Canberra have long provided their residents with museum displays not available to the people of Canberra, not to mention the two million tourists to whom I referred earlier.

I was not aware before I read the Pigott report the other day that no museum of national significance has been founded in Australia for more than half a century. In evaluating the worth of the proposed Museum of Australia one should bear in mind the themes proposed - namely, Aboriginal history; European history in Australia; the Australian environment- land and sea, geology, flora, fauna and climates - and man's interaction with that environment. No current major Australian museum deals fully with any of these themes. The Pigott report had this to say:

The quickening public interest in Australia's recent history has not been satisfied by the State museums. They have usually lacked funds to collect adequately in that field; moreover, they have been oriented more to the natural sciences, though occasionally they have built up valuable collections in facets of applied science and technology. It is fair to say that so far no museum in Australia has attempted, even on a moderate scale, to depict the history of Australia since the coming of the British.

One of the most exciting proposals put forward in the recommendations was that the three themes should be linked together by a nature park that contained live fauna unique to Australia. Such a concept would be unique in the world. A nature park would have some very decided advantages over traditional museums. It would lessen the reliance on prepared animals and plants for internal displays. A live specimen in a natural setting always has more effect than a stuffed skin in a showcase. Visitors will be more interested in the biology of the species if the live specimen is before them. Live specimens can aid ecological research, and the Museum should make visitors more aware of the fauna and flora of their country and of the case for the protection of a particular species. One can only hope that, if and when the Museum proceeds, these recommendations are accepted by the Government and included in the final concept. A number of other recommendations of the Pigott report are invaluable, and one hopes that eventually they will be accepted by the Government. I seek the indulgence of the Minister for Home Affairs. I wish to incorporate in Hansard the major recommendations of the Pigott report. I have sinned in that I did not bring them with me, but they are available.

I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard paragraphs 2.1 to 2. 1 7 of chapter 2 of the report.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows -

MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS

2.   1 The Committee of Inquiry, in the course of the following chapters, sets out many conclusions and recommendations, major and minor, about museums and collections in Australia. The main recommendations can be briefly summarised as follows. 2.2 To assist in co-ordinating federal expenditure on museums and art galleries, and to foster the development of museums generally in Australia, we recommend the creation of an Australian Museums Commission, a statutory authority employing its own small staff and enlisting, whenever possible, the advice and specialised services of other government agencies. 2.3 For the purposes of defining the level and range of government financial support, we recommend that the Australian Museums Commission divide museums into the categories of major museums, associated museums and local museums. For local museums, government support can be given most efficiently if the museums form themselves into regional networks or associations. 2.4 As museums have unique advantages as a means of education, and as a large proportion of school children rarely visit them, or visit them without adequate preparation or proper briefing, museums should be used more as a source of formal education and by universities. If necessary, this development should be funded at the expense of certain other facets of the Australian Government's education program. 2.5 As rational acquisition and preservation represents a vital function of museums, and as Australian museums are often outbid by overseas buyers for objects of unique importance to this country, we recommend that a national fund should be set up to facilitate emergency acquisitions of collections in history, the fine arts, sciences and other areas of strong Australian interest. 2.6 As public funds can easily be squandered on ineffective museums, and as requests by museums for finance are multiplying, we recommend that public funds not be used unless the museums will meet a community need, will use a building suitable as a museum, will adequately display and catalogue and conserve their collections, and will hold collections of historic significance. 2.7 As many agencies of the Australian Government at present assist museums, we recommend that this funding be co-ordinated and conform to agreed principles: we recommend that funds not be granted to museums which are so strongly directed towards tourism and entertainment that their standards of historical accuracy are violated. 2.8 We recommend that responsibility for all the Australian Government's own museums should be placed under one Ministerial portfolio and that these museums, while receiving their basic funding from that Ministry, should have the same access as State or municipal museums to the special assistance programs of the Australian Museums Commission. 2.9 As the deterioration of valuable collections in Australian museums, great and small, has reached the proportion of a crisis, conservation should have high priority when additional funds are provided by the Australian Government. We recommend the creation of a Cultural Materials Conservation Institute to study - and disseminate- ways of preventing deterioration of fragile and perishable museum objects, especially under Australian climatic and other conditions. 2.10 We recommend the establishing of a post-graduate course to train professional conservators at a degree-granting institution, a system of training technical staff for museums on an apprenticeship basis, and special training programs in those aspects of Australian social, economic and technological history which are increasingly central to museum collections and displays. 2.1 1 We recommend that a Museum of Australia be established in Canberra and that its board of trustees be charged by Act of Parliament with the collecting, preserving, study and display of materials related to the history of man in Australia and the interaction between man and the Australian environment. The new national museum should not attempt to imitate or duplicate those fields in which the older Australian museums are strong, but should concentrate on three main themes or galleries: Aboriginal man in Australia; European man in Australia; and the Australian environment and its interaction with the two-named themes. 2.12 While many proposals were put to this Committee for the creation of a variety of specialist national museums, we recommend that no more than three themes merit special museums. We recommend that early priority be given to a national maritime museum in Sydney and to a national aviation museum at a growth centre such as Albury-Wodonga, and that later consideration be given to locating a Gallery or Museum of Australian Biography within the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra. 2.13 We recommend that those Australian universities which operate museums or hold important collections should either safeguard those collections adequately or with the cooperation of the Australian Universities and the Australian Museums Commissions, or arrange to transfer them on longterm loan to major museums. 2.14 In view of the indiscriminate looting of historic shipwrecks along the Australian coast, and the danger to historic sites on land, we recommend that protective legislation be drawn up and enacted. While the protection of historic sites on land and sea is at present even more important than application of archaeology to those sites, the Australian Museums Commission should encourage marine and historical archaeology, and provide special help to the pioneering work of the Maritime Museum at Fremantle.

2.   15 To retain rare Australian cultural material, we recommend that the Australian Government introduce specific legislation to regulate or prohibit the export of particular items or categories of items. We recommend that the protection of cultural relics would be furthered if Australia ratified and implemented the UNESCO Convention of 1970 on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. 2.16 To assist in the conservation, display, study and the retention within Australia of museum objects of national significance, we recommend that a National Register be compiled. 2.17 We recommend that consideration be given to changing legislation in order to provide tax incentives to those who donate valuable items of national significance to public museums, libraries and archival authorities in Australia; an independent board, we recommend, should be set up to assess gifts, and decide whether they merit a tax rebate on the grounds of their national, historic and cultural and scientific importance.


Mr COHEN - I thank the Minister. There are 1 7 recommendations in the Pigott report and, as far as I can determine, only five of those recommendations have been acted upon. Of course, some of them do not require action. Recommendation 2.8 states:

.   . that the responsibility for all the Australian Government's own museums be placed under one Ministerial portfolio . . .

As far as I can ascertain, that is now the case. Recommendation 2.10 states: the establishing of a post-graduate course to train professional conservators at a degree-granting institution . . .

I understand that that course has been established at the Canberra College of Advanced Education and that it is a great success. Recommendation 2.11 is covered by this Bill, and recommendation 2.14 involves the historic shipwrecks legislation, which has been implemented. Recommendation 2.17 deals with tax incentives for those who donate valuable items of national significance to public museums. The implementation of those five recommendations is most welcome, but the fact is that quite a number of recommendations have been ignored. Some quite critical areas have been ignored, I think largely because they are not the sorts of issues that are headline-grabbing and likely to win votes. However, they involve the sorts of priorities that determine how responsible a government is in protecting a nation's heritage. I refer in particular to those recommendations that deal with preservation and acquisition. Chapter 4 of the Pigott report has this to say about the state of many priceless objects in Australian museum collections:

More damaging and less visible is the slow deterioration of museum collections. Many collections are increasingly endangered by their own immediate environment; by the temperature; by the light; by dust or fumes in the atmosphere; by humidity; by vermin and fungi; or even by vibrations. Some collections are rotting in the museums, turning these institutions literally into cemeteries of dead objects. Of the major governmental museums in Australia, only four have effective control over temperature and humidity. Even in these favoured museums, some collections are stored in an uncontrolled atmosphere . . .

The silent, scarcely visible damage to items in Australian museums probably exceeds, at present prices, one million dollars a year. As the damage takes place in basements or in locked storehouses out of sight, the public pressure to take remedial action is slight.

I think this Parliament has a responsibility to take greater note of that recommendation. We will not grab headlines if we say that we will spend a lot of money on preserving the nation's heritage, but if we are really concerned about these objects that are priceless in terms of the country's history then it ought to be done. The Committee makes the point in its report that it would prefer not to see displays in the Museum of Australia, when it is built, fragmented into separate compartmentsfor example, transport, geology and sport - but rather that visitors should experience the sensation of travelling through time. The report states:

The old system of dividing knowledge into the familiar compartments of the school syllabus, into history and anthropology and zoology, naturally has advantages and can be seen in most museums. But there are also great advantages in bridging those divisions. A new museum provides an exciting opportunity for new bridges.

The report goes on:

It is not this Committee's responsibility to suggest in detail the sequence and arrangement of The Museum of Australia. That is rather the responsibility of the director and curators, working within the guidelines identified by their trustees. We would envisage, in general terms, that the sequence of displays within the museum would commence with the origins of the Australian landmass and its slow northwards drift; the evolution of its distinctive flora and fauna; the moulding of regional landscapes; the effects of the last of the ice ages; the arrival of the first Aborigines; their influence through fire and hunting on the environment; the environment's effects on the Aborigines' various ways of life and in turn their skillful harnessing of the environment; the long isolation of the Tasmanian Aboriginals; the last rising of the seas and the separating of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Can honourable members imagine a more exciting concept? To the best of my knowledge, no other museum in Australia, if in the world, would have such a unique display. When I travel overseas one of the first things I try to do is see the museums of the countries I visit. Unfortunately, there are many occasions when I feel that the visit is more of a duty than a pleasure. Too many museums are full of dull, lifeless displays, no doubt fascinating to the keen student of a particular discipline but crushingly boring to the layman, who lacks the expert knowledge to appreciate fully, for example, 3,000 neatly labelled pieces of pottery made some 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. I can see the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Giles) nodding in agreement. He has been through those sorts of tortuous experiences. After two or three hours in many museums, the average person begins to suffer from what is termed museum fatigue. What should be a stimulating adventure becomes, on many occasions, an exercise in eyeglazing boredom.

Finally, as I said before, it is important that a decision be made about the site of the Museum of Australia. The Committee in its report envisaged a totally new concept in museums, including the three themes I mentioned earlier - the nature park, provisions for display, and the training of artisans in skills that are no longer in common usage. For example, there would be blacksmiths, cobblers, coopers and thatchers. The Committee has in mind that these skills are being lost in Australia and that people should be trained by the few who still have those skills. In the future, people would be able to see that type of thing in the Museum, which would be a museum of artisan skills as well as the other things I have been talking about. There would also be displays on issues of current public debate. I talked to Mr Peter Pigott, and he put forward the very exciting concept that, if there were a debate about the environment, both sides of the argument could be illustrated in display form so that people could grasp the issues in a way that they cannot do at present from the newspapers of Parliament.

If the concept is to be implemented successfully a fairly substantial area of land will have to be set aside so that the Museum of Australia can grow as Australia's history unfolds. It would be a disaster if the concept outlined in the Pigott report were lost. I think it would be getting away from the whole concept of the recommendations contained in the Pigott report if the decision were made to incorporate the Museum in the Parliamentary Triangle and it was just another museum built in the style of so many of our traditional museums. I would be delighted if the Minister would inform us whether the Government proposes to accept the recommendation that a 90-hectare site west of Black Mountain known, I understand, as the cork plantation is to be the site of the Museum. Its location at such a site would enable the free flowing display outlined in the report. Because much of the display will be quite different from traditional displays in museums, it is essential to have lots of open space. Because it will be a uniquely Australian museum, it is important that it be integrated into the Australian landscape. I know the area suggested reasonably well. It is a magnificent site that is suitable to the thematic concept previously outlined. Let us hope that the Government has the good sense to take the report's advice and construct the Museum in the area west of Black Mountain.

If the ideas contained in the Pigott report are followed through faithfully, Australia will have a museum that will be not only educational, scientific and protective of Australia's heritage but also a dynamic and invigorating experience for everyone who visits it. lt is an extremely exciting and new concept. The Australian Labor Party strongly supports the Museum of Australia Bill. It supports the Bill because it wants to see the Museum functioning as soon as possible. It recognises that it will take time to plan, design and construct the Museum. The Opposition is not unmindful of the fact that it would be a disaster to rush the project just to get erected a building that can be called the Museum of Australia. The Opposition simply asks the Government to provide the Parliament with a time frame in which the Museum will be constructed. It does not want to see long delays as the proposals are shuffled from one committee to another.


Mr GILES (Wakefield) - I welcome the attitude of the Australian Labor Party, as expressed by its spokesman on these matters, about this important and brilliant concept.


Mr Bourchier - It was boring.


Mr GILES - I hope I do not suffer from not having a written speech prepared, as did the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen). He was perturbed about the time frame for the establishment of the Museum of Australia. In his second reading speech of some months ago the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott) dealt with various aspects of that. He dealt with the Government's intention to appoint a director of the Museum soon after the Council was set up. This Bill, the Museum of Australia Bill, gives legislative effect to the main thrust of the recommendations contained in the Pigott report which affect the establishment of the Museum of Australia.

That report also recommends the establishment of a national aviation museum and a national maritime museum on the assumption that these specialised museums cover particularly important parts of our history that could not adequately be covered in a museum of general history along the lines already discussed by the honourable member for Robertson. The Government has shown its concern for the preservation of Australian history and has endeavoured to ensure that people have the opportunity to learn about the country from major museums, associated museums and minor museums of some consequence at places such as Ballarat. No doubt this debate would have attracted the interest of the honourable member for Ballarat (Mr Short) if more time had been allocated to it. Indeed, the museum at Swan Hill and many others like it, some of which are not so minor, add to the general range of museums in small, localised areas throughout Australia.

I should like to refer initially to the threepronged - I am not sure whether that is the right word - decision by the Government based on the recommendations of the Pigott report. I refer to the three themes of the Museum of Australia which one anticipates will be located in Canberra. At the risk of boring the House, the themes refer to the history of Aboriginal man in Australia, the history of non-Aboriginal man in Australia and the interaction of man with the Australian environment. Before we look on this as perhaps a somewhat wild idea, let us stop and consider the dreadful problems of duplication within museums already situated in this country. It is no secret that we are all bound by the constitutional problems of the early formation of this country. Many historic records of great importance are located in State museums in particular and in minor museums in the Northern Territory. This Bill attempts, among other things, to equate the problems in that respect and tries to establish guidelines, some of which 1 am not altogether satisfied with. I might deal with that later. It seems strange that I found the finest display of Aboriginal art I have ever seen - I have some interest in this area- in the Chicago Art Museum some eight years ago. The display was finer than any display of Aboriginal art I have ever seen in this country.


Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Have you seen Basle in Switzerland?


Mr GILES - I have not. That establishes two very important points. Part of the object of this Bill is to stop the export of important relics, whether they be Aboriginal art or aircraft, such as a prominent Messerschmitt 109 aircraft that would have disappeared from this country in parts but for the most stringent supervision and inspection of this project as it developed. A departmental officer who is present in the gallery had much to do with the fact that that aircraft did not leave Australia. From that Aboriginal art display in Chicago it was evident that those relics of our history should not have left this country. If that had been the case, I would not have had to go to Chicago to see such a magnificent display. This Bill is trying to cut off the exodus of very important historic art and other forms of our cultural history.

As I said earlier, we are posed with the problem of duplication. I think that this concept of the construction of a museum in Canberra with those three basic themes is a proper way of attempting to handle the situation as it emerges. I hope there will be a major display in Canberra. Apart from the three principal themes to which I have referred, another problem arises. The Pigott report and the Minister's second reading speech, which was made some time ago, deal with two other aspects of the museum concept in Australia. I refer to the proposed national aviation museum and the national maritime museum. The Pigott report goes far beyond that but I wish to comment particularly on those aspects. It is not clear to me - I do not believe the Government is clear on this point - what trust should cope with what form of museum. It is perfectly clear- it is laid down within the ambit of this Bill- that there should be a trust to care for the general museum in Canberra. I am not clear about whether that trust and the council associated with it should necessarily be the body to oversee the collection of, say, aviation relics in an aviation museum. I am also not clear whether that sort of trust is necessarily the right one to look after a maritime museum.

It is quite clear to all members of the House that if the major Museum - an exciting concept - is located in Canberra there is very good reason why these other two adjuncts should not be located in Canberra. 1 think that a maritime museum quite properly should be located a trifle nearer the coast than Canberra, lt is equally logical to think that a national aviation museum with a flying adjunct should be located in slightly kinder winter conditions than Canberra. Likewise, it is equally logical to think that the higher convection currents of Queensland and the rapidity with which storms can develop are not necessarily the kindest environment for flying replicas of old box kites at 30 miles an hour.

I think one has to look at New South Wales, and perhaps further south where flying conditions are kinder to locate the flying adjunct of a national aviation museum. Indeed, the Pigott report mentions factors other than that in relation to a national aviation museum. It mentions a factor that I think is of great importance. It says that the national aviation museum should be properly located on some arterial highway between major centres of population. It also mentions the fact that air space is of prime importance. This rather precludes Richmond or Essendon as possible sites. We cannot have two-engined Cessnas howling around air space reserved, as I hope it will be, for older type aircraft which will fly along at a very slow speed and, in modern parlance, in rather a dicky situation. Likewise, the matter of hanger space is important if we look at the economics of the project.

I think it is quite proper that various country towns at this stage are trying to put forward their case for the establishment of a national aviation museum. I hope the Government takes into account the fact that we must allow for the flying adjunct of a national aviation museum, lt is critical to take into account the sorts of factors I have just enumerated.

This leads me inexorably towards the project in which I have personally taken a great interest. I refer to the building of the Southern Cross replica - Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's aircraftwhich is currently being undertaken in Parafield in South Australia. The Southern Cross Museum Trust, set up under the chairmanship of the exPremier of New South Wales, the Honourable Tom Lewis, is busy currently raising funds. It has an agreement with a company known as FA A - Famous Australian Aircraft - to construct the Southern Cross replica. The progress is extraordinarily good. According to senior people in the aircraft construction industry the quality of the work is very high.

I take the opportunity to thank those members of the House who, in some cases as a personal favour to me and in other cases because of their belief in the project, donated to this fund. Some of my friends on this side of the House have donated in a mammoth fashion. 1 am most grateful. I am even more grateful to some members of the Opposition for donating to the fund. I would like to make a particular reference to the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) who, of course, is just the member of the Opposition one would expect to donate to such a project due to his sincere belief in the importance of the history of these things to the Australian nation. Let me refer now to the Southern Cross Museum Trust brochure which states:

Sir CharlesKingsfordSmith and his plane the 'Southern Cross';

One could well add Ulm to that statement- - hold a unique place in aviation history. They evoke warm memories from all those familiar with 'Smithy's' records around the world.

These records are daunting to us, even today; at the time when they were set, they must surely have defied belief.

The catalogue of 'firsts' by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and his plane bear repeating; indeed, they will never be forgotten.

He was the first to circumnavigate the world, via the great circle. He was the first to fly the Pacific Ocean; the first to fly the Tasman Ocean. He made the first successful east-west crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

His was the first registered Australian National Airline. He started the first official international air-mail carrier, from the United Kingdom to Australia.

These are outstanding achievements and in recognition of them, the Southern Cross Museum Trust has been established under the chairmanship of the Hon. T. L. Lewis . . .

This replica will not only honour a great Australian aviation pioneer, but also it will give Australians the opportunity of seeing and participating

And for some of them flying in the Southern Cross---- in an important part of our history.

The article goes on to describe the Commonwealth Government's generous donation to the building fund. I emphasise the fact that I see the building of the Southern Cross as a catalyst toward the future Australian aviation museum. I particularly see it as a catalyst toward the flying side of that museum. I see the flying side of the museum being composed of Spitfires, Boomerangs, Wirraways, Lancasters, Beau forts and what have you that are still available for collection around Australia. I also see the museum as having flying replicas of aircraft far too old to get a licence to fly in this day and age. 1 have no doubt the Southern Cross will reside for a long time where it currently is at the Brisbane airport. I see this as a magnificent success story of the future. If countries such as America and those in Europe are any criteria this project in years to come will take off, if I might use a corny phrase, in a very real way. The aerial displays of vintage aircraft in those countries today are so popular that one American company is turning out up to six replicas a day of old and valued aircraft.

In the time remaining I will refer to the three themes of the Museum. I will quote from the Pigott report. With my slight knowledge of Mr Peter Pigott I back up everything that the honourable member for Robertson said. Those people with the dedication to help the nation, such as Mr Pigott, perform a most admirable service to the rest of the community. The report typifies the group around Mr Pigott. The section of the report to which I will refer concerns some of the difficulties of establishing both an Aboriginal and European historical display, with environmental effects covering both cultures, in the one museum. The Pigott report quotes an observation of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute - an institution known very well to many of us and which has application to the gallery so described for future construction in Canberra. The Secretary states:

By creating a dignified aura of self-examination and self research it might be possible to raise more rapidly the selfesteem and pride in individuality of these marvellous people--

That is, the Indians of America- before they trample the last remnants of their own uniqueness to death, rushing to be like everyone else.'

The Committee went on to say:

This Committee is aware that many Aboriginal people have expressed misgivings about the role of museums in Australia . . . However, because of possible Aboriginal doubts concerning the role of the Gallery, some matters require comment. Any Gallery interim planning council should include them in their deliberations.

The Committee then went on to note the following criticisms: that the gallery will be devised by and controlled by Europeans;

This is a problem and we must recognise it now.

The report continued: that it would display secret or sacred objects, or the bones of dead people;

Let us recognise that now. The report further states: that the type of research initiated might benefit white scholars, but is not relevant to Aboriginal needs; that museums are not interested in the educational requirements or aspirations of Aborigines and that little is done to encourage them as visitors; that museums hoard items of material culture which being more rightly the possessions of the tribal group which made them, should be returned to their original owners.

All honourable members in this House who have had access to Aboriginal reserves and missions in the old days will know that there is validity in these comments. My only reason for mentioning these matters tonight is to make quite sure that, if it is within my bounds to do so, these problems are made known. The Aboriginal people should be brought into the decision making field as soon as possible if this gallery is to be a success. I welcome the Minister's introduction of this Bill which will give legislative effect to the concept of the museum plan of Australia. Credit is due, which is proper in great schemes, to more than one government. In fact, the Pigott committee and its establishment goes back some years. I look forward to some impetus being given it over the years. I hope the Museum will be established as rapidly as possible, subject to the Public Works Committee inquiry into the building costs. I think, that fairly promptly an interim report is coming up the chute as to which aerodromes in Australia are suitable. I look forward to the early promotion of this scheme which I think, in a non-party sense, is to the credit of this House. I wish the project the best of success in the future.







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