ESA 2018/2019 REPORT – the ESA has had a busy year with 2 fairs, the symposium, show and tell meetings, a swap meet, the publications and participation in Rare Book Week.
We have had the usual two fairs in September 2018 and May 2019.
All stalls have been taken and at the May fair an increased number came through the door. The fairs remain profitable for the Society. And they provide a great opportunity for collectors to add to their collections and to meet up.
We have started a stall of items donated to the Society for members to select from.
We were listed as part of the National Trust Heritage Month in April/May, making it in to their calendar of events. And because of this we engaged Richard Overell to speak about ‘The cookery ephemera in the Dr Beverley Wood Collection’ at the State Library of Victoria – see image below. Bev Wood introduced the talk. This was well attended and resulted in some additional publicity. We will do this again in May 2020. Ideas for speakers are welcomed.
Further publicity for the fairs
A new stall holder suggested that we ask members from different areas to place advertisements in the FREE What’s On sections of their local papers. We will take this recommendation up.
Thank you to the stallholders and Garry James, Gayle Townsend, David Harris, Debra Parry, Andrew Hillier and Kris Waters for their help on the ESA desk.
This is held in July each year and so we have held symposia in July 2018 and July 2019. Both have been successfully organised by Edwin Jewell. We continue to make changes to the format, location, number of speakers.
We may have hit on some key points for success:
- Move to the square hall near the kitchen;
- Hold the refreshments in the upper section outside the entry to the church proper;
- Allow a good break for those attending to chat and chew;
- Pay for some assistance serving and cleaning up after afternoon tea;
- Have fewer rather than more speakers;
- Ensure that slideshows have been prepared so that we have good quality images for the audience.
Thank you to all the speakers; the MC David Harris; the refreshment makers: Mimmo Cozzolino, Judi Jewell; Annette Shiell; Gayle Townsend; show bag gatherer Mary Newsome; the special gift shopper Annette Shiell; the setter-uppers and cleaner-uppers. Overall credit following many hours of effort to Edwin Jewell.
Show & tell, swap meets
About every 6-8 weeks on a Friday evening, we have an informal meeting at the Camberwell Library Meeting rooms. We usually have a short talk by those present about a recent or timely or just interesting addition to their collection. There is informal Q&A and then light refreshments.
At Edwin’s suggestion we have successfully trialled a couple of swap meets. Anyone can bring along a banana box full of material to sell or giveaway.
These events are identified in the annual calendar. We need RSVPs for catering purposes.
The last issue of the Ephemera Journal of Australia came out in May 2019. Once again beautifully designed by Mimmo Cozzolino. Thank you to contributors: Michael Aitken; Dr Annette Shiell; The Royal Historical Society of Victoria; Gayle Townsend and David Harris.
The next issue is in the pipeline and will be out this year. It includes articles about Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, mechanical ephemera, clothing swing tags, tourism pennants and matchbooks.
The smaller publication – calendar and newsletter has been reviewed. It will come out twice a year. Once early in the year in hardcopy, and the second electronically. The second will be chiefly a ‘what’s on’. We will review this decision at the AGM in 2020.
By this we mean the Facebook page, website and rarely used Instagram account.
The Facebook page has about 770 likes and 840 followers. We use it to promote events like fairs and talks, useful books we see for sale and to run images of often topical ephemera.
The website has recently been reviewed by Annette Shiell.
It now has a better calendar set-up to alert to events. We are trialling how often to put up posts, and whether there should be a ‘newsletter’ rather than items appearing from time to time. The website also provides us with a way of contacting the outside world:
- In the last calendar year, we had 39 queries via the website and in the last 4 months we have had 14 so there is a regular flow;
- In the last 30 days we have had just over 500 visits to the website. 70% only look at one story or page. Still that is reasonable traffic for our small volunteer organisation.
We would love to have members refer stories, images etc to us to use on social media.
Rare Book Week
The ESA was once again a partner in Rare Book Week in Melbourne. This involved running an event. ESA member Colin Silcock reprised his talk about Gippsland ephemera – see image below. This was fascinating and well put together by Colin. He was almost mobbed at the end by people with questions so it was a very successful talk.
Johnson Collection seminar about collecting
We get some regular invitations to give talks about ephemera and/collecting. In the last 12 months I presented a talk at the Johnson Collection, East Melbourne, at a seminar about private and public collections. I was assisted by access, images and information from a diverse range of our members: Beverley Wood, Bill Miller, John Kerr, Michael Aitken and Mimmo Cozzolino.
Current membership 241. This number is a more accurate one than we have had for a while as we have finally removed a number of non-paying members from the list.
We expect membership management to improve as we are getting a new database to assist with: renewal reminders; sub-group email mailouts; and identifying member collecting and areas of expertise.
I hope I have named the volunteers that we depend on throughout the report but to recap in reverse alphabetical order:
Kris Waters, Gayle Townsend, Irene Stone, Mick Stone, Colin Silcock, Annette Shiell, Grant Shallard, Debra Parry, Richard Overell, Mary Newsome, Judi Jewell, Edwin Jewell, Garry James, Andrew Hillier, David Harris, Mimmo Cozzolino, Rosemary Cameron at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
The committee has met regularly and worked through long agenda. We have been fed and watered by Irene and Mick Stone and Judi and Edwin Jewell.
- The thankless task of minute-taker has fallen to Garry James;
- The never-ending tasks of treasurer and clearing PO Box 927 has been taken again by Edwin Jewell;
- Our best sounding board is Mick Stone whose practical approach to evaluating the true nature of a problem is invaluable;
- David Harris’ brings a different approach to problem solving, a great perspective to add to discussions;
- Annette Shiell tries to steer the ESA to efficient and worthwhile goals.
There will be a couple of steps forward:
- Our better database making communication cheaper and easier;
- A stall at Clunes Book Fair with the RHSV.