Attending: Willameena Gentle (aph); Roslyn Jehne (cfc); Christine Law and Victoria Ramshaw (nfsa); Elizabeth Estbergs (act chief Minister’s Dept.); Jennifer Lloyd (nla); Ellie McFadyen (naa); Patrya Kay (nma); Jo Palmer

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Minutes for the DISACT Network Meeting

10:00am, Tuesday 21st February at the AWM.

Attending: Willameena Gentle (APH); Roslyn Jehne (CFC); Christine Law and Victoria Ramshaw (NFSA); Elizabeth Estbergs (ACT Chief Minister’s Dept.); Jennifer Lloyd (NLA); Ellie McFadyen (NAA); Patrya Kay (NMA); Jo Palmer (Aust. Nat. Herbarium); Ilaria Poli and Bernard Kertesz (AWM); Grant Watson (ACT Urban Services); Mary Paton (ANU Archives Program); Lisa Addison (NGA).
1. Apologies: John Colbey (AIATSIS); Antoinette Buchanan (ACT Heritage Library); Kim Morris (Art & Archival Pty Ltd); Laura Kennedy (AWM).
2. Minutes of the last meeting and business arising:

Action Item

2. Secretary to compile listing, by next meeting, of institutions’ emergency contact numbers.

Outcome: Major signatory organisations contacted(NAA,NFSA, NMA, NLA, NGA, AWM) and details updated. No further action required.

3. Secretary to approach network members in each institution for information on the status of implementation of MOU initiatives.

Overtaken by new MOU. No further action required.

3.1 Preparation of a new MOU.

Outcome: New MOU received ;forwarded to new signatory organisations. ACTION: Secretary to forward to the attendees of this meeting and to the rep in each signatory organisation.

4.1 NLA to sponsor the next workshop.

NLA in communication with course provider. ANG will sponsor the October/November course.

4.2 Secretary to co-ordinate volunteers with the organisation of seminars.

See .

4.2a Les Whittet, Leader of the ACT BCI Forum, to be approached to provide a presentation on the principles of business continuity.

Outcome: Les contacted, happy to participate.

4.3 Website additions

ACTION: disaster recovery workshop page to be posted to website. Page complete but not yet posted.

ACTION: JL to progress the suppliers list. Still waiting on some lists.

ACTION: members site to be activated and resource list to be posted there. Ready to be activated.

6. Production of a video recording of a workshop scenario day.

ACTION: To be kept on the list for future action.

3. Signing of new MOU: New MOU has been distributed to proposed new signatories; ANU, ACT Government, National Herbarium/CSIRO. Signing date is expected to be in late March/early April. ANU may not have agreed by then and may have to sign later. ANH/CSIRO has agreed to sign. ACT Government expected to have approved by the beginning of the signing round.
4. Inter institutional co-operation and DISACT activities:

4.1 Disaster Recovery Workshop: Kim Morris is planning to hold the workshop on the 11 & 12 May. He’s waiting to hear from CIT Solutions if this date and costs can be confirmed. Kim’s Report on other workshops is included in the Reports agenda item below.

4.2 The DISACT seminar: Seminar sub-committee formed with Bernard Kertesz, Elizabeth Estbergs, Mary Paton and Ellie McFadyen. The intention is to hold the seminar in May to coincide with Information Management Month. The membership of the network will make it possible to spread the word on the seminar to all of the key sectors. Bernard will negotiate with the AWM to see if the Telstra theatre can be secured as the venue. ACTION: Seminar sub-committee to advance out of session.

4.3 The DISACT website: No progress to report.
5. Reports on activities by DISACT members and any incidents experienced:

[NOTE; institutional reports are mostly edited for confidentiality/security reasons.]

Art & Archival: Kim writes;

“Sorry I can’t be there for this meeting but other work commitments this week will prevent me attending. Here are a few things that I would like to mention:

Training workshops:

  • In late November we conducted a 2 day scenario workshop in Darwin at the Museum and Art Gallery of NT. Day 1 covered prevention and preparedness for 35 people. Day two was a scenario for 20 people run in the MAGNT loading bay area.

  • Earlier this month we ran a series of 1 day hands-on scenario workshops in Melbourne: 2 for the State Library of Victoria (1 for the conservation/preservation teams, 1 for collection managers). Another workshop was held for the Museum of Victoria conservation team. This was then followed by a second day of scenario discussions facilitated by us, where several site specific written scenarios were discussed and brainstormed by the group.

Some points of interest that arose from the Melbourne sessions included:

  • The SLV’s OH&S manager attended both SLV workshops to speak on OH&S and Work cover issues. Aside from discussing the usual OH&S Act conditions she raised an interesting point that we don’t always think of: the role of Work cover in incidents that result in injury and risk of injury. If a situation results in a report to Work cover they may request that affected sites not be disturbed until investigations are completed. This may have response delay implications for collections if they are involved. So we may need to discuss this issue with them as a part of our preparedness.

  • All disasters are subject to appropriate OH&S procedures these days. The time it takes for our responses is governed by human safety issues, the safety of the site and the right of staff to refuse to carry out work in compromised situations. This also has delay implications for the collections.

The point is that we may expect delays in response times due to staff evacuations associated with disasters, OH&S laws, Work cover laws, and even insurance issues. So our planning needs to assume we can’t just ‘go for it’ even if we wanted to.

  • Heads of conservation at some of Melbourne’s cultural and collecting institutions are very keen to start their own group modeled on DISACT. They are interested in using our MOU model to develop resource sharing arrangements. We may hear from Sarah Slade (SLV) or Catherine Lovelock (MoV) re a request.

[With regards to hail flooding, one institution reported] In dealing with the disaster, they felt that they had 2 significant advantages; they had trained disaster recovery personnel and up-to-date disaster supplies. Hindrances were the presence of some people who got in the way and those who weren’t familiar with the disaster plan or their role in it. Learning experiences regarding equipment, they need a wet/dry vacuum, need stocks of butcher paper and that one can never have enough plastic sheeting. Two serious issue arose regarding insurance and liability, one was the presence of non-staff members on site the other was staff accessing the roof without authorisation and safety equipment. The organisation noted that, for insurance purposes, only those authorised were allowed access to the roof and that roof access was only allowed with safety harnesses.

Questions were asked on the availability and value of priority lists. Many organisations have difficulty in gaining curatorial cooperation to keep them current and also in making them focussed enough to be useful.

The problem of box guttering and hail blockages was also considered; Willa reported that advances have been made in designs and that she’d advise the group on details.

After the meeting the following details were emailed to the disact-L;

At the last DISACT network meeting Willameena Gentle of Parliament House advised the meeting of a new guttering system designed to overcome storm loading problems. The system is distributed by SmartFlo systems and is sold as the SmartFlo or EnviroFlo guttering system. For more info see the suppliers page at

and the tech specs are at

Two local distributors for the product are Reece Plumbing Centres and Sankey Australia Pty Ltd.

6. Any other business: No other business.

7. Next meeting: 10:00am, 23rd of May at Senate Committee Room (!),Parliament House. NOTE: Attendees will need to meet at 9:45 in the main marble foyer.


1 Information on “Rosewood”: [In regrds to staining of an object by the timber]

(Bernard Kertesz)

Various species are called rosewood, most often because of the fragrant smell rather than any figurative characteristic of the timber. The overseas species are all in the genus Dalbergia or Pterocarpus, family Fabaceae (aka Leguminosae).

In Australia the following species appear to be the main ones commonly called rosewood;

Dysoxylum fraserianum (family Meliaceae); Scented or NSW Rosewood,

Synoum glandulosum (family Meliaceae); Scentless Rosewood (pesumably because it resembles D. fraserianum but without the smell),

Acacia rhodoxylon (Mimosaceae); Ringy Rosewood, called so because of the colour of the wood and the growth rings,

Besides these other plants have been called rosewood including Acacia excelsa.

The more commonly used Rosewood appears to be D. fraserianum of which we have a specimen in our timber samples library. I don’t find the wood smells anything like roses; I sniffed a newly sanded surface and it just irritated my nasal passages. It is described by various writers as being oleo-resinous to the point where the seepage of the oily resin makes it difficult to get a good finish. The oily exudate can apparently be cleaned off with methylated spirits to facilitate finishing. It is this oily exudate that may be causing the staining.
2 Some thoughts on Priority Salvage Lists:

(Bernard Kertesz)

Priority lists are generally prepared to provide guidance in salvage planning for disasters. They are;

  • used to direct salvage teams straight to material which must be salvaged first,

  • not always the most important/valuable/essential material but may be the most vulnerable

  • the category of vulnerability may itself be dependent on the nature of the disaster/emergency.

In Business Continuity terms, the highest priority material is that which is essential for the continued operation of the organisation (generally that material which, if lost will cripple or kill the organisation). The next highest priority is that which will retard operations (usually a financial loss). In a cultural organisation, there is a clear application of this principle to personnel or financial records.

For cultural heritage collections a similar principle applies. Highest priority items are those which must be salvaged at all cost because they are

  • vital and irreplaceable

  • very vulnerable

  • of very high monetary value and/or

  • essential due to high usage demand.

Additionally, items which seem of relatively low priority may have a high priority because there are legal encumbrances on them, for example items on loan. The next priority level/levels is material which one would salvage if possible and the lowest is that which is salvaged only if it’s economically practicable, that is if it’s cheaper to salvage than replace or if there are no multiples.

A Priority Salvage List is only useful if it’s possible to generate a precise location for the item/group. The most vulnerable materials in any collection are probably its paper-based, photographic and modern media materials. The vast majority of disasters involve water damage and then mostly affecting these classes of materials so the assumption can be made that salvage decisions will most likely involve priority decisions regarding these materials (the history of most collections would bear this out). There are difficulties where a collection lacks discrete locations, where the management system is not at the shelf/box level. An example could be archival collections where a whole class of material is located by bays but where the critical material constitutes only a couple of boxes within. To identify the whole class of material as priority makes the list unmanageable. The clear location of loan items is another risk.

There is the problem of assigning priorities in a location with different collections. In this instance the relative sensitivities determine the priority so, for example, even though an area contains high value textile items and medium value film or sound material, their relative sensitivities to water could mean that the latter may require primary action.

For this reason, many organisations have compiled structured priority lists by location rather than collection type. Decision making is based on a preservation matrix approach; the collection material in an area is tested against a risk/value matrix as below. This has the advantage that the compilers need to think about the risk profile of the area and they can use the matrices to work on strategies to attempt to minimise the risk status of identified priority one and two material. Boxing of material or reformatting could reduce the risk or impact of water or fire damage enough to push it down the priority list. In this approach, the priority rating can bear little relationship to the financial or intellectual value to the organisation.



























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