September 1st, 2017

As part of National Skills Week 2017 (August 28th – September 3rd, 2017), a digital photographic ‘Heroes of Traditional Trades’ competition was held to celebrate skills in traditional trades, crafts or other practices that contribute to the physical conservation of heritage places in Australia. The competition was instigated by Australia ICOMOS, the national body representing heritage practitioners in Australia. The competition was also supported by SkillsOne Television, the National Trust of South Australia and the International Specialised Skills Institute.

At a time when there is concern about the gradual loss of skills, celebrating those dedicated to traditional trades and crafts associated with the conservation of heritage places in Australia has never been more important. Despite several studies highlighting the issue, little has been done to ensure the skills and understanding necessary for quality heritage repairs and maintenance are retained in the construction industry. The competition seeks to provide encouragement to skilled tradespeople; apprentices learning a traditional trade and those providing technical training courses in traditional trades that there is a rewarding career path in the heritage industry if best practices are upheld.

Entrants to the HOTT competition were required to send a photograph or photographs that showcased tradespeople or craftspeople in the act of carrying out their traditional trade or craft that contributes to the conservation of a place of heritage significance in Australia. The judges were looking for eye-catching images which reflect the diversity of traditional trades relevant to heritage places in Australia.

Winners were announced at the Skills Week Launch in Sydney on 30 August 2017. First prize of $750 went to Dan and Jack Susac, depicted in the image “Family keeps old lime ways. This award is sponsored by the ISS Institute. The jury was impressed with the way the image captured the knowledge and skill required for the important trade of making building lime in the traditional manner. The photographer Nic Ellis also receives $750. This award to the photographer is sponsored by the National Trust of South Australia.

There were also two Highly Commended images with prizes of $200 to both the tradesperson and the photographer: “Squaring the Wreath” by photographer Jennifer Sage depicts traditional joiner Wayne Mavin at work on a timber handrail; “In situ repairs to Stained Glass” by fellow stained glass artisan Geoffrey Wallace shows Kim Browne repairing a church window in situ using traditional methods rather than removing the glazing with its inherent risks of damage to both the glass and the wall fabric. A further 8 short listed entries of the 40 entries received receive a certificate.

In the apprentice / student category encouragement awards were given to 3 TAFE Joinery students from Chisolm TAFE in Victoria. Apprentices Ebony Griffin, Taylah-Anne Kane and Nicholas Raymond were photographed by their teacher, Ian Malcolm, in the workshop learning traditional joinery techniques through practice.

Australia ICOMOS looks forward to working with National Skills Week, SkillsOne Television, the National Trust of South Australia and the International Specialised Skills Institute to repeat the competition in 2018.

View all of the entries here.


President, Australia ICOMOS

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