Museum Report 1997/98
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
Published by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
At the Annual General Meeting, held at the Barracks on 20 April 1998, there was a slight change to the committee. Ross Brown indicated he was unable to continue as secretary due to business commitments. Ross has served the Museum faithfully for 10 years, doing an excellent job. Ross will continue his involvement with the Museum, indulging his passion for accessioning the collection. In his stead Bruce Kilgour was elected secretary.
This means the committee consists of:
President – Len Koles
Len was in the Regiment from 1969 to 1992, with very few absences. Len served in all squadrons of the Regiment, and on RHQ. Len is a Human Resources Consultant, and Lecturer at UTS and TAFE.
Vice President – John Howells
John first joined the Regiment in 1974, serving in B Sqn and RHQ. He also served with the Armd Staff 2 DIV HQ, on the RAAC TEWT writing team, and finally RCSC. John retired from the Army in 1995. He works in the Information Technology area of the Commonwealth Bank.
Secretary – Bruce Kilgour
Bruce served in the Regiment 1975 – 1979, he served in Headquarter and B Squadrons. Bruce works in real estate.
Treasurer – Brian Walters.
Brian joined the Regiment in 1985, and served until 1988, he served with A Squadron. Brian is an accountant and Teacher at TAFE.
Dave joined the Regiment in 1975, and served through till 1996, he served with A and B Squadrons. Dave works for Telstra.
Bill served in the Regiment from 1960 – 1972 he served in B and C Squadrons. Bill is now a retired Gentleman.
Joe joined the Regiment in 1966 and served till 1991. He served in B, A and HQ Squadrons. Joe works in Motor Vehicle Spares.
A substantial amount of work has been done on the collection during the year. Working bees of members once a month have kept the Centurion, Bren Carrier, and Ferrets in working order, and work is proceeding with the Staghound. The Museum A vehicle troop had decided last year that they would restore the Matilda that has been standing in the Barracks for over forty years. Dave Crisp has spent the whole year chasing up engines, transmissions, workshop manuals and turret parts as the tilly was stripped out before being given to the Museum.
One of our other Museum members, Phil Hastings, who owns a Centurion tank told Dave of a Matilda that was at Moss Vale. He had known about it for twenty years and was going to restore it himself; but the Centurion was taking up too much time. A group lead by Dave drove up to have a look at the tilly to see what spare parts they could buy.
They found the hull was complete with engines. It was covered with moss, full of water and leaves. It was surrounded by trees and had not moved for over forty years. After draining out the water and cleaning foliage off the hull Dave looked for a number or name. After much work, he found the number "T29923" and the some other faded letters.
A few months later, Dave spoke to Les Betts about the old tank and mentioned the number. Les was dumbfounded. It was the same number as his old tilly "Ace" that he trained in at Greta and crewed in action overseas. Les thought "Ace" had been dumped in the sea like so many of our tanks after hostilities ceased.
Further visits to Moss Vale confirmed there was an ace of spades on the hull. Since this is the only vehicle we have ever found that served with the Regiment in action, the Museum Committee has decided to restore it to its former glory. This would be a fitting memorial to our comrades who paid the supreme sacrifice.
We also have located a second WWII Matilda hull T29920 "Adonis" in the hands of a life friend Matthew McMahon at Oberon.
The Army is constructing hard standing and overhead cover for the vehicle collection.
Work is in hand to create a computerised reference for the collection using a donated laptop and high quality printer. Our thanks to Robyn Koles for her hard work.
Our visitor numbers vary substantially month to month. Our thanks to the great work of the Museum guides who some days are run off their feet, others get bored stiff.
We are afraid that all the effort to gain approval for a refurbished annexe with increased functionality have been thwarted by bureaucracy. The committee has been therefore forced to withdraw to a position where the annexe will be rebuilt as it was. Work will commence shortly.
With the annexe out of commission, we were forced to rent two storage cells from Millers to house the back office collection. Thanks to Dave Crisp, this has been reduced to one cell; the Committee having accepted Dave’s kind offer to use his basement.
Over the past year the Barracks have been restored to pristine condition. They are well worth a visit, work on the Drill Hall, and Sergeant’s Mess is excellent.
In addition to the friends fees of $1,060, donations of $1,000, $180 sales profit and attendance fees $978 last year, we have also been able to raise money from other sources. The Centurion was used in a Toyota advertisement, for a fee of $2,000, and the team of Bill Prosser, Dave Crisp and Bruce Kilgour ran a raffle raising $640. The museum survives financially due to the efforts of everyone involved, Thanks.
The open day was held this year on 24th May at the School of Military Engineering, Casula. Unfortunately the Army was not forthcoming with the transport necessary to move the Centurion, so the display had to be static. We had two ferrets, and found the stand was visited by many Friends of the Museum and past members of the Regiment.
In the past year, we have been able to run a free advertisement in the "Open City" section of Friday’s Sydney Morning Herald. Many visitors to the Museum indicate they have come in response to it, and there are 1 – 2 telephone calls a month.
ROYAL NSW LANCERS MEMORIAL MUSEUM Sundays, 10am-4pm, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta, $2/50˘
Phone 0414 886 461
The museum appears on two internet sites, www.lighthorse.org.au, and the K Troop site (search for K Troop from www.anzwers.com.au). This is the way most students now search for information.
We have also been able to have articles published by Fairfax Community Newspapers prior to each school holidays.
There was an attempt by the Army History Unit in Canberra to take-over the running of the Museum during the past year. The attempt had noble aims, but had it been successful, the Museum Association would have found itself bound up in red tape to the extent where it would have been impossible to focus on service delivery. There were some sweeteners, and threats in the proposal. To exemplify the problems, our funds would be controlled by a company based at Puckapunyal. Sunday takings would have to be paid to the Adjutant on Monday, they would then be remitted to the company in Victoria. For us to spend money on a display, etc, we would have to go "beret in hand" to this body.
The committee did not think the proposal satisfactory, and noted that communications from the Army History Unit were confused. In particular, the Committee were concerned that if the arrangement did not work, then the Museum would be left in a parlous situation, probably having lost its funds and its collection. It was decided that the Army History Unit’s questions would be answered, but unless forced; no other action would be taken. This strategy appears to have worked.
Major Hugh McC Hicks RFD, ED, PhD. Hugh died late last year and had served the Regiment for over 30 years. He joined in 1960, moved up through the ranks and was commissioned. He held many difficult postings during the Centurion and M113 changes over. He was Regimental 2nd-in-commandin 1982 before being posted to 2 Div. Hugh was a true gentleman and a scholar. A quietly spoken man, he had several eccentricities that endeared him to the troops. The deerstalker hat, the Petersons pipe ,the tailored battle dress and black umbrella in the turret of a Centurion were all part of the man. He was the driving force in the Regiments Centenary celebrations. Hugh was loved and respected by those who he touched.
The committee has pleasure in acknowledging the kind donations from: W. Andrews, J. Bollard, M. Booth, A. Bray, A. Buddle, B. Castellari, J. Cooper, J. Drews, A. Fryer, J. Gellett, J. Haynes, J. Howells, B. Kestel, G Lovegrove, J. Mcdonald, G. Mclean, B. Nicholson, P. Patterson, L. Rowan, A. Standring, B. Stonehouse, L. Street, D. Tesoreiro, P. Vernon, R.Whittacker. Thank you.
Since its inception some years ago the museum newsletter has been edited by Bob Iverach. Bob has experienced some health problems this year and his doctor has asked him to scale back his hectic schedule, so Bob has had to pass the baton. All of us associated with the Museum would like to thank Bob for his hard work over many years.
John Howells - Editor
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881 - - - Site Updated January 2017
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Telephone +61 (0)405 482 814, Facsimile +61 (0)2 4733 3951 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Regimental enquiries call: +61 (0)2 9635 7822