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Feature Added To Hutt City Archive Website

from Hutt City Council

2 May 2005

Archives Feature

Hutt City Archives have launched a new feature on the Hutt City Archive website www.huttcity.info/history/archives/month.html ) highlighting interesting archival material.

For May, the Archive of the Month is the Petone Borough Council Minute Book 1915-1918 (Ref: Arch 17650)

Hutt City Archivist Alison Scott said the Minute Book was one of a large number of records to have been saved from a deliberately set fire in the old Petone Municipal Buildings on 3 Jan 1985.

“Hundreds of early Petone records were burnt – some beyond hope without expensive conservation treatment, but some legible if badly singed round the edges,” said Alison Scott.

Ongoing damage to the volumes meant they had to be closed to researchers, but the first four Minute Books covering the period 1915-1926 were microfilmed at the end of last year.

“We got the microfilms back recently, which means these can be used in place of the originals, keeping them safe from further damage.

“They cover just about every topic under the sun. Obituaries of the great and the good are alongside the more usual municipal concerns such as regulating access to the beach and the development of Korokoro,” said Alison Scott.

International events impinged on life in Petone too: the influenza epidemic is mentioned and, of course, the First World War with one moving meeting commencing with the names of the Petone dead being read out followed by a minute’s silence.

As well as the microfilming, the earliest surviving Petone Minute book, dated 1884-1888, has received painstaking conservation work over a period of four months by conservators at Triptych Ltd in Wellington. The volume was taken apart and each page cleaned and repaired. Now, at last, it can be used – with care.

The cost of microfilming was about $250 a volume but with another 32 volumes to go its going to be a long project!

As part of the Hutt City Council Archives’ on-going commitment to making the city’s heritage available to everyone the conserved minute book and microfilms can be viewed for free. Just give the Archivist a call on 570-6815.


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