Heritage Volunteer Award to Tatura couple

A Tatura couple have been awarded the Heritage Council of Victoria award for outstanding volunteer service to heritage.

A surprised Lurline and Arthur Knee have been recognised for their tireless work with Tatura historical society and museum since the society formed in 1984.

The Ray Tonkin Heritage Volunteer Award was presented by Garrie Hutchinson of the Heritage Council of Victoria at the Greater Shepparton Heritage Awards on Saturday (22 April).

Mr Hutchinson noted that the early flow of visitors when the museum opened in 1988 demonstrated a strong interest in the local prisoner of war and internment camps.

He said Lurline and Arthur took on the role of researching the history of the camps and the people who resided there, compiling their many stories and collecting the many donated items.

They quickly became the ‘go to’ resource for questions about the three local Prisoner of War camps and four internee camps.

Arthur and Lurline are, say their colleagues, the “lifeblood of the museum”, helping to make it the outstanding attraction it is today.

Their work helps bring to life the rich parade of characters who called the camps home for various periods.

They have published a collection of camp memories called ‘Marched In’ gathered over the first two decades of their research.

Arthur has also compiled a comprehensive report on those interred in the State Heritage listed German War Cemetery, providing background on many of them.

The significance of the Museum’s Collection is being recognised through a recent Executive Director nomination for it to be fully assessed for inclusion in the Victorian State Register.

In addition to a framed certificate, the Knees have been invited to nominate a recipient organisation for a $2000 heritage project donation from the Heritage Council.

The Ray Tonkin Award, named after the former Executive Director of Heritage Victoria, was created seven years ago by the Heritage Council of Victoria in recognition of the significant role volunteers play in the maintenance and preservation of Victoria’s cultural heritage.

It is awarded on merit to individuals who have displayed an outstanding commitment and service to heritage in Victoria.