A New Life for Historical Maps

Brian Everingham, President Southern Sydney Branch

When Paul Barnes passed away in early 2015 we were given a glimpse of the record keeping of this extraordinary stalwart of the National Parks Association.

Paul Barnes kept such hand written notes, in his meticulous long hand, for every meeting, for every encounter, when he was on official duty in the name of his beloved National Parks Association. Each set of notes was carefully stapled in the top left hand corner and each set carried that famous monogram, PHB.

I never did see Paul’s filing system. It must have been impressive because Paul was able to refer to those hand-written notes, often to ones taken years in the past, to correct faulty recollections, to prod debate, to ensure official minutes were accurate and to sharpen our decisions.

That was Paul. Always prepared. Always meticulous. Always accurate.

In addition, Paul kept an amazing array of maps. 

I could not recount the number of times when I have sat in a Reserves Committee and at an appropriate time in the agenda Paul’s deep baritone voice would bring us to attention as he clearly stated “I just happen to have that map with me”. And that map was vital. Paul loved his maps, folded them diligently and did not like others who might fold them against the grain. He also used them. He drew in the boundaries of the national park system, drew in the additions, annotated them with gazette number and date and even drew in the dotted lines for proposed new additions. As Rob Pallin said to me, “Paul loved his maps”.

Peter Morgan reminded me that Paul would go to the NPWS Head Office on a regular basis to, quoting Paul, “ensure my maps are accurate”. We knew – and I suspect so did those in the Service- that he was really making sure THEIR maps were accurate.

Accordingly it is appropriate that Alex Alchin has offered to make a complete digital set of those maps before those maps are archived, and that he has offered NPA a copy of those maps. They are an invaluable resource and part of the history of NPA.

Thank you for your work, Alex.

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