Lifetime Achievement Award: Judy Birmingham

Judy Birmingham is a distinguished English historical archaeologist, who has been based in Sydney, Australia, for most of her career. In 1961 she joined the staff of the University of Sydney as a lecturer, specialising in Iron Age Cyprus and Anatolia. She was one of the key academics who established the interdisciplinary course in Historical Archaeology at the University of Sydney in the 1970s, and this course has now produced several generations of professional Historical Archaeologists.

In the 1960s and 1970s Judy was a founding member of Australian Society for Historical Archaeology (serving as Honorary Secretary and President of ASHA for many years). She was also the founding Chair of the National Trust’s Industrial Archaeology Committee serving in that role from 1969 to 1985; and was also a Member of the Council (1980–89) and Executive of the National Trust (1984–89). She also chaired the Archaeology Advisory Committee established by the Trust to assist management of Bicentennial property restoration projects.

Other contributions during her career included being a Founder Member of the ICOMOS Australia National Council and a Member of ICOMOS Australia National Drafting Committee for the Burra Charter. In a long and distinguished career she also served as an alternate Heritage Council member and as a Founder member of the Archaeological Advisory Panel to the Heritage Council as well as on specialist committees regarding the archaeology of the Hyde Park Barracks and the First Government House site. In 1997 Judy was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.


Judy was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Awards for significant service to higher education, particularly to historical archaeology, as an academic, and to professional associations.


Cathy Donnelly Award: Linda Babic

Linda is the Principal of Heritas Architecture, a small practice based in the Hunter Region.

Heritas Architecture aims to provide relevant and straightforward advice related to heritage places. The firm has completed award winning work such as the restoration of the St Alban’s Church in Muswellbrook, New South Wales but is not limited to only dealing with ‘old’ heritage buildings. Linda provided mentoring to architecture students from the University of Newcastle in conjunction with the (former) Historic Houses Trust to examine how a post war 20th century “Nissan Hut” might be adaptively re-used.

Linda specialises in heritage conservation architecture, working with clients including local councils, religious organisations, architects, and private owners. The firm regularly undertakes work such as Conservation Management Plans, Heritage Impact Statements, Archival Recordings and other assessments.


Trade Skills Award: Stephen Brooker

All speak very highly of Steve’s skills and approach.

Steve was an apprentice drainer then worked for Reg Hart as a plumber before starting his own business. He then worked as a sub-contractor for Noel T Leach for many years. Noel said his first impressions of Steve were that ‘he never saw a man as good with a shovel’. He gave him some difficult jobs digging drains in ground full of bricks and the like and he was astonished how quickly the drain was dug. In those days plumbing and draining was heavy work involving earthenware pipes but Steve showed aptitude also at detailed lead burning work for roof flashings and the like. Lead burning was the cross-over skill between plumbing and roofing. Noel is ‘proud of all his boys’, none more so than Stephen Brooker.

According to John Wallis, Steve is ‘Mr. Common Sense’. He knows a lot of trades and, if you want a job done properly he is the man. I can vouch for his methodical, careful approach being crucial when dealing with roofing and flashings. Steve has worked on many important historic buildings (including many Trust properties) with John Wallis and other builders: Old Government House, Experiment Farm Cottage, Glenfield, Swifts, Admiralty House, Kirribilli House. John also mentioned Steve’s wife Pam as an important ingredient in the man’s success.

Steve is conversant with traditional skills such as lead burning, has worked on just about every historic building in Sydney and ‘doesn’t leave a job until it’s 100%’. Matthew Gatt has ‘never had a call-back on Steve’s work’.

Steve has worked for a great many years as a Master Plumber. Many of his projects were for the National Trust and the Historic Houses Trust as well as many other historic properties. “He is a most excellent and reliable tradesman.” (Dr Clive Lucas OBE)


Woodford Academy

The Woodford Academy Management Committee, with the assistance of funding from Belle Property at Leura and consultant Anne Fitzgerald, have been especially active this year and three projects have combined to enliven this marvellous property. Artists in residence tenancies, an Aboriginal Cultural Room and the Blue Mountains Botanicals Touring Exhibition combine to reflect the history and culture of the Blue Mountains and is a real credit to the dedication of the Committee.

  • The Woodford Academy ’Artist in Residence’ tenancies are a highly successful, complementary ‘repurposing’ of unused spaces within the historic museum. Housed in the former school dormitories, the repurposed tenancies provide not only essential financial sustainability, but also positively contribute to raising community awareness and engagement with the historic property.
  • The Woodford Academy ‘Aboriginal Cultural Room’ (ACR) is a new dedicated space within the Blue Mountains oldest building for guests to experience and pay respect to some important aspects of local Aboriginal culture. The new permanent exhibit features local Aboriginal art and music commissioned for the room.
  • ‘Blue Mountains Botanicals’ is a touring exhibition researched, curated and produced by the Woodford Academy Management Committee. The exhibition features botanical watercolours by Isobel Bowden OAM, a pioneering conservationist who significantly contributed to raising awareness, appreciation and protection of the flora of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park.