Museums & Galleries Qld

Lydia Egunnike – Qld Disaster Hero

Posted on: 5 July 2011


Lydia Egunnike, Senior Conservator at the State Library of Queensland, has also been honoured as a Queensland Disaster Hero for her exceptional efforts to help restore items from the flood damaged collection of Ipswich photographer and photographic historian, Sandy Barrie.

Sandy’s collection had been estimated to include 60,000 historic glass and sheet film negatives (including some from notable nineteenth and early twentieth century Queensland photographers), carte-de-visites, steroviews, lantern slides and postcards, and an extensive collection of photographic journals, reference books and ephemera. The collection also contained approximately 2,500 cameras.

A member of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material, Lydia provided her expert advice to a team of volunteers who worked tirelessly to salvage, store and save as much of the collection as they could.

Lydia was presented with a Queensland Disaster Hero medal and certificate at a special ceremony held in Ipswich on Saturday 11 June.

Lydia has paid tribute to the amazing team of volunteers who contributed to saving such a significant number of images. Work on Sandy’s collection will be ongoing as approximately 10,000 images which were wrapped and placed in a commercial freezer facility to prevent mould growth and further damage have to be carefully defrosted in small batches and treated.

Lydia will present a paper, A conservator’s response to the South-East Queensland Flood, at M&GSQ’s 2011 State Conference in Mackay in the first plenary session “Dealing with Disasters” on 11 August.

Thank you to Doug Spowart for permission to use images and information. More can be found at the WOTWEDID blog:


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Museums & Galleries Queensland

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Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

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