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Rich in local history, the collection brings together aspects of Melbourne and its society's recent past. While the records held in the Archives are mostly paper, there are many other physical artefacts that have survived the test of time, from footballs to Saints' relics, and embossed silverware to wireless sets. The Archives also house about three thousand original photographs, many on glass negatives.
Prior to the area becoming the Archives and before refrigeration, these rooms were used as storage areas for perishable foods and communal wine. The 1880's cellar, the oldest part of the Xavier buildings, still served this original purpose in the early 1970's. With the imminent arrival of the extensive and priceless Hogan Collection, Douglas Kennedy, Archivist, needed to make the most efficient use of all cellar space. First, clay and dirt was removed by hand to extend the cellar. The bluestone walls were then sandblasted, sealed and lined appropriately. Formfile subsequently created the solution in the form of two timber Lundia mobile shelving units, providing 200LM of storage.
"The new cellars' restrictive dimensions made the challenges of the project interesting. The considerable height restriction gave our Formfile installers limited clearance, which required considerable engineering skills," said Alison Clarke, Formfile Information Management Consultant.
The wheat-coloured timber mobile shelving system heightened the ambience of the striking bluestone rooms. Douglas Kennedy marvelled: "The architecture of the cellars lends itself perfectly to housing the archives, and the compactus is excellent."
Alison Clarke reflects on the outcome of the project: "The finished job looks great and I am humbled yet honoured to be part of creating an excellent storage system that utilises the space perfectly and fits into that special hallowed ambience that is Xavier College and all it stands for."