On Wednesday 21st November 2018, the Newlyn Archive hosted a group of students from Cape Cornwall School along with their teachers and the author JR Carpenter. They came as part of the Dark Sky Bright Stars project organized by Joanna Mays to learn about researching topics, such as navigation, and to experience the workings of an Archive
After lunch at Trinity and a short film about the Mystery projected by Brian Newton, the students walked down the hill to the Boathouse where Ron Hogg showed them ‘the anchor fouled’, the Admiralty symbol carved in stone at the corner of the Boathouse.
Inside the Boathouse, Sue Newton pointed out different aspects of the building and briefly explained how an archive operates. Pam Lomax had prepared two displays of archive material, one to show the role of the Boathouse when it housed the rocket wagon and the other to illustrate the route the Mystery took via Cape Town to Melbourne.
After the introduction, the students were divided into two groups. Ron Hogg explained how the rocket system had worked and Peter Morgan explained about navigation and how the Mystery had made its journey navigating by the stars. The students seemed totally engaged and were fascinated by some of the old documents they were shown. They surprised their tutors by the detailed knowledge they had about some of the events, such as shipwrecks.
‘Having been married to a primary school teacher for over 40 years’, Peter Morgan said, ‘I feel well qualified to judge the behaviour of primary school children, and the children from Cape Cornwall must be amongst the best behaved that I have ever met. Well ordered, well dressed, well behaved and with sensible questions and interested attention to their subject. I was impressed, and their teachers and families can be very proud of them.’