Farewell Dr Barry Cundy

Tuesday, 30 August 2016
AIATSIS CEO, Russell Taylor AM and Dr Barry Cundy.
AIATSIS CEO, Russell Taylor AM and Dr Barry Cundy. Photo: AIATSIS

This week the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) says farewell to its Collection Development Manager, Dr Barry Cundy, who has been with the Institute since 1990.

AIATSIS CEO, Russell Taylor AM, had a few words to say about Dr Cundy’s time with the Institute at an official function last week:

“I must say at the outset, that this is an event that I never thought would happen in my time at the Institute. The retirement of Dr Barry Cundy. I know Barry has threatened this for some time now but to me he still looks as young and fit as when I first met him in 1997. He has been with the Institute for 26 years and I think he could do another 26.

“This is a sad day for me personally and I’m sure for all those who have worked with Barry over those 26 years. For Barry I imagine it must bring mixed emotions.

“Barry first started work at AIATSIS in late 1990 working on the Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia and in the Recorded Sound Archive on contract.

“Some ‘Bibliographer’ positions became vacant in the Library and Barry acted in one of these until he got the job permanently in 1993. He was the subject specialist for Anthropology and Archaeology.

“Barry also brought to the position his deep knowledge and appreciation of rare books and over time he became the ‘go to’ man for advice on the purchase and conservation of rare books and prints.

“Barry was instrumental in the design of the new Library at Acton Peninsula.  Along with Alana Garwood-Houng, Barry oversaw the move of the print collection and library staff to this building in January 2001.

“Barry was the mastermind behind the calculations for the amount of space we would need in the new building for the print collection material. He had to add up all the space the material occupied at Acton House and then also work out expansion for the next 20 years.

“He did a spot on job as we are now 16 years in the ‘new’ building and we are exactly on track as he predicted.

“The move saw a few organisational changes and Barry took on a new job title of ‘Collection Manager’ and that came with a number of new roles including overseeing the storage and climate control conditions in the new library stacks.

“He also stressed the importance of, and pushed for, a conservator position and has a great passion for book conservation. Many of our most valuable rare books were repaired and conserved by skilled hands he contacted personally – and personally delivered the books to as well.

“Barry’s extensive knowledge on a wide range of anthropological, archaeological and philosophical issues as well as his knowledge of the sensitivities of men’s cultural business has been an important contribution to AIATSIS.

“The regard and respect he is accorded in the archaeological, university and museum fields have greatly enhanced the profile of the Institute and enabled much to be achieved and collected over the years – AIATSIS and Barry are synonymous to many people who have communicated with him – and the Institute will be the poorer for his leaving.

“In the last few years of major change in the Collections program Barry has continued to provide carefully considered advice and guidance. His commitment to the Institute, to AIATSIS and to the communities we serve has been outstanding.

“The legacy that Barry leaves us with includes thousands of annotations and in depth serial analytic records in the Mura catalogue.  

“Generations of AIATSIS people will also remember his unflagging support and care for everyone that has worked with him over the past quarter of a century. The positive impact this has had on AIATSIS is inestimable.

“He is a good mate of many staff. We wish him well and will miss him."

Last reviewed: 14 Oct 2016