Mother of two young children looking to make them smile in the city of Sydney without breaking the bank. Visit my blog at www.mysplendidfamily.com to see what else I get up to.
Published February 13th 2018
What do trains, coal mining, & antiques all have in common?
There is something wonderful about the Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre that you just don't find at a large museum. The "staff" (or rather volunteers) are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, you can get so much closer to the exhibits, and it feels like you are visiting your elderly grandmother in her old home rather than an expansive and functional, but soulless, museum.
The Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre is located in a heritage-listed building at Bulli Railway Station. Built in 1887, the building was set to be demolished in 1987, however locals intervened, and the Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre opened in 1989 breathing new life into the historic building.
The building's original configuration included a main waiting room, a ladies waiting room, a ticket office, a signal room, and a lamp room. Nowadays these rooms are museum rooms.
The old signal room - Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre
The Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre focuses on three aspects of local history - trains, coal, and the social history of the "black diamond district". If you have a keen interest in any of these topics, then you are sure to enjoy the Bulli Museum.
Railway displays - Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre
Trains, coal, and social history might seem like a strange collection of topics to bring together, but they do work well to tell the story of Bulli and its surrounds. "Black diamonds", in the context of Bulli, refers to coal mining, which was an important industry for Bulli and much of the nearby area. Trains were crucial for transporting coal from the Bulli coal mine, and linking the area to Sydney. The social history exhibits give an insight into the lives of the people who lived in the area.
Coal mining display - Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre
From the moment we walked into the Bulli Black Diamond Museum & Heritage Centre, we felt like we were VIPs. After welcoming us and ascertaining that our interest in the museum was primarily with trains, our visit was customized - display boards were turned around to train focused sides, relevant displays pointed out, and interesting stories told. We felt like we had our very own personal tour guide.
We also very much enjoyed the "Blinkco Room". The former ladies waiting room is now home to a collection of personal items from one of the local Bulli families. It is similar to wandering through an antique store seeing all the old bottles and tins on display, but with more personal items including school certificates, competition awards and war-time handbooks. The room is a bit like a time capsule of a bygone era.
Social history display - Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre
The museum is located on the eastern side of the train station in Bulli and is approximately 1 1/2 hours from Sydney CBD in good traffic, or 20 minutes from Wollongong. There is ample free parking in front of the museum. Be aware that traffic in Bulli and the surrounding towns slows to a crawl at lunchtime on weekends due to day-trippers from Sydney.
On your way to Bulli, why not stop off at Sublime Point Lookout to enjoy the view before descending down the mountain. For lunch you could try Bulli Foragers Market - it's a small relaxed market on every Sunday with live music. Bulli is also on the Grand Pacific Drive if you want to take the coastal scenic route. The Grand Pacific Drive includes the very photogenic Sea Cliff Bridge.