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Freshwater Bay Museum

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by Cate W (subscribe)
Im a freelance writer who loves travelling. Check out my travel blog at www.localtraveltips.wordpress.com - and if you enjoy my articles please subscribe so you don't miss any!
Published May 26th 2016
Local history told through the eyes of people who lived it
Freshwater Bay Museum is located on a suburban street in Claremont, in an old building that originally housed Freshwater Bay School, the first school between Perth and Fremantle.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history
Freshwater Bay Museum is located on a suburban street in Claremont


Permanent exhibitions tell the story of the Aboriginal connection to Freshwater Bay and the many uses of the original building since its construction in 1862. These include a school, a boarding house for young men, a police station and police quarters. Finally, in 1975, the Town of Claremont opened the first metropolitan council-owned museum in the building.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history
The building originally housed Freshwater Bay School


The information about the history of the site is cleverly told through the eyes of people who lived or worked here. These include:
Koori Bodney lived in an Aboriginal camp in the area.
Henry Trigg designed and built the building.
Thomas Briggs was a student here in 1866 and became the Mayor of Claremont.
Jesse Hammond attended church services here in the 1870s.
Raymond Sharkey lived here in 1982 when it was a boarding house.
Joy Mumme wife of the local police officer, lived here in the 1940s when it was the Freshwater Bay Police Station.
David Henneker came to live here in 1957 to run the Claremont Police and Citizens Boys' Club.
Sally Anne Hasluck was the first curator of the museum.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history
An old kitchen on display at the Freshwater Bay Museum


Another permanent exhibit at the museum is the historic boat shed, which has been assessed as being of national significance. It was donated by the Mews family, who took over the Fremantle Whaling Company's shed on Bather's Beach in the mid-1800s. The boat shed was moved to its current location on the Freshwater Bay foreshore in 1996. It contains artefacts relating to boat building and boating on the Swan River from the early 1900s, as well as items connected to the whaling and pearling industries.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history, historic boat shed
The historic boatshed


There are also temporary exhibitions at the Freshwater Bay Museum. The current one about 'School Days', features material from local schools dating from the early days of the Swan River colony. Playgrounds, classrooms, teachers, sports, uniforms and discipline are just a few of the topics covered in this nostalgic exhibition.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history, School Days exhibition
The School Days exhibition


The aim of the museum is to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit the cultural heritage of Claremont and the area of Freshwater Bay. The staff are always grateful for donations to enhance the museum's collections. You can find a lot more information on the museum's website, including maps for self-guided historical walks around the area.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history
Donations of items to the museum's collections are always welcome


The foreshore near the boat shed is a great place for children to play and, with free entry and changing exhibitions, this is a local attraction that you can keep visiting.

Freshwater Bay Museum, Claremont, local history
The Freshwater Bay Museum

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Why? Learn about the history of your area
When: Monday to Friday 1pm-4pm; First Sunday of every month 2pm-5pm
Phone: 9340 6983
Where: 66 Victoria Avenue, Claremont WA 6010
Cost: Free but donations are welcome
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