While we wait for the next tour of the Beer Shed we wander through the Heritage Farm Museum where all manner of farm equipment, some dating back to the 1800s, is on display. There is easy access along cement paths. The equipment is identified by amusing painted signs, like the Wheat Pickling Machine, illustrated with a cartoon of a drunk grain of wheat, his bottle still in hand. Among the displays is an almost complete collection of Furphy Farm Water Carts, first made in the 1880s and used during the First World War to carry water to troops.
The Great Aussie Beer Shed is indeed that at 5,000 square feet (464.5 square metres). Arranged is aisles it is filled with all manner of memorabilia and along walls and in display cases, beer cans from the world over. In pride of place is a 1937 Coronation Ale can, of which only six are known to exist in collections. Of course there are beer bottles too, tap tops and brewery equipment and other containers from yesteryear, a Mortein Plus bottle, a tin for Brasso, a CSR Golden Syrup can.
One of the display cases in The Great Aussie Beer Shed
We take a seat at the front of the shed while Neil gives us a run down on the collection. Neil is quite the entertainer. He points out items of particular interest; it is a step back in time for some of us, a history lesson for the kids. He tells the story of a partially restored First World War Canon, captured in France in 1918, thrown in the tip when the town updated in the 1960's and finally recovered from there in 2004. The canon and its history are on show at the front of the shed.
After Neil's tour we slowly wander the aisles, there is so much to take in. Amongst the paraphernalia are earthenware jugs, a Coolgardie Safe, hand operated petrol bowsers, cigar tins, mosquito coils, a Coca-Cola collection, and a horse drawn bakers cart. There is advertising signage, a golf ball collection, weighing scales, an old Astor radio, antique cameras, and a swizzle stick collection. The displays are too numerous to list.
We pass through the function room which is being set up for a wedding, a unique mix of delicately laid out dining tables and brewery paraphernalia. There are kegs hanging from the roof.
The Great Aussie Beer Shed and Heritage Farm Museum are at 377 Mary Ann Road, Echuca about 6kms from the Echuca CBD. In addition to the two museums it provides a licensed function centre and holiday accommodation.
Public and disabled toilets are available and there is parking for cars, buses and caravans.
It is open 9:30am - 5pm weekends, public holidays and school holidays or by appointment.
Entry (Dec 2014) is $12 per adult, $9.50 seniors, $5 children and family pass 2 adults and all kids under 18 for $25.
More details can be found on their website www.epak.com.au/beershed and they can be contacted on telephone: (03) 5480 6904, mobile: 0419 000 694 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org