Historic Museums of Tenterfield

Historic Museums of Tenterfield


Posted 2023-05-18 by Susan J Bowesfollow
What was Federation in Australia? In the beginning, Australia was split into six British colonies being governed in their own right. The colonies were known as New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

In 1882 Henry Parkes lost his east Sydney seat in the Colonial Parliament; however, he was allowed on the next day to run for the Tenterfield seat where the local population returned him. With his confidence renewed, and his belief that the six colonies could unite to form a single government, he pledged on a dare to the New South Wales Governor Lord Carrington that he would be able to succeed this within twelve months.

On 15 October 1889, he telegraphed the premiers of the other colonies suggesting a conference to discuss the new constitution. He delivered a fiery and passionate Oration in the Tenterfield School of Arts building on 24 October 1889. This speech was significant because it was seen as the first direct appeal to the public rather than to a political audience. The speech was reported in the Sydney newspapers and after reading this, Lord Carrington asked him to return to Sydney to deliver the same speech there. He did so in fifteen different locations over the next nine months. On the 1st of January 1901, the day of Federation, all Australian colonies united to form the Commonwealth of Australia.

His political career reigned from 1856 to 1895 and he was known as a strong advocate of land and educational reform, free trade and immigration. He also introduced the Public Schools Act in 1866, which gave the power to train, appoint and dismiss teachers and the Hospital Act, which provided Government inspection, supervision and appointment of trained nurses.

Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts Museum Your text goes here

The S ir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts, which is now the acquisition of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) was opened in 1961 and contains artefacts that reflect the key aspects of Sir Henry's Life. Some items are on loan, and some were purchased; these include a silver collar belonging to his faithful dog, Maori, a chair from his Premier's Office, a Julian Ashton oil painting (1889) and a bronze bust (1915) by Theo Cowan.

There is a small fee to pay on entry and your experience will take around one to two hours while reading the plaques and looking at the artefacts in glass cabinets. On the walls between the entry and another part of the museum, photographs of Australia's Prime Ministers are displayed depicting the dates of when they held office and I found this very interesting as well.

A secret door in the wall opens up into the boardroom complete with flags of nations hanging on the walls, and a large glass-topped table with memorabilia inside. After meandering through the rooms, you may like to stop for a coffee and cake or a meal in the Courtyard Café, which is situated at the rear of the building.

This Museum was extremely interesting and for anyone not familiar with the history of Federation, a visit here is a must for any traveller. Sir Henry Parkes School of Arts Museum is located at 205 Rouse Street and is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm each day. For more information, please visit the website or call 02 6736 6000.

Tenterfield Saddler Museum

This quaint but small building in High Street, Tenterfield is classified by the National Trust and is in its original condition with wooden floors, old ceilings, tobacco stains and scraps of leather found throughout. In its heyday, it was a Saddlery and a meeting place for travellers and residents who would come into town to purchase leather items such as saddles and horse-related merchandise.

The Tenterfield Saddler was a song made famous by singer/songwriter Peter Allen's and a tribute to his Grandfather, George Woolnough who toiled at his trade each day in the premises. Many famous and not-so-famous people visited and one of those is reported as being Banjo Patterson. The building has also been the home to a bank and private residence.

There are many newspaper clippings, photographs, historical tools, leather goods, books and magazines for the visitor to read and marvel at a history long ago. As the Museum is run by volunteers, the Museum may not always be open at the time depicted on brochures but is situated close to the centre of the town. For more information, please email [email protected]

Centenary Cottage Museum

Situated at 136 Logan Street, Tenterfield you will come across Centenary Cottage Museum and Petrie House. The land was originally purchased by Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson, the Premier of New South Wales but the Cottage was built by then-owner Michael Egan in February 1871. Constructed of large bricks which are typical of the historic styles of homes of the era in this very cold winter town, where the only form of heating in the early days was a smoky fireplace.

Although most country towns have a heritage home displaying artefacts for tourist inspection, I felt this Cottage Museum was far more interesting than most.

One of the buildings situated at the back of the main house was the kitchen where I came across the most unique design of a round refrigerator, which consisted of the shelves being on a rotary frame so that items could be accessed. I cannot understand why this design has never conditioned as it would make finding items in the back of my fridge so much easier.

Recipes for making soap and other washing substances were found on the walls outside the laundry. In today's society where allergies can be obtained from chemicals found in many household items, making your own soap is an advantage worth knowing.

I realise that over the years, we humans have grown in size and height, but it is astonishing to think that our ancestors could have had a comfortable bath in the pint-sized tub as was seen in the bathroom area of the Cottage and as I wandered around the rooms, I could not help but think that I would have been terribly bored if all I did all day was make socks or embroider items for the house as women were supposed to do in their roles as a homemaker.

There is a small fee for entry to this Cottage and surrounding buildings, but again well worth the experience in learning the lifestyles of our ancestors. In the same grounds stands Roper Cottage, better known today as Petrie's Cottage after its restoration.

Tenterfield Railway Museum

Situated a little out of the town centre at 21 Railway Avenue, the Railway Museum stands high on its property overlooking the town below. It was opened in 1886, yet the line was not completed to the border until 1888 when it linked Sydney to Brisbane. After services declined in the 1970s, the Station stopped as a working service in October 1989.

Recently with avid enthusiasm for Inland Rail, the Station is being portrayed by politicians and the like as being in a viable position for this project for trains to stop before going north to the Brisbane Port. This would not only make Tenterfield once again an agricultural depot for farmers and their produce, but also provide a passenger train to come from Sydney to the area and return.

The building is almost intact and well preserved for its age. As you wander through the building to the platform, many carriages are lined up for you to look inside while plaques indicate their use, age and capacity. All beautifully restored by members of the Tenterfield Railway Museum , the carriages are a reminder of the excellent workmanship that went into building such solid rollingstock. I was particularly impressed with the strong leather seats inside the passenger carriage, which are considered stately compared to the fabric seats of today's trains.

Inside the Railway building, memorabilia from the Station Master's office, a mock-up of a steam engine and a working miniature railway station can be seen as well as currency from the day and other historical photographs, books, newspaper clippings and artefacts.

Definitely, Tenterfield has a good variety of different themed museums, which are all very educational for the tourist and student. Even as a mature aged traveller, I found there was so much to learn and to rekindle the knowledge of Australia's history, which I had forgotten.

92583 - 2023-06-11 23:08:58


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