Set on twelve acres on the site of the original Jondaryan Station, the Jondaryan Woolshed, Open Air Working Museum is a wonderland of old world lifestyles. The woolshed is an enormous shearing shed built in 1859, which is now the central attraction of the museum, established in 1975. Designed for a 52-shearer workforce, it contains a wool room where visitors can learn more of Australian wool industry history. Shearing equipment is authentic 1892 vintage.
Entry is via the well preserved Bank of New South Wales. This 1913 treasure is the last of the two storey country banks. The founding directors of the bank, the Campbell and Tooth families, were short-term owners of the Jondaryan Station.
Sheep shearing; image by Jondaryan Woolshed.
The Self-guided Woolshed Heritage Walk App is available for more detailed tours of the museum, which includes fascinating historic buildings, memorabilia and many stories of the past lifestyle of Australians who worked on the land. Over thirty historic sites include a shepherd's hut, shingle-roofed dairy, Flagstone Creek Public Hall, wheelwright's shop, sulky shed, stables, Boundary Rider's Hut and Woodview School. Information is available at each site to help visitors understand the ways of the Australian forebears, for example, female teachers were sacked if they were found to be dating a man. Thank God for progress.
The 'working' part of the museum is in full swing on special days like Australia Day. This year featured costumed volunteers demonstrating bee keeping, whip cracking, damper making, working dogs, blacksmithing and of course sheep shearing. Traditional Aboriginal games and cricket were enjoyed by families. Face painting, an animal nursery and art and craft were additional attractions.
The Aboriginal Kooma Didgeri Dance Group performed a traditional 'Welcome to the Land' dance as well as the 'Sea Eagle' and 'Crane' dances. The Sea Eagle dance relates to sea eagles circling over shoals of fish, directing fishermen to the right spot. The Jarawa tribe were acknowledged as the area's traditional landowners.
The Australian flag was raised by the 11th Light Horse Regiment who later demonstrated a breathtaking display of riding and bayoneting in the Sheep Arena. A brief history of the Light Horsemen was presented with anecdotes. The emu plumes on the hats allegedly come from an incident where after some horsemen had chased down emus, a 'larrikin' pulled some feathers from an emu and stuck them in his hat. The green portion on the uniform's badge indicates a member of the 11th Light Horse Regiment and the blue portion represents the Fourth Brigade.
The museum's Damper Hut Café is a welcome relief from the sun. Freshly baked camp oven damper and syrup accompanied by billy tea or a traditional ploughman's lunch are good value. Hearty Australian fare in the Dining Room can be followed by a wind-down on the veranda deck chairs overlooking peaceful countryside.
The Jondaryan Woolshed also offers accommodation in the form of self-contained cottages, rustic cabins, historic shearers' quarters, plus pet-friendly, powered caravan and camping facilities with communal cookhouse. For bookings telephone 07 4692 2156.
Weddings at the Woolshed combines vintage with modern hospitality on a variety of sites. All events are welcome including corporate, family celebrations and bus groups. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jondaryan Woolshed is also a convenient base from which to explore the Western Downs and Bunya Mountains.
Upcoming events are the Easter Family Weekend, Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears and New Years Eve Bush Dance. On the third Sunday each month there is a Bush Bar-b-que. The Friends of the Jondaryan Woolshed support group membership, is open to the public. Volunteers share a common interest in preserving history.