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Mandurah Foreshore Heritage Tour and Mandurah Community Museum

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by Victoria Button (subscribe)
Join me as I explore this great city!
Published January 10th 2012

Mandurah's current glitz and rampant development has not managed to erase all traces of its pioneer past – just most of them.

Discover the city's history with a free foreshore heritage walking tour offered twice a week, or drop into the small but delightful local museum open daily except Mondays.

The tours begin on Thursdays and Fridays at 10.30am and 2pm, weather permitting, starting at the Mandurah Visitor Centre and finishing at the Mandurah Community Museum.

Our guide pointed out works of art commemorating the area's earliest history as a Noongar fishing area and symbolising reconciliation between Aboriginals and Europeans.

Foreshore mosaic

Our volunteer tour guide, Cathy

As the walk continued, it became clear how many of Mandurah's historic structures have been demolished to make way for high rise hotels, restaurants and shops.

Some old buildings have been well restored, such as the former Brighton Hotel, now home to a real estate agency. Others have been partly preserved such as the façade of the Art Deco building which once housed Scott's Garage and is now home to a steak house.

Scott's Garage as it used to be...

And now.

The Mandurah Community Museum is housed in the Dalrymple Schoolroom, built in 1900 and later extended to house the local cop shop and court house. One earlier school was run by Robert Mewburn, a reformed convict deported for stealing boots. Another was led by Mrs John Tuckey, who received a whole two weeks of maternity leave and brought her newborn baby to sleep by her desk while she taught.

The museum is a community-based group, with most exhibits provided by donations, leading to a delightfully eclectic sample of odd old things including a foot-operated dental drill and old false teeth.

Foot-operated dental drill

Old fish canning label

My daughter loved playing with old-fashioned wooden toys and seeing the 'olden days' school room and tricycle. I enjoyed the attractive labels from Mandurah's early days when it was home to canneries for fish and fruit.

Ye olde toys

Desks before desktops

Other displays include a renovated old truck used for the now-demolished Peninsula Hotel's deliveries, which is on loan, and a model of a megamouth shark.

There is also a 'mystery object' and visitors are invited to suggest what it might have been used for.

Mystery object

Notebook of ideas as to what the mystery object is

Entry to the museum is free although donations are appreciated.

Western settlement of the area started in 1830, when Thomas Peel brought some of his servants to the area. Farming and fishing led to a small town while tourism started to take hold in the 1890s as miners from Kalgoorlie used Mandurah as a respite from the goldfields. Mandurah now has a population of 85,000 people.

Other historic attractions in and around Mandurah include Old Blythewood, an 1860s property overlooking the Murray River and Hall's Cottage, built in 1833. The heritage listed Sutton's Farm buildings are not open to the public.
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Why? Time travel free of charge
When: Tues-Fri 10am-4pm, weekends 11am-3pm
Where: 3 Pinjarra Rd, Mandurah
Cost: Free
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