Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published August 14th 2016
A Fun Step Back In Time
It would be easy to drive past Old Gippstown because most of this 3.2 hectare (8 acre) heritage park is not visible from the road. Do keep an eye out though as it would be a shame to miss this historic gem. The park is in fact a town made up of original buildings dating from the 1840's to 1930's which have been transported from locations around Gippsland. Each building is in itself a museum, set up as it would have been in the day.
The main street at Old Gippstown (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The modest entry fee comes with a small booklet containing a map, a key to the 47 buildings and a short history of each.
Your self-guided tour begins at Sunny Creek School, which operated from 1889 to 1966. Inside the blackboard is chalked up with lessons, the notice boards are pinned with achievement certificates and hinge top desks line the room. Next door is a church from Moe built in 1895. Each is fenced with its own yard. Move on to a slab cottage built in Ripplebrook in 1880, and view its antique oven set into the wall near the fireplace.
The classroom at Sunny Creek School (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The fully furnished Bushy Park Homestead built in the 1880's near Briagalong presents what must then have been a rather nice house. Take some time to look at the lovely garden beds in which all manner of small farm equipment is displayed. Follow the path to a rustic bark-roofed miner's hut built in the early 1900's at the old Tanjil goldfields. Opposite that, a farm contractor's shed houses some impressive machinery, including an enormous Clayton and Shuttleworth thresher.
The 'Out Kitchen' slab cottage (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Follow the gravel road to the town centre where you will find the businesses. Step into the coach house onto a paved floor made from blocks of wood. The magnificent English town coach housed here will take your breath away; it's a little bit special. Visit the Cobb and Co Inn and then a print shop with all its typesetting equipment. Move on to the boot maker and to the saddlery shop originally opened in Neerim South in 1906.
An English town coach on a floor paved with wood blocks (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The funeral parlour presents a tasteful front office and in the room behind are all manner of hand tools, including some timber industry long saws. In front of the Gippsland Motor Garage, constructed here to replicate a 1929 business, are antique petrol pumps one of which dates from the 1920's. You may have to haul the boys away from the garage which houses a 1926 Packard Tourer, a 1927 Buick Hearse, a 1925 Chevrolet Tourer and a 1924 Hudson.
The Gippsland Motor Garage (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Visit the fire station with its 1938 Dodge Fire Engine. Pop into the blacksmith's shop, nip across the road to the spartan police lockup and the police station, and pop into the Meeniyan National Bank originally built in 1889. Don't miss the dressmakers, the library, the Neerim Post Office and the solicitor's office. Drop into the doctor's house and clinic, call by the general store, and the woodworker's and tin smith's workshops. Take a seat in the old theatre and meander through a camera display before taking a look at the farm house and shearing shed.
A 1938 Dodge Fire Engine (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
A creek runs through the centre of the town and is crossed in six places by enchanting bridges. There is a water wheel in a small central park and all about the streets artefacts beckon the eye. Adding to the appeal of times gone by are free roaming ducks and chooks which will no doubt be a delight to the children.
The stream that runs through the centre of town (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Old Gippstown Heritage Park is at 211 Lloyd Street Moe. Moe is a one and a half hour drive from the Melbourne CBD via the Princes Freeway. There is a free car park near the entrance and there are public toilets on site. The park has a café which was being renovated when we visited. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm, 7 days a week. Costs (August 2016) are Adults $8, Concession $6 and Children $4. Old Gippstown can be contacted via their website or by telephoning (03) 5127 3082.