Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published January 27th 2022
Buildings & exhibits donated by locals to Heritage Museum
Although Stanthorpe is well-known for the coolness of climate, which is well suited to the growing of apples, pears, stone fruit and grapes, there is a lot of history to the town. Driving down High Street, I came across the Stanthorpe Heritage Museum.
Stanthorpe Heritage Museum (Author's Photo)
History states that Stanthorpe was founded by tin miners in 1872 when the area consisted of two towns in close proximity - 'Quart Pot Creek and a private township named 'Stannum'. When miners began flocking to the area in search of tin and new businesses started opening, the town Fathers thought a more appropriate name should be sought. The name Stanthorpe was born to include both areas. Stannum is Latin for tin and 'thorpe' is a Middle English word for 'village', so Stanthorpe literally means 'tintown'. After tin prices plummeted, many of the miners turned to farming as a way to make a living in the area.
The Slab Hut (Author's Photo)
The Stanthorpe Historical Museum consists of the several buildings, a hut and a gaol. These include a Shearers Hut from Ballandean Station (1876), Ardmore House (1920s), the North Maryland's School Residence (1894), the Stanthorpe Shire Council Chambers (1914) and a small gaol from Willson's Downfall (1876) Each of these buildings holds an extensive number of artefacts from the bygone eras and literature to read, all of which has been donated by the local community and carefully restored or cleaned by volunteers from the Stanthorpe and District Historical Society.
Toy Room inside the main building (Author's Photo)
I was extremely impressed with the items I saw, which covered subjects such as the Italian Influence, Military, Railway, Fruit Industry, Toys & Sport, Tin Mining, Medical, Textiles, Local Memorabilia, Photographic, Telegraphic, Grazing, a School Room, Kitchen items and Wood Stoves, Machinery and even items from bygone Apple Festivals. Entry fee is $10.00 and well worth the cost for all that is there. You will need a few hours to visit, read and see all that is in this Museum.
Women's History in War Years (Author's Photo)
Although I am not a fan of war, items from the military years in Australia are all part of our history and need to be shared with the young and old to acknowledge and learn. I walked into the first room to see a large display cabinet holding exhibits from the War including items the wives read, worked with, sewed with and did while waiting for the loved ones to return home. Today items of brass, copper and bronze are taken down to the local recycler for cash, but in days of war where weather and adverse conditions prevailed, our soldiers stored items in brass and tin containers to keep them dry, safe and fit for purpose. My grandparents lived through the war years and many stories were told of the women's contributions sent to the camps.
The areas I found most interesting were the kitchen, the hut, the telegraph station, the photographic section, the school room and the tools used by my Father and Grandfather when they went to work. The items displayed in these areas all relate to stories handed down or memories of a time when I went to school and used some of the items. Memories are strange things as they can bring emotion into a situation and hold us steadfast in the time of our events.
Tools were made of sturdy metals and wood to last (Author's Photo)
Technology has come fast considering my memory of the old wooden student desks, the teacher's elegant handwriting on the blackboard, which was readable and correct in all English punctuation and learning the times table by repeating them over and over to retain the knowledge. Yet standing in the doorway of the school room, it only seemed like yesterday when I was told to sit up straight with my hands behind my back.
The Kitchen including the Wood Stove (Author's Photo)
I enjoyed looking around the kitchen with heaps of utensils displayed on the walls and benches and an old wood stove, one of which I have seen used in the past. There was no need for air-conditioning in those days, as the wood stove warmed the entire house and old women folk to this day still believe cakes cook better in these than in the modern ovens. I certainly prefer a wooden spoon when stirring and prefer to use a glass hand citrus squeezer than those new plastic types.
Some of the Old Telephones Had Character (Author's Photo)
When I first started work, plug and cord switchboards were being phased out, but it took real focus and expertise to remember to plug everyone into the right telephone calls. Out in the backyard, a Telecom Building with a large range of equipment and different coloured telephones can be viewed, some of the telephones I remember being used in my family and neighbour's households.
Box Brownie Cameras (Author's Photo)
Although photographs are easily taken with mobile phones and tablets these days, great photographs were also taken on the Box Brownie, which was manufactured by Eastman Kodak in 1910. My Great Auntie Gert never went anywhere without her Box Brownie and she was known all over Mount Morgan for taking photographs of weddings, parties, group gatherings et cetera, even if she was not invited inside; there were still plenty of time outdoors to take photographs. Cameras of all sorts and years are on display in the photographic section of the Museum.
The machinery and workshop areas hold a special interest as my Father worked in times when cross-cut saws were used in the timber industry and solid handmade tools were used in industry and on farms. In fact, many of my garden tools are from yesteryear when they were made to last and not break like the ones today.
I remember our Household Having a Old Style Radio (Author's Photo)
I was also happy to see old-style radios and record players in the hall. Some of these players are eagerly sought after today as our youth return to the novice idea of listening to records for better sound, than listening to the music on new technology devices.
Hospital Beds were so hard when I was a Child (Author's Photo)
Once you visit the Museum, if you are like me, will have areas which hold special memories or are of particular interest. The Stanthorpe Heritage Museum is well maintained with clean floors and easy walking access around the items inside the buildings. Mowed lawns outside allow easy walking access to all the outside buildings. Opening hours are Wednesday to Friday from 10.00am to 4.00pm Saturday from 1.00pm to 4.00pm and Sunday 9.00am to 1.00pm. Group bookings are welcome by appointment. For more information, you can telephone the Museum on 07 4681 1711.