[ADVERT]It's just too easy to drive by a sign to a museum, art gallery or historic house and say to yourself, "next time" or "I must go there one day". It's just too easy to give yourself an excuse, "Yeah when I'm not in such a hurry". I've driven by the signs for the Fairfield Museum a thousand times. I've driven by the museum itself a hundred times and I knew it was there, I was just trying to ignore it. There was always a little voice saying "How interesting could a museum at Fairfield be?"
Dear oh dear, how wrong I was. Hidden behind a fairly nondescript building on the very busy Horsley Drive, this is a little gem of a Sydney suburban museum. A treasure trove of local history. A recreated village of old Fairfield with a huge collection of historical artefacts.
The museum is situated at the site of the original 1913 Fairfield/Smithfield council chambers. It became the home of the Morris family in 1923 until purchased by Fairfield council and has been open as a museum since 1983.
The 'Vintage Village' is a massive surprise and a real treat. On a mock village street, it features a one-room schoolhouse, an original 1880's slab hut, 'Caversham' a weatherboard cottage, the Robson Brothers Blacksmith's forge, Sam Money's motor garage, The Biz newspaper printery and Wheatley's General Store. There are sound recordings of some of the original occupants. Each building is filled to capacity with bric and brac from the era. An impressive old truck and and motor bike are parked in the garage. The village store is well stocked. The school room could still hold a class full of eager students today.
There's also a collection of large farming implements and tools reflecting Fairfield's agricultural history. There's even an old Liverpool Road milestone marking 18 miles to Sydney.
Today the old Council Chambers houses a permanent exhibition "Fairfield: Many Faces, Many Stories" which through objects and photographs tells the story of Fairfield. There is always an art exhibition at the Stein gallery which was built next to the old council chambers.
And it's all free.
So if you find yourself making that journey down the Cumberland Highway near the Horsley Drive, don't ignore that Fairfield Museum sign. Take the turnoff and spend 30 minutes or so wandering through the vintage village of Fairfield. It's just so easy.
This is well worth the visit, my grand daughter loved the old shops and school room and I regularly attend the art exhibitions at the Stein gallery - particularly when they are showing textile art, always an enjoyable, inspiring show.