Hindmarsh Shire Council - Museums, Arts and Culture
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Museums, Arts and Culture

Hindmarsh Shire has a vibrant and varied cultural landscape. From museums displaying our pioneering and aboriginal heritage, and the astounding number of small country halls still alive with regular dances and social events, there is something here for everyone.

Nhill Memorial Community Centre
The Nhill Memorial Community Centre (NMCC) occupies a unique role within the community. It is the largest community space in the Hindmarsh Shire and best performance space west of Ballarat. The centre has in excess of 10,000 annual visits and is used for everything from public performances, to school speech nights, festivals, balls, public meetings, cinema, emergency relief centre, weddings, funerals, theatre, cabaret and sporting club functions.

The facility has undergone significant refurbishment over the last decade, including most recently the installation of digital cinema technology in December 2014. The Nhill Cinema now boasts state of the art sound and projection equipment with 3D capability. The upgraded cinema has regular screenings on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Check out the Hindmarsh Shire Council facebook page for the latest cinema schedule.

For bookings and enquiries for Nhill Memorial Community Centre or Nhill Cinema, please call Customer Service on 5391 4444.
 
Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum
The Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum is located on 4 ha of land adjacent to the Wimmera River on the outskirts of Jeparit. It was originally started off by the efforts of one man, who could see that the days of horse drawn machines were coming to a close, and officially opened on September 3, 1970 by Sir Henry Bolte, the then Premier of Victoria. The museum has grown considerably over the years and now holds household items as well as machinery. Several old buildings and halls were rebuilt at the Museum, Albacutya Homestead being one of the most notable ones. These buildings are classified by the National Trust and period furnished.

Machinery

The machinery display at the Museum is the latest collection in Australia and ranges from very early blacksmith made cultivating machines to early model strippers and harvesters for the 1890s right up to the 1940s. The H.V. McKay Pavilion houses a collection of restored McKay implements. A wide range of early model oil engines which were used to drive stationery machines such as chaff cutters, grain thrashers etc. are also on display. The tractors on display range from mainly the 1920 to 1940 models and are kept in running order. Almost all machinery is restored to working order and given a run every now and again.

Buildings

Albacutya Homestead (c. 1840) features axed logs with hand sawn timber frames and is furnished with period items of the 1850 – 1900. Werrap Hall (c. 1886) is made of wattle and daub and displays household items and handcraft work. Tarranyurk Hall (c. 1922) consists of a timber frame clad with small fluted iron and is used to display saddlery, carpentry and plumbing tools along with an interesting display of weapons and stones used by the Aborigines of the area. Other buildings exhibited are a country gaol of the 1800s, a rural state school, complete with desks and books, a chemist shop with the complete dispensary and many items of patent medicines, a church complete with organ, pews and altar, a straw thatched shed used by the early pioneers as stables and machinery shed, a blacksmith shop complete with forge, tools, iron tyre shrinker and anvils and an early 1900 homestead which is characterised by the iron lace worked wide veranda and decorated ceilings and used as the Museum’s administration building.

Opening Hours: The Museum is open 9.30am to 12 noon and 1.00pm to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and from 1.00pm to 4.30pm Saturdays and Sundays. The Museum is closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Admittance: $10 Adults, $6 Pensioners, $3 Children, $20 Family.
 
Jeparit Pioneer Museum sign
 
The Dimboola Printing Museum
Dimboola’s newspaper, The Dimboola Banner, dates back to 1872. The original printing presses that were once operated by The Dimboola Banner, as well as a variety of printing presses acquired from throughout Australia are the major attraction of the museum.

The Dimboola Banner no longer uses the equipment.

The Dimboola and District Historical Society have refurbished the old Dimboola Banner premises and developed the space into a working museum, which is a must-see tourist attraction in the town.

For more information and contact details please have a look at the Dimboola and District Historical Society's website, http://home.vicnet.net.au/~dimhist/
 
Dimboola Printing Museum
 
Old Shire Hall - Nhill and District Historical Society
The Nhill and District Historical Society was formed in 1961 and held their meetings in the Lowan Shire Hall. With the opening of the new municipal offices in 1962, the society took up a shared occupancy with the Nhill Guides and Brownies, Nhill Drama Group and the Nhill Police. In 1976 the Historical Society was granted full occupancy, providing that they fully restored the building. In 1978 with money from the (former) Lowan Shire Council, Nhill Historical Society and a grant from the Ministry for the Arts restoration on the building commenced. The Nhill Historical Society holds church and cemetery records, as well are records regarding births, deaths and marriages dating back to the 1800s. There are copies of the Nhill Free Press and the Tatiara Mail dating back to 1880. The Historical Society also has a reference library which includes the Clydesdale Breeders Year Books and a photo collection that is for public use. The Museum takes up most of the Old Shire Hall and contains a John Shaw Neilson (poet) display, glass display cases with several old wedding dresses, other clothing items, household linen, household goods of china, glass and metal ware, meeting room display, old Lowan Shire photos and honour boards. The resource area has computer research and all Messenger Press editions (local weekly newspaper).

Opening Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 1.30pm to 5pm, Friday 10am to 3pm

Phone: 03 5391 2185 (during opening hours)

Address: Old Shire Hall, Macpherson St, Nhill VIC 3180
 
Yurunga Homestead
Yurunga was built during 1909 and occupied in 1910 by Mr A. G. Cust and family. Mr Cust was the son of a pioneering storekeeper family. His father, William Cust, opened stores in new townships as they started, and at the time owned stores in Beulah, Brim and Hopetoun. Mr A. C. Cust (Bert) bought a store in Rainbow in 1905. It was burnt down in 1910 and he immediately started building another store. However, in 1910 he sold his business interests and bought the Hazledean Estate of 6000 acres, four miles east of Rainbow, and started farming on a large scale. Part of the 700 acres on which Yurunga was built he subdivided as housing blocks. For a small country town, Yurunga was a quite well appointed home. There was a coach house, tennis court, school room and an underground living room for the hot weather.

In 1912, when land prices slumped, Mr Cust sold his interests in the Rainbow district and moved to Melbourne. Mr and Mrs F. R. Liesfield were the next people to make Yurunga their home. Frederich Reinhold Liesfield came to Victoria from South Australia in 1889. When land was opened for selection in the Werrap district near Rainbow in 1893, he was successful in obtaining an allotment. The Mallee scrub was so thick he had to cut some down before he could even pitch his tent. With the help of his brother Charlie he started the formidable task of clearing most of the allotment by axe.

Mr Liesfield married Esther Ferry in 1897. Their first home was a pine and pug house with earthen floors which they built on their allotment. The walls where whitewashed with copie (gypsum) found on the property. In 1907, Mr and Mrs Liesfield moved to South Australia for twelve months but returned to Werrap again, eventually moving into Yurunga in 1912. The former Dimboola Shire purchased Yurunga as part of the Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum complex in 1969. It was opened to the public on August 24th of that year. It is hoped to restore the building to the 1914 era, but much work remains to be done. Yurunga homestead, dominating the northern end of Rainbow township, was built to impress visitors in the Edwardian era. To today it is still impressive from every angle.

Extensive verandas add greatly to the massiveness of the traditional villa design, bay windows and exterior ornaments lend a flavour of elegance to the whole.

The house is built of local limestone with brick trim, the interior walls are plastered and painted (with some wall paper) and the outside rendered and marked to simulate stonework. The main doorway has leadlight surrounds. Pressed steel ceilings are used throughout. Those in the two front rooms, the main passageway and formal rooms, feature patterns laboriously hand painted. The arrangement of the rooms opening from the lofty passageway is conventional, except for the addition of a school-room and an underground living room used by the family and sometimes the local hospital during heatwave conditions. Yurunga, in its former gracious garden setting with tennis courts, croquet lawn and bush house, belongs to an age which vanished in the upheaval of the 1914-1918 War.

Yurunga is open every Sunday 2pm – 4pm.
$5 entry
Open other times by appointment. Please phone Jenny on 5395 1233 or 0428 951 230; Graham on 0429 151 662; or Helen on 0427 951 344 or 5395 1044.


 
Yurunga Homestead
 
Pella Lutheran Church
In the period 1898-1914 many families of predominantly German Lutheran origin selected virgin Mallee scrubland in the Rainbow region. Pella was the name given by the early Lutheran community at Outlet Creek, 16 km west of Rainbow, to the place where they built their church. It is also the site of the Lutheran school and manse.

Pella Church

Construction of the St John's Lutheran Church at Pella began in the latter half of 1910. The church was built of limestone quarried nearby and the mortar was made in kilns erected near the site. The church, which was one of the largest Lutheran churches at that time in Victoria, was dedicated on the 14th May 1911. For the first few years the service was conducted entirely in German, later German and English services alternated.

School

The school was built from limestone in August 1903 and officially opened on the 8th November the same year. After the pastor moved to Rainbow the manse was used as the residence for the school teacher. Due to decreasing numbers of students and difficulties in attracting a teacher the school closed in 1943. Services are still conducted weekly at St John's and the manse is now used for Sunday school lessons. The church is often used for organ recitals on the Fuller pipe organ which was built in Kew in 1885 and purchased by the Pella congregation in 1970. The school houses a collection of old books and photos.
 
Ebenezer Mission
The Ebenezer Mission was established by Moravian missionaries in 1859 on what, in 1861, was gazetted as the Lake Hindmarsh Aboriginal Reserve on Wotjobaluk country along the Wimmera River (near Antwerp).

The Mission was established to ‘civilise’ the Aboriginal people of the area and convert them to Christianity. But while the missionaries were conducting Church services, the local Aboriginal people continued to hold corroborees at Ebenezer. Horrified by the corroborees the missionaries eventually banned them but the Elders resisted.

In 1861 Ebenezer was reported as having a permanent population of 22 Aboriginal people, these numbers grew considerably after the Board placed conditions on the rations they provided, demanding recipients attend church service twice a day, attend school and forgo their cultural practices. The village grew despite the fact that the soil was unsuitable for dairying and intensive agriculture, and in 1866 twelve new buildings including a kitchen, school house, store and four houses for residents were constructed.

In 1904 Ebenezer was closed and the land handed back to the Lands Department. While a number of residents moved to the nearby Antwerp Aboriginal Reserve other families were forced to move to far away Lake Tyers.

The old Ebenezer village area is now owned by the National Trust and the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative. The stone church has been rebuilt and preservation work is under way on other existing buildings and the cemetery.

Ebenezer Mission has the oldest surviving mission buildings in Victoria.

 
Dimboola Courthouse Museum
The Dimboola Courthouse Museum is home to the Dimboola & District Historical Society whose main aim is to preserve the history of the Dimboola township and surrounding district.

The collection, housed in the 1879 Courthouse building, includes photographs, displays, newspapers, rate books and other items of historical interest relating to the township of Dimboola and district.
 
Dimboola Court house
 

   
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