Annual General Meetings can be dull affairs and poorly attended as some people think they might get roped into a job! But a good roll up, reports that reflected our year’s positive achievements, seeing some wonderful archival photos not seen before of the Goulburn Weir under construction, meant the meeting was not dull.
Guest Speaker was Paul Borbely, Goulburn Weir Storage Manager who told us the facts and figures about this impressive structure that is over 100 years old; an engineering masterpiece that has International Heritage status. It was great to see the images from the 1890’s when it was being built.
Our past year was dominated by the planning and then the actual delivery of the 50th Anniversary Murchison Meteorite celebrations in September – Rock on Murchison. It was a mammoth effort and our Australia Day Community Event of the Year Award for Murchison and also for the whole of Greater Shepparton acknowledged its success. The town has benefitted from the Event not only with wonderful memories, but with some tangible assets. We have the outstanding murals on the eastern wall of the Heritage Centre building, a labyrinth and new information panels in Meteorite Park, a comprehensive account in the new book Space Gem, and Meteorite Cow was returned to River Bank Gardens in time for the celebration, sporting a newly painted day time scene in keeping with the correct time of day when the Meteorite fell. The $1 Murchison meteorite postage stamp is now part of the Australia Post collection and in the albums of many serious stamp collectors. We have a record of the Scientists talks on film and an amazing recording of the school children’s composition of space music.
We participated in Greater Shepparton Heritage Open Days in March with our Heritage Centre open over the two days and also guided an Irrigation History Bus Tour. The promotion of the book Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes took place in November. Opportunities to promote our Society were at Day’s Mill Open Day in May, the Anglican Car Boot Sale in October, and street stalls prior to Christmas and on the Australia Day weekend. Website visitors since set up in 2011 total 39,700 and the website promoting Rock on Murchison together with social media received thousands of contacts.
Visitors to the Heritage Centre were up as were the number of groups visiting, plus we estimated 1600 contacts during Rock on Murchison.
Answering requests for family history and other information and regular Saturday morning openings continued as well as the faithful team cataloguing our photographs, document and artefacts throughout the year. Grateful thanks are due to the many thousands of hours given to the work of the Society by our Volunteers.
Nine new members were welcomed this year and three members have moved away from our area so our membership stands at 36.
We increased our range of books for sale with the reproduction of In Search of our Days and From Protectorate to Smaller Premier Town, and publishing Space Gem – mysteries of the Murchison Meteorite of course and 175 Years of Agriculture at Murchison plus the three large display panels complimenting the agriculture story.
Executive Committee members for the coming year are: President – Kay Ball, Vice President – Warwick Gregory, Secretary – Marg Lock, Treasurer – Bec Hutchinson-White, Committee – Janet Clarke, John Ball and Rob Cornelious. Retiring from the executive team after many faithful years of contribution are Gloria Polkinghorne, Warwick Finlay and Jeff Huddle. We will still be able to call on them for assistance especially when visitors ask those questions that only long-term residents of Murchison can answer!
We look forward to the coming year with more projects planned.
Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society