Australia Post released a new $1 postage stamp on Tuesday 10th of September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Murchison meteorite.

Beautiful graphics in the pack and supporting items are very eye catching and the locals are thoroughly delighted to have a stamp issued about Murchison meteorite.

This link to Australia Post blog gives a good account of the story behind the stamp.

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Why do we get so excited about a piece of rock, even if it did come from outer space?

Artist impression of a daytime meteor shower

Let’s run through a few facts about Murchison meteorite, the reasons for such scientific interest, and why it is important to celebrate its fall in September 1969, 50 years ago this year.

  • It is a very rare type, known as a Carbonaceous Chondrite type 2 – only 1% of meteorites are of this type
  • The Murchison meteorite is regarded by Scientists and Astrophysicists as one of the most important meteorite to have landed on earth due to its rare components
  • It is 4.6 billion years old, older than our sun and solar system as we know it today, consists of primitive chemistry that has remained largely unaltered, so provides information on the type of material which clumped together to form the planets
  • It landed during the day, over a populated area so the samples were picked up quickly before they could become contaminated. Many meteorites end up in the sea or isolated desert areas and are never discovered
  • Thousands of meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere each day. Most disintegrate and simply end up us dust particles. A few larger pieces, perhaps 5 – 10 a year, get through the Earth’s atmosphere so Murchison meteorite must have been quite large initially as pieces that were weighed totalled over 100kgs
  • It originated from the Asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, travelling somewhere between 300 and 450 mil. kms depending where it started its journey to earth
  • The estimated speed it was travelling is about 13 – 15 kms a second – equivalent to travelling from Murchison to Shepparton in 3 seconds, faster than our eye can detect
  • Its arrival was accompanied by a very loud noise described as sonic booms, as an express train or jet plane
  • Amazingly, no-one was injured by flying particles even though the largest piece weighed 6.8 kms and the only damage reported was a hole in a tin shed roof and a dint in a railing surrounding a dairy
  • Most pieces ended up in America, as following the moon landing in July of that year, the Americans had sophisticated equipment to be able to analyse the rocks
  • It had a chemical smell, like methylated spirits, due to the presence of pyridine one of many organic compounds present in the meteorite
  • A fascinating feature of the Murchison meteorite is the presence of over 100 amino acids, organic compounds that are the building blocks of DNA, the genetic code in living cells. Some scientists think they represent primitive life forms
  • Water and sugar have also been detected in the meteorite
  • Murchison meteorite is featured in every major museum around the world
  • It is the most studied of all meteorites and the subject of hundreds of scientific papers

It is fascinating that this event occurred in our little town, Murchison. Scientists in fields such as Chemistry, Geology, Minerals, Meteoritics, Astrophysics and Space Exploration often get very animated talking about Murchison meteorite, many telling us that it is ‘their favourite thing’!

So… that is why residents of Murchison are also EXCITED!! And we plan to celebrate the 50th year anniversary in style on the weekend of 27th, 28th, 29th September. See our website for details –

Click on this link: for a film clip of Dr. Philipp Heck. He will be speaking 28th 29th September at our 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.

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Heritage Centre Open Saturday Mornings

The Murchison Heritage Centre will again be open each Saturday morning from 10th August, at 10 am to 12.30 pm.

Our website for information about Murchison meteorite 50th anniversary celebration in September  27, 28 & 29 is:

Entry to talks by leading scientists and astronomy shows only costs a gold coin donation, school children free.

To book tickets for the Friday night dinner – go to and then go to events to book via Eventbrite. Tickets cost $69.00

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We now have two sought after books available due to the copying skills of Justin Connors at Rodney Printers in Tatura. No task seems too complicated for Justin and the results are always pleasing.

With the authors permission, we have been able reproduce In Search of Our Days – the large volume of over 450 pages about the Day family history written by Gillian Day in 2002. This well known family built the amazing Days Mill and Farm complex south of Murchison, which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and now managed by Parks Victoria. The original printer of the book has long gone out of business so the only way to reproduce the book was to organise a good quality copy. The demand for this book was high when Days Mill was open to the public earlier this year. The book is A4 size and the cost is $40.

The other book that seems to be evergreen, is From Protectorate to Premier Smaller Town written for the ‘Back to Murchison’ in 1985. It contains a good potted history of Murchison, lots of school class photographs over the years and general historic town photographs as well. This book has also been reproduced with the authors permission and retails at $12. The size of the book is a little over B5.

To order either of these books, email: Please provide your name and postal address. Payment can be made via EFT transfer. In Search of Our Days is heavy and postage averages $20 – $30 around Australia, so it may be less expensive to come to Murchison and pick up a copy unless your are some considerable distance away.

We plan to have a stall at any Open Days at the Mill when possible, so the book will be available then.

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Winter Recess

Our regular open time on a Saturday morning at the Murchison Heritage Centre will be in recess until 10th of August, as some of our members are travelling and visitor numbers drop in the cold weather.

Brochure about the Exhibition (image courtesy Athanasios Tsakonas)

But we will be very active behind the scenes preparing for our celebration in September to mark the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Murchison meteorite. We have some top science people coming to give talks about the Murchison meteorite and related subjects, plus other activities planned for the weekend of 28th & 29th September.

Revitalisation of Meteorite Park is well under way, and the display board installed on the occasion of the 25th anniversary is now with the Men’s Shed undergoing refurbishment.  New material will be placed on the renovated display to provide fresh information about the meteorite which is recognised as the most important meteorite of its kind to have fallen to earth. We frequently say that the Murchison meteorite is famous all around the globe, and just to confirm this statement, a friend who is traveling in Europe sent a message to say that Murchison meteorite is on display in Paris at the Natural History Museum – Treasures of the Earth Exhibition, in the Gallery of Geology and Mineralogy.

Murchison meteorite on display in Paris (image courtesy Athanasios Tsakonas)

A labyrinth is also planned for the park and this will provide a calming meditative activity in the outdoors for people of all ages.  The position of the planets across the solar system when the meteorite fell in 1969, will be marked out on the labyrinth to connect the event with the activity, the park and the town.  People using the labyrinth can pause from the busyness of their lives to ponder on the amazing immenseness of the universe, our place in it, and the unique event of the fall of this ancient piece of rock – 4.6 billion years old – consisting of very primitive chemistry that broke up over the skies of Murchison.  Labyrinth experts, Dr Lisa Shortridge and Geoff Rodda, have advised the working party on the design.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.

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City of Greater Shepparton Cultural Heritage Awards 2019

The Greater Shepparton City Council Heritage Awards were held in April. 

This biennial program recognises many local heritage initiatives such as heritage conservation, research, education, promotion, interpretation, and awareness raising throughout the Municipality.

The book Art Captured compiled and published by the Murchison Historical Society, won an award in the category for promotion and awareness-raising of cultural heritage. This is the second award for this book it was also recognised as the best small local history publication in the Victorian Community History Awards for 2018.

The event was well attended and it was particularly impressive that the children from Wilmot Road Primary School were present to receive an award for their project of research into the importance of the ‘flats’ – a walk along the Goulburn River in Mooroopna and present their case to Council for interpretive signage to be erected.

It was a privilege to be asked to be guest speaker at the event and to provide an overview of the history of the Prisoner of War and Interment Camps in our local area.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.

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Story of Historic Hotel in Murchison

A new book relating the history and chequered career over time of the well-known hotel beside Murchison’s iconic bridge over the Goulburn River in central Victoria, was launched at the end of April.
The Autumn colours of the vine covered pergola in the rear courtyard of the historic hotel now called Thornebridge, provided a picturesque setting for the fifty people that attended the launch, among them members of the Thorne and Gregory families, past owners of the hotel. It was also a privilege to have Don Garden, President of Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV), Charles Sowerwine, Chair of RHSV Heritage Committee and Susan Foley attend the event. After Jenny introduced her new book everyone enjoyed a delightful afternoon tea prepared by the catering team from Murchison & District Historical Society.

Jenny presented an outline of the book

Keen history researcher and author of many books about Victoria’s stately homes and mansions, Jenny O’Donnell, has compiled this attractive publication. Jenny writes about the beginnings of the hotel, starting with the Thorne family who built the hotel, it’s subsequent owners, notable patrons, it’s rise to become ‘the Mecca of the Goulburn Valley’, its fall into disrepair, as a derelict, vandalised wreck, to its new life, now a beautifully restored building worthy of its Victorian Heritage Register listing. Through diligent research, Jenny has been able to correctly date the planting of the notably large and magnificent London Plane tree that shades the front of the building which is also listed on Victoria’s Heritage Register. Images of the restoration by the current owners completes a great record of this hotel’s life, fondly known in living memory as Gregory’s Hotel by locals, the building now embarks on a new stage in its life as Thornebridge.


The book, THORNEBRIDGE THE BRIDGE HOTEL at MURCHISON, priced at $20. can be purchased from the Murchison Heritage Centre, 4 Stevenson Street, open Saturday mornings from 10am – 12.30pm or to arrange to have a copy posted, email:

Large London Plane tree is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register

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