December 18th 2015 marked 30 years since the first meeting of the Murchison and District Historical Society.
Marg Brown & Loel Thomson Bryan Thomson & Honor Ewart
Members celebrated at the Heritage Centre with a lunch catered for by Longleat Winery and entertained by Maurie Foun, an award winning Bush Poet. It was a great opportunity to reflect on progress and achievements, events and other milestones. Special guests were Loel and Byran Thomson whose enormous support facilitated the establishment of the Heritage Centre.
Bush Poet Maurie Foun and Marg Lock
Maurie Foun & Marg Lock Helen Newton, Mary Appleton & Anne Finlay
The Historical Society formed in December 1985 following the very successful “Back-to-School” event celebrating 125 years of education and achievement in the Murchison district. A great deal of interest was created by the display of historical information for this occasion, and lead to the formation of the historical society.
The Society gathered momentum, with well attended monthly meetings held in the Community Centre to discuss future planning and to hear a range of guest speakers. Visits were made to a variety of local sites of interest and neighbouring Historical Societies, as well as excursions further afield to history related destinations. Some members attended seminars and workshops on collecting, preservation, storage and display of all aspects of our local heritage. Much of this was facilitated through our membership of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Goulburn Valley Regional Historical Group.
Early years for the Society were exciting, but it was a frustrating time for members not having any money or a home in which to work. Our early financial plight was recognised by Loel and Bryan Thomson of “Noorilim”, who twice made their home available for public open days to raise funds specifically for the Society. The public response was huge and thoroughly rewarding for the Society. At this time, the City of Greater Shepparton (CoGS) was able to lease the former Maternal and Child Health premises in Stevenson Street to the Society to develop the Heritage Centre. A purpose built and spacious gallery was added in 1997. The Heritage Centre provided a home for our growing collections of documents and artefacts and allowed a venue for exhibitions, special events and permanent displays.
Since then, the loyal membership has been working with a greater sense of purpose, while at the same time gaining the co-operation of the general public. Together with the support of CoGS, several successful applications for Government grant money and some generous local sponsors, the Society is very well placed to fulfil its original aims and objectives.
A five year plan to improve facilities for visitors to the Heritage Centre came to fruition in 2015 when an extension to the front of the building was opened providing a meeting room, new kitchen, a research room, improved foyer area with toilet for the disabled, and “shop front” entrance and all abilities access.
Everyone involved to date has combined well to build a valuable resource for the benefit of future generations and develop a significant community asset.
The temporary exhibition area currently features a display about the development of the Society over these last 30 years. Come and visit the Heritage Centre and take a trip down memory lane – you are sure to recall lots of the events and exhibitions represented on show. The Heritage Centre is open each Saturday morning 10 am – 12.30 pm and entry is only a gold coin donation.