HERITAGE CENTRE NOW OPEN

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The Murchison Heritage Centre at 4 Stevenson Street re-opened to the public each day over the Labour Day long weekend. A steady flow of visitors came to see the improved building and really enjoyed the new lay-out with fresh displays according to the enthusiastic remarks and comments written in the Visitors Book.

View of Gallery

Historical Society Members are finding they can offer a much better experience to visitors. The new extension blends well with the existing building and is very easy to work in.

Regular opening on Saturday mornings are again in place with a slightly changed time of 10am – 12.30pm. Entry is a gold coin donation, school children are free.

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Pioneer display

Groups are also welcome to the Heritage Centre which can include a town tour, just call Kay on 0477 674 747 to arrange a time.

Kay Ball, President

Murchison and District Historical Society Inc.

Day’s Mill display

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Heritage Centre Re-opened

After more than four years of planning, working with Greater Shepparton City Council and applying for grants, the extension to the Murchison Heritage Centre was officially re- opened on Friday 27th February.  The Mayor of Greater  Shepparton City Council Dennis Patterson and President of Murchison Historical Society Kay Ball, unveiled the plaque in the presence of City Councillors, Municipal Staff, present and past members of the Society and supporters in the Community.
The well wishers then moved to the front entrance where the ribbon was cut by Mayor Dennis Patterson and President Kay Ball. Everyone then viewed the new displays, followed by refreshments superbly catered  by Longleat Winery.
The Heritage Centre will be open to the public on the long weekend Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th and Monday 9th March,  11am to 3pm. During Tomato Festa Sunday 15th March the Heritage Centre will be open 11 am – 5pm. Come and enjoy a great presentation of our local history. We are located at 4 Stevenson Street Murchison.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMayor Dennis Patterson and President Kay Ball unveiling the plaque commemorating the re-opening of the Heritage Centre following completion of the extension.

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Australia Day Award

Members of Murchison Historical Society were delighted when their nomination for an Australia Day award was successful. John Ball, tireless worker for the Society was named Murchison Citizen of the Year for 2015 at the Australia Day celebration held in perfect weather in the grounds of our local swimming pool. Attended by 450 people, the Australia Day Committee again did a marvellous job in providing an excellent event to celebrate and express resident’s appreciation of this wonderful country in which we live. Bruce Smith did a great job as MC and Australia Day Ambassador, Tony Murphy, Director Operations and Chief Fire Officer for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, was an inspiring Guest Speaker.

As well as being on the Executive Committee of the Historical Society John Ball has been the prime mover of the building project to extend the Heritage Centre. John also volunteers many hours for other organisations in the town. He is involved with Wybalena Retirement Village, Murchison Neighbourhood House, Men’s Shed, Murchison Community Care Business Development Committee, DPJones Nursing Home and Christ Church Murchison. Described as a ‘quiet achiever’ John demonstrates the ability to stay focussed, to ‘see the big picture’ and work towards improvement for the township, so a worthy recipient of this award.

To celebrate this achievement, John with family and friends, enjoyed a relaxed lunch at Longleat Winery in Murchison later that day. John is pictured with Historical Society members who over the years have also received an Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award – perhaps being a volunteer in Murchison is contagious?

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L- R: Kay Ball, Gloria Polkinghorne, Don Polkinghorne, John Ball and Warwick Finlay  - seated front on the left – Liz Ewart, front on the right – Anne Finlay, Maureen Gregory

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Local Support Assisting Refurbishment of Heritage Centre

The extension and improvements to the Heritage Centre in Murchison are now complete and we have officially passed our building inspection. There is some outside asphalting to be attended then the major works will be finished.

Members are now working on creating new displays, re-arranging the layout in the Gallery and generally setting up everything to be ready to function once again as a Resource Centre. The new facilities will mean we will be better able to cater for our visitors.

Furnishing our new meeting room is underway and the Lions Club of Murchison & District have generously supported us by a gift of funds that will cover the purchase of four new tables. The Lion’s Club work consistently fundraising for lots of projects both locally and further afield so it is heart-warming to have this sponsorship when there are other demands on their hard earned income. Lion’s Club President, Peter Elford presented the cheque to Historical Society members, President Kay Ball and Treasurer Lyndon Gregory at a recent meeting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Historical Society have obtained some excellent secondhand glass cabinets to assist in displaying artefacts more attractively and again we received great support locally from the Supa Valu store owners, Derek and Glenys Pearson who allowed us the use of their transporter to deliver the cabinets to the Heritage Centre. It was all hands on deck and took almost all day to achieve as the units are quite big, heavy and made of glass so needed some experienced and careful handling. We now look forward to setting them up to show off our historical items!

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Hard to say when we will be open to the public again as there is much to do, but we are working towards late January or early February next year. We will advertise when the Grand Opening will be!

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Remembrance Sunday at the Ossario

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Every year on Remembrance Sunday in November, hundreds of relatives and friends gather in Murchison for a special ceremony to remember the 130 Italian Internees and Prisoners of War who died on Australian soil during the Second World War. Their remains are housed in the attractive Mediterranean style stone building known as the Ossario within the Murchison Cemetery.

This photo was taken on the 9th November in 2014 at the picnic gathering after the Commemoration of the Italian War Dead at the Murchison Ossario. These families are all internee descendants and friends who have been telling their stories to Mia Spizzica who is conducting her PhD studies on the Internees. Mia is interested in finding out more about the Internees and also the Ossario.

If you have a story about the Ossario or know of families who helped to build it please contact Kay Ball email: balljk4@bigpond.com at the Murchison Historical Society or Mia Spizzica via mobile: 0400 200 235 or mia.spizzica@monash.edu.

 

 

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Number One Channel Now Pipeline

Work on Channel No. 1 Murchison between the supply channel and Chinaman’s Hill Road is now complete with water delivered by pipe instead of open channel. It is great to have clean clear water available and to say goodbye to channel  leaks. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Working on the pipeline. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA No more open channel.

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Some Special Visitors to the Ossario

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View of  the Ossario and Bell Tower from the Western side

The Ossario, nestling quietly in the corner of the Murchison Cemetery is the resting place of 130 Italian POW’s and internees who died on Australian soil during the second World War. It is a unique place and so it is always exciting to learn more about its history.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting two interesting people there who each have a special connection with the Ossario. Mia Spizzica is conducting studies for her PhD on the Italian civilian internees of World War 2. Mia had arranged to meet an Italian gentleman at the Ossario by the name of Mr. Avelino Crespan who was the builder of the extension to the rear of the Ossario and I was able to join them.

It was a great pleasure to walk around the Ossario with Mia interviewing Avelino and to find out about the work he did there.

The original chapel area and bell tower of the Ossario was opened in 1961 and the remains of the Italians were interred in a crypt below. In the early 1970’s due to damage by flooding, it became necessary to build an area to the rear at ground level and for the caskets to be housed there safe from flood waters.

The stone for the extension was acquired from the same quarry as the original building and the roman roof tiles were also a perfect match.

The small lead lined caskets were reclaimed from the crypt and stored in the chapel area while the work was in progress. The steel framework that supported the compartments was retrieved and then the crypt was filled with sand. Once the extension was complete, the steel framework was placed in the new area and again available to house the small coffins. Also, the attractive polished Blackwood plaques were replaced which bear the names of the Italians who are resting there.

The new area for the caskets was completed in 1974. It blends perfectly with the original chapel and bell tower at the front.

Most people would be familiar with the front of the Ossario but not so familiar with the rear of the building which is also very appealing. It is an example of skilled craftsmen who made sure the stonework was of a high standard and that the addition complimented the original section.

We look forward to Mia completing her studies as after that she is hopeful to produce a book from the research she is undertaking. It was a great pleasure to meet Avelino and hear his story.

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

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Mia Spizzica and Avelino Crespan

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