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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Day’s Mill Open Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th May

The Day’s Mill and farm complex will be open for the public to enjoy, on Saturday May 11th and Sunday May 12th from 10.30am to 3pm. Entry is free.

There will be market stalls, guided tours, heritage displays and Parks Victoria staff available to answer questions about the recent renovations.

Restored Gatehouse
The Mill

As it is the best preserved example of a 19th Century flour mill in Victoria, it feels like time has stood still when you walk around the complex, seeing the items used in the days when it was a going concern and self sufficient, supplying the needs of the family and also surrounding farms and businesses.

The Mill House

For more information call Parks Victoria 131963. Location map below.

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Medal of the Order of Australia for Loel Thomson

Many people will remember Loel and Bryan Thomson who owned the property, Noorilim south of Murchison for many years and during their time there, faithfully renovated the mansion and grounds.

Medal of the Order of Australia

Loel was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day Honours in the General Division, for service to community history. Loel founded and has curated the Costume Collection for more than 30 years, an outstanding collection of costume that reflects 200 years of social history from 1788, including jewellery and accessories. Now located in Bulleen, the collection consists of over 10,000 items and Loel has excellent skills in displaying the costume with amazing attention to detail. The Costume Collection is a spectacular place to visit, always varied and full of surprises. Entry fees are donated to charity and Murchison Community Care has been the beneficiary to these proceeds for many years.

The investiture of the Medal took place on 5th of April at Government House in Melbourne and was presented by the Honourable Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria.

A very well-deserved honour for Loel, in recognition of her enormous contribution to history; her efforts in assembling what is a unique private collection and displayed it to a high museum standard rivalling any public exhibition around the world. Her generosity is also outstanding in passing on to charities, entry fees from visitors to the Costume Collection. Loel’s husband Bryan has always been a wonderful supporter of Loel’s work and they are a great team.

While they lived at Noorilim, they were members of the Murchison & District Historical Society and made a fantastic contribution with outstanding fundraising efforts and guidance in settling up our Heritage Centre. This award is a great acknowledgement of Loel’s talents and dedication.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society.

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Tapping into the Talents of a Nonagenarian – Murchison & District Historical Society – Annual General Meeting 2019

Probably most 97-year-olds would be tucked up in bed by 8.30pm, but not our engaging Guest Speaker, Mrs. Joan Baumber (nee Berwick).

Kay Ball and Joan Baumber

Joan is a most articulate and intelligent speaker, relating her very early years in Yea, and her schooling at Clarendon College Ballarat where Joan thrived. This set her up for a career as Senior Administrative Assistant to Corporate Managers in Melbourne for nearly 20 years.  Her parents by this time had moved to ‘Courtney Park’, Murchison. A bit of successful matchmaking by Joan’s aunts brought her single life as a professional business-woman to a close when she married George Baumber. Joan put on the ‘wellies’ and soon learnt all about farming at Dhurringile. When widowed after 19 years of marriage and with two young children still at school, Joan ran the farm very competently. Her involvement in the community as part of many and varied Community Organisations, usually on the Executive, is a credit to Joan. Her love of music and talent at the keyboard, allowed her to contribute musically and she played the organ a Christ Church Murchison for 50 years! It was a delight to listen to Joan’s story. Anne Finlay thanked Joan for sharing her interesting life with us and presented her with a parcel of local products.

Anne Finlay thanked Joan and presented her with a gift of local products.

Kay Ball presented her report during the formal part of the Annual Meeting and related some encouraging statistics. Since 2011, over 35,500 people have accessed our website. Visitors to Heritage Centre during 2018 numbered 553 and included 11 groups.  Highlights of the year: visit to Thomson’s Costume Collection in May; launch of the children’s book, Sam’s Meteorite in October; Art Captured awarded Best Local History Book in Victorian Community History Awards; co-hosting and catering for book launch of Noorilim: from wool to wine at Noorilim.  Planning is progressing well for 50th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Murchison meteorite to be held in September. 

Executive Committee elected for the coming year: President, Kay Ball; Vice President, Warwick Gregory; Treasurer, Jeff Huddle; Secretary, Marg Lock; Committee members, John Ball, Janet Clarke, Warwick Finlay and Gloria Polkinghorne.

A scrumpcious supper followed the meeting.

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Our next meeting is the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & will be held on

Tuesday 19th of March 2019

at 7.30pm in the Heritage Centre

Our guest speaker will be Mrs. Joan Baumber. Now in her 9th decade, Joan has

much to tell about early years in Murchison and Dhurringile.

(Reminder – annual subs. now due – $15 EFTpos available)

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