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Museums in WA


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From ancient indigenous culture to European settlement and beyond, you can explore WA’s rich history at its many museums and heritage sites. Head to Fremantle to discover its maritime and convict past. Further south, Albany is WA’s oldest colonial settlement with an Anzac legacy. North, the pearling town of Broome boasts a colourful multicultural heritage; while Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the interior provides a window into the booming gold rush era.

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WA has a wide array of museums and historical sites, which explore the region’s rich history. From the world’s oldest culture, to colonisation and convicts, to gold rushes, world wars and more, there are many ways to discover our past.

Fremantle Arts Centre

The evocative Australian Gothic-style building opened its doors in 1864 as a lunatic asylum and “invalid depot”. It later housed poor and elderly women, became a WWII US Navy submarine depot and then a technical school. The refurbished limestone venue now has gallery spaces and hosts art courses, while live concerts and other events regularly take place in its leafy courtyard.

WA Museum

Closed to the public while under construction, the natural history museum will reopen as the New Museum for WA in Perth Cultural Centre in 2020. However, you can still find exhibits dotted around Perth, such as the dinosaur skeletons temporarily housed at Perth Concert Hall.

WA Maritime Museum

WA’s affinity with the ocean is celebrated in this state-of-the-art seaside museum in Fremantle. It is home to vessels such as the winning 1983 America’s Cup yacht Australia II, as well as handcrafted sailing boats, a submarine, commercial pearl luggers and more.

Fremantle Prison

Built by convicts in the 1850s, the imposing limestone institution remained in use until 1991. Visitors today can explore its spooky confines and get to know shady inhabitants from its convict beginnings to its days as a maximum security prison. You can even explore its labyrinth of tunnels or brave the torchlight tour.

WA Shipwrecks Museum

Recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere, the WA Shipwrecks Museum is housed in an 1850s-era building featuring hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline.

Scitech

The interactive science museum is designed to educate children of all ages about science, technology, engineering and maths. The venue features a 180 degree planetarium dome and also showcases themed exhibitions.

Other museums in the Perth region
  • Perth Mint
  • Museum of Performing Arts
  • Royal Perth Hospital Museum
  • WA Aviation Museum
  • WA Cricket Association Museum
  • WA Medical Museum
  • Department of Fire and Emergency Services Education and Heritage Centre
  • Gravity Discovery Centre
  • Kalamunda History Village
  • Motor Museum of WAThe Nostalgia Box
National ANZAC Centre

Opened in 2014, the award-winning facility in Albany uses multimedia, interactive technology and historical artifacts to tell the personal stories of the WWI ANZAC soldiers. The venue offers sweeping views of King George Sound, where convoys departed a century ago. It runs in conjunction with the adjacent heritage-listed Princess Royal Fortress in Albany Heritage Park.

Museum of the Great Southern

Overlooking Albany’s picturesque Princess Royal Harbour on the site of first European settlement in WA, this museum shares stories of the Menang Noongar people, the early settlers and convicts. It also showcases the region’s unique natural landscape, flora and fauna, much of which is found nowhere else in the world.

Busselton Jetty Interpretive Centre

The iconic jetty at Busselton’s Geographe Bay is 1841m, making it the longest wooden piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. The refurbished 152-year-old structure now has a train service, Underwater Observatory and boat-shed style Interpretive Centre housing the Cultural Heritage Museum. The museum brings history to life with interactive technologies.

Museum of the Goldfields

Located in the historical gold rush town of Kalgoorlie, you can step into the shoes of the prospectors of the early 1900s by panning for gold and learning about the city’s mining heritage.

Museum of Geraldton

The Museum explores the heritage of the surrounding Mid West region, from the ancient Yamaji culture, shipwrecks and the area’s natural landscapes and marine environment.

Other regional museums
  • Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre
  • Broome Museum
  • Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
  • Manjimup Timber Park
  • Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre
  • Wagin Historical Village
  • Albany Convict Gaol Museum
  • The Brig Amity, Albany
  • Old Farm, Strawberry Hill, Albany
  • Discovery Bay (Whale World), Albany
Historical sites

If you’re after a bit of history, places such as Fremantle, Albany and Kalgoorlie are dripping in it. Historical sites that give a glimpse into our colourful past can be found throughout the state. Here are just a few highlights:

The Round House and Whaler’s Tunnel, Fremantle

Built in as a jail to lock up anyone convicted of a crime in the new colony, the small, round stone structure in Fremantle is the oldest surviving public building in WA. It opened in1831, 18 months after European settlement. Below it is the Whalers’ Tunnel, built in 1837 to transport goods between the original port at Bathers Beach the town of Fremantle at Arthur’s Head. Tours are available for both sites.

His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth

The stunning Edwardian Baroque theatre with its ornate dome roof was built in 1904 and is one of the city’s historical landmarks. The auspicious venue in the heart of Perth continues to host large-scale musicals, ballets and operas. It also houses Museum of Performing Arts.

Rottnest Island

Now a popular holiday destination, the pristine beaches on the small island 18km off the coast of Fremantle contrasts with its dark past as an Aboriginal prison and Prisoner of War internment camps during WWI and WWII. You can learn more about the history at venues such as Rottnest Island Museum and Lomas Cottage.

Mundaring Weir

Opening in 1903, the weir is the base for the groundbreaking Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, which supplied vital fresh water to the Eastern Goldfields via the world’s longest pipeline at 560km, which still operates today. The incredible feat in engineering was designed by Irish engineer CY O’Connor, who also constructed Fremantle Harbour.

Albany Town Hall

Opened in 1888, the grand old stone building dominates the main street of Albany with its four-faced clock tower. The venue now houses a gallery and theatre.

Japanese Cemetery, Broome

Broome’s Japanese cemetery gives a glimpse into the pearling town’s fascinating multicultural past. The obelisks with Japanese writing characters mark the graves of more than 900 Japanese pearlers. Many of them were divers who died due to decompression sickness or other illnesses related to dangerous pearl diving industry.

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Guides

Guides


Cockman House

Discover this heritage gem and the people that live here, in the oldest remaining house in the Wanneroo area.

  • Museums:Local History
  • Open Days/times:2PM - 5PM

Details

  • Facilities:Wheelchair Access
  • Open Days:Sunday

Description

Cockman House provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to encounter what life was like in the past and learn about the families that lived here over a 130 year period.

Completed in 1860, this family home of three generations is a rare historic place of continuous residence by descendants of the original building. It presents a pioneer story that began with James and Mary Ann Cockman at the beginning of the Swan River Colony and progresses alongside the development of the Wanneroo district.

OPEN: Every Sunday 2:00pm - 5:00pm Closed all of February
Entry by donation

School Groups welcome Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.
Bookings required. For more information:
Phone: (08) 9405 5906
Email: [email protected]

Duyfken Replica Foundation

Duyfken is the first known European ship to visit Australia -- 164 years before the arrival of Captain James Cook.

  • Museums:Maritime
  • Open Days/times:BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Details

  • Open Days:By Appointment Only

Description

Duyfken is the first known European ship to visit Australia -- 164 years before the arrival of Captain James Cook. Nearly 400 years later a working full-scale replica was built in Western Australia to tell the 'Duyfken story' to Australia. You are invited to participate in the exciting replica project by visiting the replica in museum mode, sail on it or become a volunteer. There are rich, rewarding and exciting educational experiences here for all ages.
 
The Duyfken replica has been acclaimed around the world as the finest "Age of Discovery" replica ship ever built. The Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation was formed in 1993 to build the ship and after her first voyage in 2000 the ship has sailed the world's oceans.
 
Enjoy the Duyfken story which is still being told.

Ford Farm Museum

The Ford Farm Museum in Bailup is home to an array of Ford vehicles including vintage Fords, muscle cars and racing cars.

  • Open Days/times:Open on the third Sunday of each month from March - September.
  • Museums:Motoring

Details

  • Facilities:Wheelchair Access
  • Open Days:By Appointment Only

Description

The Ford Farm Museum is open on the third Sunday of each month from March - September.For car club bookings of over 30 people we can arrange another date to open. 

BBQ, Tea & Coffee facilities are available on site.

Cool drinks can be purchased for a gold coin donation.

The Ford Farm Museum is located 30km east of Midland, WA.

Koorda Motor And Military Museum

The Koorda Motor & Military Museum houses an array of military collections and vintage cars to browse through.

  • Open Days/times:By appointment only
  • Museums:Military,Motoring

Details

  • Open Days:By Appointment Only

Description

The Motor and Military Museum has an extensive private collection of motor, garage and military memorabilia from original classic and muscle cars, models and military displays from the Boer War to Afghanistan.

You can browse through the array of historic artefacts or sit down for a cuppa and enjoy being immersed in the history that surrounds you.

Merredin Military Museum

Most of the vehicles and equipment in the museum are from the Army, this is not intentional, but merely reflects that which is the most comonly found on farms in the area.

  • Open Days/times:10am - 3pm, 7 days a week
  • Museums:Military

Details

  • Open Days:Sunday,Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday

Description

The vehicles in the Museum don't just stay on display, most of them are fully operational and are taken out on parades, ANZAC day and rallies, Their ongoing maintenance and upkeep is born by the Museum. Although the Museum has a large collection of vehicles, we endeavor to tell the whole story of our defence forces. You will also find on display everything from a portable camp stove to a dentist chair, artillery to postcards sent home from the Western Front during WWI.

Morawa District Historical Society

Morawa District Historical Society and Museum is a small volunteer group dedicated to preserving local town and agricultural history in Western Australia.

  • Museums:Local History

Details

  • Open Days:Friday,Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday

Description

The Morawa District Historical Society was first formed in May 1973, with its main objective of retaining a historical record of the district.

Relocation of the original Old Gaol and Courthouse, in 1975, from Stokes Road to its current position, in Prater Street, was one of the first projects undertaken. Unfortunately the original horse stables associated with this building had been removed.

The Old Gaol and Courthouse now forms the centrepiece of the Morawa Museum. The Museum houses a truly remarkable collection of windmills as well as examples of vintage farm machinery and equipment.

The windmill collection is renowned world wide and is the subject of The Windmill Journal a publication produced quarterly by the Morawa District Historical Society and distributed world wide.

Motor Museum of WA

If you're a motoring enthusiast or just interested in local history you'll find something of interest in the Museum. There's a range of cars & motorcycles from the late 19th century through to now

  • Museums:Motoring

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

The Motor Museum of Western Australia is run by the public for the public and is regarded by many curators around Australia as a leading example of Motor Museums.

Displays include period settings, repair workshops, posters and other memorabilia and, of course, the many historic vehicles. With over 130 painstakingly restored cars, bikes, competition, unusual and performance vehicles the Motor Museum of Western Australia is an educational delight for all school children, a must for every rev head and for many of us, a nostalgic reminder of youthful desires. The Museum's shop sells videos, model cars, post cards, books, badges, keyrings and other automobilia. Located in the heart of picturesque Whiteman Park, the Museum has ample parking, (car park No 11) delightful grassed picnic areas and barbecue facilities, is on the park's tramline and only an 18 minute drive from the centre of Perth. Some vehicles have a local historic story attached to them and others are rare examples that you will only find in a few select locations around the world.

So next time you are in Whiteman Park make the time to visit us near the main village, and if you visit Western Australia, then a trip to Whiteman Park is a worthwhile effort. There are many other attractions and activities for the family other than the Motor Museum. So make a day of it and visit Whiteman Park, just be sure to include the Motor Museum in your itinerary of activities at the Park.

Mount Barker Old Police Station Museum

Mount Barker has an incredibly rich historical heritage consolidated in our amazing old police station museum complex, making this a must see tourist attraction.

  • Historical Sites:Buildings
  • Museums:Local History

Details

  • Open Days:Saturday,Sunday,Public Holidays

Description

History

The original Old Police Station built was by convict labour in 1868. The mid 1880s saw the horse stables divided off as a lockup and a Court House office was added in 1919. Surrounded by magnificent lawns and gardens, the Plantagenet Historical Society opened the Cottage as a museum in 1968, furnishing it with artefacts donated by residents of the Shire.

The Old Police Station was occupied until 1908 when a new police station was constructed next door.

In 1971 the Pioneer Room was built to display more artefacts, in 1985 and 1987 the cottage and stables were restored and in 1994 the Napier Creek one-teacher school was moved to the museum. In 1997 the second Police Station and Court Room were acquired.

Other buildings include a reconstructed 1870s house built of hand split wooden slabs and a complete apple picking shed has been assembled in honour of that industry's historical contribution and his and her "thunder boxes".

Policing

Police duties included having a change of horses ready for the mail coach which operated from Albany to Perth. They also patrolled as far as Esperance (more than 400 kilometres) on horseback and other duties included census, weather reporting and mail deliveries.

Visiting The Museum

Arriving at the museum complex, visitors will be greeted with a range of main and out buildings all nested in beautiful landscaped gardens, with structures festooned in gorgeous and colourful creepers with delicate and aromatic flowers in season, giving very much a yesteryear village like experience.

Anyone visiting the museum complex, especially those with an interest in historical heritage should set aside a few hours. There is an incredible range of historical artefacts, information and images spread through numerous buildings.

Mt Flora Regional Museum

Visit Mt Flora Regional Museum and discover the rich and diverse history of the City of Stirling. Explore the history through photographs, displays, artefacts and stories. It is worth a visit to Mount Flora Regional Museum for the view alone!

  • Museums:Local History

Details

  • Open Days:Wednesday

Description

Attractions
The exhibits at the Mt Flora Regional Museum offer a look into region’s past through photographs and artefacts.

Permanent exhibitions include:
Shipwrecks
Whaling
Early days of school.
The mezzanine floor focuses on social history, where visitors can look through ‘windows in the past’ and see what typical rooms were like in the early days. For example, one exhibit is a 1940s kitchen showing utensils at the time, such as a wood stove, and a dining room set for a family dinner.

Go up the stairs to the panoramic lookout and you get one of the best views in the northern suburbs. In 1942 the Defence Forces also utilised the building as an observation post, and you can still see the fantastic view today.

A mural by Anne-Maree Pelusey is painted on the walls of the lookout and features about 300 local fish.

Outside the museum, there is a large grassy park with a children’s playground and picnic area.


About the museum
The Mt Flora Regional Museum is housed in a 1936 water tank originally built for North Beach residents. After being phased out of service in the 1970s, the City of Stirling and the North Suburban Historical Society developed the facility into a museum.


Visiting the Museum
Location
Mount Flora Regional Museum
Elvire Street, Watermans Bay

Wheelchair and general disabled access is available from the car park to the ground floor and the park area. Off street parking is also available.

Opening hours
Sundays, 1.30pm – 4.30pm. Open other times by appointment.


Museum tours
Our museum curator hosts guided tours where he relates local stories and informs visitors about the historical background of the museum site and building.

Community and school groups are encouraged to visit.

Please call to book a tour. 

Mundaring & Hills Historic Society District Museum

The Mundaring and Hills Historical Society (MHHS) was formed in 1989 to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Shire of Mundaring.

  • Museums:Local History
  • Historical Sites:Buildings

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

MHHS have operated the Mundaring District Museum since 1997 in the old Mundaring School building, which houses a permanent display about people, places and events of historical interest in the Shire.  MHHS is able to assist schools and other groups in the organization of community-based historical events, compiling local history information and guest speakers.

Murray Districts Historical Society

A not for profit organisation served by hard working volunteers, we collect, record, preserve, promote and share the history of the Murray District.

  • Historical Sites:Buildings
  • Museums:Local History

Details

  • Facilities:Free
  • Open Days:Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

The Murray Districts Historical Society is situated in the historic town of Pinjarra, 80 Km. south of Perth Western Australia. A not for profit organisation served by hard working volunteers, we collect, record, preserve, promote and share the history of the Murray District.
 
Our collection is constantly growing and includes many photos and documents from Pinjarra's social, commercial and agricultural past.  Its aim is to retain a community identity by preserving local heritage.
 
Located in The Old Schoolmaster's House, Henry Street, Edenvale Precinct

Museum Of Natural History

You will never forget your visit to this world-class display of hundreds of Australia's native animals, birds, fish and reptiles.

  • Open Days/times:Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm
  • Museums:Natural History

Details

  • Open Days:Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

Experience the feel of the Australian bush as you wander amongst the kangaroos, emus, sharks and snakes, all beautifully presented by Master Taxidermist, Michael Buzza. Hundreds of exhibits have been patiently, and expertly, reproduced by Michael through his association with several official sites including the Department of Parks and Wildlife, which contracts Michael to help protect and conserve the state's natural environment.

This is a great venue for children to experience Australia's natural fauna and to inspect life-size models of dinosaurs, all housed in the heritage-listed former Regent Theatre.

The museum is just a five minute walk from Guildford train station, so join the many mums, dads, children of all ages and international tourists who have enjoyed this amazing galaxy of Australiana on display. 

Museum Of Perth

The Museum of Perth chronicles the social, cultural, political and architectural history of Perth.

  • Open Days/times:Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm
  • Museums:Local History

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday

Description

Our exhibition gallery serves as a meeting place of ideas and stories, a retail space, micro-cinema and a cultural hub in a part of our city that is in flux. 

The Museum is an initiative of the Perth History Association Inc, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2015; We are seeking volunteers and financial supporters to help us along the way, so please get in touch if you would like to help. 

 

Nannup Historical Society

The Nannup Historical Society collects, classifies and preserves records relating to the history of Nannup and surrounding districts

  • Open Days/times:Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings
  • Museums:Local History

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Wednesday,Friday

Description

The headquarters are open to the public Monday , Wednesday and Friday mornings displaying on a rotating basis some 2,500 photographs from the turn of the twentieth century to current times together with extensive archives covering Nannup district history such as the timber industry, electoral rolls from 1901, World War I and II enlistments, Police station staffing, old telephone and post office directories, burials at Nannup cemetery, family histories, plus memorabilia and artefacts.

Narembeen Grain Discovery Centre

Adjacent to the Narembeen Roadhouse (entry through the Roadhouse) is a modern, interpretive centre focusing on grain growing in Western Australia.

  • Open Days/times:9.00am to 5.00pm daily
  • Museums:Local History

Details

Description

Learn more about farming in Narembeen as you wander through the centre. Browse at the brilliant visual and interpretive displays as you discover some of the history and future of grain growing in Narembeen.

Exhibits include a 1950s farm house kitchen, a ‘humpy’, a grain stack, an interactive CBH area with weighbridge and hut, displays on the future of farming and a supermarket showing end products, like breakfast cereals and bread. The centre also has an interactive agribusiness section, an export area detailing the journey of grain from farm paddock to overseas markets and displays on the future of farming.

Entry is via gold coin donation.

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