(All) Museums Museums in Blackwood River Valley
Museums in Blackwood
The curious visitor will find many traces of our history and much to interest them, around the town and throughout the district. Discover more about the history of the district.
- Museums:Farming,Local History
- Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday
Little is known of the history of the Balingup area pre European settlement , other than that the name ”Balingup” is an alleged corruption of an Aboriginal name – Balingan, a noted Noongar warrior said to have been born in the district. The name was first recorded by a government surveyor in 1850.
The first European explorers traversed the area in 1842 on an expedition to find an overland route from the colony at Albany on the South Coast to the colony at Vasse on the West Coast. The expedition came across the Blackwood River at Southampton and Wrights Bridge.
The Balingup District was first settled by Europeans in 1854 when Richard Jones took up 10 acres, built a mud brick homestead and named it ”Southampton”. This holding prospered to grow to 28,000 acres by the turn of the 20th century. Sadly the historic 1862 built Southampton homestead was razed in a bush fire in 2013.
Balingup was declared a township in 1898 and is now part of the Donnybrook Balingup Shire.
After World War 1, the Government acquired the “Brooklands” estate and subdivided it into 130 acre (54ha) blocks and sold it to returned servicemen.
The orchard industry became established in Balingup in 1895 when a Swiss nurseryman named Jacob Hawter established what was then the largest orchard in the State. He also created the first purpose built cool store in the state.
Tin mining commenced in 1888 in the nearby area of Greenbushes which is now recognised as the longest continuously operated mining area in Western Australia. The fortunes of the miners having waxed and waned as the various minerals in the ore body became economically important as new technologies developed. The Greenbushes pegmatite is the largest and highest grade hard rock lithium minerals resource in the world. The lithium bearing mineral, spodumene, is currently being mined and processed, to be used in lithium batteries, ceramics, glassware, and other products. Both the open cut mine lookout and the Greenbushes Discovery Centre are well worth a visit.
Progressive farming methods and the introduction of improved pastures, superphosphate and subterranean clover saw dairy farming become the major rural industry in the district, and in 1933 a cheese factory was established. However the lack of land suitable for irrigation eventually caused the dairy farms to become uncompetitive and the factory closed in 1977; later to open as an arts and craft centre.
The dairy cows have been replaced by beef cattle and farming is still the mainstay of the Donnybrook – Balingup Shire. Market gardens producing a wide variety of vegetables occupy the fertile valleys and gentle slopes alongside vineyards and orchards of pome, stone, avocado fruit, protected by native forests and tree plantations.
Tourism is becoming an increasingly important industry for the Balingup district with festivals and events drawing thousands of visitors to the area each year. Visitors to Balingup enjoy the beautiful scenery and friendly atmosphere of this quaint town year round.
The museum’s displays reflect the spirit and ingenuity of the pioneers of the district, with simple and sympathetic interpretation.
- Museums:Farming,Local History
- Open Days:Wednesday,Thursday,Friday
The Greenbushes Discovery Centre tells the story of human involvement with the environment.
- Museums:Local History,Mining,Farming
- Open Days:Wednesday,Friday,Saturday
It houses interactive displays and unique games set in various themes namely Mining, Timber Milling, Community and Agriculture, all under the umbrella of 'The Land'. Open 10am to 2pm Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Experience the "Discovery Forest" interactive timber display or explore the "Discovery Decline" replica underground tunnel. Take a walk on the suite of walk trails and experience the natural environment and history of the area.
Take a walk along the "Heritage Amble" walk trail and play the Game, visiting the many historic sites identified along Blackwood Road. Enjoy the Heritage Amble as you take the journey in the footsteps of a fictional Greenbushes character as you play the Game.
The Centre is open for ad hoc tours or group tours, by prior arrangement, and provides a comfortable and relaxing venue for tour groups to stop and allow travellers to stretch their legs. The Discovery Centre is located at 38 Blackwood Road in Greenbushes, opposite the Heritage Park and is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am to 2pm or by prior arangement. Phone (08) 9764 3883.
Volunteers from the local community, who have an enormous amount of history to share, operate the Centre.
Country music fans will be in heaven here! See memorabilia of days gone by and browse in the large record room, devoted to Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.
- Museums:Local History,Other
Naturally Elvis features largely in the memorabilia collection.
See giant tree sculptures, sand sculptures and take in the country atmosphere.
Visit "Harvey's Shed" and see an amazing visual history of rural Australia.
The Nannup Historical Society collects, classifies and preserves records relating to the history of Nannup and surrounding districts
- Museums:Local History
- Open Days:Monday,Wednesday,Friday
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.
Dating from 1880 and in use until 1970 this is one of Bridgetown's most historic buildings. Usually open Saturdays 10 to 2pm and Event Sundays. Regular exhibitions are held.
- Museums:Farming,Local History
- Historical Sites:Buildings
- Open Days:Saturday
Members of the local historical society will happily show you around the old gaol, arrangements can be made by contacting the tourist centre.Dating from 1880 and in use until 1970 this is one of Bridgetown's most historic buildings. The original police headquarters is next door to the gaol. For details visit the website www.bridgetown.com.au Regular exhibitions of historic photos, artwork etc are held within the gaol.