Gerringong Museum turns 25


Keith Mace, Frank Condon and Ken Miller. Keith and Ken assisted in building the Museum

With the tantalising prospect of relocating to the old Gerringong School of Arts once it is restored, the Gerringong & District Historical Society recently honoured the people who were instrumental in the opening of its current home 25 years ago.

Gerringong and District Historical Society President Helen McDermott welcomed a large crowd to the anniversary commemoration, with particular reference to Keith Mace and Ken Miller, who helped with building the Museum from 1987 to 1991, and Colin Hollis, former Throsby Member of Parliament, who opened the Museum in September 1991.

The first display in the Museum showcased the history of the dairy industry, and six students at Kiama High School painted a mural for the display which is still hanging. Bobbie Miller introduced Jeff Hewett and Dennis Koks, the art teachers who planned and supervised the painting, and two of the artists, Alex Matyear and Wendy Wallace-Parnell, who are now both busy professional women with families. Thanks to The Bugle, the Society was also in touch with all the other artists.

Guest peaker Dr Roslyn Russell, Chair of the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Committee, spoke about the importance of museums in establishing the identity of communities, and told the stories of particular items in the Museum.

She mentioned a beautiful timber patterned butter press; two medals, awarded to William Bailey for corn grown at Gerringong, at International Exhibitions in Adelaide and Melb-ourne in 1887 and 1888; and a unique model of Sydney Harbour Bridge in the tradition of La Perouse shell work, made by Mrs Jessie Stewart, mother of footballer Roy Stewart, from shells from local beaches.

Ann Sudmalis MP announced $1.25 million in funding for the restoration and redevelopment of the School of Arts site to house the museum and a library just prior to the Federal election. Council will seek the additional funding needed for the long-planned facility.


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