If there’s one thing we do well in the Riverina, it’s quirky little museums. Pretty much every town has at least one, celebrating all kinds of things! We couldn’t possibly cover them all in one go, so for now here is a little taster of what you might find off the beaten track.
Coolamon Shire (Coolamon, Ganmain, Ardlethan)
Coolamon’s Up-to-date Store celebrates the rich history of retail in Cowabbie Street. Built in 1909, the building operated as a general store until 1932. The Store remains as a visual reminder of the ingenuity and skill of local architects, builders and the retail traders and their staff. The Up-to-Date Store is home to a variety of displays including:
Lamson Cash Railway System – The world’s only known ball-style cash railway system that is still working condition in its originals location.
Gullaman Collection -A significant collection of stone tools and cultural items sharing story of the Wiradjuri People in the area.
Mavis Furner Collection – An exquisite collection over 200 crochet garments, accessories and photographs.
Garth Jones Collection – A rare agricultural machinery and equipment.
Reg Godde Collection – Miniature working farm machinery created entirely by one man!
Coolamon RSL Museum – The museum leads you through five interconnected rooms from the Boer War to the present displaying memorabilia, photographs and documents. Located to the rear of the Coolamon Up-to-Date Store.
Cootamundra-Gundagai Region (Cootamundra, Gundagai)
Bradman’s Birthplace Museum in Cootamundra has all of the weird and wonderful souvenirs relating to the one and only Sir Donald Bradman. You will be amazed at some of the items made into souvenirs! Located at 89 Adams street, the Museum is a step back in time and a wonderful experience in itself to see what houses and cottages used to be like.
Hidden in the upstairs level of the current Junque and Disorderly Store located in Gundagai is The Gabriel Gallery: a magnificent photographic collection featuring the work of Dr Charles Louis Gabriel – town doctor and amateur photographer.
Dr Gabriel’s visual record of the late 1800s and early 1900s provides a fascinating account and documentary history of the time – transport, dress, past-times, streetscapes and countryside. Photos printed from the glass plates bring the energy of Gundagai in these early days to life.
He managed to capture with warmth and intimacy life in Gundagai at the turn of the century. Photographs in the collection include events such as the flood of 1900, the opening of the new hospital in 1904, travellers at the railway station, as well as sporting activities such as tennis, fishing and golf.
More than 150 photos are on permanent display in the Gabriel Gallery, and also featured is a camera similar to the one used by Dr Gabriel. The Gallery also displays other unique items of interest including some of Henry Lawson’s original letters and possessions, such as his walking stick and dictionary.
Leeton Shire (Leeton, Whitton, Yanco)
Brought to life within the walls of the former Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission building, the Leeton Museum and Gallery lets you dive into more than 100 years of the town’s history. It celebrates the significance of Leeton, central to the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. The modern exhibition space includes a mini Roxy Theatrette and the building doubles as a gallery space for travelling and community exhibitions. After you’ve spent time exploring, sit back and relax with a coffee at the Lands Office Café. Download the izi.TRAVEL app and take a free self-guided audio tour. Free entry. Open 10am until 3pm Monday to Saturday.
Snowy Valleys Council (Tumut, Tumbarumba, Batlow, Adelong)
The Pioneer Women’s Hut at Glenroy Heritage Reserve is one of the best and most unusual small museums in Australia. Cleverly themed, it reflects the ingenuity of women in finding solutions to the challenges of looking after a family in early rural Australia. The accessibility and provenance of the diverse collection add to its reputation. Open Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and most public holidays, this museum is staffed by volunteers who would love to share their knowledge with you. Glenroy Cottage Crafts is a little shop nearby offering a wide range of useful and attractive goods. Other heritage displays include a machinery shed full of farm implements used by the hard-working pioneers of the Tumbarumba district.
Temora (Temora, Ariah Park)
Hot Days… Cool Planes. With arguably the finest collection of warbird planes in the southern hemisphere, the air-conditioned Temora Aviation Museum is a great way to beat the heat and keep the family entertained.
Whether you’re an enthusiast or a complete novice, Temora Aviation Museum will have you in awe with their collection.