*August 2016 News - The museum will be closed during September until mid October, except for Fridays, when volunteer Barbara Grylls will be opening. This closure is so that the President can attend the Royal Western Australian Historical Society (RWAHS) State History Conference, in early September and the Museums Australia WA conference in October, thanks to both of these organisations and to LotteryWest who have provided these travel bursaries.
Fred Gutte was a highly skilled blacksmith at Wave Hill station in the 1940’s and Donald has personal reminiscences in his memoirs describing some days working with him in the blacksmith's shop at Wave Hill, which are a priceless record. Photograph to right shows Donald Howard holding his Wave Hill spurs.
Gutte made the spurs to his own design and sold them to stockmen and drovers on their personal order. The spurs became famous on every stock route and station throughout northern Australia. Donald said he had paid Mr. Gutte several old-style round tins of Log Cabin for the job.
Response was good to a plea for an old pair of RM Williams Cuban Heel Stockman's boots that were no longer in use, as the fitting item to display the Wave Hill spurs on, and we now have 2 x pairs. This was fortunate as Ian Petherick donated spurs owned by his late father Hugh Petherick (VRD - Legune - East Kimberley) said to have been acquired by Hugh from Lake Nash station NT, close to the Queensland border in the 1930s.
We had no spurs before June 2016 to now have 5 x Spurs in the Kununurra Museum collections, now, besides the two pairs mentioned, another machine-made brass, 'Mexican spur' circa 1910s to 1920s & oldest in the collection (may be USA machine made), with provenance to East Kimberley history. This odd spur had been found under or near the school-house in use at the Argyle Downs homestead school of the 1960s, by a teacher there at the time and kept by his wife. I know that KHS member Meg Gayoso had treasured this brass spur, in her life since that time and it must have been hard for her to part with it for KHS collections, so thanks to Meg, and hope you can be happy to hear that many visitors have already seen this on display and wondered at it's well machined structure, and to compare to the two larger pairs of Australian hand-made spurs.
the weekend of June 24th
2016, we commemorated this history with various events that opened on the night of Friday June 24th
with a KHS version of the 1946 Rosewood Station film with embedded history images and a documentary film, “On the Banks of the Ord”
made by Kevin Richards.
These were shown on the big screen at the Kununurra Picture Gardens. The following morning (Saturday June 25th) started at the original Carlton Reach – 'Ord River Experimental Farm' site @lias Lake Kununurra Golf Club, with an opening address by Matthew Durack (the son of Bill Durack, who had worked with his brother, Kim Durack at Carlton Reach 1942-1944).
[Photograph - 1957 - Kimberley Michael Durack (1917-1968) - Taken at Camballin, West Kimberley 1957 - KHS-2010-43-P-BD - Carlton Reach 1941 Display - This KHS Archive was part of displays originally made for the conference '50 Years of Ord Irrigation - Reviews & Future Perspectives' in 1991, now on display at the Kununurra Museum.]
The group of 40 to 50 people at the history forum then drove out to the former Kimberley Research Station site, now Department of Agriculture WA - Kununurra HQ, where the rest of the day was spent with tours and talks covering from the earliest history through to the future directions of Ord Irrigation. On Sunday there was a tag-along tour to see graves near old Ivanhoe station, then back to town to take a look at some of the fascinating history in the Kununurra Museum and KHS Archive, at an Open Day. All events were well attended and from far and wide, came members of the Durack family, who made up almost half of those who attended. [Read more about the forum weekend on the Events page.]
[Photograph - Below - A 1944 aerial photograph of the Carlton Reach Experimental Farm overlaid to show as it is now, with the main channel cutting through the first Research Station]
naugural meeting convened by Ursula Brimble and chaired by Dennis O'Brien, who (I learned only last week - AB 29 V 2016) that Dennis had told the convenor, Ursula Brimble, before the meeting that he would NOT be President however it transpired that he did indeed become the first KHS President at that meeting in 1986. Dennis was made an Hon. Life Member of the Society a few years ago for all he has done for and archival collections donated to the KHS archive. This first meeting resulted in the formation of the Kununurra Historical Society Inc. (KHS) (Us! ;^) on June 5th 1986. An Open Day & Evening at Kununurra Museum from 12 to 8pm - Sunday, June 5th 2016 - 30 Years! The night before this (Saturday June 4th) we enjoyed a KHS Members Dinner - Thank you to all those who sent acceptances or apologies. A new page has been created that outlines this history, illustrated with newspaper articles from 1986 and includes the full inaugural meeting minutes - See the History of the Kununurra Historical Society from the KHS Research Page.
Every March 20th is "Wirraway-Challenge" Day at the Kununurra Museum
Wirraway means Challenge - Read more and see listings of the eight Wirraway-Challenge digital videos.
75 Years of Ord - Tropical Agriculture
KHS photographs on the
have now had over
image views (August 20th 2016). In Feb 2016 it was 1,760,057,
in the two months before (Feb 2016).
peaked on January 28th
on that day.
[These Links open in new tabs/windows]
Hope you enjoy.
In March 1941 Kimberley Michael Durack (KMD) published a thoroughly researched document, 'Developing the North - A Proposed Research Station for the Kimberleys,' and by the end of 1941 his proposal had become a reality.
In 2014 it was realised that we did not have this document of great significance to Ord River Irrigation history, in the KHS archive, so in February 2015 the document was photographed at the Battye Library, then back in Kununurra each page was transcribed by KHS volunteers. Since then the transcriptions and 'Proposed Research Station' page images have been compiled into a new electronic document format, which we are placing online to make this accessible to all.
It is fascinating to realise that Kim Durack was just 24 years old when he wrote this proposal, researched and written with great skill. We hope you enjoy reading...
Download KHS archive number KHS-2015-1-H-BD - 'Developing the North - Proposed Research Station for the Kimberleys' (5.6 MB) written by KM Durack and published 75 years ago on March 31st 1941 (in 2016).
KHS hopes you enjoy and we would appreciate any feedback you may have.
[As this PDF is hyperlinked it is best viewed by saving to your hard drive and viewing in Adobe Acrobat Reader and not in web based viewers as hyperlinking may not work correctly. - Below - Crop from cover of the KHS transcribed document - Click image to download this document of historical significance, to mark 75 years of Ord Irrigation history in 2016, made accessible to all by KHS in August 2015.]
In 1886 the town of Wyndham came into existence and the rush was setting in for 'Kimberley' (Halls Creek) goldfields, with ships arriving the tent city of Wyndham soon turned into a town. Visit Halls Creek and Wyndham in 2016 and make sure you go to the old Courthouse in the Port to the Wyndham Museum and experience the history there too mark 130 years.
Amazingly in 2016 our 'new' purpose-built archive and museum facility, today known as the Kununurra Museum, will have been in operation for fifteen years. This amounts to half of the existence of the Kununurra Historical Society, having been inaugurated on June 5th 1986, we will be commemorating 30 years as a society.
The Petters 36 HP - Carlton Reach Pump Engine in place at the Kununurra Museum on October 24th 2013 KHS Archive Number - KHS-2013-124-P-BD - Note that the original river loam is still embedded in the fly-wheel and outer belt pulley wheel, left there when the engine was removed from the Ord River east bank at KRS, by Murray Shiner and one of his excavators, some years ago. A request was made when moving the engine this year, to leave this in place and amazingly this soil has remained in place throughout the various movements to get to the museum grounds.
Past KHS News...
Posted 9 Jun 2016, 07:51 by Kununurra Museum
Posted 29 May 2016, 11:16 by Kununurra Museum
Wirraway DVs on Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel
'Wirraway-Challenge' Display DV
This Digital Video (DV) set in 8 parts, was originally created in 2005 as a DVD for the Kununurra Museum - Wirraway-Challenge Display. This has been ...
Posted 5 Nov 2015, 10:49 by Kununurra Museum
Posted 19 Aug 2015, 08:59 by Kununurra Museum
Posted 25 Jun 2015, 01:49 by Kununurra Museum
The Official Opening of Ord Stage I and the Ord River Diversion Dam took place at a Ceremony on July 20th 1963 - On that date in 2013 (this week), Engineering Heritage WA along with support from the Water Corporation of Western Australia, will unveil a new interpretive panel at the Kununurra Swim Beach, about the Ord River Diversion Dam, with some images and the history supplied by KHS. This will incorporate a lunch for invited guests and a tour of inspection over the Ord River Diversion Dam, which is normally closed to pedestrians. Later in the day from 2pm the Kununurra Museum will be open for the visiting pioneer engineers, VIPs and guests.
View an embedded SlideShow of photographs of the July 20th 1963 Diversion Dam opening, from various KHS archive collections,
here while on this page.
[Use the right hand cornered gadget to go full
screen.- and view "Information" (once in full screen mode) for documentation on the photographs. Use the the right hand cornered gadget or your "Escape" key to go out of full
OR View the Ord River Diversion Dam Official Opening photographic "Set" on Flickr. (Link goes to the set on Flickr in a new tab)
William Arthur Champness (Bill) Wright - 35mm Slide Collection
Bill Wright 35mm Slide Collection
Bill Wright 35mm Slide Collection
An Honorary Life Member of the Kununurra Historical Society passed
away on Christmas eve 2013. To celebrate the life of William Arthur
Champness Wright, we hope you enjoy here a slideshow of Bill's 35mm
slide collection. KHS was also fortunate enough to have recorded an oral
history and had some great interaction with Bill, especially during the
last two or three years. The Oral History and this slide collection are
in the same archive - KHS-2011-46-P-A-OH-BD - Bill Wright Oral History
and 35mm Slide Collection. [P=Photographic, A=Audio, OH=Oral History,
[Use the four cornered gadget at lower right to go fullscreen. Once in fullscreen mode use "Show Info" at top right for detailed information on each slide.]
[July 14th 2013 Note]
Congratulations go out to Darrell Lewis, who has been visiting Kununurra this past week, attending several Kununurra Museum functions, a few days after he had been present in Darwin to receive the NT Chief Minister's - History Book Award, as equal winner, for his book, "A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier." This is a fascinating, well written and referenced, easy read for the general public, being an early history (to circa 1910) of the entire Victoria River district, from Katherine to the East Kimberley WA/NT border regions.
Down the Duncan Road and out to the southern side of the Buchanan Highway to beyond Birrindudu. There on the edge of desert country, on the northern slopes of the Browns Range, lies a belt of about 280 "big, old" boab trees, cut off by great distance from the nearest of all other Kimberley boab trees, and close to where the Leichhardt name-plate is said to have been found over a century ago.
The name-plate, with the words "Ludwig Leichhardt 1848," was found on a burnt gun in the hollow of a "bottle-tree," (boab) reputedly with an "L" inscribed on the tree. The gun to which the brass nameplate (145mm wide x 20mm high x 2mm thick) had been attached, was left at the tree, was supposedly found by stockman, Charlie Harding's Aboriginal assistant, "Jackie." Little is known of this pair's Kimberley movements, who may have gone out prospecting from Hall's Creek towards the Gardiner Range and near the Sturt Creek WA/NT border region, Despite intensive search by helicopter and quad bike, by Darrell and others in 2007 and 2008 respectively, a boab with an "L" inscribed, nor the gun remains (which would have been an early muzzle-loader), have yet been located. [KHS President - 14 VII 2013]
The Leichhardt nameplate is on display at the National Museum of Australia (NMA), where more information can be found. The image below of the nameplate is from the NMA s web page for the object listing - NMA Collection Object Listing - Leichhardt Nameplate [This link will open in a new tab to keep this page open]
A new book by Darrell Lewis.
Could the famous lost explorer have made it past the Kimberley? Read more about a new book launch on Thursday May 16th at the National Museum of Australia from the KHS News page.
Thanks to Museums Australia (the peak body for Museums in Australia), the KHS President was successful in applying for a bursary, to help cover costs associated with travel between May 15th and 23rd, to attend the Museums Australia Conference in Canberra, which has a great range of topics relevant to a regional museum (See full conference program from KHS News).
Carlton Reach Pump Engine Donated to KHS
The Department of Agriculture and Food WA - Frank Wise Institute (of Tropical Agriculture - formerly Kimberley Research Station - KRS), have donated the original Carlton Reach Pump Engine, a 36HP "Petters Atomic Diesel Engine," to the Kununurra Historical Society. KHS member volunteers hope to install the engine by the Kununurra Museum entrance gate. Read more in KHS News - Carlton Reach Petters Engine Donated to Kununurra Museum and on the Carlton Reach Pump Engine page.
On March 17th 2013 - Saint Patrick's Day, to commemorate the day
50 years ago that the Royal Tour landed at Kununurra, KHS held an Open Day (10am to 4pm), but if you didn't join us at the Museum, you can still be a part of it. The Kununurra Museum has now made accessible to all!, three 8mm films, shot by three photographers (Henskens, O'Brien and Revell), edited into a Digital Video (in 2
parts) as our first YouTube videos, to the NEW Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/KununurraMuseum
Hoping you enjoy this visit to the gateway for the Kununurra Museum's online presence. If you are in the East Kimberley visit the KHS Archive, Gallery, Library, Museum & Research facilities in Coolibah Drive - Contact KHS or Join KHS Now!. Please remember we are a completely volunteer run community museum and at times may not be open for advertised hours, however we are flexible in that we can be contacted to open outside advertised hours.
- It is easy to navigate the site using the Short Contents (Links on this Page :), and the Heading links to get there fast! eg. click the "Did You Know..." title link below.
Some new images of a control tower, which was erected for the 1963 Royal Tour, then dismantled. It was made of scaffolding, but no doubt equipped with the latest technology available in 1963. These photographs and others in the collections also show two RAAF fire tenders, which were reputed to have been flown to Kununurra on RAAF transport aircraft, then flown away. The newly made accessible images of the control tower were from a 2007 accession to the archive, being part of a collection sent by the Civil Aviation Historical Society (WA). Other images from this collection are now being placed online.
It would be great to see if there are any photographs of the Royal Yacht, Brittania, alongside the Broome jetty, or any others you may have of the Royal Tour to the Kimberley in 1963. Please contact us if you do and tell us your story on this or any other Kimberley history.
To commemorate this 50th anniversary of the 1963 Royal Tour, other collection images
not yet online, will be uploaded and made accessible to all. KHS is also
hoping to have ready, some 8mm film footage of the Royal Tour,
available as our first YouTube video, before March 17th 2013. [This did happen on the eve of and just in time for that anniversary]
View an embedded SlideShow of still images from the KHS Flickr site of the Royal Tour in Kununurra, from various KHS archive collections, here while on this page, use the right hand cornered gadget to go full screen.
OR View the Royal Tour 1963 photographic "Set" on Flickr, (Link goes to the set on Flickr in a new tab),It is easy to navigate the site using the Short Contents (Links on this Page :), and the Heading links to get there fast! eg. click the "Welcome..." title link above.
Latest Info at KHS News
- Short Contents - (This Page :)
- Short Contents - (This Page :)