Around the Home
The Kitchen Room houses an extensive collection of items found in and around the kitchen in the first half of last century. From fine china and tableware, storage containers and cooking utensils to the butter churn, this collection will bring back many memories of the early years, either growing up as a child or raising a family before the advent of the takeaway dinner.
The Parlour Room features a most impressive collection of dresses, haberdashery and trinkets which were commonplace in early Nambour homes. This collection was featured prominently in the Channel 9 programme "Extra" during its coverage of the Nambour Museum in 2006. The show's presenter indicated that the local display was one of the best she had seen in her years of travel and media coverage.
The Laundry Room contains a wide range of items found in that area of the home which everyone tried to avoid, except Mum of course who had no choice. Forget the automatic washing machine and the lightweight electric iron for a moment. Check out how the washing was done by hand and with the wringer and then cast your mind back to those heavy irons, the days of the clothes prop and revisit some of those washing and cleaning agents used around the home.
Children today are raised and educated with toys and learning aids which are very much technically, mechanically or computer based. Previous generations tended to stick to the tried and tested forms of childhood learning and amusement activities because "times were tough" after the world wars and society generally was less affluent than it is today. Take a look at the collection of childhood memorabilia from those early days.
The School Room contains an interesting range of teaching aids, school uniforms, reports and project material which was commonplace in the schools around Nambour during the early to mid period of last century. Come along and reflect on the days of the dreaded cane, writing slates, uncomfortable desks and forms and the occasional good clean fun or mischief as it was termed in those days. The Nambour district comprised many small State Schools and the innovative for its time, Rural School.
The Scouting Display is a must see for anyone who has ever been associated with the Scouting movement. The display has been assembled and maintained by die hard enthusiasts who remain actively involved in the movement. Intense focus on two major events, the Cub Scouts' 90th Anniversary and 100 years of Scouting, have culminated in a truly excellent feature display containing remarkable scouting memorabilia.
The Embroidery Exhibit is rated as one the most impressive collections of its type in smaller museums. This collection featured prominently with rave reviews in the Channel 9 program "Extra" during its coverage of the Nambour Museum in 2006. The extensive range of fine and delicate needle work from local residents will impress everyone.
Matchcraft is one of those hobbies which most youngsters avoided in favour of more active recreational activity. The World of Matchcraft display is a private collection which was produced by Ken Underhill during his adult years and donated to the Museum. With a distinct nautical theme, Ken’s painstaking work in producing replicas of the sailing ship "Mary Rose" and more modern navy ships and towering bridges with match sticks and glue is truly stunning and attracts intense interest from visitors.
Working Around Town
Nambour is promoted as the “Hub of the Hinterland” and it certainly was the heart of business and commerce for the Sunshine Coast until recent years. Farming provided most of the initial employment options around the district and the establishment of the Moreton Central Sugar Mill provided the major catalyst for growth, expansion and work opportunities.
Moreton Central Sugar Mill (established 1893)
The town of Nambour is long remembered for its sugar mill, the characteristic odours which wafted around town, the puffs of black smoke which emitted from the giant chimney stack and the fallout from cane ash which followed the evening cane fires. But who could forget the sight and sounds of those mighty little engines pulling countless bins of cane up along Howard Street and then across the town's main (Currie) street into the mill.
The Nambour Museum has successfully accumulated a most impressive collection of locomotives, machinery, tools, furniture, photographs and records to ensure that the contributions made by farmers, mill workers and the industry generally to the local economy are well documented.
The original Moreton Sugar Mill Board Room has been restored in the Museum building using timbers and materials from the original board room. This area contains records, trophies and photographs as well as scale drawings of the mill and replicates the atmosphere of times past.
The lower level of the main building features an amazing collection from the Moreton Sugar Mill Workshop with large machines, lathes and the tools used on site for everyday maintenance of plant, machinery and rolling stock.
Down along the western side of the museum (adjoining the mill site) are several engines and boilers which were an integral part of the milling process. One special fixture which would be of interest to visitors is a small portion of the original chimney stack which had been a signature Nambour landmark for more than one hundred years.
Also on site at the Bury Street end of the property is the original Moreton Mill Engineer's Office. This eye catching historic building warrants close inspection inside for the important role it played in the milling operations.
Together with the railway control system and the tracks, the historic locomotives Eudlo and Shay (currently under refurbishment) together with other rolling stock appear well at home (or rest) here. The Loco Shed enhances this memorial to the local sugar industry while the old cane harvester watches in wait as construction work on the adjoining Coles/ Mill site progresses.
The rear entrance to the museum property and car park is adorned with large scale and key components of the sugar mill. Come along and take a close look at the steam engine and flywheel and the tippler which were used for the unloading of cane from the bins.
Telecommunications (established 1908)
Nambour was the first town on the North Coast between Brisbane and Gympie to have a telephone service connected, way back in 1908, and the town was renowned as a major technical, switching and administrative centre for about 90 years. The Telecom/PMG Room has been outfitted with a cross section of equipment used for telephone and telegraph communication over the past 100 years.
Tele/communication was something that everyone in the community had in common with a progression from telegrams and magneto telephones to telex machines and automatic dial telephones. In recent times, the advancement in technology through optical fibre and satellite transmission, computers and mobile phones has been truly amazing.
Just 30 years have elapsed since the last party line telephone was removed from service in the local area. Come along and see how a call was once connected by the local operator who has also become redundant with automatic service. Check out the changes to handsets and take a look at one of the first mobile phones.
The Hospital Room houses some spine tingling surgical tools and ward equipment when compared with the today’s modern health care facilities. The Nambour Hospital remains one of the major hospitals in Queensland and is quite a massive complex compared with the facilities which once served the entire North Coast region. From childbirth to aches, breaks and dental care, the old Hospital Room which houses equipment mostly donated by the Nambour Hospital is certain to conjure images and memories of a painful trip to the doctor or dentist..
The history of many of the better known small and larger businesses which have operated in town over the past century is documented but naturally there are many others of which little is known. Collectively, however, the Museum is able to provide a snapshot of commercial activities throughout the various eras from the information on hand, the great collection of historical photographs and The Nambour Chronicle.
Throughout the Museum a wide range of objects, signs, office machines and tools is displayed as a timely reminder of those early business and employment links. More objects and artifacts from these pioneering business days are always welcome.
Bootmaker and Farmer
The Nambour Museum is developing an intriguing collection of material and items relating to the conduct of commercial activities in the town since the 1900s. While much has been lost through floods, fires, closures and redevelopments in that time, some interesting exhibits have been secured.
For instance, the entire collection of tools from Potter's Bootmaking is on permanent display. Hand tools used on local pineapple and cane farms and for timber getting are stark reminders of the heavy physical labour involved in many jobs outside Currie Street.
The two great wars had a significant impact on the Nambour district with many locals serving their country. The Remembrance and War Memories Rooms provide a timely reminder of the personal sacrifices made by local people and families during Australia's hour of need. The recent addition of a Howitzer and Mortar add to the atmosphere of trench warfare while letters written by front line soldiers and family back home graphically recreate the tensions and anxieties during those troubled years.
The Museum’s involvement in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1942 North African conflict ‘Operation Bulimba’, in which several men from the Nambour district participated, has strengthened its contribution to this aspect of heritage conservation.
(Above) At the 2/15th Battalion Remembrance Club's 2013 annual reunion, Club President Mr Gordon Wallace presented a painting depicting "Operation Bulimba" to Nambour Museum President Mr Clive Plater. Mr Wallace is a veteran of this 3 hour battle in which 61 men were killed or fatally wounded, one of whom was Clive's uncle Mr Les (Sandy) Plater.
In addition to the feature displays which are available for public viewing at all times, there are many other documents and items which are accessible upon request. Following is an indicative list of this subject material most of which have been developed through research by museum volunteers.
- The History of Sport in Nambour and District
- Nambour Show
- Canefarmer Ed Cooney’s Collection of Receipts/Invoices since 1920s
- Pioneering Women
- Business Houses
- Early Settlers and Their Families
- Beacons of Faith
- Nambour Schools
- Girl Guides
- Defending the Country – Local Military Personnel