30 November 2008

What a difference in 20 years

A recent donation to the museum is a collection of black & white photos taken in the 1980s of buildings on the Front Greenough Flats.
McNeece's Cottage, the last original Pensioner Guard Cottage on the Flats is now a pile of rubble.

Lily Cottage hasn't changed and is now up for sale.

Maley's Store and Mill hasn't changed.

Reake's Cottage has been restored.

Eakin's Cottage has been rebuilt and extended and now is a much loved family home.

Bishop Cottage continues to deteriorate.

Smithville Barn has long gone.

Bridge Barn is still owned by the National Trust (WA) and hasn't changed.

20 November 2008

Vale Bob Sullivan

The Pioneer Museum lost a loyal supporter in the sudden death of Bob Sullivan recently. Back in 2005, Bob helped the museum acquire a very popular exhibit - Granny's Cocky.
From diary records we know that Granny Maley kept a pet cocky whilst she lived in this house. Although the diaries do not mention what type of cockatoo it was, it was probably either a Galah (Cacatua roseicapilla) or Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) as both species make excellent pets, and both birds are common to this region.
On 23 July 1886 it was recorded in the family diary that, Granny’s Bird bad I gave it Castor Oil this morning thought it was dying - 8 o’clock the Bird still alive won’t eat or drink anything. Unfortunately we do not know the ultimate fate of the bird.
Now the museum had an old bird cage in it's collection, but no cocky. A live bird was not feasible, but where to find a stuffed bird? These birds are protected.
Now Bob had a cocky. This bird was a Little Corella that was hatched in the Yuna area about 1940. After falling from the nest, the fledgling was found by a truck driver and given to Dave Sullivan, another truck driver. Dave took the young bird to Perth where it was cared for by his mother, Winifred Luff (formerly Sullivan).
In 1947, Winifred came to live with her son and family in Jose Street, Geraldton and Cocky came too. Cocky entertained the guard all night on the train coming up here. Winifred (or Nanna) and Cocky soon became well known in the neighbourhood. Cocky talked and sang incessantly.
Nanna died in 1969 and so Dave and his wife Greta took over the care of Cocky. Dave passed away in 1977 and Greta looked after Cocky until she became unwell. Greta died in 1995 and care of Cocky passed on to her son Bob and his wife Connie who moved Cocky to their place in Cairncross Street, Geraldton. Shortly after Cocky's arrival, she laid an egg! This was the first time anyone realised the bird was a girl. Cocky kept on entertaining the Sullivan family until 10 April 2005 when she died aged 65.
After her death, Bob temporarily housed Cocky in their freezer whilst money was collected from family members, members of the Geraldton Historical Society and visitors to this museum, to have the bird stuffed and displayed in this museum in her new role as Granny Maley's Cocky.

Thank you Bob for your Cocky and your support.

08 November 2008

Garden In Bloom

With the commencement of warm weather, the garden is in full bloom.

The Globe Artichokes in the Vegie Garden are putting on a spectacular show. Being such fiddly vegetables to eat, we much prefer them for their attractive foliage and brilliant blooms.

In the Front Garden, the "Souvenir dela Malmaison" is the first of the Heritage Roses to flower. The others are in full bud.
Closer to the house, the first of the Christmas Cactii has an abundance of large orange flowers. The ugliness of the plants for 50 weeks of the year is amply compensated in this brief annual extravaganza.

06 November 2008

Pioneer Museum Committee

The 2008/09 Pioneer Museum Committee met for the first time on Monday 3 November. The Curator, Gary Martin, welcomed two new local members, being Jose Hopkinson and Norma Martin. Jose is the proprietor of the charming "Rock of Ages" B&B which is located just across the road from the Pioneer Museum, and Norma is from the historic Belay Farm near Walkaway. Other members consist of Shirley Valle (President of the Geraldton Historical Society), Glenis Thomas (Secretary/Treasurer of GHS), Doreen Allen (committee member of GHS and Co-Social Organiser) and Neil Bennett representing the City of Geraldton-Greenough. Apologies were received from Bruce Sherwood (honorary architect).
The committee agreed to allocate finances for minor improvements to public areas of the building and for the conservation of documents.
The next meeting is to be held in early January when it is hoped a calendar of events for 2009 can be organised.