20 December 2009

Season's Greetings

We, the curator, caretakers and volunteers at the Greenough Pioneer Museum wish you a very happy christmas and all the best for 2010.
The museum will only be closed Christmas Day, otherwise it is business as usual (just remember our new opening hours of 9.30am to 3.30pm). We look forward to having you and your family and friends visit this museum during this festive season.
Scarecrow does Santa - he is holding a traditional Greenough Xmas Tree - the dried out flower stalk of an Aloe plant. These plants have been used locally for over 130 years.

Small Treasures Display

Through funding from the Mid West Development Commission a cabinet has been purchased to hold what we call our "Small Treasures of the Collection" Display. Work is underway preparing the display which will then be placed in the re-developed Cramer Shed. Below are a few objects that will be included in this cabinet.
Camel nose pegs

Sharks Bay Road Board dog tag for 1907

An 'educational' child's game

Shag tobacco c1870

pair Baby's slippers c1874

22 November 2009

The Bowes Gates

Located in the south-west corner of the museum are a pair of cast-iron farm gates. Their story is about to be told with a new sign that will be installed nearby.

Back in the later part of 19th Century, two brothers, Edward and Frank Wittenoom, created a pastoral empire of 11 million acres in the Murchison District. They also had an import/export business based in Geraldton. Wool from their stations was carted to their warehouse by wagon (first pulled by horses, and later camels). Before the coming of the railways, the wagons carted the wool overland to Yuin Station, then westward to the Greenough River which was followed to Nundamarra Pool. They then went westward to Bowes Station near Northampton (owned by an uncle of the Wittenooms) and onto Geraldton. At the port the wool was stockpiled until there was sufficient to charter ships to send that wool to England.
Known locally as Bowes Gates, these gates were made by jobbing blacksmiths and brought out from England as ballast in the wool ships. They were then carted by those wool wagons (like the one in the Display Shed at this museum) out to the Murchison properties.
These gates were trucked down from Boolardy Station to this museum in the early 1970s. They were donated by R.F.B. (Bob) Lefroy. Similiar gates were used on Murgoo and Pindatharra Stations and at Woorree homestead (just to the east of Geraldton).
Many thanks to Stan Gratte for prociding this information.

07 November 2009

New Opening Hours

We have changed our opening hours. The museum will now be open from 9.30am to 3.30pm. In doing so, we hope to make the museum more accessible for the early travellers.

02 October 2009


As part of the Open Day activities, Joey Martin made a scarecrow for the Pioneer Museum. He was placed in the potato patch to keep guard over the Vegie Garden. The potatoes have now been dug up and pumpkin seed planted in their place.

31 August 2009

September Costume Display

For the next 6 weeks, our new Display Case (courtesy of Lotterywest) will be showing this stunning Japanese silk kimono with its silver thread embroidery of a peacock. This kimono was used as a ladies dressing gown in the 1920s, before being donated to the museum in the early 1970s. Unfortunately accession records do not give the donor's name. Due to its very fragile nature, this is the first time the kimono has been placed on display.

28 August 2009

Tomato Stall

Another reason to visit the museum is to stock up on fresh, locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers. This stall (with its old-fashioned 'honesty box') outside the museum is run by members of the Vietnamese market gardening community in Geraldton (and Geraldton grows the best tomatoes in Australia). At only $1/bag its a bargain.

24 August 2009

Another New Book

Joy Clinch, the author of the above book has very kindly transferred copyright of the book to the Greenough Pioneer Museum, so that income from sales can be used for care of the collection.
The book provides a very interesting history of the Clinch family, influential pioneers of the Greenough Flats and also contains a wealth of information about Central Greenough.
The book is available from the museum for $28.00 plus $6.00 postage (to anywhere in Australia)

20 August 2009

"my dad broke horses"

A new book for sale at the Greenough Pioneer Museum is "my dad broke horses - the maleys of three springs". This small book was written by Fay McKinnon, daughter of Cecil Morrison Maley, and great granddaughter of John S. Maley and is a charming recollection of her childhood at Three Springs in the 1930/40s. Fay also reminiceses about members of the Maley family and describes her training as a nurse.
Many thanks go to Alex McKinnon for printing the book and to Fay for donating all proceeds of the sale of the book to the Greenough Pioneer Museum.
The book is available for only $7.50 (plus $6.00 postage throughout Australia)

09 August 2009

A Touch of Colour

New curtains have been fitted upstairs in the Children's Bedroom. Thanks to Sheila for selecting the material and to Jose for making and hanging the curtains. They add a touch of colour to the room.

17 July 2009

Recent Improvements

It has been a busy time at the museum.
We now have a new entrance sign (courtesy of the City of Geraldton-Greenough).

The doors made at the Greenough Regional Prison have been fixed on the old shed.

The Display Case (funded by a grant from Lotterywest) has been placed in the Dining Room. The case will be used to display costume and other fragile items from the collection, and will be changed regularly. The dress currently on display was donated in the late 1960s by the late Eyris Sewell of Sandsprings Station.

15 June 2009

Maley Portraits

John S. Maley as a young man (c.1866)
John S. Maley as a mature man (c.1896)
Elizabeth K. Maley (nee Waldeck) as a mature woman (c.1896)
As part of the Maley Family Tree Project, these 3 copies of sketches of John and Elizabeth Maley have now been framed and are on display in the Dining Room. Many thanks go to Kylie for allowing us to copy the originals, to Peter at Geraldton Picture Framers for the wonderful framing and to all the descendants of John and Elizabeth, who have assisted with this project.

10 June 2009

Update to Benefactors Board

Two more names have been entered on the Benefactors Board at the Pioneer Museum.
The first is Lotterywest who recently provided funding of $10,000. This grant is being used to have a display cabinet made to show some of the costumes we have in storage.
The second is the Estate of Bob Sullivan. Bob's car trailer was donated to the museum for the use of the caretakers and a donation of money is being used to pay for the construction of a pair of large doors that are currently being built at the Greenough Regional Prison and will go on the Old Garage.
The museum in its appreciation of the above generous donations, is happy to be able to add their names to our Benefactors Board.

25 May 2009

Recent Donation - the Jenner wood planes

A recent donation to the museum is a set of 11 wood planes used by a local builder named John James Jenner over 100 years ago. The planes were donated by Mollie Holst and Margaret Whittle, granddaughters of Jenner.
James John Jenner was born in Bromley, Kent, England in 1866. He migrated to Queensland aboard the Duke of Buckingham in 1885 but by c1890 he had moved to Geraldton. Here he continued his trade as Plasterer, Builder, Contractor and Brickmaker (at Narngulu), both in and around Geraldton and surrounding districts, including the Murchison. Jenner also built several houses in Northampton. He later acquired a partner, Mr Lou Haffner. Included in the buildings constructed by Jenner & Haffner are the former Greenough Roads Board Office (1906), the former Bootenal Agricultural Hall (1907), the Northampton Post Office (1913) and St Andrews Anglican Church at Mullewa (1921). In 1897, Jenner married Maria (Molly) Drage in Geraldton. Molly was the daughter of Northampton grazier, Thomas Drage. He built a home (now 22 Sanford Street, Geraldton) in readiness for the marriage. A daughter Dorothy was born in 1897 and a son Walter in 1899. Twins were born in 1901 but died soon after, along with their mother.
In 1904, Jenner married a widow, Mrs Rosa Margaret Wight Rowe who was an accomplished singer and pianist. Mrs Rowe had a business in Marine Terrace as a Bookseller and Newsagent.
Jenner had many interests in Geraldton in the more than 50 years he lived there. He was on the Town Council for many years and many periods, especially in the 1920s. He was a member of the Church of England Christ Church Vestry, sang as tenor in the Choir, and was Choirmaster for many years. He also conducted Church Choirs in outlying districts such as Greenough, and the first surpliced choir in Day Dawn in 1901. Jenner was a Synodsman and represented Christ Church at Synods in Perth. Archbishop Riley used to stay in the Jenner home in Chapman Road (built 1910) on his visits to Geraldton.
His other interests were the Geraldton temperance Brass Band, where he played the tuba and was conductor for a time. Cricket was another passion, and he played cricket until well into his 80s.
Another interest was the Masonic Lodge, of which he was a member for 54 consecutive years. He was a Past Grand Master and also held Masonic Orders with the Rechabites and Oddfellows. Jenner was a teetotaller all his life.
During World War I, Jenner and his wife held many soirees, etc to help the War Effort in their lovely Chapman Rd house.
Jenner moved to Perth after the death of his wife in 1948. In Perth he continued playing cricket, visiting old and sick friends, singing in Church Choirs, Lodge membership, etc. All his life he was a robust, remarkably active man, very good natured, an optimist, always smiling. He loved life and enjoyed it to the full.
J.J. Jenner passed away in the Royal Perth Hospital on 11 January 1951. The funeral took place at Karrakatta Cemetery.

Former Greenough Road Board office built by Jenner in 1906. You can see this building at the Central Greenough Historical Settlement 4.5km south of the Pioneer Museum.

18 May 2009


I am very pleased to report that the Greenough Pioneer Museum received a Commendation in the 2009 ABC Radio National Regional Museums Award.
Check out the results at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/museums/

12 May 2009

Recent Fanmail

Dear Gary
I am 10 years old I came on an excursion to the pioneer museum two weeks ago.The part I like most was the coffen in your shed.

Yours Sincerely

p.s I am from Geraldton Primary School

17 April 2009

Historic Trees

Visitors to the museum would not be aware that there are some very historic trees growing in the museum gardens. To rectify this, funding has been sought to have information plaques near 4 of the trees.
Historic Trees – River Gum – Eucalyptus camaldulensis
The River Gum is found throughout southern Australia growing along watercourses and on flood plains. It is only on the windswept Greenough Flats that the tree develops its distinctive leaning shape.
About the year 1220AD a seedling sprouted here and slowly grew over the centuries into this magnificent tree. Over that time many generations of the Yamatji would have sought shelter beneath its leafy boughs from the hot summer sun.

Historic Trees – Cotton Palm – Washingtonia filifera
The Cotton Palm is a native to south-western North America. About the time the two-storey section of this homestead was built, a Cotton Palm was planted in the front garden. For close to 100 years, the palm stood tall, until killed by the effects of aerial spraying. Fortunately in the early 1950’s, Nellie Rudduck planted one of its seedlings here.

Historic Trees –Seville Orange Tree– Citrus aurantium
Whilst the Orange Tree originated in Southeast Asia, it was in Spain that this type was developed for the bitter taste of its fruit, much used in the making of marmalade.
John Steven Maley was responsible for introducing many different types of fruit trees to Greenough in the 1880s. Of all those fruit trees he planted around this homestead, only this orange tree remains.

Historic Trees – Pepper Tree – Schinus molle
The Pepper Tree is native to the arid zone of Northern South America, Mexico and Peru's Andean deserts. Although not related to commercial pepper, the berries are sold as "pink peppercorns" and often blended with commercial pepper. Pepper Trees first arrived in Victoria in the 1870s and were brought to this garden by the eminent Victorian botanist, Baron von Mueller in 1876.
These are possibly the first Pepper Trees introduced to this part of Western Australia.

10 April 2009

Easter Opening Times

Are you thinking of visiting Greenough over Easter? Why not come and look through our museum. We will be maintaining normal opening hours (10am to 4pm) over the Easter break.

27 March 2009

Latest Donation - A Sharpening Wheel

The most recent donation to the museum has come from Kath Browning of Geraldton and is this sharpening wheel c1918. This wheel was used for sharpening sheep shears, axes and other cutting implements used in the clearing of vegetation, bush and trees on 'virgin' blocks of land in readiness for farming.
The wheel originally belonged to Henry Browning, Kath's father-in-law. Henry Browning was born at South Greenough on 6 August 1894, the seventh child of Alfred and Mary Ann Browning. Whilst a youth, the family moved to Yuna where Mary Ann ran a boarding house. Henry found work on the railways at Mullewa, but left to enlist when war broke out. He fought in France, and the injuries he received effected him for the rest of his life.
Returning to Western Australia in 1918, Henry and his brother Walter, took up a soldier settlement farm at Yandanooka, where this tool would have come in very helpful.
On 25 April 1924, Henry married Olive Stokes. The couple had 3 sons, Keith, Athol and Kevin. Henry and Olive evenually retired to Geraldton, where he died on 2 January 1966.
The sharpening wheel was inherited by his oldest son Keith, who in later years built a new stand for it.
The sharpening wheel is to be an important exhibit in a new display we are preparing for the Old Garage.
Thanks Kath.

26 March 2009

How Can You Help?

A community based, volunteer run like ours is always dependent upon assistance to maintain operations. There are many ways you can help.
The most obvious way is by visiting the museum, bringing your friends and telling everyone what a wonderful place it is.
Then you could volunteer your time, we are always looking for people to staff the museum on the caretakers' days off. Also we are always looking for assistance in mainting the collection. One new volunteer has taken upon himself the task of rust-proofing some of our old metal tools and agricultural machinery. There is plenty more work to be undertaken.
Are you interested in accessioning? With approximately 3000 objects to catalogue, the curator is desperate for assistance.
Do you like working with school children? We would love to have a person create educational programmes/activities for children, and to visit schools to promote the museum. Those children are our future. We must create an interest in history now.
Recently a long time member of the Geraldton Historical Society donated her late husband's trailer to the museum. Now this is not a museum piece, but rather a functioning trailer and has been very useful in carting larger objects to the museum.
Another woman allowed us access to her late husband's tool shed. As well as obtaining close to 100 objects to be used in our new ToolShed display, she also allowed us to take modern tools, nails, screws, nuts and bolts etc we can use to maintain the museum.
You could also assist by being on the lookout for objects to add to our collection (just check our Collection Policy first).
Can you help us?

21 February 2009


In this 40⁰C heat, most of the garden is wilting, drooping and looking very sad, but one tree adores the summer. It is the Illyarrie, a small (some would call scruffy) eucalyptus that is endemic to this region. At this time of the year, the tree is covered in bright yellow blossom, truly an uplifting sight.

12 February 2009

Benefactor's Board

Through funding from the City of Geraldton-Greenough a Benefactor's Board has been placed in the Museum office to recognise significant contributions to our museum.
The following criteria have been put in place for names to be included on the Board.

For consideration of the insertion of a name on the Benefactor’s Board displayed at the Greenough Pioneer Museum, the applicant must fulfil one of the following criteria:
1. An individual/family that donates $1,000.00 or more within a twelve month period.
2. An individual/family that donates objects pertinent to the Greenough Pioneer Museum Collection Policy to the value of $1,000.00 or more within a twelve month period.
3. A business/local government/organisation/etc that donates $10,000.00 or more within a twelve month period.