Friends' field trip - photos from 14 July 2018

The Friends of the HCV spent a frosty but sunny Saturday visiting some fascinating historical collections and museums in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia. Several of the destinations (in Maryborough and Maldon) are important heritage buildings. We extend grateful thanks on behalf of the HCV Friends to the staff and volunteers at each of the organisations we visited - they shared their knowledge of local history and heritage very generously. 

Here we share some photographs taken on the day.


Central Goldfields Art Gallery (Old Fire Station, Neil Street, Maryborough) 

The Gallery is a member of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria. The exhibition that we saw features an amazing selection of wedding photos taken by a local man, Wal Richards. Over five decades, 1946-1996, Wal documented almost every wedding in the Maryborough district. He rode his bicycle to each wedding, often cycling up to 20 km to reach churches in locations outside Maryborough. His collection of over 20,000 photographs is now owned by the Maryborough Midlands Historical Society. There's a short video about his work on the Culture Victoria website.

Old Fire Station complex, Maryborough

Central Goldfields Art Gallery and old fire-spotting tower, Maryborough

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

Poster for the current exhibition

Poster advertising the exhibition 'Wal Richards : Wedding Photographer'

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

HCV Friends learn from the Historical Society's President about Wal Richards' life and achievements

The President of the Historical Society outlines Wal Richards' achievements to HCV Friends visiting the Gallery.

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

Wal Richards' bicycle

Wal Richards did not drive a car but rode this bicycle (made by a local Maryborough business) to reach the wedding locations. Original wedding dresses, on loan from some of the brides he photographed, contribute strongly to the display.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley


Maryborough Midlands Historical Society (Palmerston Street, Maryborough) 

The Society manages and interprets Worsley Cottage, a bluestone and brick home dating from 1894. Arthur Worsley, the original owner, was a stonemason and built it for his bride, Agnes, and later his family. He and the family owned it until sometime in the 1940s.  

The cottage now houses displays of artefacts and photographs that represent the history of many local families and businesses. On the same block of land is a machinery display shed and a delightful cottage garden. There is also a slab hut, originally constructed c. 1844 by the Joyce brothers on their property Plaistow, then relocated to the care of the Society in 1978 and restored (with a wooden shingle roof, calico ceiling and rammed earth floor) for public access.

The Society also has a modern purpose-built Resource Centre (1996) that houses some additional displays plus the photograph and documentary collections. The Society is accredited as a museum under Victoria's Museums Accreditation Program

Cottage garden in winter sunshine

The cottage garden and brick path invite visitors to enter Worsley Cottage.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley

Slab hut from 1840s, relocated and restored

The restored squatter's hut built by the Joyce brothers in 1844 is now located in the grounds of Worsley Cottage.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley


Maryborough Railway Station

The group enjoyed lunch in the cafe in this impressive historic building. 

Maryborough Railway Station, 1890

The rail service to Maryborough commenced in 1874. This station building was constructed in 1890. Historic photos, as well as some myths and rumours about the building, are presented on the Culture Victoria website.

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

A commemorative stone needing more interpretation!

This inscription begs so many questions! How did the laying of this stone end a legend? Where is the 'original station stone'? Why was it (allegedly) reversed? 

A helpful leaflet, 'The absolute truth about the Maryborough Railway Station', provided some answers for us. This leaflet was included in information satchels that were kindly supplied for us by the tourism office of the Central Goldfields Shire. An online account of the allegedly 'reversed' stone is also available - see below. 

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley

Max Berry, writing in the Future Rail Newspost (August 2017), notes that, in 1890, 'the no-confidence vote forcing [Victorian Premier] Gillies from office occurred a few days before a ceremony at the station and foundation stone laying acknowledging Gillies’ role. The story has it that the same stone was used with the inscription facing inwards – Gillies was no longer Premier. But the Victorian Railways conducted a renovation in the 1980s and no evidence was found to support this story – they couldn’t find the stone. The most recent renovation was done in 2007 and a new foundation stone refutes the story as a myth.' ('A Station with Town Attached', page 11.)


Maldon District Museum 

This Museum is housed in a substantial building that was constructed as Maldon's market building, then converted into the Shire Hall and offices. Some very significant items are on display, including the Maldon Miners' Banner (recently registered by the Heritage Council of Victoria) and the Maldon Panorama photograph that's the subject of a fascinating article in the latest edition of the Victorian Historical Journal (vol.89, no.1, pp. 165-178). David Oldfield and Peter Cuffley, co-authors of the VHJ article, kindly explained to us their research and showed us other parts of the collection and the resources managed by the Maldon Museum and Archives Association.

Exterior of the Maldon Museum building

The handsome exterior of the substantial Museum building in Maldon.

The Association does not permit photography in its exhibition areas, so we can't show you the fascinating historical items that we saw. You'll just have to visit in person!

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley


Maldon Vintage Machinery Museum 

This museum is only a recent creation: it opened in 2006. It has, however, already gained considerable support and recognition for its achievements in the preservation of historic machinery and archival records (including the Thompson’s engineering archive). Project Officer Alan Miller shared with us his knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment.

HCV Friends encounter a very large pump

Mr Miller introduces the Museum to the HCV Friends' group. The large pump supported an irrigation system during its working life. It was designed and cast by Thompson's, a local engineering business.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley


Rare stationery engine in process of being restored

An early stationary engine is being restored at the Museum.

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

Plaque listing the evolution of Thompson's business

The Museum is the custodian of archives, designs and memorabilia from Thompson's foundry and engineering business which started in 1875.

Image courtesy Susan Marsden


Engineering designs traced onto drafting cloth

Mr Miller explains the process of tracing designs onto fine drafting cloth, using examples of designs prepared by Thompson's.

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

The Tarrangower Times commenced publication in 1858 and still provides a newspaper for Maldon and the surrounding district. Some of its older printing equipment is now preserved at the Museum.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley

This container provides a secure and stable environment for documentary heritage, including the Thompson's archives.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley

Some of the engineering archives are stored in their original plan drawers. Also shown in this photograph is a stack of new frames that will soon provide improved display environments for a selection of the designs prepared by Thompson's.

Image courtesy Margaret Birtley

Glass negative image of Thompson's workers

Glass negatives are part of the documentary heritage of the Thompson's business. Here, Mr Miller helps the Friends' group to view one of the negatives.

Image courtesy Susan Marsden

And here is the coverage of our visit by The Tarrangower Times (20 July 2018, page 3):

Tarrangower Times, 20 July 2018, page 3


The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

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The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).



The History Council of Victoria acknowledges the State Library of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria for supply of the archival images that appear on this website.

We acknowledge the National Film and Sound Archive for the right to use of the video footage on the home page, titled "Melbourne: Life in Australia (1966)".

Image credits

  • Italian sailors on ship at Port Melbourne 1938, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese procession in Collins near Elizabeth Street 1901, Harvie & Sutcliffe, photographers, State Library of Victoria
  • People’s homes, Aboriginal station Coranderrk 1878, Fred Kruger Photographer, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese nurses at Children’s Hospital under scholarship 1947, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Ladies physical culture class VRI Melbourne c1931, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001, 011/02
  • Melbourne Cup, Derby and Oaks Day, Flemington Racecourse 1936, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001/4802, 372/30
  • Flinders Street viaduct at foot of Market Street with advertisement for McRobertson’s Chocolate on bridge, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12800/P0003, ADV 1342