Society Celebrates Heritage Fringe Event – April 12

On Monday 12 April, 2021 at 7.30 pm the Broken Hill Historical Society (BHHSoc) is holding its April General Meeting.

This meeting falls at the very end of Broken Hill’s Heritage Fringe Festival for 2021. The formal theme of this year’s Heritage Festival focuses on: ‘looking to the future to ensure the stories of our culture, significant historical and natural places and Indigenous heritage is protected for future generations.’

As the Society’s celebration of the Festival and Fringe, three of the Society’s Museum Coordinators/Assistants will be joint guest speakers for its Heritage Fringe meeting: Robynne Sanderson for Bobby Shamroze on the Mosque Museum; Ross Wecker on the Silverton Gaol Museum, and Marlene Bettes on the Silverton School Educational Museum. (Unfortunately Margaret Price from the Synagogue of the Outback Museum will be away.)

These three museums, their histories, artefacts and stories, have long been part of Broken Hill’s heritage treasures.

The Mosque Museum is a rare site because it preserves the first mosque to be built in New South Wales and is the only outback mosque remaining in Australia. From what began as the North Camel Camp in 1891, where Afghan and Indian camel drivers unloaded their camel teams, to a Mosque built in 1887 for worship, then fell into disrepair, to its rescue by the Historical Society in 1968, and its re-dedication as a place of worship and a museum, the Mosque Museum’s history is enchanting.

Also fascinating is the story of the Silverton School Educational Museum. The current school was built in 1888, and was a working school for Silverton and its regions until 1970. It’s most famous teacher was poet, author, and journalist Dame Mary Gilmour (nee Cameron) who was a teaching assistant there from 1887 to 1889. The Historical Society took over the Trust of the Silverton School building in 1977. Work was begun by an enthusiastic Society sub-committee in 2008 to put together what is now an extraordinary experience of settler education and indeed some local Indigenous education from the late 1880s in an educational museum dedicated for this purpose in 2009.

Last, but not least, is the Silverton Gaol Museum. It has an equally enticing history and is one of the most valued heritage museums, not only in NSW, but in Australia for the sheer breadth of its local collection. It was built in 1889 as a local goal, but ceased operating around 1892 because a gaol was then built in Broken Hill. It was acquired by the Historical Society and dedicated as The Silverton Gaol and Historical Museum in 1968. As a valuable heritage site this museum houses a collection which reflects almost every aspect of local settler history, as well as some local Indigenous cultural history.

The Society’s April 12 meeting provides an opportunity to hear three Museum Coordinators/Assistants talking about the museums, especially on what they believe is the ongoing value of their cultural heritage to this city, and its regional towns and communities.

It offers a chance to hear them explore the changes they have been leading to sustain the museums into the future.

And a rare chance to engage in a question and answer session with the Society’s Museum leaders .

Who is welcome to come to the April meeting?

Everyone! You don’t have to be a member of the Society to come along. Or even a member of the community! If you’re visiting Silver City, pop on by!

Where is the meeting?

Because of Covid-safe regulations, BHHSoc is still holding general meetings at the Musician’s Club in the main auditorium.

Minimal Covid requirements such as registering and still being aware of effective social distancing will go on applying at the moment.

Looking forward to catching up with lots of you on the 12th.

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