Museum celebrates 50 years with plans for a nip and tuck

Great Cobar Heritage Centre curator Kaye Stingemore has unearthed some images from the museum’s early days in preparation for its 50th birthday celebrations next week including this one from the 1960s. ▪ Photo contributed

For its 50th anniversary present, Cobar’s museum is getting more than just a facelift, it’s getting a new life. 

A community party at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre will be held to mark the occasion next week.

The building was erected by the Great Cobar Copper Mining Company in 1910 and served as the mine’s office until 1920 when the mine closed. It changed hands a couple of times and, prior to becoming a museum, was purchased by CSA Mine and used as contractor accommodation.

Museum curator Kay Stingemore said the  museum was officially opened on September 5, 1969 by the Honorable WC ‘Bill’ Wentworth, MP.

“It was then known as the Cobar Pastoral, Mining and Technological museum.

“A dedicated committee of people had worked hard to get the old building repaired and ready.

“The museum today owes a great deal to those people, too many to mention,” Mrs Stingemore said.

“The next big change for the museum was in 1988 when Bicentennial funding allowed a complete overhaul of the museum and the appointment of the first professional curator.

“It then had a change of name to Cobar Regional Museum and later to the Great Cobar Outback Heritage Centre before settling on the current Great Cobar Heritage Centre,” she said.

“Since 1988, several new buildings and interpretive signs have been placed in the yard and some new exhibitions installed or upgraded, but until now, there has not been the chance to completely renew the displays and repair the building.

“After many months of consultation, draft plans for the museum are ready to go on display.”

Mrs Stingemore said the celebrations on September 5 will be the first chance for the public to see these plans.

“They include ideas for making the museum more accessible and for looking after the building to make sure it has at least another 50 years ahead.

“Also on display will be photographs of the museum through its life, a beautiful yarn garden, and the first chance to see some of the stories for the Miners Memorial,” she said.

Guest speakers will talk about the museum and its history.

There will be a ‘treasure hunt’ for all ages and people that live in the postcode 2835 can gain free entry all day to the museum.

“Past volunteers, members of the Museum Association and Historical Society are particularly invited to come along,” Mrs Stingemore said.