Friday, September 17, 2021

Museum connects people with the past

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by Susanna Freymark, Richmond River Independent

History has a new home 40m from the Evans River.

The Evans Head Living Museum opened last month next to the beach kiosk, moving from the Woodburn St site when the new HealthOne was under construction.

Preserving past: Evans Head Living Museum president Richard Gates outside the new museum next to the beach kiosk. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Museum president Richard Gates said the museum had been chronicling the marine, military, fishing, agricultural, natural and social history for 18 years.

“Evans Head has a rich history. If that were lost it would be a tragedy,” he said.

“We focus on social history, that is the story. And we make connections for people.”

Sport is a big part of that social history and the recent acquisition of Evan Paddon’s racing shell dominates the museum space.

Champion sculler Evan Paddon’s skiff is a recent acquisition for the museum. Photo: Susanna Freymark.

“Sculling was a massive sport here in the 1920s-50s when rowers raced on the Evans and Clarence rivers,” Richard said.

Paddon’s skiff tells some of that history with the length of the vessel filling the museum exhibition room. Finding somewhere to display the shell permanently is a challenge.

The new museum was smaller than the old one and there was less storage space, Richard said.

“We collect stuff and need more space.”

The museum has connections with Sydney Fish Markets and is negotiating with the Australian Museum for the return of 46 Indigenous artefacts.

A smoke bomb in the military display at the museum. Photo: Susanna Freymark.

The region’s military history is a significant part of the museum’s operations, including involving students in commemorative days.

“People come to us for information all the time,” Richard said.

Part of the instrument panel from an American World War 2 Mustang fighter plane. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Lily Larkin (nee Campbell) from Woodburn, who served in World War 2, visited the museum recently.

The museum now charges an entry fee to fund its development.

Archiving newspaper clippings is a huge job and the museum has applied for a grant for the software Mosaic to collate material.

The old schoolhouse next to the museum houses the Evans Head Tourist Information Centre.

Richmond River Independent, 14 October 2020

It is open Wednesday-Saturday 10am-1pm or by appointment.

Entry cost $3 per person or $5 for a family.

You can support the museum by becoming a member. Phone 6682 6410.

This article appeared in the Richmond River Independent, 14 October 2020.

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