Museum ‘green light’

Members of the Millicent National Trust Museum are hopeful of new facilities being erected in the coming 12 months.

Wattle Range Council has given the green light to its $31m 2022/23 Budget and it includes an allocation of $520,000 for the museum buildings.

They passed into local government ownership in the late 1960s after the State Government closed Millicent Primary School and erected Newbery Park Primary School and Millicent North Primary School on greenfield sites.

The National Trust then established its museum in the ex-school classrooms and grounds with additional buildings and ground improvements added in the past five decades.

The wooden prefabricated classrooms facing Towers Road were erected in 1952 and have been re-purposed for storage and the horse-drawn vehicle restoration workshop.

Some of the original 70-year-old fittings remain in place including the blackboards.

According to the council budget papers, the $520,000 will be applied to the “renewal or replacement” of the buildings.

Millicent National Trust chairman Barry Long said his branch members were grateful for the support of council.

According to Mr Long, it was appropriate for the old classrooms to be removed and new buildings erected.

He said he was hopeful the Millicent National Trust could secure additional grants to go with the $520,000 from the council budget.

“We need more space for display purposes and for the horse-drawn vehicle restoration workshop,” Mr Long said.

‘’Storage areas are also needed for the historic clothing and associated items from the Helen Hughes Costume Collection.

“Better facilities also need to be provided for our volunteers in the workshop at the Millicent National Trust Museum.

“The toilets are inadequate and we need to have a small kitchen.

“We must ensure the buildings comply with the requirements of the Occupational, Health and Safety legislation.”

In other museum news, Mr Long has welcomed some important donations to the collection.

“We now have a scale model of a wheelwright’s workshop made by late craftsman John Derrett,” he said.

“The prize-winning model was made in the 1980s and was formerly displayed in a tool museum at Castlemaine in Victoria.

“His family donated it to us as they are friends with Peter Foster OAM who has been involved with our horse-drawn vehicle collection for over 30 years.

“The Derrett model will be displayed alongside our full-scale replica of a wheelwright’s workshop.”

The Millicent National Trust Museum also now displays some medical textbooks once owned by late Gawler medico Dr Richard St Mark Dawes.

His elegant horse-drawn carriage known as a brougham was in use around 120 years ago and was donated to the National Trust for display in 1965.

By chance, his textbooks were recently purchased at an auction by Mr Foster and are now displayed alongside the brougham of Dr Dawes.

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