The Museums Galleries Australia WA team had so much fun on their recent road trip from Fremantle to Sandstone over the weekend, Friday 13th Oct – Sunday 15th Oct. We hired a van and the six of us bundled in, taking turns at driving the 9 hours(just over 800km drive) to our remote regional Midwest Chapter AGM in Sandstone, WA.

I would like to congratulate Margie Lundy for organising the extremely successful meeting where over 17 societies turned up with a quorum of 36 people (not including the apologies from 4 who unfortunately broke down in Mt Magnet, only 155kms out of town).

These included Morawa Historical Society ( with the help of their Shire have been able to paint their Old Gaol & Rio donated a windmill and permission to erect another); WAM of Geraldton ( Creative Spaces NACC travelling exhibition, Yamatji interviews are available, the cruise ships coming into Geraldton are having a positive impact on the town and museum, Royalties for Regions program review is coming); Northampton Historical Society; New Norcia Benedictine Community ( there is a written articles about New Norcia in the Chimes newsletter, WA Quilters and Embroiderers Tour is ongoing, & a New Museum Advisory Committee headed by Ian McLeod); Museums Galleries Australia WA; WAM- Remembering Them; Carnamah Historical Society ( Production of the Almanac digitisation project, visit from the classic Cars Club, they had machinery and works repainted and 20 schools visited the museum); Sandstone Visitor Centre ( Visitor center received a level of tourism accreditation; MidWest Times article about Remembering Them, State Battery upgrade and conservation of Heritage Cottage; Heritage Park-EOI for what to include,

submissions welcomed) ; Jurien Interpretive Centre ( has had no assistance from their Shire, a terrible situation with block of land and public works) ; Cervantes Historical Centre (Have opened a Pop-Up museum from June 2017 in local building which has been successful, they have joined with the CWA for a retro fashion parade as a fundraiser, received a grant from Lotterywest, have held a heritage project with the local primary school and hope to hold it annually,are undertaking compiling of a street history as well as oral histories and will be hosting RWAHS affiliates conference next year); Brookton & Districts Historical Society (Fundraising for the honour roll has been successful collecting $2500 in 6wks! they have an exhibition/program “Hatched, Matches, Dispatched” coming up); Shire of Leonora ($1.4million contributed in grants from their Shire and others to upgrade Gwalia, they have a Swedish artist in residence who will tour her works about Leonora in Sweden when she returns, they have established an archive room at Leonora Shire); shire of Sandstone; Walkaway Station Museum ( The Boolardie Wagon Wheel is being preserved/treated/restored at Greenough Prison, to be completed 2018); Wubin Progress Association ( Opening of a old State School and have acquired a new tractor); Geraldton Historical Society (Hosted a successful Lighthose day, have markets held every 5th Sunday and a new volunteer helping out); Birdwood Military Museum (Operation Pilgrimage to come to WA exhibition about Victorian Cross’s held in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Fremantle and Geraldton); and Chapman Valley Historical Society.


We heard very positive news from most museums about how they have had successful relationships with their Shires and accessing grants.

 Then some disheartening news of the difficulties some museums are having.I ask that we all keep in contact and support each other. If you need help from your neighbouring shires and museums we need to band together to find our strength. These meetings are so important not just to see where things are going, but to network and get ideas on how to continue on.

It was absolutely wonderful that Elaine Labuschange from Leonora (crossing over chapters) was able to attend and congratulations on their success is accessing 1.8million in grants from their Shire and others to upgrade Gwalia, which is inspiring to everyone.

After the meeting we had the option of going on a walking and/ or driving heritage trail. It’s incredible that a town of approximately 50 people can have such a comprehensive museum, visitor centre, stunning old cottages, the stained glass window in the church and my personal favourite WA’s ‘London Bridge’ a prominent attraction in Sandstone, which is part of a larger formation and believed to be about 350 million years old formed from weathered basalt.


Lastly a big thank you to the town of Sandstone for taking us all in and being such wonderful hosts, effectively doubling the population over the weekend.