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Rosebery Fire Station doubles as museum
On the Henty Highway between Hopetoun and Beulah lies the Rosebery Fire Station which now doubles as the local museum of past community history. Now, as families leave the area, their significant historic memorabilia is passed on to the brigade, and the new station has a permanent display.
Brigade member Trevor Starbuck organises the displays and tells his story.
Story by Jayda Hunt, Year 10 work experience student
How did the idea of the museum come about?
The instigator was Allan Chivell who has since passed away. He spent many years compiling the material displayed and was one of the last of his generation in the district. He asked if he could put some of this memorabilia in our previous station. We didn’t realise how much he had – sporting trophies, pennants, football memorabilia and memorabilia from other sporting clubs. Some material covered farming activities and photos of businesses in the township that aren’t there now.
As Alan got older, he handballed it to me. People don’t know what to do with these items. It’s hard to identify what value they might have but it shows where we’ve come from, how we got here and where we’ve arrived.
Where in the station is the display?
It’s now established in the meeting room of the new fire station which opened in March 2014. The collection isn’t finished – we’ve got about half of it on display in the engine bay, the hallway and the meeting room.
What memorabilia is on display?
There are photos from as far back as the early 1900s. We have account and minute books of some of the sporting clubs. We used to have a strong rifle shooting club in the area. for example. There are also family histories – not so much hardware or mechanical devices. There’s not much in the way of brigade memorabilia.
Is there a particular story attached to an item you could tell us about?
The Red Cross still has an active auxiliary here and that started about 100 years ago. We have photos and newspaper articles about them.
We hang things on the wall with double sided tape and we can remove and correct labels if we need to.
What is your favourite item?
Some very old photos of football teams demonstrate the distance we’ve come. You see the long shorts and the committee members in collar and tie.
Another one that catches my eye is from about 1939 and shows the construction of the local concrete grain silos. Some others show the manner in which harvesting was done. They show horses with strippers and threshing machines. You can see the progress that’s gone on.
What makes this museum so unique and important?
Rosebery brigade was established in 1946. Farms used to be 640 acres with a family on each block. The population has drastically reduced and a lot of those names are no longer here although people do come back for a visit. They like to take the young generation through our display to see their name attached to sporting clubs, committees or the Red Cross – it’s a link to who they are and where they came from. It makes a connection.
What time is the museum open?
If people want to visit they can just ring me on 0428 837 266. If I’m available, I’ll open it up.
What is the population of Rosebery?
There are now about eight people in the township area of Rosebery – I haven’t counted the chooks!
What kind of farming occurs in Rosebery?
It’s broadacre farming – mostly cereal, canola, legumes and some sheep.