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Welcome to the website of

The Clyde River and Batemans Bay Historical Society

(Accredited under the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries)

Museum News Archive

This page provides a summary of what's been happening at the museum since early 2013 and the work performed by its volunteers in areas such as:

  • Collection management;
  • Research;
  • Archiving;
  • Cataloguing;
  • Maintenance of museum and grounds;
  • Fundraising.

The 2019 ‘Family Fun’ Open Day – Saturday 26th October

So much to entertain, amuse and educate as we flung open our doors and grounds again for stalls and demonstrations. In addition to the varied indoor displays, visitors enjoyed outdoor activities, including live music, canine training, working antique tools and machinery, quality plants/cake stall/books, BBQ, cream teas, and a silent auction.

The 2018 ‘Family Fun’ Open Day – Saturday 20th October

Our Annual Family Fun Day offered dog-training, ukuleles, spinning, steam engines, Sailability, plants & pottery and a mighty response from Marine Rescue, Rural Fire Service, and animal welfare services. Our warm thanks to Members and volunteers from a wide range of community-based groups for again generously supporting us once again. We entertained more than 200 people of all ages, who explored the diverse interests of (mainly) volunteers, whose passionate commitment enriches our lives.

The 2017 ‘Family Fun’ Open Day – Saturday 21st October 2017

A great success for all involved!! That means the organisers, the volunteers, the nine community groups which supported it and the large numbers of the public who visited the Museum on such a sunny, Spring day. On the fundraising side, the various Museum groups raised a total of over $750 for our coffers – well done!! The choice of a Saturday was vindicated by the large number of visitors, some arriving before the official Opening Time of 9.30am. For next year’s event, we will stick with a Saturday, but probably open earlier (9.00am) and finish slightly earlier.

(Pictured left are members Diane & Tony Hantas and Sandra Smith)

Upgraded toilet facilities given an official Launch!

The Old Court House Museum has passed on its thanks to all who purchased CD/DVDs at the recent Batemans Bay Past and present reunion on the 6th. May 2017 at the Bay Soldiers Club. Half of the funds were donated to the Museum.

The money raised from the sales has enabled us to purchase all the materials to upgrade the visitor bathroom for disability access. All refurbishments😁 were performed by our own volunteer members. (thanks to Les, Bill K, Brian, Martin and the team). In the picture (left), Museum President Ewan Morrison is seen pressing the 'inaugural' flush. Curator Myf Thompson was heard to say: "Thanks again! Call in and see your donation at work.

Development of new display base for boat winch collection

Lead by Les Smith (centre) and supported by members Bill Keenan (left) and Brian Nason (right), the Building and Maintenance team have built a solid brick and cement-based plinth to support the museum’s collection of boat winches. Completed in May 2017 and situated at the rear of the Oyster Punt, the permanent structure is an ideal location for these heavy items of machinery. Before being placed, the winches were ‘wire-brushed’ and then coated with a special black enamel paint. Well done guys, for working so well in the recent hot weather.

Bay Bridge 60th Anniversary celebrations - revised plans

The Museum has been working since February 2016 (with Rotary, the Council and Chamber of Commerce) on a plan to celebrate the 60th.Anniversary of the opening of the Batemans Bay Bridge on 21st. November 1956. Finally, we have finalised what will be our contribution.

As part of our celebrations for the 60th birthday of the bridge, we asked for hand-made birthday cards from primary school children in years 1 and 2, and they came pouring in from Broulee, Batemans Bay, St Bernards and Sunshine Bay primary schools.

Pictured left is Museum volunteer Jude Matchett sorting the cards, which all went on display at Bridge Plaza Mall from Thursday November 17th to Monday November 21st.

Cards display great artistic endeavours, and after all the complaints in recent weeks, it is nice to see children showing appreciation for our Bridge. Some lovely quotes include 'Thank you bridge for getting me over the river every day - your [sic] still looking great", and "Happy birthday, you are soo strong!", and "I love walking across you to town".

Thanks to the Village Centre for providing space for the display, and to members Jude Matchett, Zoe Brassil and Myf Thompson for organising retro pictures of the Bridge, and putting up the display.

Open Day 2016 a great success!

Bright sunshine and strong winds greeted the many visitors who attended the Museum's annual Family Fun (Open Day) on Sunday 16th October. No rain this time (unlike the previous two years), so families and stallholders were able to make the most of the outdoor setttings.

It was a great day for our fundraising efforts also, with the BBQ, Cream Teas, Book Emporium and Museum teams bringing in a record haul! Well done to all volunteers who helped on the day!

This will be a big act to follow next year.

Museum invited to stage BBQ at this year’s ‘Rally of the Bay’

A date for your calendar – Saturday 13th. August 2016. The team will be setting up their new gazebo and equipment at Mackay Park, the service area for competitors and support crew at the 2016 Rally of the Bay. Please come along and support this terrific fundraising event. Hopefully, we can sell some books, handcraft and home produce too! See you there - Vroom vroooommm!!!.


There was a good turnout for the Society’s Christmas lunch at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on 10th.December. A tasty traditional Xmas main course of turkey, ham, pork and stuffing, broccoli, pumpkin, carrots and gravy was followed by plum pudding and ice cream. All washed down with wine and/or soft drinks. Very nice thank you!!! Special thanks must go to our Treasurer, Sandra Smith, for arranging the event.

Society President Ewan Morrison thanked all members for their support during the year and for the big efforts made by the Executive Committee.

Grants awarded to the Museum

During late 2015, the Society was awarded two major grants:

1. 'Museum Educator Outreach Program’: an audience development initiative, we received $5,058 from M&GNSW; and

2. 'Passions in the Bay’: to establish a community contemporary photo exhibition in-house and online, received $1,488 from Regional Arts NSW.

The Outreach Program will allow the Museum to increase its community involvement, through direct interaction with local schools and community groups. Hosting an in-house photo exhibition will be the first time we have received funding from an Arts organisation.

Two life memberships presented at 2015 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Society was held at the Community Centre on Saturday, 1st. August 2015.

A good turnout of members joined in the formalities (and a few informalities!!) of the AGM. Following reports by the President (Ewan Morrison), Treasurer (Sandra Smith) and Curator (read by Ewan in Myf Thompson’s absence), proceedings moved on to the election of Officers for the 2015-2016 year. Subsequent to the formalities, life memberships were awarded to two of our long serving members: Alick Trounson and Rex Ingram. The photograph shows a very proud duo, displaying their certificates. This was followed by a lunch, with all food contributed and cooked by the members present.


In partnership with the local Bay City Cinemas in Perry Street, the Museum presented a special performance of the new movie ‘A Royal Night Out’ on Thursday, 14th. May. Set during the VE Day celebrations in London in 1945, it tells the story of a ‘night out on the town’ taken by the Princess Royals, Elizabeth and Margaret.

Movie goers were treated to pizza, cheese and biscuits and refreshments prior to the screening. Some even rose to the occasion and dressed in appropriate hats, gloves, diamonds and fake fur!! To quote member Edna Veitch: “Darlings, we’ve had a ball!!!!”

With the success of this event, we hope to repeat it within the next six months.

March 2015 - Launch of the 'Clyde River Chronicles'

After a year of research, the Historical Society has proudly launched its latest historical publication. Covering monthly events year by year, Clyde River Chronicles Volume 1, 1770-1900, was compiled from contemporary newspaper and journals by historian Dianne Hantas (pictured above with Society President Ewan Morrison). Local tragedies and triumphs are put into context by side notes on regional/national events. A useful research tool is the use of symbols against each entry enabling a reader to easily trace the development of themes, such as shipwrecks and land sales. Dianne has been pivotal in the publication of our last 3 books, and is now working on Vol 2. Vol 1, 1770-1900 is available for sale at the Museum, price $25.00, plus $3.50 postage if required.

Meet our latest ‘members’ – two mannequins and a Display Case, part of a recent donation by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. One of the mannequins is dressed in the donated uniform of a former resident of the Bay, Major-General Alan Stretton, previously Director-General of the Natural Disasters Organisation. Along with the Commonwealth Minister for the Northern Territory, Rex Patterson, he arrived at Darwin Airport late on Christmas Day, 1974 to take charge of the relief efforts in the wake of Cyclone Tracy. On 31 December 1974, Stretton recommended that full civilian control should resume in Darwin, and handed over control of the city to its elected officials. (The photo also shows member Les Smith using his carpentry skills on the new display


The weather did not dampen the spirits of the visitors who joined in the Family Fun Day at the Museum on Sunday April 6th. . In addition to the usual cream teas, handcraft stall and sausage sizzle, we launched the new Museum Book Emporium. Also there were the State Emergency Service, Eurobodalla Classic Cars, Moruya Tractor and Antique Machinery Association and music was provided by the Seaside Ukulele Orchestra. 


In the picture, Museum Patron Edna Veitch is pictured alongside Auntie Riita of BBALC (Batemans Bay Aboriginal Land Council), who gave a ‘Welcome to Country’ speech. Another guest speaker, Peter Gow, gave a talk on the flora and fauna of the Water Gardens. The morning event was attended by over 20 guests and concluded with a morning tea (thanks to Judi Whelan and team) and a visit to the Museum. 


Danny Whiitter, manager of a local Holiday Park, has kindly donated a converted caravan to the Museum. Although in need of some major TLC, the van has great potential for providing a permanent, but mobile, home for our second-hand books and BBQ equipment. On market days, it will be a simple exercise to “hook it up and take her away” to Corrigans Beach Reserve. In the meantime, however, work will soon commence on getting it ready for inspection by the RTA. Pictured are members Les Smith and Chris Lawler in front of the beast, wondering where to begin.

Museum President Tony Whelan and member Ray Mooney have been busy completing a grant funding application to the IMB for a new outdoor display area, to complement the existing IMB shed. As part of the Museum’s Maritime Heritage Project, the new facility would be used for the preservation and display of our maritime equipment, including the Oyster Punt and the Maritime Trunk. The current proposal is for an 18 metre long structure, made up of five bays. Each bay can be isolated and secured with a shutter door. Should the application be successful, it will be a significant improvement to our outdoor facilities. The IMB will inform all applicants of its decisions by June 2014.

Guest Speaker Ted Richards dazzles at latest Members Meeting

Members were entertained at the last General meeting on 8th. October 2013, when guest speaker Ted Richards gave a presentation on the History of Photography. Ted is well known to members as photographer of the significant items in the Museum’s collection. He was formerly employed by the Canberra Times and the Australian War Memorial.

Ted is pictured here being thanked by our President Tony Whelan, after giving his presentation from the Judge's podium in the Old Courthouse. 

Adding a new 1930s style kitchen and upgrading the Laundry display

The museum's building and maintenance team, lead by member Les Smith and his trusty assistants Alick Trounson and Chris Lawler, are upgrading the Laundry display and building an annexe to the Domestic Room, to house a new 1930s style Kitchen. The contents have been sourced from our existing collections and further donations from the local community. The photo shows the completed kitchen.

Demonstrating more flair than any contestant on the BLOCK, Les is showing his talents to the maximum on this project. Not bad when you consider that most of the materials have been donated by Bunnings or rescued from the local Tip. Also, many thanks to Myf Thompson for artistic design and Troy Whelan for providing electrical expertise to install power and lighting circuits.

New Soundscape system unveiled


Thanks to a grant from Museums and Galleries NSW, we are installing heat sensor-operated audio equipment for two of our major displays – Timber and Maritime. Our Curator Myf Thompson commented: “The two Soundscapes will create an ambience of these industries from axe chopping to whip cracking, creaking timbers to seagulls”. As the Museum’s IT officer, Chris Ruszala will work with Myf to compile layered audio clips which, when installed in the displays, will activate as visitors cross the threshold. The soundscapes switch off after 2-3 minutes, without impacting on full length audio-video material used within the displays. The portable equipment can be used in other Museum locations as required

Members attend a Collection Management course at Narooma

A series of workshops supporting volunteers has been funded with the assistance of local Councils, South East Arts and Museums and Galleries NSW, most recently a Collection Management course in Narooma. Pictured attending are (L to r) Historical Society members Myf Thompson, Janet Beasley and Marg Henry, with course instructor Kay Soderlund of Preservation Australia at the rear. Our Curator Myf commented: ‘Volunteers from museums at Bega and Merimbula also attended, and the opportunity to network over lunch and informally contribute, was an enjoyable part of the training day.’

The Old Courthouse Museum links up with Museums and Galleries NSW

During June 2013, our Museum was invited to join a pilot scheme by Museums and Galleries New South Wales. This entailed providing a profile of the Museum and selected photographs and loading it onto the M&G NSW website. Over the next few weeks, access to our “Page” on the M&G NSW website will become publicly available. In the mean time, the

Page will be maintained for the Museum by Chris Ruszala.

Members should be pleased to know that the Old Courthouse Museum has been mentioned in the same sentence as the National Museum of Australia in a recent M&G NSW newsletter “Alert”.  

Public Course – History of Batemans Bay

Following two very successful courses for U3A members, we are again running ‘The History of Batemans Bay’, to be conducted by Ewan Morrison. It will be held over four consecutive Fridays (16, 23, 30 August and 6 September) from 10am -12 noon at the Old Courthouse Museum, with morning tea included. The cost is $20 and registration is limited to a maximum of 20 attendees. For more details, please contact Ewan Morrison at [email protected]

Annual General Meeting – Saturday 27 July 2013

Members please note this important date for your diaries/desk calendars/fridge magnets/post-it notes/mobile organisers etc etc. The AGM will be held at the Community Centre on 27 July, starting at 11.00am. This will be followed by a members’ lunch, including tea and coffee. Please bring a plate. 

Visiting volunteers from Omeo make their mark at the Museum

Holidaying in the Bay for abn extended period, Marg and Michael Henry, members of the Omeo Museum in Victoria, volunteered to do ‘anything that helps’ and they certainly did. Sorting and cataloguing the items we hold is the first step in our project to reproduce an Annetts Shop display. Up the ladder,out three Michael is assessing part of large bottle collection (a task studiously ignored by the rest of us) and it’s recorded by Marg. Our warm thanks to Marg and Michael for a valuable exchange of ideas, and best wishes for a safe trip home.

Special screening of classic Australian silent movie at Bay City Cinemas

In recognition of the 30th anniverary of the closure of the Annetts Picture Theatre, the Bay Cinema reproduced part of the original event by presenting a Chicken and Champagne supper, following an exclusive showing of the 1927 film classic "For the Term of His Natural Life". This silent film, colour tinted and accompanied by music, was presented as part of the 2013 National Heritage Festival themed "Community Milestones". All proceeds will be used to preserve local history at the Bay's Old Courthouse Museum. More than 70 people attended the event on May 21 and it was considered a resounding success by all, including the cinema management

ANZAC Day 25 April 2013

On a glorious day in the Bay, what must have been a record record attendance watched the annual ANZAC Day march and official ceremony at the Memorial in Clyde Street. Wreaths and tributes were laid by representatives of the Commonwealth and NSW State governments, Eurobodalla Shire Council and local organisations. Member Chris Ruszala placed a wreath on behalf of the Clyde River and Batemans Bay Historical Society.  

Mucking in for Cleanup Australia - March 2013

Member Chris Ruszala donned wellies and gloves to tackle the banks of the local Water Gardens, as part of the museum's contributuion towards cleaning up Australia for another year. Along with Myf Thompson, Janet Beesley, Chris's wife Anita and members of the public, what better way could there be to spend a sunday morning than gathering old chairs, footballs, training shoes, discarded groceriy items and literally hundreds of empty beer bottles. To assist the team, a couple of discarded shopping trolleys were utilised to transport our treasure trove to the Council ccollection point by the museum. After two hours, the carparks and entrace to the Water Gardens were looking spotless again. Overall, this was a great effort by all concerned, the team being rewarded with hot drinks and then instructed to go home and take an early shower!

Museum feeds visitors and market stallholders at Corrigan's Reserve.

The museum BBQ team participated in the local market at Corrigan's Reserve on Sunday 17th. February. Held on the the 1st.& 3rd. Sunday of each month, the market comprises more than 50 stalls, offering a variety of goods for sale between 9.00am and 1.00pm.. The museum has been invited to provide hot food and soft drinks to visitors and stallholders on the 3rd. Sunday of the month. Stallholders pay a fixed fee to the Council for their pitch, while all income generated at the stall is retained by the museum. The team, lead by museum president Tony Whelan, used the occasion to offer a greater variety of food to its customers. Overall, the day was a success and the team is looking forward to the next market in March. 

Fabric workshop

February 14th saw our Museum Advisor Rebecca Jones conducting a training workshop for volunteers on identifying and assessing items from our costume collection. Our team identified, catalogued, and photographed more than 75 per cent of the collection – a great day’s work.

Mighty crane swings a new demountable unit over the museum's roof!

Sightseers and museum staff stood in amazement, cameras at the ready, as a new storage unit was swung into place at the museum in January 2013. The demountable was offered to the museum by Telstra, free of charge; however, the challenge for us was to arrange removal, transport and delivery of the large building from Telstra's local Exchange in Bavarde Avenue, Batemans Bay. This was achieved through the involvement of three local businesses, again at no cost to the museum. Heavy lifting equipment was provided by Batemans Bay Crane Hire, transportation by Bay Removals and road safety and guidance services by South Coast Pilots. Our thanks go out to all of these businesses for supporting the museum.