Heritage and Museums
8262 Durong-Mundubbera Road, Proston
Phone: (07) 4168 0159
Step back over 150 years and experience what life was like on an isolated station in the early years of Queensland settlement. The restoration and preservation of the buildings have been carefully and methodically carried out with the approval and guidance of the National Trust. With the buildings being ‘in situ’ (where they were built), coupled with the extensive research undertaken, an authentic picture of early station life has been established.
As with other isolated stations in the early days, the homestead and surrounding acreage were developed with all necessary infrastructure, similar to a small village. While many of the original buildings are no longer in existence, a detailed plan is available of the original layout. As well as the slab homestead (the restoration of which is now nearing completion, ready for furnishings), other surviving buildings include the Stone Store (believed to be one of the earliest buildings constructed to metric standards in Australia) and Post Office (complete with letter posting hole through the door).
Artifacts uncovered during the restoration process have been carefully recorded and housed, along with a growing collection of researched material, in a specially constructed Museum.
The annual Heritage Weekend and Bush Ballad Muster held in April attracts a large following. The complex is open to the public 9.00am to 4.30pm most days (phone ahead to check), with a resident caretaker able to provide guided tours ($5/adult). Catering (Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea or Lunch) for large groups is available by prior arrangement. Overnight grass camping sites are available, with toilet facilities but no showers.
Kingaroy Heritage Museum
(Kingaroy Information Art and Heritage Precinct)
126 Haly Street, Kingaroy
Phone: (07) 4189 9151
Formerly the Kingaroy Power House (1925-1952), the Kingaroy Heritage Museum showcases the history of the Kingaroy region under the themes of 'People, Power and Peanuts'.
The early development of town and region is illustrated by informative displays and a large collection of photos. The peanut exhibition area contains machinery and photos of the early development of the peanut industry, including prototypes of national significance, invented by local farmers.
School groups can enjoy hands-on experiences with activities such as the Peanut Detective Hunt and Museum Activity sheets. Tours can be arranged by prior request.
The Museum is open from 9.00am to 4.00pm Mondays to Fridays and 9.00am to 1.00pm on the weekends and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day when the complex is closed). Admission is free.
Murgon Dairy and Heritage Museum
Sommerville Street off Gayndah Road, Murgon
Phone: (07) 4169 5001
The Dairy and Heritage Museum at Murgon recognises the importance of dairying in the early development of Queensland and especially in the South Burnett. Look out for the colourful 'Cavalcade of Cows' - large paintings in the shape of cows affixed to the fence.
While dairying is now almost extinct in many parts of the State, it was once a major rural industry employing tens of thousands of people. It was one of the foundation industries that helped Murgon spring into being at the turn of the 20th century.
The Museum's displays are housed in the former Bank of New South Wales building (circa 1920) which was moved to the site in 1986. Separators, milk and cream cans, milking machines, butter churns, butter boxes, cheese presses ... are all on display. A working three bail dairy with an original milk line (circa 1940) and a herringbone pipeline system are set up in the grounds and available for viewing.
Trinity House (c. 1893), an original Burnett slab construction homestead, and Castra (c. 1904). the first home built in Murgon, have been relocated to the Museum grounds and clearly depict the conditions under which the early pioneers lived. An early 20th-century church, recently moved from Hivesville, has been set up as a chapel.
The Museum is open to the public between 9.30am and 12.30pm daily, or by appointment. From January 2020 the Museum will amend its opening hours, opening from Tuesday to Sunday between 9.30am and 12.30pm, or by appointment. The Museum welcomes tour groups and is particularly popular with schools. Butter making can be arranged for a small charge. Lunches and morning or afternoon teas are available upon request for a nominal fee.
Ringsfield House - (currently closed)
41– 45 Alfred Street, Nanango
Phone: (07) 4163 3345
Ringsfield House was built in 1908 for Mr and Mrs James William Davies Graham. It was designed by noted Queensland Architect Robin Dods and is distinguished by its wide verandas, bay windows, large, airy bedrooms and built-in cupboards.
Ringsfield has enjoyed four lives so far! From 1908 till 1942 it was the private home of the Graham and Sullivan families. In 1942, the house became the Ringsfield Maternity Hospital. During the hospital’s 28 year history, between 3,000 and 4,000 babies were born here prior to the hospital finally closing in 1970. By 1973 the house was occupied again as a Lifeline refuge and continued in this capacity for a further 20 years. Finally in 1992 the then Nanango Shire Council determined that Ringsfield should be restored as a museum and historical centre.
Also within the precinct is a replica coach house (built from materials rescued from the demolished 100-year-old Nanango Show grandstand), a cream shed, a slab shepherd's hut, the town's original Presbyterian Church and Nanango's oldest surviving building - the State School built in 1866.
The extensive gardens were designed in 1993 by landscape architect, Jeremy Ferrier.
Ringsfield now operates privately as a cafe, restaurant, museum and venue for weddings, functions and special occasions. For more information, visit Ringsfield House Facebook page or call (07) 4163 3345.
UPDATE 24-08-2020 - RINGSFIELD HOUSE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC - WE APOLOGISE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.
South Burnett Regional Timber Museum
(Wondai Visitor Information Centre)
80 Haly Street, Wondai
Phone: (07) 4189 9251
Opened in November 2001, the Museum showcases the history of the South Burnett’s timber industry, which underpinned the early settlement of the region and has continued to play an important part in its development.
The traditional timber structure is flanked by life-size sculptures of a bullocky and his head bullocks, an old water-well and post-and-rail fence. On the eastern end of the building is the stainless steel silhouette of a timber cutter. Inside, the wagon camp diorama, complete with restored bullock wagon, effectively captures the spirit of those involved in the felling and logging of timber in the early 1900s. Set against authentic wooden slabs and shingles, are displays of South Burnett timbers, artifacts and photos pertaining to the early timber industry in the region.
A well-stocked Gift Shop, featuring locally produced woodcraft, forms part of the incorporated Visitor Information Centre. In the Woodcrafters’ Workshop, constructed beside the Museum in 2003, local woodworkers regularly demonstrate their skills. A display of over 100 wooden mushrooms highlights the variety of timbers available.
Entry is free with plenty of parking for buses and caravans. The V.I.C./Timber Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9.00am to 2.00pm with the exception of New Year's Day, Good Friday, ANZAC Day, Christmas and Boxing Days.
Wondai Heritage Centre
80 Mackenzie Street, Wondai
Phone: (07) 4189 9318
Extending over 1600 sqm and separated into several differently themed environments, the Wondai Heritage Museum offers an uncluttered insight into the development, and people of the Wondai town and district spanning 120 years. Set in the heart of friendly Wondai there is easy access to refreshments, shops, hotels and the Art Gallery, Timber Museum and Woodcrafters workshop.
Military memorabilia and social & governmental development is the theme of the FORMAL MUSEUM, which features in particular the bugle captured by local resident Jim Houston and played by him at the 1945 Japanese surrender at Morati. The relocated 1910 Wondai Hospital operating theatre houses implements and history of a medical nature and makes up the HOSPITAL COMPLEX. On a larger scale, the MACHINERY SHED houses many meticulously restored items, from Sulkies and threshers to the extensive "Vince Miller" collection of timber tools, and that grand old octogenarian the "Dennis Fire Engine". The 1930's SLAB BARN, lovingly restored by volunteers and complete with an authentic shingle roof is a fine example of pioneer construction, and now houses tools used by blacksmiths, cobblers, shearers and horsemen. For so long the hub of Wondai the 1920'S ODDFELLOWS HALL houses a display of intricate lodge regalia, but principally features theatrically-styled settings depicting, schoolroom, laundry, kitchen, bedroom, cinematic & printing room in a sauntering walk back through time. The PROMENADE that winds through the heart of all these is bordered throughout by agricultural machinery exhibits and the magnificent one hundred-year-old ten-ton "Alchin" traction engine ... with a whole story of its own.
The Heritage Museum is set up to be relaxing, informative, easy on the eye and easy on the senses, and if visitors have questions the friendly all-volunteer staff will answer them or investigate them in our archive section or computer library.
Oh, and did we say it's FUN. Yes, well it is.
Entry is gold coin donation. The museum is open Wednesday to Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm. Weekends and outside hours by prior arrangement.