Mallee Tourist & Heritage Centre
’A COLLECTION OF COLLECTIONS’
There is plenty to see at the Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre which has a variety of displays that provide an educational and historical picture of life in a rural community.
The Letterpress Printing Museum is set up as a typical regional printing office of the Letterpress era and has working printing presses, equipment and type.
The Gum Family Collection consists of restored stationary engines, tractors, farm and household memorabilia, backed by a panoramic Mallee mural.
The DA Wurfel Grain Collection has over 1000 cereal varieties, including interpretive panels concerning developments in the grain industry. As a young boy Don Wurfel was interested in the wheat varieties his father grew on the farm. Throughout his life he conducted trials to test the varieties for yield and suitability to the area.
A dryland farming display, with the theme ‘CONSERVE THE WATER – CONSERVE THE SOIL’, has six landscape dioramas and interpretive panels portraying agricultural development and production in the district over the hundred years.
The Mallee Women display focuses on the theme “they stood beside them’. It is an evocative display demonstrating the contribution made by women as they supported the men in the settlement of the Mallee.
Florence Casson Display
Design Consultant Peter Templeton has produced four very impressive panels relating to the life and tragic death of Sister Florence Casson. Florence was born at Warracknabeal, but with her parents and family moved to Panitya. She was later Matron at Jamestown, Port Pirie and Pinnaroo before enlisting for Service. Florence was in the last group to evacuate from Singapore on the Vyner Brook. It was vastly overcrowded and with little in the way of effective defences. The Vyner Brook was attacked in the Bangka Strait and sank within half an hour. Many drowned or were killed by the returning Japanese planes. Survivors, including Florence, staggered ashore in various stages of exhaustion, having spent anywhere from eight to 65 hours in the water. The men were taken inland and killed and the women were forced to walk into the sea and were shot.
Only one nurse survived, Sister Vivian Bullwinkel. Although wounded, she feigned death until she felt certain the Japanese had left the beach.Vivian gave herself up, was taken POW and met up with other nurses and after the war was able to relate the tragic story to the world.
This worthy project has been supported with a Grant from Veteran’s Affairs.
The “Spirit of the Mallee” has been interpreted with a series of clay plaques on concrete “motor tyres.” The plaques bear information explaining the various aspects common to Mallee communities—Water, Fire, Mallee, Land Use, Settlement, History, etc…
Visit this exciting museum and tourist centre, we are open 10am until 1pm Monday to Saturday or by appointment.
Buses, coaches and groups most welcome.
We also have an excellent range of tourist information so be sure to visit us on your travels.