Exhibits at Pioneer Museum Park
Not only are the buildings original or replicas of the period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries but the displays in the buildings include lots of artefacts from that era. There are also historical displays about Kangaroo Valley and the residents.
Riverside Rendall Cottage
This homestead built around 1870 is a good example of the way families used to live on the east coast of Australia, even so it has to be said that not everyone could afford such an elegant home.
The Rendall Cottage contains a fully equipped kitchen, sitting room, dining room, book and music room and bedroom. As used to be the case, the laundry is outside, at the back of the kitchen and the loo is even further away from the house.
The School Bell
In the first economic boom time of Kangaroo Valley between 1870 and 1890 there were 8 schools in the area. Nowadays there is just one, the first one established in 1871. One of the original school bells was presented to the Museum and is now on display. The children enjoy ringing it!
The Family Tree
History is people and without people there would be no history. This fact makes the Rendall/Hunt family tree - painted on a large timber board - an important item, listing seven generations of Kangaroo Valley residents.
The Machinery Sheds
The three sheds exhibit all types of farm implements, samples of old style horse drawn vehicles and early forms of agricultural machinery, like grass mowers, hay rakes, fertilizer spreaders, corn shredders, grinding stones and scales.
The Archie Chittick Memorial Hall
The building is named after Archie Chittick, the first president of the Kangaroo Valley Historical Society. Here you will find examples of shoes, clothes, hats and other fashion wear from the 19th century, together with many household items, tools and small items of the early settlers time.
Timber cutting and dairy farming were the reason for the economic success of Kangaroo Valley. At one stage there were over 90 dairies operating in the valley. Today there are just half a dozen, but rather large ones with hundreds of cows being milked twice daily. In this small building you learn about milking, separating and butter making. On special occasions butter making is demonstrated by ladies who still know all about this ancient art.
Just as horses were essential on a pioneer farm in the 19th Century so was the forge. The making of horseshoes was an important function. But a skilled farmer would make other iron implements and tools. Larger communities like the town of Kangaroo Valley could afford to have its own blacksmith. Come and see the bellows, anvil and cast iron instruments he used for his tough job.
The Settlers Hut
The slabs for this hut were taken from one of the oldest buildings - Jarretts’ farm at Cedar Grove. So it is not an original dwelling but a replica built with timber from a 1867 farmhouse. Even earlier, the slabs may have been part of a cedar getter’s hut on the same property, and they were donated to the Museum by Dorothy Rebbeck, a great grand-daughter of the original owners. This hut demonstrates the simple lifestyle of those first white men working in the area as timber cutters. All their work was done using axes. Today there is a video in the hut, showing you the art of wood splitting for railway sleepers and for fencing.
The Bush School
At one time there were 8 school houses in Kangaroo Valley. As the distances for the children were too great and transport not easy, the schools were being built where the families and children lived. It was rather the teacher who travelled, not the students. It was the rule that a teacher was serving 2 schools, so the children only got taught every second day of the week. All classes were in the one room. If you enter the bush school at the Museum you will not only see the old school desks and ink wells but hear a school lesson in progress.
George Walker Suspension Bridge
This suspension footbridge is a jewel in the Museum park. It was officially opened in July 1977 by the Premier of NSW, the Honourable Neville Wran. The bridge is 72 m long and spans a deep gorge. Local volunteers relocated the bridge from the Walker’s property at Broger’s Creek and to its present location at Pioneer Museum Park. The dairy farmer George Walker originally built the bridge on his own with the help of the local blacksmith. Today children are excited to run across the bridge and feel the swing.