The Eugowra Museum and Bushranger Centre was opened by Cabonne Council Mayor John Farr on 25th and 26th October 2003.
This building was formerly a stock and station agent’s shop, but with government grants, gifts and lots of volunteer labour, it was refurbished into a great little building holding a huge variety of antiques and old wares from Eugowra’s past.
Robert Ellis actually first started the museum years before at his home in Norton Street, and this was subsequently run by Hilton and Jean Clements, grandchildren of Hanbury Clements, pioneer of the town of Eugowra and of Escort Rock fame.
Much of Robert’s collection was given to the Museum, when the Eugowra Promotion and Progress Association (EPPA) undertook to operate it.
BUSHRANGERS: Eugowra’s claim to fame in most Australian history books is as the place where bushrangers held up the gold escort coach on 15th June, 1862, on its way to Bathurst. This turned out to be very worthwhile for the gang, who got away with fourteen thousand pounds worth of gold and banknotes. It was the biggest gold robbery in Australia’s history and in today’s money would be worth about $8 million.
The Museum has two full-size prints of paintings by Patrick William Morony, depicting the gold escort robbery and bushrangers attacking Goimbla.
The original paintings are held in the National Library of Australia in Canberra.
There is also an extensive collection of reference books and research papers related to the bushrangers.
Some locally written publications with bushranger stories are for sale at the Museum.
Also for sale are card/envelope sets depicting three of Patrick Morony’s bushranger paintings.
Perhaps the most interesting piece on display is bushranger Johnny Gilbert’s pistol, which was carelessly lost on the day of the Escort robbery, and which was later ploughed up and retrieved from a paddock nearby.
The Museum Visitors Book contains entries from descendants or those affected by the bushrangers including Fagan, McGuire, Manns and Campbell. When you visit you may even meet locals who are descendants or relatives, including Clements, Freeman (McGuire) and Newell (Charters).
Popular with the ladies who visit the Museum are the fixtures, fittings, furnishings, clothes and utensils used in the good old days. The Parlour is just one of five “rooms” in the Museum displaying different aspects of the life of our pioneers.
In the bedroom, on display is a canopy bed with fine white linen, a top hat which belonged to the once Surveyor General of NSW, Edmond Blacket, who was Jean Clements’ great grandfather. There is also “Mummy’s water rat fur coat” on loan by Jeanette Norris, nee Neich, whose family proudly ran The Central Hotel.
Being in a farming area, the Museum has a fine collection of tools from the land. These include harness, saws, horseshoes, scythes, hand drills, bits and spurs, saddles, yokes, spades, axes, churns and traps
The Eugowra pioneers had to clear their land of trees in order to plant wheat for food. Farm tools reflect these activities, which were achieved with much human sweat and horsepower.
They constructed their own farm houses from the timber, which was sawn by hand. They fashioned tools and horseshoes using the blacksmith and the forge.
Most food they either grew or trapped – like rabbits, which during the depression years saved many a farm family from starvation. They fished the rivers and creeks, grew and slaughtered their own beef and lamb, and they kept a cow for milk, and turned this milk into cheese, cream and butter.
The Museum also has a significant collection of wartime memorabilia and war souvenirs, and a comprehensive catalogue of Eugowra Service Personnel.
Those searching for family details can access information held on microfiche, as well as catalogued documents of pioneer family trees.
If you enjoy history, bushranger stories or just old things, allow at least half an hour for even a quick look through the Museum.
The Museum is always open Wednesdays to Sundays 11am till 4pm and on all other days by prior arrangement. It is air-conditioned for your comfort. Coach groups are very welcome but please phone in advance: Contact Elaine 6859 2820 or Judy 6859 2218.