A place in time

A perfect day greeted visitors to Merrigum Heritage Day on Sunday, and while numbers were down a little, this was put down to a number of other activities in the area according to Merrigum Historical Society president Florence Halliday.

BOB NICOL April 9, 2014 3:25am

Frank de Vries and Kevin Daniel from Kyabram Vintage Machinery Club fire up their stationary engine at the Merrigum Heritage Day on Sunday. Pictures: Bob Nicol


Ms Halliday said the committee was pleased to have a couple of new attractions this year including ‘‘garden seats’’ and a cottage garden.

‘‘A couple of others didn’t turn up,’’ she said.

The cottage garden created plenty of interest, with many people seen wandering around, plants in hand.

Again the many stationary engines were a talking point among the older generation.

Ted Rankins, with his morse code set up, was ‘King of the Kids’, while Doug Rosenow (axe-sleeper cutter) from Echuca, who has been attending the Heritage Day for 12-13 years, was at his jovial best as he plied his long-lost trade.

‘‘I love coming along to Merrigum and helping them out,’’ he said.

The day was like taking a step back in time, with something for young and old.

The annual event featured demonstrations of pioneering skills including a blacksmith, blade shearing, vintage hay bailing, butter churning, hand washing and ironing using a washboard and stove-heated flat irons, and butter making.

While the men drifted towards the more manly displays, the woman were keen to check out, and reminisce over the sewing, knitting and patchwork displays, while youngsters looked at the static engine displays and learned how to operate the morse code equipment.

The Kialla Plein Air Artist’s Group also created plenty of attention, as did the Sheridan CWA with their knit-a-thon and the wood-turners.

Visitors had no excuse for going hungry with a free barbecue provided and the opportunity to purchase homemade cakes, biscuits, slices and toffees from the museum’s general store.

Ms Halliday said a lot of work went into running the museum and preparing for the day.

‘‘The small committee worked hard to provide an excellent day for the community and was happy overall with the turnout,’’ she said.

Ms Halliday said the museum was built in 1905 as a general merchant’s store and attached residence.

The Merrigum Museum now houses the L. L. Pitts photographs and items from local organisations, general interest and farming objects.

‘‘Unique photographs taken by Lilian Louisa Pitts between 1900 and 1928 record the lives and times of Merrigum,’’ she said.

‘‘The house has each room displayed in setting for that room, for example bedroom and kitchen.’’

Ms Halliday said the museum housed an estimated 3000 items and was open to the public on the first and third Sundays of the month, or by arrangement. Admission is by donation.

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