Heyfield & District Museum anniversary

Heyfield & District Historical Society committee member Gerald Molphy (left) and secretary Jane McInnes. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Stefan Bradley

Easter Saturday marked five years since the official opening of the Heyfield & District Museum, a building that celebrates the history of the town, and the migrants that moved there.

On January 25, 2016, the members and volunteers of the Heyfield & District Historical Society Inc commenced a fundraising campaign to raise funds to purchase the former Post Office building and create a permanent museum in Heyfield.

The building was originally built in 1925, but had ceased operation as a Post Office, and had sat empty for some years and was in danger of falling into disrepair.

Heyfield & District Historical Society secretary Jane McInnes said that the township wanted to preserve the building, and the museum needed a new home.

“Before we bought the building, we understood that some were looking at using it as a restaurant, but decided against it because of the costs,” Ms McInnes said.

Through the generosity of the local community, $150,000 was raised in five months and the building was purchased in June 2016.

In September 2016, the museum received a grant of $105,000 through Regional Development Victoria, which enabled the building to be fully renovated and restored back to its former glory.

The project was awarded the Community Group of the year in the October 2016 Regional Achievement & Community awards.

The museum was officially opened on Easter Saturday 2017 with a crowd of more than 250 attending.

“The Heyfield & District Historical Society own the building, so it will always belong to the people of Heyfield, and there’s enough money in the bank to guarantee this museum stays here for years to come,” Ms McInnes said.

“We would not be here if not for the generosity of the community.

“We hope people will continue to come to the museum, as during the last two years we’ve been closed more than we’ve been open, so it’s a great achievement for our group and the town.”

Committee member Gerald Molphy said they recently had a new shed installed, which will allow them to install more heavy displays.

“Thanks to a grant we got in the last 12 months we could not only have the shed installed, but have solar panels put on it,” Mr Molphy said.

“Just because our doors were closed because of COVID, doesn’t mean we weren’t doing something,” Ms McInnes laughed.

Mr Molphy said many visitors say they had family in Heyfield “a couple of generations ago”.

“We get people from Melbourne or as far as Sydney who say their grandparent came from Heyfield, and I know some of the old people myself,” Mr Molphy said.

Ms McInnes said she loved those moments.

“They’re the greatest moments when they say a name that we know, and then we go to our filing cabinet, find a photo and they tell us that’s their grandmother or grandfather,” Ms McInnes said.

The Heyfield & District Museum is located at 7 Temple Street, is open on Saturdays from 10am to 12 noon, and is sometimes open other times for school groups or by appointment.

Gerald Molphy says this cash register is most likely 80-90 years old. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Heyfield & District Historical Society secretary Jane McInnes (left) and committee member Gerald Molphy. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Heyfield & District Historical Society secretary Jane McInnes (left) and committee member Gerald Molphy. Photo: Stefan Bradley

The building as a post office. Photo: contributed