Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement Museum

Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement Museum

Australia's first outdoor museum, Pioneer Settlement Museum portrays life in the Murray-Mallee in the era 1830-1930, including pre-contact between aborigines and settlers. There is an excellent schools education program, riverboat cruises on the Murray River, Australia's first sound and light show, regular street theatre and staffed shops. The museum covers 7 acres, with areas showing town and rural life of the settlement period, and aboriginal display areas. Included in the entry price are rides in horsedrawn vehicles and vintage cars. A working blacksmith fashions artifacts, the printer makes posters, visitors can photograph themselves in period costume. A steam-driven factory operates regularly. Australia's only stereoscopic theatre displays 25 three-dimensional photographs at one time.

The museum is situated beside the Murray in north-western Victoria, and was started with the arrival of the paddlesteamer Gem, the biggest riverboat of the 19th century, in 1963. This event caused a huge revival of interest in history, with many similar museums being set up around Australia.

 

Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement Museum
Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement Museum

 

 

There is a wide array of activities included in the entry price.

  • a working blacksmith,
  • fashion,
  • rides in horsedrawn vehicles and vintage cars,
  • artefacts,
  • the printer makes posters,
  • visitors can photograph themselves in period costume. * a steam-driven factory operates regularly.
  • Australia's only stereoscopic theatre displays 25 three-dimensional photographs at one time.
Address: 
Marraboor St, Swan Hill, VIC
Tel: 
0350362410
Hours: 
Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am - 5:00pm
Admission: 
Adult $16.00, Pensioner $10.00, Child $8.00, Family $41
Facilities: 
wheelchair access, shop, cafes, guided tours, extensive education programs, brochures available, river cruises, sound and light show.
Collection: 

The museum shows town and rural life of the settlement period, with over 20,000 artefacts relating to life in the Murray-Mallee in the era 1830-1930.

There are 50 buildings, many tractors, cars, trucks and items of farm machinery, a huge number of domestic items, two late-1800s riverboats, and many books and publications. A large collection of Aboriginal artefacts is also on display.

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Items

Paddlesteamer

Gem

Description:
Largest boat on the rivers in the paddlesteamer hey day (1850s-1920)
Date:
1876

Built as a barge in Moama in 1876, the gem was lengthened in 1882, she was cut in half, the two halves separated by a bullock team. Brought to Swan Hill as the Pioneer Settlement's icon in 1963.

House and Outbuildings

Towaninnie Homestead

Description:
House and outbuildings of a large sheep station
Date:
1888

Towaninnie Homestead was built at Towaninnie, about 60k South-West of Swan Hill. Consists of a drop log Murray pine house, mud brick kitchen, half-cellar, shed, outside toilet. Associated domestic artefacts are displayed. Moved to Pioneer Settlement in 60s.

School Building

Kaneira West School

Description:
One room school building with desks and associated school materials.
Date:
1922

The government erected the building in 1922 at Kaneira West, about 70km South-West of Swan Hill. The school had one teacher and up to 30 pupils. Students were taught in grades 1-8. Used with school groups to demonstrate 1900s school programs.

Building

Post Office

Description:
Drop by Murray pine building used as a Post Office, with appropriate artefacts, staffed and operated as a Post Office.
Date:
1860s

Originally meant as an overseers cottage at Tooley landing Station, 64km downstream from Swan Hill on th Murray. Houses relevant artefacts. Ceiling of Wunderlich panel.

Blacksmith Shop

Description:
Blacksmith shop with appropriate artefacts, operated daily by qualified blacksmiths. Has two forges.
Date:
1896

Built in Lalbert, about 30km South-West of Swan Hill in 1896, this shop was operated for many years by Thomas Thompson.