On 22 June 1993 a small group of local people met at the Horseshoe Bay Hotel in Bermagui with the purpose of conserving the past of our district. This meeting marked the beginning of the Bermagui Historical Society and Museum. Its objective was to foster and maintain interest in the history of the settling and development of Bermagui and surrounding districts and to provide facilities for research. Monthly meetings were established and fundraising activities included exhibitions, raffles and lamington drives.
The old post office on the corner of Wallaga and Young Streets became the first Museum. It was officially opened on the 22nd of March 1995 and the Society was incorporated on the 2nd of November of the same year. The Museum building provided public access and interaction and made it possible for the Society to collect and preserve information, photographs and artefacts relevant to the history and development of the area.
While the address has changed, the vision of the Society has continued and we are very proud of the collection we have today. Our Museum is an integral part of the Bermagui Community Centre and offers a modern historical research facility to the public.
The collection includes over 11,000 photographs professionally digitised by member Dave Cotton. Searches can be made of our database by topic or name. This digital resource is complemented by the tangible treasures of the past, significant objects collected and identified by our predecessors.
The current members continue the task of expanding the collection and curating historical material that highlights the history of this area. The focus of our research and displays is the activities that were vital to its development in the early years of European settlement and beyond – farming, timber, fishing, mining – and those that are more recent – tourism and environmental protection. Indigenous occupation of the land prior to European settlement is an essential part of our history, and the story of the Djiringanj people is represented in the Museum.
In 2009 the constitution of the Society was updated and it was incorporated as the Bermagui Historical Society. The Society identifies the interaction between the communities of Bermagui, Cobargo and Tilba as essential to the survival and development of the area (locally defined as the Triangle).
Through families and industries, this interrelated history is superbly captured in our photographic collection and records. This archive includes a collection of 840 images digitally reproduced from the glass negatives taken by Tilba resident William Henry Corkhill between 1890 and 1910, a unique record that vividly captures the life of the Tilba district and its pioneers.
Our digital archivist maintains the archive and name information for interested descendants.
The Museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10am to 2pm or by special arrangement.
Admission: $2.00 for adults, $5.00 per family.
Meetings are held every two months on the first Wednesday at 2pm.
New members are Welcome.