Exhibitions

Historic Exhibitions

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    Artefacts

    As well as large collection of equipment and machinery, the museum also has an extensive collection of artefacts that are of great historical value. Due to the size of the collection only a relatively small percentage of the material held by the museum can be displayed at any one time. Some of the items which are comprised of fabric and other delicate materials require special storage and handling. These items are held within the Collection Management Facility away from dust and ultra violet light, extremes of temperature and otherwise damaging environments. . 

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    Textiles

    Pioneer Park has an extensive range of textiles in its collection, ranging from women’s evening dresses, wedding dresses, men’s suits, army uniforms, a fireman uniform, German army helmet, children’s clothing, quilts, hats, and garters to name a few. The textile collection is stored in a special room in the Collection Management Facility.

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    Wedding Dress Collection: William & Ada Cummings (nee Owen)

    William Cummings came to the Area in 1915 to work for the commission. Ada and her two children followed, arriving in Bagtown in 1916. She immediately noted that the house which William had found for them had a large front window, suitable for shop display. Within the week the decision to open a dress shop had been made. It was a huge success, selling women and children’s clothing, millinery and, at the request of older ladies Berlei “stays”. Wedding dresses became a speciality.  

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    Olive Ann Pritchard (nee Williams) 1911

    Olive married Charles Leslie Pritchard at Beechworth, Victoria in 1911. Olive was born at Yanko station in 1884. The young couple moved to Leeton in 1911 and then onto Griffith (Wickhams Hill Camp) in 1912. Only the blouse of the wedding outfit is in Pioneer Park’s collection. It is made of silk, lined with fine cotton. It has three quarter sleeves, a high embroidered net lace collar decorated with cornelli work, and is stiffened with boning reinforcing. The blouse has a pin tucked front and back flap panels secured at a tight waist line. The garment all over is heavily decorated with various laces. The skirt of the outfit is believed to be with daughter Thelma.

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    Gertrude Wakely (nee Smith) 1913

    The couple met in late 1912 when the first Australian flagship, “The Australian”, on which Mark Wakely was serving, pulled into Sydney Harbour. Gertrude’s wedding dress was purchased in Sydney and arrived in Tamworth the day before their wedding. The creases from packing are still evident in the wedding photo. It is a white silk dress richly decorated with applied roule bows, seed pearls, pleating, pintucking and lace. The cuffs and front and back panels are encrusted with pearls and tiny glass beads on net, and the front features a cluster of delicate fuscia like flowers made of chiffon with bead stamens.  

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    Betty Howard (nee Dill) 1948

    Betty married Perry Howard on the 25th September 1948, 2pm at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Condobolin. They were married by Reverend Wilfred. Betty and Perry made Griffith their home. The dress was designed and made by Condolin seamstress Mrs Press. The dress is made from embossed satin, with a lace peplum on the slightly dropped waistline, a lace insert front and back bodice and lace trim on the end of the sleeves. Covered buttons are featured down the back of the bodice. The lace was originally the same colour of the dress. The skirt is ankle length at the front and falls gracefully into a long train. .

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    Vilma Kloot (nee King) 1954

    Vilma married Jack Kloot on December 11th 1954 at Sacred Heart Church, Griffith. The wedding dress is made of Slipper satin, with a wide skirt falling gracefully into a long train. The bodice features a peter pan collar and long sleeves, and is buttoned down the front to the waist. Her long embroidered veil was held in place by a coronet of wax orange blossoms. On her wedding day she carried a bouquet of white tuber roses and carnations. . 

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    Shirley Spry (nee Sainty) 1964

    Shirley and Ian Spry were married at St Alban the Martyr Church of England, Griffith on the 5th December 1964. Their wedding reception was held at the Hydro Hotel, Leeton. The wedding dress consists of a sleeveless, waisted, cream satin dress with a strait skirt. It has a detachable train attached at the waist with a belt and decorated with heavy cream guipure lace. The bolero top, also made of guipure lace, has three quarter sleeves. The veil and head piece in the collection are the original worn by Shirley on her wedding day. Shirley purchased her wedding dress ready made in Wagga Wagga NSW.

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    The black velveteen suits

    This boy's suit is one of three black velveteen suits made in the 1920s for Ori, Roy and Leo Pastega, the sons of an Italian migrant family. The suits were made by the boys' mother Luigia Pastega. The skills required to produce such garments were attained by Luigia as a young girl in Italy. Many Italian women excelled in such fine work, including the making of clothing, lace, knitting and embroidery. The black velveteen suits with their white collars were possibly a version of the 'tunic' or 'knicker-bocker' suit with cropped trousers and different jacket styles popular in Italy at the time. Also with this collection are a number of pairs of hand knitted white plain and patterned socks.  

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    Hilda Smith Dress 1910

    The dress belonged to Hilda Mabel Smith, and was donated to the museum by her eldest daughter Gladys Mott. Hilda Smith’s dress is black full length, with long sleeves and a high boned collar. It is made up of five parts, consisting of a silk skirt with a full lace overskirt, a bodice attached by hooks to the skirt, and a black twisted silk cord sash with tassels fastened to a silk belt. All five pieces join to make the complete dress, which has undergone conservation and repair to return it to its former glory. It is almost 100 years old, and considering the harsh environmental conditions of the NSW country regions in which Hilda travelled, lived and worker, it is remarkable that the dress has stood the test of time.

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    Agriculture

    Pioneer Park houses a broad range of farming and agricultural equipment, from tractors and harvesters for all different crops, farming tools, and original inventions such as the carrot washer, all used throughout Griffith’s agricultural history. Most of this equipment is stored in the numerous sheds, each containing a specific genre of equipment – whether it be machinery used to clear the land for farming, or equipment used in the irrigation of this land.  

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    Irrigation & Wine Building

    The building was opened in 2013, the exhibit tells the story of Irrigation and the development of the Wine Industry. The Building is proudly sponsored by:Murrumbidgee Irrigation, Wine Grape Marketing Board, McWillams Wines, Casella Wines, DeBortoli Wines, Wurburn Estate, Toorak Wines, Westend Wines, Lillypilly Wines, Zappacosto Wines and A&G Engineering.

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    Bagtown Complex

    A Bagtown exhibit was constructed at Pioneer Park in 1988 as part of the Bicentennial Project, celebrating 22 years of white settlement. Governments and communities sought ways for this historical milestone to be celebrated, and were encouraged to select things of some permanence, rather than one off events that would soon be forgotten. The eight buildings within the exhibit are: Hana’s Bakery; C. Funnell Hairdresser and Newsagent; Jacob’s General Store; A Cummings Ladies and Children’s Wear; Married Quarters; Post Office; Tango Bar; and Methodist Church Hut.

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    The Italian Museum

    The Griffith Italian Museum recognizes the significant contribution of the Italian community to the social, cultural and physical development of Griffith and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. It was largely built by the community of Griffith and funded by the Italian community and Arts New South Wales. It embodies many symbolic meanings, including the passion felt by Italian descendants of Griffith that their early migration memories and experiences – pre Second World War – be recognized, and preserved for posterity.  

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