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Moruya Historical Society turns 50

The idea of a Historical Society began with a meeting in the Zanadvoroff’s house in Broulee to hear a noted ornithologist and historian Alec Chisholm lecture on local birdlife. It was he who suggested that a place so steeped in colonial history should have a Historical Society.

Harry Louttit and Frank Finlayson (Frank was the editor of the Moruya Examiner) took up his idea. A public meeting in the CWA hall was sufficiently enthusiastic for Harry to have the leaflet printed advertising the first meeting to be held at the High School on Sunday night the 14th of June 1970. The Society was to be called the Eurobodalla Historical Society, a society to encompass the whole Shire.

In 1970 John Gorton was Prime Minister and Joe Bjelke-Petersen Premier of Queensland with Gladys Berejiklian about to be born. It was also the year Pope Paul IV visited Australia, the Beatles were definitely breaking up and the younger generation were listening to Johnny Farnham singing “Raindrops keep falling on my head”, the Beatles “Let it be” and John Williamson’s “Old Man Emu”. It was a time when you could get a free secretarial training course with the Commonwealth Public Service and some Moruya High School parents were slightly shocked by the school’s production of “Hair”.

In the first year of its life the Society conducted an exhibition at the Moruya Show where old photographs and artefacts were displayed. The members explored many avenues to obtain suitable premises for the Society to enable the establishment of a Museum and in January 1972 they secured a lease on the front 2 rooms of 39 Queen Street and that summer opened the Museum. The next year 39 Queen St. was put up for auction by the Church of England and the Society was not able to match the $5,000 offered by the highest bidder so were once again looking for premises. Their quest eventually led to the purchase of 85 Campbell Street the western half of two terrace houses which had been built by Abraham Emmott in 1872.

Once ownership of 85 Campbell Street was secure work began in earnest repairing the building to a more habitable standard. As with any old building restoration is an ongoing process and still continues today.

Today the Historical Society has on display many artefacts depicting the history and culture of the area, along with a library containing information on local history and genealogy. There is also an extensive archival collection of information from local businesses and families. Our Museum collection is currently being added to an online database ehive Further information on our Society can be viewed on our website We also have a blog and you will find us on Facebook, Printerest and Flicker.

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