Yamba’s Story House
While many people have visited the Yamba Museum over the years, not everyone knows that the very buildings have their own story to tell.
The main building that now houses the Museum was originally the Bowling clubhouse, built in 1937 on Wooli Street. That building was cut in half and finally moved in November 1960 to became the first Golf clubhouse on River Street. When the new Golf clubhouse was opened in November 1974, the old building became redundant.
After lying vacant for some time, the idea of using it for a museum was conceived by a local resident, the late Keith Murray. Despite efforts of a few dedicated volunteers, who did manage to get the land designated ‘for museum purposes’, the project had almost ground to a halt when C.R.E.S.T. (Citizens Radio Emergency Service Teams) members agreed to man the Museum in October 1980, in return for a building to house their radio equipment. This arrangement worked well until C.R.E.S.T. were offered more suitable accommodation on Pilot Hill a year later.
A public meeting was then called to form a Historical Society. The Port of Yamba Historical Society was formed in September 1981 and the former clubhouse building once again changed hands. It was relocated to its present site in December 1982 and after three years of renovation and refurbishment with plenty of support from the local community, the Yamba Museum was officially opened in March 1985.
The Breakwater room, which now houses stories of the earliest history of Yamba, was added in 1992. After a very successful celebration of the Bi-Centenary of Matthew Flinders’ voyage around Australia in 1999, a grant was received which helped to build the Flinders Room, know as the ‘engine room’, where all the backroom work is done, in 2003. Even then there were plans for further expansion. In 1999 Dougherty Brothers had purchased a deconsecrated church and generously donated the building and relocation costs to the Port of Yamba Historical Society. It took another decade of heritage studies, fundraising and grant applications before the move actually happened in 2009. Now known as the Old Kirk and in almost constant use for exhibitions, cultural events and weddings, the former Presbyterian Church was built in 1921 and originally located on Wooli Street near Yamba Street.
Contained within these walls are stories of Yamba, Angourie and Palmers Island, bearing testimony to the tireless efforts of individuals and organisations from the local community to preserve the history of that community. When did you last visit the Yamba Museum