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Welcome to your autumn newsletter, we hope you  discover new things to do, visit new exhibitions and make opportunities to meet other members. Take time to read about “What is on” in the museum and  embrace the many activities we have on offer .


Whether it's exploring the Plunge Festival in April, attending an informative talk, or participating in members meetings, our newsletter aims to provide a guide to it all.


We hope to inform you about our volunteers work, the caterers, the collection team and the volunteers at the desk. Maybe you could help?


We hope you enjoy the most of the museum and activitie over these autumn months.

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President's Report

At the Members meeting on Friday 17th November it was agreed to change the Museum Opening Hours – 10AM to 2PM on the same days that we’re now open: Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sat/Sun. This means there will be only ONE shift per day for 4 hours, maintaining 2 Front Desk (FD) volunteers per shift. The reduction from being open 24.5 hours per week to 20 hours per week with only one roster shift does not appear initially to be a large one, yet this makes quite a difference in the commitment level and organisation of FD roster volunteers – from 64 to 40 volunteer spots that need to be filled each month.  


This decision was made after many months of discussion by the Committee, exploring other options with FD volunteers and the Roster Officer Bev Mansfield, and further consideration at the Members meeting of the following: impact on admissions and takings; the appeal to local artists of hiring the Old Kirk; closing up after Hearing Australia on Tuesdays in the Function Room; comparison with other museums in the region; and analysing the data we collect on days/times of our museum visitors. In relation to the latter, there was no pattern, nor any one day nor timeslot that stood out.


The new hours will start from Tuesday 6 February, 2024, giving all of us time to review what we can offer on the FD roster and respond to Bev Mansfield’s recent email, and of course change our promotional signs, flyer, website, social media, advertising on community noticeboard and inform Council and tourism organisations.I thank everyone involved in the decision-making process and their thoughtful contributions.

Year in Review

At the November Committee meeting we reviewed what had been achieved during 2023 as per our Strategic Plan – we’ve completed 18 actions/projects since mid January. You will have read about this work in previous newsletters or heard my AGM report, but I feel it’s important to recognise the additional projects and workload taken on by the Committee and those volunteers who take an active and advisory role with these projects.

The 2023 projects include completion of two Yaegl designed murals; relocation of the front desk and Bookshop area; reorganisation of the Flinders Room with a dedicated space for the Collection Team; replacing the server; installing an honour board for Life Members; conservation of 5 maritime signals from the Breakwater Room; replacing the Old Kirk’s front steps which were badly water damaged.


Some of these projects were funded by grants, such as the murals, honour board for Life Members, Kirk steps; others were funded from the Society’s finances, such as the new server and part of the conservation cost of the 5 maritime signals.


Planting bee

On a Monday morning about 1 month go, a few volunteers spent 2 hours planting approx 45 new bush plants in the Yaegl Cultural garden. We laboured in high humidity and got very lucky with all the good recent – the watering roster group is relieved! We were able to access funds from a NSW Government Stipend Grant of $2,000, awarded to small NFP museums for the very first time.
















Free furniture from Grafton Regional Gallery

The Director of Grafton Regional Gallery Sarah Gurich has been very generous in offering to not-for-profit organisations across the Clarence Valley display furniture surplus to the gallery’s needs. We’ve been most fortunate in getting three items for free: a display case on casters with a perspex lid, a lectern, and a square medium size white plinth. The display case and lectern were designed and made by Neil Scobie. (Read more on this designer).


Security lighting in Yaegl Cultural Garden

With luck, we’ll have solar lighting in the YCG before Christmas – local electrician Chris Young is planning to source and install solar panels on poles – 2 poles outside the front entrance and 2 poles on the edge of the carpark. These panels will provide lighting over the pathway around the museum building and across the carpark when it’s dark, adding to our current security measures. The large pole on the right hand side of the Old Kirk (looking from River Street) will also have a solar panel installed, replacing the current light that needs to be switched on from inside the Old Kirk. The cost of approximately $3,500 is funded by a grant from the FRRR charity organisation.


Christmas lunch

Following the success of last year’s Christmas function, we’re again having lunch at the Wobbly Chook on Friday 8th December, from 12 noon at the outside tables. There’ll be two special gifts as door prizes. Please respond to the email from Secretary Anne Dinham to secure your seat, or email .


Summer Holiday Closures

We will close Yamba Museum on Thursday 21st December and re-open on Tuesday 2nd January 2024 – this is a welcome break for all volunteers.


My warmest wishes to all members and their families for a safe, relaxing and festive 2023 Christmas season.

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Neil Scobie, who died aged 63 in 2016, was internationally recognised woodworker and presenter. After teaching at schools he taught at his workshop in Lower Bucca, made furniture for commission and for exhibition, presented at symposiums in USA and Europe and wrote textbooks and for magazines. He could design, turn, carve, join and embellish wood with consummate skill.

The Clarence Valley was introduced to Neil at the annual Seelands Exhibition (1990-1996). Most of the furniture for the Grafton Regional Gallery shop and exhibition display units were made by Neil who could solve most design criteria to create beautiful and functional forms.

Neil Scobie 2016.jpg


Our Museum Opening Hours have changed – 10AM to 2PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. This means there will be only ONE shift per day for 4 hours, maintaining 2 Front Desk (FD) volunteers per shift. The reduction from being open 24.5 hours per week to 20 hours per week with only one roster shift does not appear initially to be a large one, yet this makes quite a difference in the commitment level and organisation of front desk roster volunteers – from 64 to 40 volunteer spots that need to be filled each month.


Bev our volunteer Co-ordinator is always looking for new volunteers to help support these new opening hours. Flexibility is key and Bev will be happy to discuss options that may be suitable to you. Call or email Bev, so our stunning museum can be seen by everyone who wishes to visit.

Mobile: 0499588137  Email:

Bev Mansfield served up the damper. Image: Lynne Mowbray.

Can You Help ?


YOLO:  A Brushstroke Towards Responsible Driving

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The Old Kirk Yamba — Unveiling the canvas of consciousness, the YOLO

Art Exhibition brings forth a vivid collection of over 50 thought-provoking exhibits, primarily paintings, aimed at young and learner drivers.


Embracing the spirit of "You Only Live Once," this exhibition transcends

artistic boundaries to impart a crucial message about responsible driving.

Through the lens of creativity, YOLO captures the risks of poor driving

behaviour, shedding light on potential consequences, from bad
habits to distractions. Join us in this immersive experience, as we weave a tapestry of awareness for safer roads and mindful journeys.

Our Creators of Tasty Treats

Our museum is lucky to have found volunteer caterers who are experienced and passionate about food, fun and making people feel welcome. Brenda, Kerry and Jan - along with others at larger events- manage to make the catering job look easy and effortless. Brenda who has been involved with food for many years is great at what she does, she focuses on planning and discussing with her team each event and any dietary concerns that need to be considered . The response to the refreshments is always one of delight, one recent visitor commented -” I was a caterer and I could never make scones as good as these! “ Praise indeed for Brenda and her team.


Maritime Bar Signals - Collection Updates

The Collection Team recently arranged for the five maritime bar signals in our collection to be conserved as they were in a deteriorated state. The signals, constructed of thick canvas tightly stretched over a timber and wire armature, have been identified and recorded as significant items in the collection.


Jan Angelo, Collection Team Coordinator and her husband Rick, drove the signals to Sydney securely packed in their car so they could be assessed and conserved by Tess Evans at Heritage Heights Conservation in North Curl Curl. After conservation, the signals were returned to Yamba by courier. The cost of the conservation was $4,400, partly funded through a grant from Create NSW’s

Rescue & Restart program, and partly from PYHS funds. The conservation process consisted of cleaning, varnishing and patching the signals in sympathy with their original appearance.


These signals are an important aspect of Yamba’s maritime history as they were used to
communicate with boats attempting to cross the Clarence River bar. Maritime Services employees were required to hoist these large signals onto the flagstaff on Pilot Hill (which now stands in Story Park, adjacent to the Museum) to indicate the safety or otherwise of crossing the bar. For example, if two black balls were raised onto each arm of the flagstaff, this indicated the bar was safe to cross.
Two black balls on one of the arms meant the swell was moderate and boats should proceed with caution. The green cone between two red balls showed the port was closed.

The newly-conserved signals can be viewed in the Breakwater Room.

How it has changed?

Murray Views Studio Gympie No 2. Postcard

This postcard shows car parking and camping on Flinders Park with the Pacific Hotel in the background.

Pre 1950

Dark post- World War ll tents, can be seen in this postcard. But exactly what are Dark post- World War ll tents ...

Dark post-World War II tents refer to a type of tent that was commonly used during the post-war period. These tents were typically made of canvas or other durable materials and were designed to provide temporary shelter for displaced individuals or military personnel. The term "dark" in this context may refer to the color of the tent material, which was often a dark shade such as olive green or khaki. These tents were used for various purposes, including housing, medical facilities, storage, and other temporary infrastructure needs. They played a crucial role in providing basic living conditions and support during the post-World War II period.


The Plunge Festival in Clarence Valley, NSW is an annual event that showcases a variety of cultural, artistic, and recreational activities.


It is a celebration of the local community and aims to promote tourism in the region. The festival typically features live music performances, art exhibitions, food stalls, workshops, and interactive experiences.


Visitors can expect to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, enjoy local cuisine, explore the arts and crafts on display, and participate in various activities suitable for all ages. It is a great opportunity to engage with the local community and experience the unique offerings of the Clarence Valley.

Click here to see the program ...

Whilst the world is in turmoil artist Caroline Varendorff's beautiful paintings of nature in all its purity brings a calmness to the viewer. This local artist has exhibited extensively and now brings to Yamba her collection along with Caroline's husband Paul Varendorff who has included some of his ink sketches in the show. Paul was a landscape designer and his drawing skills were greatly enjoyed by his clients who often purchased and framed the drawings he did for their projects.

Attendees at the opening last Friday evening said "it's one of the better art exhibitions held in The Old Kirk!". The public are invited to view and enjoy this wonderful display of pencil works  and paintings. Entry is via the museum at $5 per adult, children under 15 are free.  This wonderful exhibition closes on Sunday 28th January. Artwork will be available for purchase. Examples of her work and bio can be found on her website:

Caroline has been exhibiting her work for the last 20 years at galleries and for Art Prizes in Sydney, the Central Coast, Byron Shire and the Lower Clarence. In February 2022 her exhibition “Captivating Clarence” (charcoal drawings) at the Grafton Regional French Door Gallery was a great success with a number of sales. During the period of this exhibition Caroline won first prize in the Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts Exhibition with her painting “Decomposition”.

During the mid ‘70s Caroline attended an art college in The Hague, Netherlands where she studied painting, life drawing and ceramic sculpture. Returning to Australia, she continued her studies at the National Art School (“East Sydney Tech”) with a course in bronze casting.

Her years in Sydney were spent doing part-time office administration while continuing her art practice. She entered art competitions in Sydney and the Central Coast, being chosen as a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize (2009), and in the Gosford Art Prize every year from 2007-2011. Returning to the North Coast in 2012 Caroline entered the Border Art Prize each year and won prizes in the annual Ocean Shores Art Expo until moving to the Lower Clarence in 2020.

The exhibition ‘All Things Great and Small’ provides the viewer with the broad scope of Caroline’s art practice which ranges from landscape to still-life to figurative in oils and charcoal. 

Click on the image to see more pictures of the visit

All Things Great and Small - The Opening !

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