top of page




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?

President's Report

Our first volunteer activity for 2024 was very successful – many volunteers spent the morning of Friday 23 February being refreshed and reminded at AVID (Annual Volunteer Information Day) of procedures for keeping the museum operation running effectively. There are always small improvements we can make. The newly updated Handbook for Volunteers was distributed so please collect your own personal copy next time you are on the Front Desk roster – spare copies are in a plastic sleeve in the Refence Box. All present on the day found that there had been a smooth transition to our new opening hours (10AM-2PM Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sat/Sun), with a few volunteers still negotiating their roster timeslots with Bev Mansfield (Roster Officer). Many thanks to everyone who presented, participated and offered suggestions.


Solar panels in garden

Four very tall new poles with solar panels were installed in the Yaegl Cultural Garden on Thursday 22 February – 2 on either side of the front entrance and 2 overlooking the back entrance and carpark. A fifth solar panel was attached to the large pole outside the Old Kirk. These panels will provide significant additional lighting over the pathway around the museum building and across the carpark when it’s dark, adding to our current security measures, as well as defining the museum precinct. Electrician Chris Young and excavation staff from Wicks and Parker at Townsend were careful not to trample or disturb any plants or trees, so the garden is in good order.



We are almost finished in getting our long-awaited NBN upgrade that allows for a changeover to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). New cabling has been established with a new NBN connection device attached to the eastern wall, and cabling to install a new Telstra modem in the office. This has been a project that’s taken more than 2 years of negotiation with NBN, Telstra, the NSW Ombudsman, several technician visits and support from Kevin Hogan Federal MP for Page. The upgrade was mandated by NBN, meaning that there was no cost to our Society for the cabling and connection, and there’s to be no additional cost to our monthly account. Our only expense will be $300 for electrical cabling. All Flinders Room volunteers, in particular our researchers, website coordinators, newsletter editor and Collection Team, have been patiently waiting for this improved service.


YOLO exhibition – You Only Live Once

I encourage you to make some time to visit our current Old Kirk exhibition by local Myra James who has attracted much interest including visits from NSW Department of Transport officers, local police, State MP Richie Williamson and local schools. Myra’s artworks target young and learner drivers, conveying thought-provoking messages about Road Safety, with a focus on the severe consequences of irresponsible driving behaviour. Myra was interviewed by local representatives of the NSW Ministry of Transport, Alexie Millar and Nerida Woldseth, and she has received a personal letter from Jenny Aitchson MP, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads. All purchases of artworks are treated as donations to the Westpac Helicopter service. It will close on Sunday 24th March. 


Surfing exhibition during April

Our special in-house exhibition on surfing history at Yamba and Angourie will feature throughout the month of April in the Old Kirk, for the CV Plunge festival. This has been curated over several months by a small team of dedicated volunteers, coordinated by Gai Pritchett. Local surfers and their families have contributed their old surfboards, stunning photographs, personal treasures and trophies, fashion-wear, and of course surfing stories. It’s of such significance that it has been awarded a full page in this year’s Plunge booklet. The opening event will be on Easter Saturday – 31st March at 5pm, cost of $10 at payable at the door. Hoping to see you there.

New garden solar lighting and so helpful for many reasons. Place your cursor on image to see the arrows. then click the arrow to go from one image to next.


Our Museum Opening Hours have changed and we are still opened five days a week  – 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 Roster Officer 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

yolo v2_edited.jpg

The opening of Myra James ‘You Only Live Once’ Exhibition had a profound effect on all who attended at The Old Kirk, Yamba Museum.  Every art piece conveyed a thought provoking message, some you needed to look hard to find the essential element.


Myra’s heartfelt plea “getting your licence is such a hard job and losing it is so easy. There are too many young people being senselessly killed. I just had to do something to get the message across.” Myra hopes parents bring their teenage children to view the works and generate discussion.

A special attendance by Lismore based Westpac Helicopter Pilot, Zeke Huish, whose ‘chopper’ featured in one of Myra’s paintings. Zeke reminded the audience of his regular weekly visits to our area transporting accident victims. Travis McConnell, from Raine & Horne, conducted an art auction with sale proceeds donated to the Westpac Helicopter service. 

Guests from as far as Coonabarabran and the Hunter Valley thought the artworks brought home the severity of irresponsible driving behaviour.

Annette Burns said of the exhibition “very good we need a lot of young people to see it. One of the paintings in particular resonates as my son-in-law is in a wheelchair as a result of a motorbike accident!”

The exhibition can be viewed until 25th March during museum hours 10am - 2pm

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Adults $5 and children free, which allows access to the museum.


Place your cursor on image to see the arrows. then click the arrow to go from one image to next.

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.

Place your cursor on image to see the arrows. then click the arrow to go from one image to next.

Surfing: Angourie - Yamba
The grand opening of the much anticipated in-house exhibition took place on Easter Saturday with 127 attendees.  Many catch ups and reminisces were accompanied by wide smiles. Thank you to M.C. Doug Brown for his amusing tales, also visiting from Sydney for the occasion one of the greats Ray Moran.  Ray brought his scrapbook of memorabilia which impressed many including John McNamara.  Also visiting from the Gold Coast for the occasion champion Kate Skarrett.  It was wonderful to see so many of the local manufacturers and champions acknowledged. 
The Society thanks the Surfing Team of Gai Pritchett, Fay Brown, Warrwick Hoad, Jude McBean, Susan Masters, Mark Maunsell for their many months of research and work and the creative design by the amazing Susan Ong and John Marcus.
Record numbers have since visited the Museum and will continue through April.  


Gallery will automatically start or  simply click on the image to see a full screen view

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.

?????????? - Collection Updates

Back Then ... Photograph of Breakwater and Pilot Hill

This photograph was taken from the Breakwater looking back towards Pilot Hill, Turner’s Beach and the township. The original print held by the Museum is severely discoloured (see inset) and the image has been digitally enhanced. The number that appears on the photograph and the writing strongly suggests that the photographer was Frederick Peden Hobbs although his initials do not appear – possibly cropped from the original. The number is in the same series as the photograph appearing in the last article, giving a date of photography about September 1907.


Three cottages can be seen at the foot of Pilot Hill. These cottages were on Crown Land, held under Permissive Occupancy by the owners. The Permissive Occupancies had been terminated and the owners instructed by the government to remove the buildings. Advertisements appeared for sale and removal of the buildings in November 1907, after this photograph was taken, and the buildings were removed soon thereafter.


A number of buildings can be seen on the skyline although some are quite indistinct. The Pilot’s residence is on the extreme left. Towards the middle of the photograph is the lighthouse, the lighthouse keeper’s residence and one of the boatman’s cottages. In amongst the trees is the second boatman’s cottage and further down the hill, a cottage owned by Joanna Kastrup, all on Crown Land.


In the distance, along the railway line can be seen Yamba Hotel.


Frederick Peden Hobbs was born in Sydney in 1868 and in his early career, he was the Northern Rivers travelling agent for Messrs Edwards Dunlop & Co who were wholesale stationers and paper merchants. During the 1900s, he had turned his hand to photography and marketing postcards. Working from his father’s home in Burwood, he was advertising for young ladies to do postcard colouring in late 1907. It appears that he may have moved his business to York Street, Sydney where, in 1908, he advertised for a “traveller – good line in postcards, local views and imported, commission, for Northern Line and Rivers” and further “Postcard colouring – Wanted young girls, colour and tinsel; also Retoucher”.


Probably in 1909, Hobbs moved to Murwillumbah where he established a business as stationer and photographer. He was advertising his Newsagency by 1910. However, his interests lay in farming and fruit growing. In the middle of this decade, he sold his businesses in Murwillumbah to concentrate on his farming interests at Terranora.


He died in 1946. A selection of his photographs of Murwillumbah appeared in the Australian Town & Country Journal of 5th October 1910. There are several of his photographs held within the PYHS collection.

Rob Knight

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. 

All Things Great and Small - The Opening !

 Place your cursor on image to see the arrows. then click the arrow to go from one image to next.

bottom of page