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MID NORTH COAST

April 22nd - 28th

Shining a light on the heritage and museums of the region

Tucked away in museums big and small all over the Mid North Coast are some rare treasures and some very everyday objects. However they all have a story to tell of the fascinating and varied history and changing lifestyles of the region. This rich heritage is found not only in the stories and collections of our museums but in our buildings and landscapes.

SHINE provides the opportunity to shine a light on this heritage by showcasing it through a number of unique special events being staged, many in the twilight or evening or with a twist on the concept of shining a light on our heritage.

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Local Gems

Many small communities across the Mid North Coast treasure their history and preserve and protect it in different ways through their very small museums, their halls, churches and in some cases local Clubs. We encourage you to take the time and search out these shining local gems.

Headlights, Spotlights & Blue Light

Our rivers were once the highways and byways of the region. Settlements and farms were established along and around the four rivers and their estuaries with boats of all shapes and sizes moving people and produce. Once roads were established, river ferries and punts were used to cross our rivers and eventually bridges were built to connect communities to each other.

Highway Of Light

For hundreds of years now the historic lighthouses dotted along the Mid North Coast have been lighting up our dramatic coastline. These towering symbols of our maritime heritage offer a unique experience. Some lighthouses in NSW national parks offer tours and stays in restored lighthouse cottages.

Under Local Street Lights

There are a number of self guided tours you can follow on the Mid North Coast. Many of these are heritage walks while others showcase culture and art in ways that equally tells wonderful stories giving an insight into our community.

Shining A Light On Our Cultural Trails

Take one of our our heritage related Cultural Trails as part of this festival

Aboriginal Heritage

Check out our Aboriginal Cultural Trail for cultural tours, Aboriginal galleries and more.

Public Art

Check out the diverse range of public art across the region in our Public Art Trail.

Our Local Gems

For a complete list of all Museums on the Mid North Coast visit:

Bulahdelah Courthouse Museum

The Courthouse, built in 1886, sits majestically on a hill overlooking the Myall River. It offers a fascinating insight into the district’s colourful past, particularly the logging industry. Its cells out the back are well worth a visit as they were once considered “luxurious”. The museum is open Saturdays 9am to 3pm. Ann Street, Bulahdelah. For more information give them a call on 4997 9274 or view their website below:

Dorrigo Memorial RSL Club

The Dorrigo Memorial RSL is a traditional club with a strong focus on commemoration, community and respect.  It has an extensive war memorabilia collection and RSL library. Open daily 8am to midnight. 2 Hickory St, Dorrigo. For more information give them a call on 66572294.

 

Headlands Historical Museum

This small museum is teeming with curios and heritage items telling local stories. There is an extensive collection of historic photographs as well as farm implements, gramophones, needlework and lots more. Open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 4pm. Liston St, Nambucca Heads. For more information give them a call on 6569 4353 or view their website:

Maritime Museum. South West Rocks

This small but fascinating local museum is housed in one of the historic boatman’s cottages in South West Rocks. It also houses the South West Rocks Visitor Information Centre. Open daily from 9am to 4pm. 1 Ocean Avenue, South West Rocks. Phone 6566 7099 or view their website:

Quambi House

This two-storey Georgian style school house/museum displays furniture, clothing, personal and household items, photographs and other objects from the late 1800s through to the mid 1900s. The restored, convict built building also houses a collection of historic books from the Australian Agricultural Company. Open Sundays from 1.10pm to 3pm. 87 Cowper St, Stroud.

For more information view their website:

Urunga Museum

The Urunga Museum is located in the School of Arts Building on 33 Morgo Street Urunga. While small it presents a good cross section of objects from the region and is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm.

Camden Haven Historical Society Museum

Housed in the School of Arts building in Laurieton the museum focuses on the Camden Haven Valley and its villages and features displays on timber-getting, fishing, marine activities, farming and more. Open Monday to Friday 9is to 1pm. Bold St, Laurieton. For more information give them a call on 6556 9664 or view website: 

Gloucester Museum

This houses a significant collection of military memorabilia as well as a local collection of photos documents and artefacts (particularly tools). The museum is also known for its extensive collection of Australian rocks and minerals. Open Tuesday & Thursday 10:30am to 1:30pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm. 12 Church Street, Gloucester. For more information give them a call on 02 6558 9989 or view their website: 

Kendall Services & Citizens Club

The first European record of the area and its original inhabitants was made in 1818 by surveyor and explorer John Oxley. It has had a rich heritage based on timber, farming and more recently the arts. Its stories are told in a number of display cases in the heart of the community, its Club. 4 Graham St, Kendall. Phone 6559 4207.

Mary Boulton’s Cottage

This charming replica of a rough-sawn timber domicile is considered typical of those constructed by the early European settlers. The collection at the cottage includes antique utensils, costumes, china and old wares and memorabilia from the turn of the century. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays 2pm to 4pm. 38 Gumma Rd, Macksville. For more information give them a call on 6568 1280 or view their website:

Stroud Courthouse

The first Stroud Courthouse was constructed on this site in the 1840s. The present, convict built building was completed in 1876 and remained in regular use until 1974. However, the police residence and cells were removed in the 1930s. The Stroud Courthouse now serves the district as an historical museum. Open Sundays from 11am to 1pm. 61 Cowper St, Stroud.  For more information view their website:

The Highway of Light

For hundreds of years now the historic lighthouses dotted along the Mid North Coast have been lighting up our dramatic coastline. These towering symbols of our maritime heritage offer a unique experience. Some lighthouses in NSW national parks offer tours and stays in restored lighthouse cottages.

During SHINE our lighthouses are featured in special events at Smokey Cape Lighthouse and the Mid North Coast Maritime Museum but why not check out our beacons of light.

From south to north these are:

 

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse stands on a dramatic headland east of Seal Rocks village. Completed in 1875, it is the first lighthouse designed by colonial architect James Barnet and one of only two towers in Australia with an external stairway. It was originally built to guide ships along the rocky coastline, after a number of incidents, including the shipwrecking of the SS Catterthun and the Rainbow. Despite the coast being illuminated by the lighthouse, 20 wrecks have occurred since the lighthouse was built.

Below the lighthouse are the Lighthouse Keepers’ quarters and outbuildings that have been refurbished to offer holiday accommodation for visitors. On the grassy slopes next to the lookout point and cliff edge, you’ll see three memorials dedicated to people associated with the lighthouse.

Designated of State Heritage Significance February 22 2019.

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
Crowdy Head

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

The Crowdy Head Lighthouse was built in 1878  to support the work of a pilot station was established in 1860 at nearby Harrington to assist ships navigating the entrance of the Manning River with cargoes of timber, livestock and limestone. It was the last of a series of small lighthouses designed by James Barnette Crowdy Head tower was made of stone and painted white.  It was originally manned by one light keeper. In 1928 the apparatus was converted to automatic acetylene operation providing 1500 candelas and the keepers withdrawn. The light was finally converted to mains electricity in June 1972.

Tacking Point Lighthouse

Built in 1879 by NSW architect James Barnet, Tacking Point Lighthouse is the thirteenth oldest lighthouse in Australia. The lighthouse sits atop a rocky headland which offers stunning panoramic views along Australia’s Mid-North Coast. Due to the elevation of the rocky headland, the lighthouse itself is only eight metres high. The lighthouse reserve is open all year. Access via Lighthouse Road just south of Port Macquarie. The tower is closed to the public. but there are extensive interpretation panels available telling its many stories

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Smoky Cape Lighthouse, Hat Head National Park

Smokey Cape Lighthouse

Smoky Cape Lighthouse is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park. Built in 1891, this heritage lighthouse is one of the last designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. Smoky Cape headland was so named by Captain Cook after he saw Aboriginal fires burning there in 1770.

 

South Solitary Island Lighthouse

South Solitary Island Light is an active lighthouse on South Solitary Island, an island within the Solitary Islands Marine Park, about 15 kilometres northeast of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. The lighthouse located at the summit of the island was automated in 1975. Access is now restricted but tours are run limited times a year.

Under Local Street Lights

There are a number of self-guided tours you can follow on the Mid North Coast. Many of these are heritage walks while others showcase culture and art in ways that equally tells wonderful stories giving an insight into our community.

Bowraville Historic Walk

Known as The Verandah Post Town, this peaceful hideaway is home to two museums, the art deco Bowraville Theatre and nine other heritage buildings featured in this guide. Brochure available from Nambucca Council and Visitor Information services.

Gumgali Track - Korora Lookout in the Orara East State Forest.

Gumbaynggirr Elders granted permission to tell the story of Gumgali along the 400-metre walk to Korora Lookout through art, sculpture and sound. The walk involves an entry statement followed by large sculptural elements by John van der Kolk. The first sculpture uses timber and metal to tell the story of Gumgali, showing the whole coastline, Gumgali the goanna and the hunters. Weighing in at half a tonne, the three-metre tall sculpture was crafted from local Brushbox timber. The second two metre tall postcards sculpture has three small windows to create perfectly framed vistas of the coastline at different eye levels. The Ironbark piece is a unique way for the Instagram generation to instantly frame and share their Gumgali experience with the world.

Macksville History Walk.

This walk through the centre of Macksville showcases ten historic buildings as well as the general history of the town. Brochure available from Nambucca Council and Visitor Information services.

Port Macquarie Shipping Trail, Port Macquarie

The Port Macquarie shipwreck trail features some thirty bronze circular plaques embedded into the lawn within Town Beach Park, fronting the Hastings River. Coordinated by the Port Macquarie Maritime Museum between 1992-1995, the plaques feature individual vessels that traded to Port Macquarie

Stroud Heritage Walk

Stroud was established 1824 as the centre for the extensive holdings that were granted to the Australian Agricultural Company, the first company formed to develop fine wool and crops for the English market. Many of the town’s early convict built structures still exist. The Stroud Heritage Walk highlights nearly 30 historic colonial buildings, all are well signposted. Visit Stroud Newsagency or Crafty Friends in Cowper St. to obtain your free copy of the walk.

Woolgoolga Heritage Walk

This walk features 16 heritage panels placed along the street verge from "Top Town" on River St to "downtown" on Beach St, through to Wharf St. Themes addressed on the panels include indigenous history, early settlers, logging & sawmills, rail line & jetty (neither of which still exists), Woolgoolga in the wars, various industries, early schooling, original tavern, early policing and the Sikh community. Copies of the brochure are available at the local Visitor Information Centre, Corner Beach St and Boundary St, Woolgoolga (6654 8080) or online:

Gloucester Mosaic Walk

This easy walk through the heart of Gloucester depicts the history of Gloucester from the earliest days to present time through a series of mosaic art pieces. Some are on the footpath, some murals on building walls and others decorate local street furniture and meeting places. The Walk begins outside the Visitor Information Centre where you can pick up you trail guide. 27 Denison Street Gloucester. Telephone 02 6538 5252

 

Herons Creek History Trail

Discover the simplicity of times gone by when you visit one of Australia’s original “timber towns” and discover it all on these newly-opened group of Heritage Trails. Follow your choice of Pioneer Way, Village Way, Cedar Way or Great North Way – or all of them! – and retrace history. With over 30 signposted points of historical prominence, your footsteps will follow the great heritage of Herons Creek from the 1800s onwards.

 

Macleay Valley Heritage Trails

Kempsey Council has developed a series of nine different heritage trails to encourage people to explore its history and many of its small towns and villages. The walks cover: Bellbrook, Central Kempsey, East Kempsey, Gladstone, Kinchela, Smithtown, South West Rocks, West Kempsey and Willawarrin.

Remembering Our Convict Heritage Walk. Port Macquarie

You can rediscover the convict and colonial past of Port Macquarie by following its Port Macquarie Heritage Trail. Named after Governor Macquarie in 1818 the town was one of the first settlements outside of Sydney and is one of the oldest penal settlements outside of Sydney. The first convicts arrived in 1821 and it remained a place of banishment until 1847, although it was opened to free settlers in 1830. The signposted Heritage Trail takes in 13 locations. Pick up a brochure from the Glasshouse Visitor Information Centre or download from website below:

Wingham Heritage Walk

Dating back to 1844 Wingham is a very picturesque town laid out around a traditional English village green. It was the first government town on the Manning River, established at the upper limit of navigation. Today there still remain many examples of its late 19th century architecture with a very intact streetscape around the village green. The Wingham Heritage Walk focuses on this area but also takes you to Wingham Brush, a precious remnant of rainforest. The full walk is approximately five kilometres. The heritage walk brochure is available at the Manning Valley Historical Museum in Farquhar Street, Wingham and the Manning Valley Visitor Information Centre at 21 Manning River Drive, Taree.

Headlights & Spotlights And Blue Light

Our rivers were once the highways and byways of the region. Settlements and farms were established along and around the four rivers and their estuaries with boats of all shapes and sizes moving people and produce. Once roads were established, river ferries and punts were used to cross our rivers and eventually bridges were built to connect communities to each other.

Capture this heritage with a journey on our two remaining car ferries.

Capture this heritage with a journey on our two remaining car ferries.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council operates two ferries that provide vehicle access across the Hastings River to the North Shore, The Settlement Point Ferry and the Hibbard Ferry.  There is no set timetable for ferry crossings, as the time taken to journey across the river varies depending on tidal conditions, but it generally takes no longer than five minutes per crossing.

There is also a car ferry to the Mungo Brush area of Myall Lakes National parks from Bombah Point (operates 8am to 6pm, 7 days a week).

For a different perspective why not take a Sunset Cruise on the Hastings River on board the Port Adventure to capture what life on the river used to be like and enjoy an unforgettable sunset.

To explore our heritage today you don’t even have to leave your home but can do so online

Why not explore the multi-award winning online exhibition, Our Rivers Our History, www.oroh.com.au This covers dozens of stories and objects relating to the Manning, Camden Haven, Hastings and Macleay Rivers.

Another great source of local stories can be found at https://midcoaststories.com/stories/  This is a comprehensive collection of stories. images and local resources that preserve and promotes the unique history of the Gloucester, Great Lakes and Manning regions of NSW.  The stories are intentionally short, factual and often quirky, describing the people, places, and events that have influenced the region.