Unlock Cobar's secrets at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre.
Sometimes the suggestion of a visit to a museum brings on thoughts of a way of filling a rather dull or wet afternoon, rather than a tourist attraction in its own right. However, although the Great Cobar Heritage Centre is a museum by any definition, it does indeed offer much of considerable interest.
Set almost in the centre of town right by the former open cut, now local swimming hole and in the former administrative building of the Great Cobar Copper Mine, the Heritage Centre offers a glimpse not only into the history of Cobar but also many items that are common to outback NSW.
There are both internal and external display areas. Much of the latter is taken up by old farm machinery which some might describe as old scrap metal but others including this writer find quite fascinating. Indeed there are a number of items which don't have an obvious use and cause considerable scratching of the head as to their original function.
One of the larger items outside the Heritage Centre is an old railway carriage from the Far West Children's Health Scheme. The Royal Far West, a non-government organisation, still provides health services to children in rural and remote NSW but this baby health centre railway carriage gives a fascinating trip back into the early days of the Far West scheme which was started in 1924. Times and medical techniques have changed to be sure but people's basic needs have not!
Inside the Heritage Centre there is not surprisingly much space devoted to the mining industry both from earlier times and more modern. Taking time around this area gives a good insight into how the local mining industry has waxed and waned, as well as greatly influencing life in the local community.
Of course the there's a good display of various agricultural products, both grain and animal based with wool being one of the more prominent industries. The well set up corrugated iron tin "shed" gives a good feel for the shearing sheds of old.
Not forgotten in the Heritage Centre is a section devoted to the local Aboriginal tribes, in particular the Ngiyampaa people. Amongst all the artwork and cultural items, it's possible to learn how to play an ironstone xylophone.
Included in the general display are a number of artifacts from past time, some from 150 years ago. However, it's just a little revealing when items like a black rotary dial telephone (remember them?) are featured as part of the historical display.
As noted above, a visit to the Great Cobar Heritage Centre should be a first stop in town. It gives a good perspective on the present by understanding the past.
The Great Cobar Heritage Centre is located on the Barrier Hwy, Cobar, NSW. Click here for more information.