Experience all aspects of Hay’s history – from pastoral success to war time woe – at these five fascinating museums.
Nestled in NSW’s south west pocket, the outback town of Hay has more than a few tales to tell. The town boasts a number of fine heritage buildings and a diverse collection of museums, through which visitors can learn about the pastoralists, prisoners of war, shearers and bishops who have all made their mark here. Here, we round up the five must-see museums in Hay, and uncover the secrets they hold.
Bishop’s Lodge is an extraordinary 1888 iron house, designed by architect John Sulman with the first Anglican Bishop of Riverina, Sydney Linton. Their aim was to create a comfortable home to withstand Hay’s summer heat and difficult soils. Even today, the technology evident in this design is significant. The Bishop’s Lodge is surrounded by a wonderfully cool historic garden which features a remarkable collection of heritage roses. Wander the garden paths, tour through the house and outbuildings, discover the people of the house, chat to one of the volunteers, find a unique memento to purchase and delight in the tranquillity of this marvellous nineteenth century property.
Bishop’s Lodge is located on the corner of Sturt Hwy and Roset St, Hay, NSW.
Learn of daring escapes, brilliant minds and friendship forged in the Hay Camps at this unusual museum. The Dunera Museum tells the stories of extraordinary times during WWII. At the end of the railway line, far from the sea and surrounded by flat plains, Hay was an ideal location for the first Australian concentration camps of WWII. These civilian detention centres housed enemy aliens from Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan and their allies. Even Japanese peal divers from Broome and Italian farmers from Griffith found themselves detained here. Later the camps contained Italian and Japanese POWs captured in combat in North Africa and the Pacific. Hay’s population doubled overnight in September 1940.
Dunera Museum is located within the carriages beside the platform at the Hay Railway Station, 421 Murray St, Hay, NSW. Click here for more information.
HAY GAOL MUSEUM
A community museum since 1976, the Hay Gaol holds a fascinating collection of local artefacts and memorabilia. Lose yourself amongst its wealth of memories and reminders of rural and town life during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Talk to one of our living treasures as they develop the Gaol’s powerful stories. Echoes of past inmates tell sad stories of incarceration at the Hay Gaol. From lawbreakers to foreign Prisoners of War to the insane and the unloved. Only now are the truths beneath the Hay Institution for Girls of the 1960s and early 1970s being uncovered and told.
Hay Gaol Museum is located at 355 Church St, Hay, NSW.
HAY WAR MEMORAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM
What better way to commemorate the young Hay District lives lost in the Great War than a living memorial? Educating future generations became the focus as the Hay community came to terms with its losses. Within the 1923 main building of the school you will find the district’s honour rolls and a growing collection of artefacts, photographs and documents relating to both district war service across the twentieth century and the school itself. Commemoration for ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day continue to centre on this unique living war memorial. Hay War Memorial High School’s own vibrant history, educating generations of students can also be glimpsed, This museum within a school aims to connect young people today to young people from their collective past.
The Hay War Memorial high School Museum is located at 216 Pine St, Hay NSW.
Shear Outback offers visitors a great insight into the Australian shearing industry, from the legendary stations of our folk lore to the significant industrial changes the unions achieved and life for the shearing fraternity today. Through a contemporary interpretive museum and the authentic feel and smell of a traditional shearing shed, the story of this huge pastoral industry unfolds. Marvel at the Shearers’ Hall of Fame, take time to enjoy a live shearing demonstration, recharge in the café and find unusual souvenirs in the shop. Check out what’s on in the gallery which showcases excellent temporary and travelling exhibitions.
Shear Outback is located on the corner of Sturt and Cobb Hwys, Hay, NSW. Click here for more information.