Comboyne to get museum and cultural centre

The beautiful village of Comboyne is getting its own historical museum and cultural centre.

It will be in an old wooden house built in 1925 for Theodore Thomas Hurrell, whose descendants still live on the plateau.

On Friday January 19, Leonie Stevens and Jenny Hurrell from the Comboyne Community Association showed Oxley member Melinda Pavey and Mayor Peta Pinson around the property, which had been hosed out by members of the Comboyne Rural Fire Brigade in preparation for the visit.

The president of the Comboyne Community Association, Margot Anderson, said they were delighted that this day had come.

“We have big plans for the future.  We will have a men’s shed, and an artist in residence.  This museum and cultural centre will be a big attraction for visitors to Comboyne, as well as local people.  It will help us all to understand the early settlers’ lives,” she said.

Comboyne is ‘legendairy’ for its dairy industry, and timber and potatoes were once big business too.

“We have a lot of artefacts highlighting the domestic and social life here, including a sulky which was donated to us,” said Leonie Stevens.

The Hurrell house was bought by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, along with a site on the other side of the road.  They have now leased it to the community association for five years, with a five year option.  The association used a grant of $7,500 from the council to reconnect the power, clear the grounds, fix up the driveway and put new gates on. 

Georgia Connell from the association applied for and received $20,000 in funding from the NSW government, under the Community Building Partnership.  They’ll use it to renovate the roof and get a water tank for the museum.

Among those present were Colin and Lyn Amos whose grandfather, Herbert Hope Amos, built the house before moving to Sydney in 1925.

“He came over in a horse and cart to move his tools.  He made the doors and windows and everything in the house,” said Colin.

Comboyne man Rod Fisher has seen many changes in the area over the years.

“In the early days, the main businesses were timber and dairy.  Now, the milk factories and cheese factories are gone,” he said.

The Comboyne Community Association are planning an event on May 1 for the John Oxley bicentenary, called ‘Back to Comboyne’.  They hope to attract people whose ancestors came from the area.  And Georgia Connell is compiling a cookery book of old-fashioned recipes for scones, cakes and sponges, to raise funds.