Muswellbrook Shire Local & Family History Society celebrating 60th anniversary

THEY are the keepers of all things past and present – and have been for six decades.

So, it’s fitting the Muswellbrook Shire Local & Family History Society (MSL&FHS) Inc will celebrate its 60th anniversary this weekend. 

To acknowledge the occasion, the organisation is hosting an Open Day in its rooms, at the rear of the local library, on Saturday between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

The members will put on a morning tea, too.

“It’s a good opportunity for interested people to view our amazing collection of approximately 12,000 photographs and some interesting documents,” Garry Meissner said.

“We have a large collection of material to help visitors conduct research in many fields, including copies of all the Muswellbrook Chronicles (from 1898) as well as the Maitland Mercury up until the date of the first Chronicle; data bases of the Muswellbrook and Denman cemeteries with a full photographic record of all visible graves; maps of Muswellbrook (dating back to the 1800s), showing early purchases; council rate records; a great many family histories, which have been donated to the MSL&FHS; and heaps more. 

“The group boasts three objectives: 1) to collect, preserve and promote the social, cultural and physical history of Muswellbrook and the Upper Hunter region, its environs and its people for future generations; 2) to promote public access to our collection and research facilities; and 3) to provide information, advice and assistance to individuals, community groups, organisations and businesses.

“Despite what some may think, we’re still utilised a lot these days.

“Family history is always popular, as are cemetery and shire records.

“We’ve also assisted [Muswellbrook Shire] council in recent times.

“People are interested in the background of properties and homes, too, for development application purposes.”

It was June 11, 1958, which saw a public meeting called to consider forming a historical society.

And, the motion was carried with 30 residents in attendance at the Rotary room.

“The meetings continued there until March 14, 1961, when the new premises (above the Rotary room) were acquired,” Mr Meissner said.

“We then moved into Weidmann Cottage with a housewarming party on December 3, 1988, before arriving at our present location in mid-2012.

“A lot has changed since then, especially the advent of the internet and modern technology.

“You can Google so much material on the web.”

On Saturday, June 16, the society will also conduct a lunch at the historic Railway Hotel.