WORDS AND PICTURES – A MUSEUM OPENS AT MELALEUCA
Images and stories are on the walls at last!
In January 2017 members of the Wildcare volunteer group Friends of Melaleuca screwed 16 display panels on the walls of the Deny King Heritage Museum at Melaleuca. The result looks stunning. This project was achieved with assistance from the Tasmanian government under Arts Tasmania’s Small Museums and Collections grants scheme, and of course a great deal of planning and work from FoM volunteers!
The museum building, originally a bird observation hide and visitor centre, was named in recognition of Deny King the legendary local tin-miner, naturalist and artist. The new display panels depict the history of the tin mining area around Melaleuca and give a glimpse of what it was like to live in a remote area. Visitors glimpse even older industries that were carried out in Port Davey, such as whaling, Huon-pine cutting and even shipbuilding.
Visitors come to Melaleuca to be immersed in the landscape, and the museum provides an opportunity to explain the natural environment, its geology, flora and fauna. There is an emphasis on birds as the building still houses a telescope and is a good place to spot birds including the Orange-bellied Parrot. And in a climate like Melaleuca’s, the weather is an important theme.
Many people were generous in allowing use of their photographs. Consequently the displays
are rich with gorgeous images on large display panels beautifully designed by graphic designer Lea Walpole of Queenstown.
Setting up a museum in a remote location like Melaleuca had its challenges and required a lot of meticulous forward planning. In December the panels were carefully stowed on board a boat and arrived safe and sound for installation during January. It was rewarding to see tourists, yachties and bushwalkers visiting the museum and appreciating the new displays.