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Museums in Perth and WA


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From ancient indigenous culture to European settlement and beyond, you can explore WA’s rich history at its many museums and heritage sites. Head to Fremantle to discover its maritime and convict past. Further south, Albany is WA’s oldest colonial settlement with an Anzac legacy. North, the pearling town of Broome boasts a colourful multicultural heritage; while Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the interior provides a window into the booming gold rush era.

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WA has a wide array of museums and historical sites, which explore the region’s rich history. From the world’s oldest culture, to colonisation and convicts, to gold rushes, world wars and more, there are many ways to discover our past.

Fremantle Arts Centre

The evocative Australian Gothic-style building opened its doors in 1864 as a lunatic asylum and “invalid depot”. It later housed poor and elderly women, became a WWII US Navy submarine depot and then a technical school. The refurbished limestone venue now has gallery spaces and hosts art courses, while live concerts and other events regularly take place in its leafy courtyard.

WA Museum

Closed to the public while under construction, the natural history museum will reopen as the New Museum for WA in Perth Cultural Centre in 2020. However, you can still find exhibits dotted around Perth, such as the dinosaur skeletons temporarily housed at Perth Concert Hall.

WA Maritime Museum

WA’s affinity with the ocean is celebrated in this state-of-the-art seaside museum in Fremantle. It is home to vessels such as the winning 1983 America’s Cup yacht Australia II, as well as handcrafted sailing boats, a submarine, commercial pearl luggers and more.

Fremantle Prison

Built by convicts in the 1850s, the imposing limestone institution remained in use until 1991. Visitors today can explore its spooky confines and get to know shady inhabitants from its convict beginnings to its days as a maximum security prison. You can even explore its labyrinth of tunnels or brave the torchlight tour.

WA Shipwrecks Museum

Recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere, the WA Shipwrecks Museum is housed in an 1850s-era building featuring hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline.

Scitech

The interactive science museum is designed to educate children of all ages about science, technology, engineering and maths. The venue features a 180 degree planetarium dome and also showcases themed exhibitions.

Other museums in the Perth region
  • Perth Mint
  • Museum of Performing Arts
  • Royal Perth Hospital Museum
  • WA Aviation Museum
  • WA Cricket Association Museum
  • WA Medical Museum
  • Department of Fire and Emergency Services Education and Heritage Centre
  • Gravity Discovery Centre
  • Kalamunda History Village
  • Motor Museum of WAThe Nostalgia Box
National ANZAC Centre

Opened in 2014, the award-winning facility in Albany uses multimedia, interactive technology and historical artifacts to tell the personal stories of the WWI ANZAC soldiers. The venue offers sweeping views of King George Sound, where convoys departed a century ago. It runs in conjunction with the adjacent heritage-listed Princess Royal Fortress in Albany Heritage Park.

Museum of the Great Southern

Overlooking Albany’s picturesque Princess Royal Harbour on the site of first European settlement in WA, this museum shares stories of the Menang Noongar people, the early settlers and convicts. It also showcases the region’s unique natural landscape, flora and fauna, much of which is found nowhere else in the world.

Busselton Jetty Interpretive Centre

The iconic jetty at Busselton’s Geographe Bay is 1841m, making it the longest wooden piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. The refurbished 152-year-old structure now has a train service, Underwater Observatory and boat-shed style Interpretive Centre housing the Cultural Heritage Museum. The museum brings history to life with interactive technologies.

Museum of the Goldfields

Located in the historical gold rush town of Kalgoorlie, you can step into the shoes of the prospectors of the early 1900s by panning for gold and learning about the city’s mining heritage.

Museum of Geraldton

The Museum explores the heritage of the surrounding Mid West region, from the ancient Yamaji culture, shipwrecks and the area’s natural landscapes and marine environment.

Other regional museums
  • Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre
  • Broome Museum
  • Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
  • Manjimup Timber Park
  • Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre
  • Wagin Historical Village
  • Albany Convict Gaol Museum
  • The Brig Amity, Albany
  • Old Farm, Strawberry Hill, Albany
  • Discovery Bay (Whale World), Albany
Historical sites

If you’re after a bit of history, places such as Fremantle, Albany and Kalgoorlie are dripping in it. Historical sites that give a glimpse into our colourful past can be found throughout the state. Here are just a few highlights:

The Round House and Whaler’s Tunnel, Fremantle

Built in as a jail to lock up anyone convicted of a crime in the new colony, the small, round stone structure in Fremantle is the oldest surviving public building in WA. It opened in1831, 18 months after European settlement. Below it is the Whalers’ Tunnel, built in 1837 to transport goods between the original port at Bathers Beach the town of Fremantle at Arthur’s Head. Tours are available for both sites.

His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth

The stunning Edwardian Baroque theatre with its ornate dome roof was built in 1904 and is one of the city’s historical landmarks. The auspicious venue in the heart of Perth continues to host large-scale musicals, ballets and operas. It also houses Museum of Performing Arts.

Rottnest Island

Now a popular holiday destination, the pristine beaches on the small island 18km off the coast of Fremantle contrasts with its dark past as an Aboriginal prison and Prisoner of War internment camps during WWI and WWII. You can learn more about the history at venues such as Rottnest Island Museum and Lomas Cottage.

Mundaring Weir

Opening in 1903, the weir is the base for the groundbreaking Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, which supplied vital fresh water to the Eastern Goldfields via the world’s longest pipeline at 560km, which still operates today. The incredible feat in engineering was designed by Irish engineer CY O’Connor, who also constructed Fremantle Harbour.

Albany Town Hall

Opened in 1888, the grand old stone building dominates the main street of Albany with its four-faced clock tower. The venue now houses a gallery and theatre.

Japanese Cemetery, Broome

Broome’s Japanese cemetery gives a glimpse into the pearling town’s fascinating multicultural past. The obelisks with Japanese writing characters mark the graves of more than 900 Japanese pearlers. Many of them were divers who died due to decompression sickness or other illnesses related to dangerous pearl diving industry.

Guides

Guides


Albany's Historic Whaling Station

Experience the best day out on the amazing South Coast! History comes alive when you join a tour at Albany's Historic Whaling Station. Enjoy our Australian Wildlife Park & Regional Wildflower Garden.

  • Museums:Local History,Maritime
  • Open Days/times:9AM - 5PM

Details

  • Facilities:Cafe
  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday,Public Holidays

Description

Visit the only complete whaling station tourism attraction in the world!

Albany’s Historic Whaling Station was the last operating station in Australia and provides a fascinating insight into Albany’s colourful past.  Recognised as a heritage site, the whaling station is an engaging and educational tourism attraction for all ages to enjoy.

Join our knowledgeable tour guides on a complimentary tour through the restored whale processing factory. Find yourself immersed in the sights and sounds of the whaling industry.  Enjoy short films within the converted whale oil tanks.  Climb aboard the Cheynes IV, the world’s only preserved Whalechaser ship; see our giant blue whale skeleton; enjoy our world-renowned marine animal art collection and view our precious scrimshaw art.  Visit our museum exhibits filled with authentic, whaling artefacts and memorabilia or relax in our café overlooking one of Albany’s most picturesque bays. 

Our unique, biodiverse location is also home to over a 100,000 species of native plants which are now displayed in our Regional Wildflower Garden.  Families can enjoy free BBQ’s in the gardens and learn about our friendly collection of native animals at our Australian Wildlife Park.  Join us for a memorable day on The Amazing South Coast.

Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia

The aim of the Museum is to promote and preserve our Aviation Heritage for the enjoyment and understanding of our past in the air for today's and future generations.

  • Museums:Aviation
  • Open Days/times:10AM - 4PM

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

The Museum is housed in two huge pavillions and contains a magnificent display of 30 military and civilian aircraft aero engines, models and other aviation memorabilia.

Cockman House

Discover this heritage gem and the people that live here, in the oldest remaining house in the Wanneroo area.

  • Museums:Local History
  • Open Days/times:2PM - 5PM

Details

  • Facilities:Wheelchair Access
  • Open Days:Sunday

Description

Cockman House provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to encounter what life was like in the past and learn about the families that lived here over a 130 year period.

Completed in 1860, this family home of three generations is a rare historic place of continuous residence by descendants of the original building. It presents a pioneer story that began with James and Mary Ann Cockman at the beginning of the Swan River Colony and progresses alongside the development of the Wanneroo district.

OPEN: Every Sunday 2:00pm - 5:00pm Closed all of February
Entry by donation

School Groups welcome Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.
Bookings required. For more information:
Phone: (08) 9405 5906
Email: gabrielle.grime@wanneroo.wa.gov.au

Cola Café And Museum

The 50’s style café, open seven days a week, is finely decked out in red, white and black.

  • Open Days/times:Monday-Sunday 8am-4pm
  • Museums:Other

Details

  • Facilities:Cafe,Free,Wheelchair Access
  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description


Cola Cafe Memorabilia
The historic town of Toodyay, situated 90 kms from Perth in the Avon River Valley, has a unique café for those with a hankering for nostalgia.

The Cola Café and Museum is a 1950’s style Café serving retro tucker, foot-tapping music and features a unique collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia collected over a 45 year period.

The extensive menu covers breakfast, brunch and lunch, with quality coffee, beautiful cakes and good old fashioned friendly service.

Experience breakfast on the terrace! Sit and watch the world go by, or keep warm in winter by our cosy gas fires and enjoy our fantastic Omelettes, Eggs Benedict or the famous Combo.

We serve only Silvana Coffee and proudly make:

Caffe Latte
Mocha
Vienna
Flat White
Short and Long Black
Capuccino
Macchiato
Mugaccino
Opening Times

Open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing days, from 8 am to close Monday to Sunday. On a hot day keep cool under our Mist Fans. We give friendly country service and have excellent disabled facilities.

Our Coca-Cola Memorabilia Collection was started over 45 years ago in Zimbabwe and has now expanded to over 6,000 items.

Wherever you sit you’re surrounded by Brian Dawes’ Coke obsession; everything from the conservative to the quaint to the quirky. Many items have a story - like the Coca- Cola sign that once advertised a Louis Armstrong Concert or the red plastic chairs for the café’s al fresco diners, snapped up from the Sydney 2000 Olympics. There’s a model-T open delivery truck; coca-cola transistors; a miniature vending machine; clocks; bottle and can collections; and a lot more besides.

The Cola Cafe Collection

Started over forty-five years ago in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) with miniature glass bottles of Cola-Cola in a yellow crate.

Frequent trips to South Africa and three years’ study in England saw the collection gradually grow.

In 1978 the collection rapidly expanded, with trading partners in all states.

Trips to Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam and Bali have all added to the collection.

Connor's Mill

Connor's Mill on Toodyay's main street is open seven days a week, with displays of working milling machinery and agricultural history.

  • Museums:Farming,Local History
  • Open Days/times:10AM - 3.30PM

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

Connor's Mill is accessed through the Toodyay Visitors Centre next door.

There are three floors to explore, with the top two being accessible by stairs. Interpretations tell of the use of the building first as a flour mill, then as a power house and lastly as a tourist information centre.

On the ground floor is the 1940s era Brotherhood steam engine that once generated power for the local Industrial Extracts factory, which extracted tannin from timber. Today the engine is powered by an electrical motor, and cut-out sections display the moving pistons inside.

The Brotherhood engine is connected by a series of pulleys operating the historic milling machinery on the floor above.

On the top floor more milling equipment is on display, along with artefacts and information about other historical agricultural activities from the area, including pastoralism, honey, viticulture, timber and Ballardong Noongar practises.

Corrigin Pioneer Museum

  • (08) 9063 2246

Housing the history of our days gone by, a worthwhile visit whilst in Corrigin.

  • Open Days/times:Sundays 2pm - 5pm and Wednesdays 1pm - 4pm, and by appointment
  • Museums:Farming,Local History

Details

  • Open Days:Wednesday,Sunday

Description

View the collection of tools and restored farm machinery, including tractors in working order, see the blacksmiths shop, the one room school, the shearing shed, old district photographs, clothing and other pioneer memorabilia. The Pioneer Memorial Wall at the entrance to the Museum commemorates early settlers. Please call in for a visit, you will be surprised!

Courthouse Museum Yalgoo

The historic Courthouse Museum Yalgoo provides an interesting look at the town's goldrush heritage.

  • Open Days/times:Call Shire for details of opening times
  • Museums:Local History

Details

Description

Wander through the rooms which contain displays that depict life in Yalgoo when it was founded in the 1890s after the discovery of gold.

Inspect photographs and old household items which have been extremely well preserved. Learn about the excitement of the goldrush days and take time to inspect the old courthouse building.

Stroll next door to the well preserved Old Yalgoo Police Station and Jail. Have a look at how small the cells were for prisoners in the late 1800s.

If Hawes fascinating work is of interest, the town of Yalgoo forms part of the four day self-drive Monsignor John Hawes Heritage Trail which explores 15 of his churches.

Yalgoo is a six hour drive north of Perth, or two hours east of Geraldton.

Ticket Information:

Child $3 | Adult $6 | Family $15

Cunderdin Museum

Arguably the central attraction in the Shire, you shouldn’t leave without visiting the Cunderdin Museum. Even if museum’s aren’t usually on your ‘to do’ list, make an exception – you won’t be disappointed

  • Museums:Farming,Local History
  • Open Days/times:10AM - 4PM

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

In 1974 the No 3 Pump Station was classified by the National Trust (WA) and in 1999 it was permanently entered on the Heritage Council of Western Australia’s State Register of Heritage Places. The following statement of significance was prepared by the Heritage Council of Western Australia:
“No 3 Pumping Station, a brick and corrugated iron building in a Federation industrial style, constructed to house a pumping station, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
the place is of international importance as a key component of one of the greatest engineering and infrastructure schemes of the late nineteenth century, the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, which was completed in 1903;
the place has rarity value as Australia’s greatest engineering scheme, and is the most tangible infrastructure result of the discovery of gold in Western Australia;
part of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, the place was a key element in the pattern of social, demographic and economic development and resource exploitation in the State. The whole enterprise is an indication of the importance of gold to the regional and national economy at the end of the nineteenth century;
the place has important associations with Australian technological innovation, as well as social and political imagination and ambition. The place is associated with a number of notable figures including the scheme’s designer C. Y. O’Connor and Premier Sir John Forrest, as well as Director H. W. Venn and the architects and engineers of the Public Works Department;
the place has aesthetic value as a well designed purpose built industrial structure expressive of the public importance and ambition of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme; and,
the place has the potential to communicate its history and historical context and thus improve public understanding of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.

Dalgety House Museum

Situated in the old Dalgety and Co manager's house, this charming historical museum is run by volunteers, all who are long-term locals of Port Hedland.

  • Open Days/times:Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:00pm Saturday - Sunday: 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Galleries:Painting,Photography
  • Museums:Local History
  • Historical Sites:Buildings

Details

  • Open Days:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday,Friday,Saturday,Sunday

Description

Port Hedland's origins aren't in mining as some may think; in fact, Port Hedland started out as a port town (hence the name!). One of the key players was Dalgety and Co and the current Dalgety House Museum was the company manager's residence. It has since been transformed into a historical interactive museum managed by the dedicated volunteers of the Port Hedland Historical Society.

Dalgety House Museum provides an opportunity to gain an insight into the impact that white settlement had on the Kariyarra Aboriginal people of the Pilbara. Explore the extensive collection of artefacts & documentation presented in the enlightening displays, complete with photographs, throughout the house.

Dardanup Heritage Park

Travel back in time with one of the finest collections of heritage items from our pioneering past.

  • Open Days/times:Wednesday & Sunday, 9:30am - 4pm
  • Museums:Farming,Local History,Military

Details

  • Open Days:Wednesday,Sunday

Description

Located in Dardanup approximately 15 minutes from Bunbury in WA. This is a world class collection of working agricultural and industrial machinery from our pioneering past.

Gary Brookes's passion for collecting old machinery led to the establishment of the Park. Steam / Diesel sawmill, mill settlement, engines, tractors, dozers, horse drawn equip, military, memorabilia and much more.

The park is one of Australia’s finest collections of heritage items dedicated to our pioneers and the equipment they used to develop our state over the past 120 years. 

NOTE: This is a cash-only premises.

Dead Finish Museum

Operated by the Beverley Historical Society, this museum will give you a fascinating insight into the early days of settlement in Beverley and has a lovely garden featuring sandalwood.

  • Museums:Local History
  • Open Days/times:MAR - NOV

Details

  • Open Days:Sunday

Description

The Beverley Historical Society was formed by volunteers in 1977 to foster the safe keeping and promotion of Beverley`s Heritage. The society operates from the Dead Finish Museum in Hunt Road Beverley.
As the oldest building in Beverley, the “Wheatsheaf Inn” was built by Alfred Smith in 1872.
It now houses a very fine collection of artifacts depicting life in Beverley since settlement in 1831.
Our current major display is the “REMEMBERING THEM EXHIBITION” – a wonderful centenary tribute to all those Beverley people who served or helped with the World War I effort.

Open Sundays, between March and November or by arrangement with the committee. Please contact Joy 0427 411 881, Maree (08) 9646 1149 or Delys (08) 9646 1075. For all other enquiries email bhsdeadfinish@gmail.com.

The Historical Society is always looking for new volunteers to assist them in their efforts.

Denmark Dinosaur World

  • (08) 9840 8335

Get up close and personal with the only T-Rex in Australia!

  • Open Days/times:9.30am-4.30pm Every Day Oct-April; 10am-4pm Every Day May-Sept
  • Museums:Natural History,Science

Details

  • Open Days:Friday,Saturday,Sunday,Public Holidays,Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday

Description

Marvel at Protoceratops, the horned dinosaur… plus many more! Here you can see some of the tallest & smallest meat-eating dinosaurs, dinosaurs from the Jurassic & Cretaceous periods of time, and meet Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor made infamous in the movie “Jurassic Park”.

Denmark Historical Museum

An excellent display of photographs tells the story of Denmark from its beginning as a timber town, through its pioneer farming days and hardships of the Group Settlement scheme.

  • Museums:Local History
  • Open Days/times:THU 10AM - NOON, TUE THU & SUN 2PM - 4PM

Details

  • Open Days:Sunday,Tuesday,Thursday

Description

Don Rhodes Mining Museum Park

  • (08) 9173 1711

The Don Rhodes Mining and Transport Museum is a public park in Port Hedland, Western Australia, with an open air display of retired mining machinery and railway rollingstock.

  • Open Days/times:Park open all hours
  • Museums:Local History,Mining

Details

Description

Located on Wilson Street, which links the town with the Great Northern Highway and North West Coastal Highway, the museum faces Nelson Point Yard, the northern terminus of the Mount Newman railway.Located on Wilson Street, which links the town with the Great Northern Highway and North West Coastal Highway, the museum faces Nelson Point Yard, the northern terminus of the Mount Newman railway.

Dowerin District Museum

A visit to the Dowerin District Museum offers a unique view of how settlers lived in a genuine cottage with furnishings from 1915- 1930's

  • Open Days/times:By appointment only
  • Museums:Local History
  • Historical Sites:Buildings

Details

  • Facilities:Wheelchair Access
  • Open Days:By Appointment Only

Description

The stories of number 16 Cottrell Street and its inhabitants are rich accounts of life in Wheatbelt WA during the first half of the 20th century offering a unique and compelling vision of family and business life at that time. The building itself is a very authentic weatherboard and iron-roofed cottage, constructed in 1915 by Eugene O’Shaughnessy the local Saddler and Harness Maker. Complete with many of its original features the cottage was purchased for the Museum Committee by the Dowerin & Goomalling Apex Club and is now vested within the Shire of Dowerin.

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