Our Exhibitions



1 December 2018 – 2 February 2019

The Museum has a rich collection of artefacts which range in date from pre-European settlement to the modern day. The museum also houses an extensive collection of documents, microfilms and photographs. Many of these objects  tell personal stories about people’s lives, places and artefacts.

The range of objects in this exhibition, selected and curated by the collection’s team, reflects the wide range of interests of our volunteers. The objects on display all tell a fascinating story and include:

  • a ball gown that Mrs Grace McVey wore when she met Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1954;
  • a camera used by a missionary in Mongolia and Nepal in the early 1900s;
  • an early sewing machine brought out from Ireland in 1890; and
  • an exercise book used by an 11 yo school boy in 1861.


1 November – 30 November

Frederick Clarke, son of William and Eliza Clarke of Coila, was 22 when he died on the Western Front on 23 August 1918. Fred was one of 61 514 Australians who died during World War 1. Currently on display are letters and telegrams from the time of his death, telling the story of the Clarke family tragedy; one of many. Particularly poignant are copies of two letters, both written on 25 August 1918. One was written by Eliza Clarke to her son. The other was written from the front by Sister Lindsay to Mr Clarke advising him of his son’s death.

The exhibition

SUBMERGED: Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks

1 September – 26 October

Moruya & District Historical Society is hosting the Australian National Maritime Museum’s touring exhibition SUBMERGED: Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks 

The exhibition features stories about the wrecks of merchant vessels, steamers, schooners, whalers and a submarine. The oldest wreck featured is WA’s Batavia. Its 1629 loss on Beacon Island, and subsequent mutiny, is one of the most dramatic events in Dutch and Australian history. 

Other wrecks include Sanyo Maru, a Japanese motor vessel lost in 1937 in Boucaut Bay NT, British merchant ship Sydney Cove lost in 1797 off Preservation Island, Tasmania and the paddle steamer Wagga Wagga which sank at Narrandera, NSW in 1913.

The exhibition also features one shipwreck from outside Australia – Australia’s second submarine HMAS AE2 which was lost in 1915 during the First World War in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey

Local shipwrecks include the Rover, lost in Broulee Bay in 1841, the Monaro, wrecked on Kelly’s Point, Bingie in 1879 and the Kameruka, sunk off Pedro Point in1897. 

MILK: The River of Life

30 June – 17 August

The dairying industry played a critical role in the development of our district. The exhibition “Milk: The River of Life” explores the history of the industry from the time of settlers such as Francis Flanagan and John Hawdon up until the present.

Large objects such as separators, churns, a cheese press and cheese moulds are on display as are smaller objects such as ledgers, silverware, show ribbons and share certificates.

Stunning, original photos by Andrew Metcalfe are also on display courtesy of the Eurobodalla Shire Council. These photos are on sale for $35 each with proceeds going to MDHS and the ESC.

A devonshire tea and cheese tasting will follow the launch.


19 May – 28 July

Camels, marching girls, lifesavers and clowns made their way down Vulcan Street during the Moruya Mardi Gras held during the 1960s and 1970s. The Wild Man From Bendethera frightened the children, while Lady Godiva tried to shock the crowds lining the street.
The Moruya and District Historical Society presents Mardi Gras Mayhem, a photographic exhibition featuring wonderful images that capture the event’s colour and vitality. The community spirit that made the Mardi Gras so successful is obvious.

To read more about the exhibition click here.



20 May – 29 July

‘Everything Home Made’ is a celebration of the innovation and creativity that was a hallmark of earlier generations. Objects on display range from bush furniture and farm equipment to exquisite embroidery and lace..




2 September – 7 October

The underwear will be featured in ‘Emmotts Beehive Store’, in a bordello, drying in the kitchen or waiting for washing day in the laundry .See our extensive collection of camisoles, combinations (some crotchless) and corsets. If every picture tells a thousand stories, then these undergarments tell many times that number. Garments such as the maternity corset seem like instruments of torture.

By looking at a sequence of underwear, you can almost tell the life journey of one of Moruya’s residents. From Leila Campbell’s lacy camisoles and an embroidered black silk kimono – garments which were probably in her hope chest -through to the much, much larger mauve cotton combinations she wore later in life. Also on display will be a nightshirt that belonged to Leila’s husband Frank Campbell.

You will probably wonder, as the collections team did, how on earth women had such large families in earlier days when wearing such voluminous underwear


To read more click here.

Prices Cafe

20 May – 7 July

Price’s Café is a museum-style exhibition that celebrates Moruya’s social hub for Aboriginal people in the 1950s & 60s.
Inspired by stories told to Aboriginal artist Cheryl Davison and with words by celebrated Australian author and historian Mark McKenna, the Price’s Café exhibition is presented by South East Arts and in conjunction with the Eurobodalla River of Arts festival.

Prices A3

To read more click here

“Price’s Cafe was very moving, very important. Loved the whole society’s work.”

“What memories this exhibition evokes. The music is just fab.”

“Everyone was welcome.”


The Wallpapered Manse: if these walls could talk….

19 March – 30 April

Take a glimpse into the history of domestic interiors and artefacts of houses in the Eurobodalla.

This exhibition uses the collection from the historical Presbyterian Manse in Moruya, and the MDHS historical collections as a touch-stone to rediscover the domestic life of families in these dwellings. Come to the exhibition of wallpapers and artefacts being held at the Moruya Museum 18 March to 8 April 2016.

Peter Freeman, local architect and author of The Wallpapered Manse recognised the significance of this humble but elegant Georgian cottage built in 1865, and created a book, The Wallpapered Manse, to tell the story of one such house, its finishes and its treasures. The book was released in 2013, and was shortlisted for the 2014 NSW Premier’s History Community Awards, a considerable achievement in the field of community history.
For this exhibition, sumptuous wallpapers, newspapers and linoleum dating from the 1860s have been salvaged carefully, the layers revealing some of the history of Moruya. Mr Freeman has brought to life the story of the early Presbyterian church and its characters, such as the Reverend J D Murray, whose photo appears in the Bay Post’s online photo-gallery, along with snippets of wallpaper and historical buildings. These artefacts, together with the considerable domestic collection held by the Society, help tell the story of domestic life in Moruya.

“Thank you for bringing this extraordinary town and its community back to life. Bravo to the range of the display and the descriptions and matched explanations and artefacts. Superb. Moving.”

“Great display bringing back memories of years past. Well documented. Fantastic effort.”



It’s All About Hats

I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality. Why just be yourself?

Margaret Atwood

Do you know the difference between a cloche and a toque?
What did women do to their cloches to show that they were single and ready to mingle?
Why did the extravagant Edwardian confections featuring feathers, ribbons and flowers fall out of favour?
Where were collapsible top hats worn?
Who made the Pillbox famous?

To read more click here


A Land of Flooding Rains

Floods are an intrinsic part of Moruya’s history and future. Our history is full of dramatic accounts of floods and from the early 1900s we have remarkable images illustrating the havoc these floods wrought on the district.

This exciting exhibition, focussing on a century of major flooding between the 1860s and the 1860s, combines historic images of flooding from as early as the 1920s, text from memoirs, anecdotes and newspaper articles from as early as 1860 and video of recent flooding. Appropriate artefacts and hopefully elements of newly digitised oral histories will be featured.

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To read more click here

Permanent Exhibitions

Abernethy & Co. Stonemason’s Twin Bed Lathe

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Granite from Moruya quarries on both sides of the river was well known in Sydney from the second half of the nineteenth century, being used in the Sydney GPO, the Queen Victoria Building, the Cenotaph and many monuments, and most famously, the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The lathe was used to produce the beautifully turned and polished columns used in several of the buildings. It is a Abernethy & Co. Stonemason’s Twin Bed Lathe made in Aberdeen Scotland in 1881. It was last used at Loveridge and Hudson’s yard in Sydney in the 1960s and then donated to the Lachlan Vintage Village Heritage Theme park in the late 1970s. In 1987, it was bought by the NSW Heritage Council, who handed it over to Eurobodalla Shire in 2010. The Moruya Antique Tractor and Machine Association restored the lathe.