Ignore history and you short-changea big and lucrative tourism drawcard

RICHLY steeped in history, the Shoalhaven is a concentrated hub of museums and historical societies.

With at least 12 local historical societies and progress associations and another six museums at hand, the community has history in its palm.

Yet, Shoalhaven Historical Society president Lynne Allan said there was a lack of local interest.

“It is so important to promote what we’ve got here to the locals, as a lot of the locals we have may be relatively new and probably unaware of the history of the district,” Ms Allan said.

“We have a tremendous depth of history here – there are very few areas in Australia that can revel in the intensity of history we have.

“It would be great to promote that on a larger scale and have our town signs promoting our local history to visitors with dates of establishment, et cetera.

“I think we should promote visitation by talking about our museums and art galleries as a drawcard in tourism – we have been focusing on our beaches, and rightly so, but we rarely put any promotion on our wonderful cultural establishments,” she said.

The Shoalhaven is home to the Berry Museum, Nowra Museum, Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Museum, Lady Denman Heritage Complex, Fleet Air Arm Museum, Bundanon Trust – Arthur Boyd Homestead, Meroogal House and countless historical buildings and sites.

Nowra’s very own piece of history, Meroogal was purchased by the Historic Houses Trust in August 1985. Then Premier Neville Wran said Meroogal was bought because it was the most intact late 19th-century house known in NSW and the acquisition would enable the fine collection to be retained in the house.

“We are lucky enough to have so many museums and historical societies concentrated in one area and they are all well set up, but sadly not promoted by people with the ability to do so on a large scale,” Ms Allan said.

“We would love for people to gain the perspective that local museums are something for people to do when they have some spare time.”

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