Artefacts of the region’s dairy history have been dusted off and given a new life as part of an exhibition hosted by the Moruya and District Historical Society.
Milk: The River of Life pays homage to the Moruya area’s dairy farmers past and present and the lasting legacy of their rivers of dairy gold.
Moruya Museum curator Brian Harris said the exhibition showcased historic pieces from the industry, dating back to early settlers Francis Flanagan and John Hawdon, right through to the 21st Century.
Held in the recently-refurbished Moruya Museum, the exhibition brings to the fore old milk churns, separators, milk cans, silverware, show ribbons and original photographs by Andrew Metcalf.
Mr Harris said all aspects of industry “from cow to table” were showcased.
“These artefacts have been hidden in sheds for decades and now they’re smack bang in this beautiful gallery space,” Mr Harris said.
“They’re big, they’re out there and they look really good.”
He said the exhibition celebrated the contribution of dairying to the town and reminded him of his own childhood on the farm.
“It was a critical industry and many people here still remember that time when the Moruya Co-Op was big and made a lot of money for the community,” he said.
“The whole exhibition will be quite evocative for a lot of people in the district who have an association with the dairy industry
“I spent my formative years on a dairy farm on the Far North Coast; bringing churns and cans over to the museum brings back good and bad memories of early mornings.
“Different things will touch different people, whether it be a churn, a can or show ribbons.”
He said the exhibition was made possible by a grant through Museums and Galleries NSW, which aimed to unearth the stories behind the objects.
“There’s a story behind all these artefacts,” Mr Harris said.
“One point of fascination is a certificate presented in 1955 to Roger B. Heffernan, with signatures of people associated with the dairy industry.
“There is so much information in that one framed certificate, it is really powerful. It really is a snapshot of the social history of the town.”
Helping bring the pieces to life will be a soundscape of cow bells ringing, cows mooing and magpies carolling, to help recreate life on the dairy farm.
“It will be a sensory experience and the whole collections team had a lot of fun organising it,” he said.
Viewers will be able to take their very own piece of dairy history home, with photographs of the built heritage of the industry, taken by Andrew Metcalf, on sale.
‘Milk: The River of Life exhibition’ will launch at the Moruya Museum on Saturday, July 14 at 2pm. It will run until August 17. Cost: $5. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org