Museum offers a bridge to the past

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Elder Sandra Hill, Bridgetown police officer-in-charge Sgt Phil Nation and Bridgetown Historical Society chairwoman Mary Elgar.
Camera IconElder Sandra Hill, Bridgetown police officer-in-charge Sgt Phil Nation and Bridgetown Historical Society chairwoman Mary Elgar. Credit: Tristan Wheeler/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Bridgetown Historical Society members, Bridgetown residents past and present and invited guests gathered together for the official reopening of Bridgetown’s Police Museum last week.

Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire councillors Julia Boyle and Jenny Mountford.
Camera IconBridgetown-Greenbushes Shire councillors Julia Boyle and Jenny Mountford. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Guests were allowed to view the inside of the museum prior to the official opening ceremony, which featured a Welcome to Country performed by Pibulmun-Wadandi elder Sandra Hill.

Lorraine Hester and Jo Moore, both of Bridgetown.
Camera IconLorraine Hester and Jo Moore, both of Bridgetown. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

“Being there was really important and them asking me to do the welcome to country was fantastic,” Ms Hill said.

“It did my heart good to see the truth in there and to have acknowledgement of the Aboriginal people from the area, from the beginning, from the colonisation days and also to be a part of it with my family.”

Bridgetown police OIC Phil Nation and Bridgetown-Greenbushes shire chief executive Tim Clynch.
Camera IconBridgetown police OIC Phil Nation and Bridgetown-Greenbushes shire chief executive Tim Clynch. Credit: Tristan Wheeler/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times
Bridgetown Historical Society volunteers Hugh Chevis of Fremantle and Christine Chilvers of Bridgetown.
Camera IconBridgetown Historical Society volunteers Hugh Chevis of Fremantle and Christine Chilvers of Bridgetown. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Her words were followed by a speech from Bridgetown Historical Society chairwoman Mary Elgar, detailing the process of the museum’s refurbishment.

Rachelle Cousins of Dunsburough, Meeka Tiendi of Balingup, Jaye Herring of Bridgetown and Tracy Pushman of Balingup.
Camera IconRachelle Cousins of Dunsburough, Meeka Tiendi of Balingup, Jaye Herring of Bridgetown and Tracy Pushman of Balingup. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

“This is a very memorable milestone and I’m so proud that so many people have responded to the invitations and seen its importance enough for them to come and attend, it’s really important,” Ms Elgar said.

“I think that people can understand by seeing what we’ve done, they can see how much work a volunteer does to create almost a living museum and I'm just generally proud of what we’ve achieved.

Norma Schultz and Ria Machin, both of Bridgetown.
Camera IconNorma Schultz and Ria Machin, both of Bridgetown. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times
Bridgetown Historical Society volunteers Lee Wittenoom and Richard Allen, both of Bridgetown.
Camera IconBridgetown Historical Society volunteers Lee Wittenoom and Richard Allen, both of Bridgetown. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

The museum was officially opened by Bridgetown police officer-in-charge Phil Nation, who reflected on the past and present of policing in the region, including history made by himself and his daughter Laura, who are the first father and daughter team to serve in the South West.

Lance and Margaret Hester, of Boyup Brook.
Camera IconLance and Margaret Hester, of Boyup Brook. Credit: Tristan Wheeler/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Sgt Nation praised the work done by the historical museum in renovating the museum.

“I came through here four years ago and the difference from then till now is just enormous, the work that’s been put in by the historical society is just huge,” he said.

“It’s really important, I’m a huge advocate of history and the people who have had the opportunity to serve in a town like this, they should be recognised.”

Beverly and Jack Willmott, of Dunsborough and Jen and Del Willmott, both of Perth.
Camera IconBeverly and Jack Willmott, of Dunsborough and Jen and Del Willmott, both of Perth. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Ms Elgar said it was important to have both the police and the Aboriginal community represented at the opening.

“It’s been very important all the way along to have the indigenous perspective of early settlement,” she said.

“Having Phil was also very important to me, to be able to close the gap in regards to policing, it was opened by policemen and its been reopened by policemen so that was very important.”

The next stage of the museum’s development is the incorporation of the oral histories possessed by the society into the exhibits, through a system that would allow visitors to hear excerpts at the push of a button.

Jen and Del Willmott, both of Perth, Lorraine Hester of Bridgetown and Anne Harse of Perth.
Camera IconJen and Del Willmott, both of Perth, Lorraine Hester of Bridgetown and Anne Harse of Perth. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

The society is presently fundraising for the installation of the buttons and is offering the opportunity to sponsor a button for $500.

Lorie Marshall, Cher Grace and Jim Taylor, all of Bridgetown.
Camera IconLorie Marshall, Cher Grace and Jim Taylor, all of Bridgetown. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

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