KHS News

News and events of the Kununurra Historical Society - Archive, Gallery, Library, Museum and Research.
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Most Recent News Posts

A Royal Like! - Posted 18 April 2017

War in the Kimberley - 75 Years Ago
- Posted 27 February 2017
KHS Bert Lee Collection now on Flickr - Posted 16 February 2017
Historic WA Country Number Plate Database - Posted 18 January 2017
KHS on Flickr - Our 2nd Millionth View - Posted 8 January 2017
State History Conference - Armadale WA - KHS Presented RWAHS State Merit Award - Posted 10 December 2016
Museums Are ******* Awesome - 
Museums Australia WA - State Conference - Posted 10 December 2016
Donald Howard's 'Wave Hill Spurs' - Posted 8 November 2016
30 Years of the Kununurra Historical Society - Posted 5 June 2016 (June 5th - Inauguration Day in 1986)
Wirraway-Challenge Display DV - Posted 6 November 2015
75 Years of Ord Irrigation - Download KMD's 1941 Paper - Posted 18 August 2015
Memories of Stuart Skoglund - Pearl Ogden Talk - Posted 25 June 2015
Repatriation of Kimberley History Sources & 2015 AGM - Posted 4 April 2015
OR View older (next page of :^) news posts from KHS News - (Page 2 - 
Page 3 or Page 4)

A Royal LIKE of Kununurra Museum on fb

posted 17 Apr 2017, 08:43 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 17 Apr 2017, 17:04 ]

 On Saint Patrick's Day - March 17th 2017, which was the day of the 1963 Royal Tour to Kununurra, I decided to post on the Royal Family's Facebook Page, which got a Royal response from a possible future Queen. [I was impressed! Thank you Kate (and family! :^) from the KHS.]

A montage of fifteen or so photographs of the 1963 Royal Tour to Kununurra in a montage with 2017 Facebook Like by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge and family of the Kununurra Historical Society Post to the Royal Family's Facebook page on March 17th 2017. 

News! The Great Kevin Richards 16mm colour film of the 1963 Royal Tour to Kununurra

A great piece of #KimberleyHistory
This pristine looking 16mm colour film was made by cinematographer (& WA Ag. Dept. Entomologist), Kevin Richards and was added to YouTube in April 2017 (after the Royal Like - Will have to post this one to the Royal Family's fb page! :^)
Our friends at the Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society (NTPMHS), who first suggested using Google Sites, the base from which I have tweaked and hacked more functionality out of, for this Google Hosted (Apps for non-profits) website, ever since we started in late 2010. Thanks John! - I found on the NTPMHS cool YouTube Channel, that they had footage of the Royal Yacht Brittania arriving in Port Darwin in March 1963 as well as the Royal Party arriving at the RAAF 'drome Darwin. An 8mm home film from the NTPMHS Mannion Collection.
(Courtesy of the NTPMHS YouTube Channel, embedded here to view now! :^) Hope you enjoy this great bit of #PortDarwinHistory

War in the Kimberley-75 Years in 2017

posted 27 Feb 2017, 07:28 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 28 Feb 2017, 05:34 ]

Wirraway-Challenge Week - March 20-26 2017 - 75 Years

Some Kununurra Museum News of new research web pages and information on coming events to commemorate 75 years!

'Wirraway-Challenge' Display at the Kununurra Museum with photograph of RAAF 12 Squadron, Pilot Sergeant Lew Dwyer - "We had no 'Mae West' (Life Vest), No Dinghy, and we were going half way to Timor on anti-sub'[-marine] patrols!" with another photograph of RAAF Pilot Sergeant Warwick Carmody standing on the wing of force-landed RAAF CAC Wirraway A20-62 (notice the mud from the wet saltmarsh). On the right hand side of that photograph has been superimposed a colour photograph taken at the site showing the cockpit canopy on the dry saltmarsh as it was in 2014 before salvage. Montage AB for KHS.

 At this time 75 Years ago, war came to Australia, starting when the Japanese attacked Darwin on February 19th 1942. After this day many attacks were to be made on the Top End, the Kimberley and Queensland, especially devastating in the Kimberley during March 1942.

Kununurra Museum on Social Networking

[ f]
KHS has been active in the lead up, posting day by day snippets to our social media and sharing these posts. 
Have a look at the Kununurra Museum Facebook page from...
 As well in the past few weeks Kununurra Museum now has a Twitter presence now linked to the Facebook page, so that posts are shared between the two. Kununurra Museum on Twitter from...
 This has been useful, by following Archives and Museums from all over the world on Twitter, feeds come in about new collections, like the Bio-Diversity Heritage Library, who have digitised thousands of documents, all freely available to download in eBook formats, PDFs or as images. 

John Gould (1804-1881) - The Birds of Australia (1848) - FREE!

 Things like all of John Gould's original 1848 'The Birds of Australia' - All seven volumes have been digitised and are freely available [All DL'd for KHS digital archive to extract all Kimberley birds for the Museum Slideshows!] - See    

New KHS Website Pages

The main reason of this post is to draw attention to some new pages added to the website in recent weeks.

The Miles of Wyndham

 This is about an oral history made with Maggie Lilly in 1986 by Ursula Brimble, who inaugurated the meeting to form the Kununurra Historical Society in that year. This is one of our earliest archives that is shared with Battye Library, who digitised this in recent years. The page has an extract to listen to about 'the Miles of Wyndham - 3 Mile - 4 Mile - Six Mile - Seven Mile - Nine Mile - 12 Mile & 20 Mile - What a classic!  As well as a synopsis of what Maggie discusses, near the end are links to each of the digital audio files at the State Library of WA. Have a read and a listen to the wonderful tale from Maggie Lilly about 'the Miles from Wyndham'. [Goes to the new page on this site] or an extract and new photograph added today (Feb 28th 2017) of extending the Wyndham Aerodrome circa 1930, as follows.

1930-ca - Extending the Wyndham Aerodrome

8m 24s - Marriage and Children - Edwin James [Liljengvist] known as, 'Sam Lilly' was born at Derby [CHECK year?]
Sam Lilly - Went to Wyndham in 1924
        Sam helped build the airstrip in Wyndham.
[KHS Note]
A photograph found at the State Library of New South Wales (online).
1930-ca Extending aerodrome Wyndham - ex SLNSW bcp_05819h
1930-ca - Extending the aerodrome at Wyndham - DLd for KHS ex SLNSW bcp_05819h
1930-ca - Extending the aerodrome at Wyndham - DL'd for KHS from the State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW) bcp_05819h
The State Library of NSW has some great digital archives, I found out talking to staff there a few years ago, that they had a very progressive and dynamic directive, thanks to an attitude of, no hesitatation just digitise it and ask questions later! This image for example is freely available as follows.
Title Extending aerodrome - Wyndham, WA
Call Number At Work and Play - 05819
Digital Order No. bcp_05819
This image may be used freely without requesting permission. Please acknowledge that the image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. (OK - Thanks SLNSW! :^)

The Wyulda - Scaly Tailed Possum & Violet Valley

 Here some old information in the form of a 1922 news article about the 'Wyulda' found circa 1919 by Mr Rademy (pictured below), who at that time was at Violet Valley, as well as some more recent information as the Wyulda was recently discovered in other Kimberley locations for the first time. Read more about The Wyulda with photographs of Violet Valley thanks to SLWA

[Image links to the Wyulda Page]

1920 ca Ambrose and Nance Durack Young Ambrosine Rademy and his Wife at Argyle Downs -Crop - KHS-2011-11-PD-20 1920 ca Ambrose and Nance Durack Young Ambrosine Durack, with Mr Rademy and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Webster) at Argyle Downs - Elizabeth Durack personal photographic collection courtesy of the Clancy and Durack families. KHS Archive Number KHS-2011-11-PD-20.

History of Thompson's Spring

A History of Thompson's Spring - Named in 1886 by Tom Kilfoyle is presented on this page - September 1886 - Charly found a spring I called it Tomsons spring." Also has some history about the masonry dam added at a much later date!

Wirraway-Challenge Week (March 20th to 26th) - Kununurra Museum

 It is 75 Years on March 20th 2017, since RAAF 12 Squadron Pilot Sergeants, Lew Dwyer and Warwick Carmody, had engine failure over the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, while on a mission to Drysdale River Mission, fling their first leg between Batchelor and Wyndham. They had to turn south and 'head for Australia' in Lew's words. They only just made it to the widest part of the Ningbing saltmarsh, with a textbook wheels-up landing, as it was too wet to land on the coastal saltmarsh, just 5 km inside Western Australia, adjacent to the WA-NT border (Longitude 129 degrees East of Greenwich). Read more and see 8 x Parts from a DVD about the forced landing of CAC Wirraway A20-62, for a story of Survival & Rescue by Aboriginal stockmen from Carlton Hill station, organised by pedal radio from Wyndham. Go to the Kununurra Museum's - Wirraway-Challenge Display - Page (Wirraway means Challenge! :^) All of the YouTube digital videos (DVs) are embedded lower down on that page or go straight to the...
Kununurra Museum's YouTube Channel  [Opens in a new tab]

1971-72 - KHS - Bert Lee Operation Ord Noah Collection

[Image below opens the collection in a new tab or window]
  1971-72 - Operation Ord Noah - L-R Graeme Bell - Chopper Pilot - Henry Hall - KHS-2013-31-b-P-BD-14
1971-72 - Operation Ord Noah - L-R Graeme Bell - Chopper Pilot - Henry Hall - KHS-2013-31-b-P-BD-14

 This great collection was placed online in the past month and shows some interesting wildlife rescue scenes when the Main Ord River ("Top") Dam first started holding water and Lake Argyle filled for the first time. Bert visited the Kununurra Museum some years ago and his visit led to this collection and thanks to meeting Bert and his late wife Belle, this led to KHS contacting the leader of Operation Ord Noah, Neville Hall, a wonderfully alert Nonogenarian (94 IIRC) in 2014 when I contacted him. Neville also sent his collection which was digitised and documented, then had the pleasure of visiting and meeting Neville and his family in 2015 at his home in Perth, where, in ensuing years after Ord Noah, he had a great deal to do pioneering the Sea Rescue group at Hillarys. The Neville Hall Ord Noah Collection is much more extensive than the Bert Lee collection and will be going online soon. I contacted Bert Lee, who has moved to Townsville (from Safety Bay) to be near his daughter. As Neville Hall has since passed away, his son Ian and Bert may be the last left of the Ord Noah crew - Others now passed away - Harry Butler, Malcolm Douglas, Neville Beeck were part of Ord Noah in 1971-72. 
See the KHS - Bert Lee - Operation Ord Noah Collection (on Flickr) [Opens in a new tab]

Bert Lee 1971-72 Operation Ord Noah

posted 15 Feb 2017, 12:07 by Kununurra Museum

KHS - Bert Lee Operation Ord Noah Collection is now online!

Embed gadget

After distressing scenes when the Aswan Dam in Egypt first filled the WA Government did not want a repeat here, so the WA Wildlife Authority (another NLA) got involved to rescue and relocate animals caught by the Ord in flood filling Lake Argyle for the first time. Thanks Bert (in Townsville)!

Bert Lee - 'Operation Ord Noah' Collection
[As embedded Slideshow here on this page >>> ] - Use the '4 cornered' gadget in lower right hand side to go full screen - Once there use controls at top right to show full documentation for all of our  archival photographs on Flickr!  This collection, placed online last night has been included in the Trove Australia Group on Flickr, so are now also accessible to all via a NLA Trove search!


WA Historic Number Plates Database

posted 25 Jan 2017, 08:51 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 25 Jan 2017, 10:34 ]

Great New Searchable Database

To search for eg. WY (Wyndham) or any WA country town number plates the Carnamah Historical Society now provide this outstanding tool for WA history researchers - Thank You! See the post here from the KHS Kununurra Museum - FaceBook page...

Historic WA Country Number Plates


2 Million Views on Flickr

posted 7 Jan 2017, 22:50 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 25 Jan 2017, 10:59 ]

KHS on Flickr Our 2nd Millionth View

 In December we had our 2nd Millionth view of our archival photographic collections on Flickr!  KHS has over 2,000 images online which can be viewed in various ways. Our first Million came in August 2014 which took 3 years and six months from when we started on Flickr in 2011. Our 2nd million views took 2 years and four months from August 2014 (1st Million).

 If these photographs had not been digitised and placed online, they would have still been in the archive and virtually nobody would have seen them. KHS - Making archives accessible to show the significance of this Kimberley History to anyone, anywhere in the world! Enjoy!

Montage KHS images on Flickr had 2,000,000 Views in Dec. 2016
The best way to view KHS collections on Flickr from...
KHS Subject Themes - 100 albums (Linked to Image Above - Click Image)

or view as individual Albums from here...
KHS Albums on Flickr - Page 1 - Decades then A-F 

KHS presented the Royal WA Historical Society 2016 (State) Merit Award

posted 9 Dec 2016, 09:46 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 9 Dec 2016, 11:51 ]

State History Conference - Armadale WA
2016 RWAHS Merit Award to KHS

 At the Royal WA Historical Society (RWAHS) State History Conference during September, which the KHS President was able to attend for the first time and was greatly surprised that the Royal WA Historical Society (RWAHS) - State-wide Merit Award for 2016 was awarded to the Kununurra Historical Society. The KHS President was delighted to be able to accept the framed award for KHS and express our appreciation to those gathered at the conference. (Our congratulations and our apologies go to runner-up Societies this year, Toodyay and Kalgoorlie ;^)
An extract below from the RWAHS Newsletter, History West, in the October 2016 issue...

Congratulations to Kununurra Historical Society!

Kununurra is a remote and isolated location but this does not deter the Society. Despite, or as a result of this remoteness, the Society has made a push to develop its digital resources which have been uploaded onto a very informative website. The website includes a wealth of information about Kununurra, including photographs, local events and news. This year three volunteers recorded 3,330 hours on a variety of tasks, including digitisation of the collection, transcription activities and working on the archives. In dollar terms this work is worth some $116,550. The Museum, which in 2015 was open five days a week, increasing to seven days a week in 2016, attracts a large number of visitors. Over the past year 2,009 people have visited. This year Kununurra celebrates its 30th year in operation. Well done!

Thank you RWAHS!

According to the RWAHS 'History West' website 'Reports and Awards' page only a handful of societies have taken out the RWAHS Merit Award, as follows...

(RWAHS) Affiliated Societies Merit Awards

Carnamah Historical Society [2010?]
Esperance Historical Society [2011?]
Ravensthorpe Historical Society [2012?]
Eastern Goldfields Historical Society [2013?] 
Historical Society of Cockburn [2014?]
Irwin District Historical Society [2015?]

Unfortunately it does not have the year of each award on the RWAHS page [The years above in square brackets are educated guesses] - If KHS was awarded the 2016 award, then perhaps the RWAHS Merit Award only started in 2010?

(Kununurra Historical Society 2016 :^)
 Being as remote as we are (>3000 km from Perth by road) it would have been unlikely to attend without a bursary, which is greatly appreciated by KHS and we thank all involved from RWAHS , especially to Nick Drew, and all who assisted in organising the conference, the travel bursary and for the funding from LotteryWest to attend the conference.

Museums Australia WA (MAWA) State Conference

posted 9 Dec 2016, 09:43 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 9 Dec 2016, 11:10 ]

Museums Are ******* Awesome!

 The engaging three day Museums Australia WA (MAWA) conference - Engaging Communities - New Times, New Strategies, 12-14 October 2016 was attended by the KHS President, with a full three day program of tours and interesting speakers, we were kept up to speed on what's happening at the cutting edge of other collecting institutions and museums in WA, as well as in the UK and the USA - from where we learned about "Museum Hack" tours at "the Met' " museum in New York and much other useful museum related information. The conference had much of interest on offer and was very useful for networking with other conference-goers in many and varied museum and other collecting institution situations, well worth attending.

 Being as remote as we are (>3000 km from Perth by road) it would have been unlikely to attend without these bursaries, which are greatly appreciated by KHS and we thank all involved from MAWA who assisted in organising the conference,  these travel bursaries and for the funding from LotteryWest to attend the MAWA conference. 

Wave Hill Spurs donation to Kununurra Museum

posted 8 Jun 2016, 22:16 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 9 Jun 2016, 07:51 ]

A Talk & Presentation by 1940's Stockman, Donald Howard is to be given at the Kununurra Museum next Tuesday June 14th 2016 at 7pm. All welcome.

 An Ord-Victoria Rivers Region stockman who was at Wave Hill and other NT & Kimberley stations back in the 1940s, Donald Howard, is to visit Kununurra next week and there will be a presentation event at the Kununurra Museum. Donald will give a talk and will be presenting his genuine hand-made, 'Fred Gutte spurs' or 'Wave Hill spurs' to the Kununurra Historical Society to go on display at the Kununurra Museum on Tuesday June 14th 2016 at 7pm, all welcome to attend.

Donald Howard holding his Wave Hill Spurs
 President of the Kununurra Historical Society, Andrew Barker, has been in communication with Donald Howard since 2012, receiving regular updates (as new archives) from Donald as he has written his memoirs, proof-reading and offering advice. The “Fred Gutte” spurs were described by Outback Magazine as “literally worth their weight in gold.”  Fred Gutte was a  highly skilled blacksmith at Wave Hill station in the 1940’s and Donald has personal reminiscences in his memoirs describing some days working with him in the blacksmith's shop at Wave Hill, which are a priceless record. Photograph to right shows Donald Howard holding his Wave Hill spurs.

 Guttye made the spurs to his own design and sold them to stockmen and drovers on their personal order. The spurs became famous on every stock route and station throughout northern Australia.  Donald said he had paid Mr. Gutte  several old-style round tins of Log Cabin for the job.

 "A few months ago I presented the museum with 'The 1886 Rosewood Penny' which I found on Rosewood Station near the NT-WA border,” Donald said, going on to explain that they were droving cattle from Wave Hill station to the Wyndham Meatworks.  "While watching cattle graze during ‘dinner camp,' I was scratching some small squares of dried mud left in a creek bed after the Wet, when one square failed to break up. I gave it an extra poke then picked it up and found an 1886 English penny which is now on display at the Kununurra Museum."
1886 Rosewood Penny on display with Mrs Tom Kilfoyle's Travel Trunk and Rosewood Branding Irons

 The 1886 penny is now 130 years old, that being the same year that we are commemorating this year, when Wyndham was proclaimed a town at Cambridge Gulf, the northern hub to the Halls Creek gold-rush that set in that same year. The 1886 penny is now on display with Mrs Tom Kilfoyle's 1890's travel trunk, and some 'well used' TK & JK Rosewood Station branding irons at the Kununurra Museum. Donald said he hoped his donations would not only be a welcome addition to the museum’s collections but would 'spur on' others to give items of significance to this growing regional collection.

 On other occasions during his stay he will also be speaking at the Anglican church on Family Life as the Rev. Donald Howard. The local Anglican minister (the Rev. Gary Alexander) said that his guest speaker would concentrate on family life and show how biblical principles were still a strengthening influence in modern homes. Rev. Donald Howard will speak at 9.30am at the Anglican Church on Sunday, June 12th then at 5:30pm on Wednesday 15th at the Sandalwood Sanctuary (Research Station Road - Mock's old dairy). On Sunday, June 19th he will address the Anglican Church at at 9.30am and in the afternoon, will speak at a combined churches gathering in Whitegum Park at 3.30pm.

 Donald Howard worked on Territory and Kimberley stations, including Wave Hill and Flora Valley. He was  one of the finalists in the Steer Riding at the Negri Races in 1948, in what was virtually the Championship Steer Ride of North–West Australia. He hopes to launch a book of his exploits next year at the Kununurra Museum.

WANTED! - RM Williams Cuban Heels

 If you have an old pair of RM Williams Cuban Heel Stockman's boots you no longer use, please consider donating them to the Kununurra Museum as the fitting item to display the Wave Hill spurs on. Please contact Andrew at the Museum (hopefully before Tuesday).

30 Years of the Kununurra Historical Society

posted 29 May 2016, 11:16 by Kununurra Museum

30 Years of the Kununurra Historical Society - Sunday June 5th 2016


1986-06-14 - The Kimberley Echo - 'Historical Society Meets' - KHS-2016-78-H-BD_5
Read below or see the full History of the Kununurra Historical Society from the KHS Research Page.
2016-06-05 - 30 Years of KHS - Kununurra Museum site Now (2010s) and Then (1960s) Composite photo montage by AB for KHS
This coming week we commemorate thirty years since the inaugural meeting convened by Ursula Brimble and chaired by Dennis O'Brien, who (I learned only last week - AB 29 V 2016) had told the convenor, Ursula Brimble, before the meeting that he would NOT be President however it transpired that he did indeed become the first KHS President at that meeting in 1986. Dennis was made an Hon. Life Member of the Society a few years ago for all he did and donated to the KHS archive. This first meeting resulted in the formation of the Kununurra Historical Society Inc. (KHS) (Us! ;^) on June 5th 1986. In 2016 we commemorate 30 Years as a Society and will have an Open Day & Evening from 12 to 8pm - Sunday, June 5th 2016 - 30 Years! The night before this (Saturday June 4th) we will be having a KHS Members Dinner in Kununurra (hence the casual start time ;^) - Thank you to all those who have sent acceptances or apologies. A new page has been created that outlines this history, illustrated with newspaper articles from 1986 and includes the full inaugural meeting minutes - See the History of the Kununurra Historical Society from the KHS Research Page.

Wirraway DVs on Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel

posted 5 Nov 2015, 05:26 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 5 Nov 2015, 10:49 ]

'Wirraway-Challenge' Display DV

This Digital Video (DV) set in 8 parts, was originally created in 2005 as a DVD for the Kununurra Museum - Wirraway-Challenge Display. This has been made public in November 2015, as we now have a Rights Agreement with, and thanks to, ABC (Australia). They have allowed us to use the audio from a radio interview made in 2005, by Vanessa Mills of ABC Kimberley Regional radio, Broome, which is used as the audio for some parts of the DV (Thanks Vanessa for your part in this : ).

 It is now 10 years since the opening of the display by the Wirraway A20-62 pilots, Lew Dwyer (in person), and Warwick Carmody (by phone), on March 20th 2005. The forced-landing site was first located and filmed, then salvaged by Andrew, Mario and Marieke in September and October 2004 and then to March 20th 2005 creating these DVs and the "Wirraway-Challenge" display which was opened at the Kununurra Museum on that day.

'Wirraway-Challenge' - Wirraway means Challenge
 On the Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel is the story of finding the Wirraway A20-62 forced-landing (March 20th 1942) site in 2004, on the far north East Kimberley Region coastal saltmarsh, about 6km from the Northern Territory border (129 degrees east longitude), just inside Western Australia. Along the border where they force-landed in March 1942 is right in the middle of the widest part of the huge coastal saltmarsh out there, being almost 40km from the bush to the actual coastline. The site was found while looking for glacial rocks that were marked on an old Geological map (Later they were found to not be glacial tillite, but in fact river tumbled rocks from an ancient Ord-Victoria River system).

 Many parts which were salvaged in September and October 2004 are now on permanent display at the Kununurra Museum.

The pilot of the Wirraway, Lew Dwyer phoned me a few weeks ago, and has done so, regularly, since 2004 - Lew turned 94 a few weeks ago in October 2015, still in his home at Taylor's Beach in Queensland.

NT Outdoor Picture Theatres in WWII

Andrew Barker (President) for Kununurra Historical Society.

The DV embedded here is the only DV without audio and is an interesting little edit I made (ten years ago), from still images of outdoor picture theatres of the Top End, during WWII, which I had come across during my research into 12 Squadron and Wirraway A20-62.

[It was edited with "Let's Edit" (Canopus - later became Edius - Grass Valley software).]

Click the 4 cornered gadget on lower right of control bar to go Full Screen (Escape to return) If Full Screen does not work you may need to watch it on the YouTube as below.

ALL Parts 1-8 are now Public and visible from the Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel - OR You can go to the KHS Research Page - where there is a separate research page on the "Wirraway-Challenge" which has more detail and links to all 8 DV parts.

Once you get to the end of the video - YouTube may serve up all sorts - Click on our Name below the video (Kununurra Museum) to get to our YouTube Channel which is at - KHS hopes you enjoy!

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