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 Grave in the Long Grass - Posted 29 April 2018

Jim Gooderson Collection - Posted 23 March 2018
50 Years of Kununurra Races - Posted 23 August 2017
Operation Ord Noah - Henry Hall Collection - Posted 15 May 2017
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)

Diversion Dam Opening - 50th Anniversary

posted 19 Jul 2013, 04:45 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 21 Jul 2013, 07:18 ]

July 20th 2013 - 50th Year Commemorations

PM Menzies Opens Diversion Dam

 The Official Opening of Ord Stage I and the Ord River Diversion Dam took place at a Ceremony on July 20th 1963 - On that date in 2013 (tomorrow), Engineering Heritage WA, supported by the Water Corporation of Western Australia, will unveil a new interpretive panel situated on the east bank of the Ord River, Lake Kununurra, at the "Swim Beach," about the Ord River Diversion Dam, with images for the history from the KHS archive collections at the Kununurra Museum.

 The commemorative ceremony and unveiling of the new interpretive panel, organised by Engineering Heritage Western Australia (EHWA), with assistance and support from the Water Corporation in Perth and Kununurra, will take place at the Swim Beach and has been set down for 10.30 am to 11.15am for the commemorative ceremony. There is an article with KHS supplied images, about the 1963 Opening Ceremony in this weeks Kimberley Echo with details about the 2013 commemorations.

For more information see the KHS Events Page.

NT Chief Minister's Book Award for "A Wild History"

posted 14 Jul 2013, 07:48 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 14 Jul 2013, 09:16 ]

[July 14th 2013 Note]

Image of Book Cover - A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier by Darrell Lewis

 Congratulations go out to Darrell Lewis, who has been visiting Kununurra this past week, attending several Kununurra Museum functions, a few days after he had been present in Darwin to receive the NT Chief Minister's - History Book Award, as equal winner, for his book, A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier.  This book is a must for anyone interested in NT and Kimberley history, a fascinating, well written and referenced, easy read for the general public, being the first overall early history (to circa 1910) of the entire Victoria River district, from Katherine to the East Kimberley WA/NT border regions. [KHS gets a mention in the book acknowledgements!]

2013 Lewis-Rothwell-Hammerton Leichhardt (Interview ;^) Expedition

 Another interesting and interested visitor to the Museum this past week was Nicholas Rothwell, author and journalist. Between days in Kununurra last week, Nicholas had been on a trip, probing into and interviewing, to find the real fellow-author, Darrell Lewis, accompanied by Alice Springs based photographer, Rhett Hammerton. They travelled down the Duncan Road and out to the southern side of the Buchanan Highway to beyond Birrindudu. There on the edge of desert country, on the northern side of the Browns Range Dome geological structure, lies a belt of about 280 "big, old" boab trees, cut off by great distance from the nearest of all other Kimberley boab trees, and close to where the Leichhardt name-plate is said to have been found over a century ago, circa 1900.

The Leichhardt nameplate is on display at the National Museum of Australia (NMA), where more information can be found. The image below of the nameplate is from the NMA s web page for the object listing - NMA Collection Object Listing - Leichhardt Nameplate [This link will open in a new tab to keep this page open]

The Leichhardt (gun) brass nameplate - stamped text reads "LUDWIG.LEICHHARDT 1848""

 The brass nameplate (145mm wide x 20mm high x 2mm thick), with the words "LUDWIG.LEICHHARDT 1848," was found on a burnt gun in the hollow of a "bottle-tree," (boab) reputedly with an "L" inscribed on the tree. The gun to which the brass nameplate had been attached, was left at the tree, supposedly having been found by stockman, Charlie Harding's Aboriginal assistant, "Jackie." Little is known of this pair's Kimberley movements, but it would appear that they may have gone out prospecting from Hall's Creek towards the Gardner Range and near the Sturt Creek WA/NT border region and home of these Birrindudu boabs, Despite intensive search by helicopter and quad bike, by Darrell and others in 2007 and 2008 respectively, a boab with an "L" inscribed, nor the gun remains (which would have been an early muzzle-loader), have ever been located. [Andrew Barker - KHS President - 14 VII 2013]

New Leichhardt Book Launch

posted 14 May 2013, 04:14 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 14 May 2013, 12:37 ]

Where is Dr. Leichhardt? – The greatest mystery in Australian History

Where is Dr. Leichhardt? - The Greatest Mystery in Australian History

The KHS president, Andrew Barker, will arrive in Canberra for the Museums Australia conference on the same day as,the launch for a new book by author Dr. Darrell Lewis (author of A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier - 2012), and has been invited to attend the launch at the National Museum of Australia.

A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier

Andrew had read Darrell's manuscript for A Wild History, in 2010 and along with many others, received acknowledgement in that book. Andrew also contributed some possible Kimberley Leichhardt relics he had found, as references from newspaper research, after learning of Darrell's work on the searches for Leichhardt at the National Museum of Australia. A chance then arose for Andrew to read the manuscript for this new book on Leichhardt, during Darrell's last visit to Kununurra, early in 2012.

It is fascinating to think that Leichhardt may well have made it all the way to the Kimberley!

The May 16th book launch will be held at the National Museum of Australia.

Read more about, Where is Dr. Leichhardt? - The Greatest Mystery in Australian History, from...

You can pre-order the book from the following link.

OR both books are (or will be) available from the Kununurra Museum (KHS) + postage. Just email a request for a quote and direct deposit payment details from the Contact KHS page.

Also see the Kununurra Museum - Events Page for two weekend Open Days during the Ord Valley Muster (both Saturdays - 18th & 25th of May), when these books will be on sale.

Read more about A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier, which was published in 2012, from

KHS President to attend the Museums Australia Conference

posted 14 May 2013, 03:36 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 14 May 2013, 03:57 ]

Museums Australia Conference in Canberra - May 2013

Thanks to Museums Australia (MA - the peak body for Museums in Australia), the KHS President was successful in applying for a bursary from them, to help cover costs associated with  travel between May 15th and 23rd, to attend the Museums Australia Conference in Canberra, which has a great range of topics relevant to a regional museum. The Kununurra Museum - KHS is a member of the WA branch of Museums Australia (MAWA). See the full conference program from

Carlton Reach Petters Engine Donated to Kununurra Museum

posted 13 Apr 2013, 03:32 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 19 Jul 2013, 06:29 ]

36HP "Petters Atomic Diesel Engine" donated to the Kununurra Museum

 Since locating and researching the provenance of the 36HP "Petters Atomic Diesel Engine," KHS member volunteers have worked at trying to make the engine more accessible (to all! :-), by wishing to display the engine at the Kununurra Museum, to help show the local, State and National significance of tropical agriculture on the Ord and in the Kimberley Region.

 This week (ending April 12th 2013), that research work and persistence, has resulted in great success, when the 36 HP "Petters Atomic Diesel Engine" was donated to the Kununurra Historical Society by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA - Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture, formerly the Kimberley Research Station (KRS), where the engine was also in use until the 1950s.

Why is this engine significant?

The Petters engine on the bank of the Ord River at the former Kimberley Research Station in November 2010
For detailed information on this part of our history go to the KHS Carlton Reach Pump Engine page.

Where is the engine now and where will it go (and how)?

At present the engine is at the old KRS site in view of the Ord River - You can see photographs of it as it is now on the KHS Carlton Reach Pump Engine page.

KHS has plans to display this original Carlton Reach pump engine by the entrance gate of the Kununurra Museum before July 20th 2013 commemorations of 50 years, since the Official opening ceremony of the Ord River Diversion Dam and Ord Stage I by Sir Robert Menzies.

What's That Thing? - ABC Kimberley - Web Page and Radio Interview [March 2013]

  Before the engine was officially donated to KHS, Vanessa Mills of ABC Broome did a radio segment, "What's That Thing?", featuring KHS research on the Carlton Reach Pump Engine - See the web page - ABC Kimberley Radio Interview in March 2013 - About the "Petters Atomic Diesel Engine and listen to the audio from there.

1943 (Dry Season) - 70 Years ago at Carlton Reach (Ord River Experimental Station)

 During the dry season of 1943 Kim and Bill Durack continued their work on the "Ord River Experimental Station," which had been set up late in 1941 at Carlton Reach using the waters of the Ord. More information is available about the 36 HP Petters "Atomic" diesel pump engine, used to raise the water for these first major experimental attempts at irrigation, at the twenty acre farm site. available from the Carlton Reach Pump Engine (on this site).

Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel

posted 16 Mar 2013, 10:33 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 19 Jul 2013, 06:34 ]

YouTube Channel for the Kununurra Museum

News Flash!
Today (March 17th 2013 - Saint Patrick's Day), to commemorate this being the day 50 years ago that
the Royal Tour landed at Kununurra, KHS will be holding an Open Day (10am to 4pm), but if you can

Embed gadget

't join us at the Museum, you can still be a part of it. Right now, we are making accessible to all, by uploading the edited 8mm film DV (in 2 parts) as our first YouTube videos, to the NEW Kununurra Museum YouTube Channel at

OR View the embedded video of the Royal Tour (two parts) now in a single DV

(Use the four cornered gadget in the lower right hand corner to go full screen :-)

A Royal Tour to Kununurra - March 17th 1963

posted 15 Feb 2013, 04:21 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 14 May 2013, 10:14 ]

Embed gadget

The 1963 Royal Tour Open Day at Kununurra Museum

  There will be an Open Day at the Kununurra Museum on Sunday March 17th 2013

On that date in 1963, Kununurra was a stop for the Royal Tour, when, HRH Queen Elizabeth II addressed crowds and opened the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) Hospital in Kununurra. In 2013 it will be 50 years since March 17th 1963, the day the Royal Tour landed, reputedly, the first (and only?) time, that the Queen has landed on an unsealed,(gravel - "dirt strip") runway. Do any royal watchers know if this is true? If so please contact us. A countdown to this 50th anniversary has been added to the sidebar on the right.

Some newly digitised images are available online, of a control tower, which was erected for the 1963 Royal Tour, then dismantled. It was made of scaffolding, but no doubt equipped with the latest technology available in 1963. These photographs and others in the collections also show two RAAF fire tenders, which were reputed to have been flown to Kununurra on RAAF transport aircraft, then flown away.

It would be great to see if there are any photographs of the Royal Yacht, Brittania, alongside the Wyndham jetty, or any others you may have of the Royal Tour to the Kimberley in 1963. Please contact us if you do and tell us your story on this or any other Kimberley history. 

View an embedded SlideShow of the Royal Tour in Kununurra, from various KHS archive collections, here while on this page, use the right hand cornered gadget to go full screen. You can also show information about each image from top of screen links.

OR View the Royal Tour 1963 photographic "Set" on Flickr, (Link goes to the set on Flickr in a new tab).

(Also see - The KHS Events Page)

Some Older Posts

Kununurra Museum Spring Book Fair - Posted 26 Aug 2012
Object and Art Preservation and Storage DV - Posted 30 Jul 2012
The El Questro Story - Book Launch - Posted 23 Jul 2012
70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin - Posted 18 Feb 2012 12:45
All KHS Library Accessions are now OnLine! - Posted 4 Feb 2012 17:15
KHS now has eMail domain - Set Up! - Posted 4 Feb 2012 16:50
KHS Website is 1 year old! - Posted 1 Feb 2012 22:41
Carlton Reach Pump Engine - Posted 21 Jan 2012 04:35

Kununurra Museum - Spring Book Fair

posted 26 Aug 2012, 02:08 by Kununurra Museum

New and 2nd hand books on sale 8am to 11am on the 1st and 2nd of September 2012 at the Kununurra Museum.

Read more about the Spring Book Fair from the Events Page.

Collection Preservation and Storage Video

posted 30 Jul 2012, 07:44 by Kununurra Museum   [ updated 14 May 2013, 10:11 ]

Object and Art Storage DV

Groups involved with art work and any other collection object or artefact storage should be interested to see the following featured video, on collection storage techniques used by the Koori Heritage Trust Collection Store. Our friends at the WA Police Historical Society, the NT Police Museum & Historical Society, and others, will also be interested to see the DV, showing some of the Victorian Police Museum's collection storage.

KHS has been a member of the "ArchivesLive" (Australian Society of Archivists) web group for the past year. They recently sent an email with a link to an interesting video, which is a great resource for showing a high standard of collection storage. Worth viewing for anyone, as an education on collection storage and preservation to aim for.

The video is in two sections; The first part focusing "On-Site at the Koori Heritage Trust Collection Store" and the other, "On-Site at the Victorian Police Museum Collection Store." The video was produced by Museums Australia, Victoria. (KHS is also a member of Museums Australia WA) - KHS President 30 VII 2012.

The video has been embedded on our Collection Preservation Tips page, for an informative behind the scenes look, at contemporary Museum collection, preservation and storage.

Some Older News Posts

Kununurra Museum Spring Book Fair - Posted 26 Aug 2012
Object and Art Preservation and Storage DV - Posted 30 Jul 2012
The El Questro Story - Book Launch - Posted 23 Jul 2012
70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin - Posted 18 Feb 2012 12:45
All KHS Library Accessions are now OnLine! - Posted 4 Feb 2012 17:15
KHS now has eMail domain - Set Up! - Posted 4 Feb 2012 16:50
KHS Website is 1 year old! - Posted 1 Feb 2012 22:41
Carlton Reach Pump Engine - Posted 21 Jan 2012 04:35

New Book - The El Questro Story

posted 22 Jul 2012, 19:32 by Kununurra Historical Society   [ updated 30 Jul 2012, 08:20 by Kununurra Museum ]

Book launch/Meet the Author of The El Questro Story - Meg Hornabrook

The El Questro Story - Meg Hornabrook

On Friday 27th July 2012 - 4 pm at the Kununurra Museum - 72 Coolibah Dve, Kununurra. (For a map see our contact page) - Come & meet the author over a cup of tea. All welcome.

The book launch went well with a good attendance, with food and refreshments the evening was enjoyed by all.

KHS research, correspondence and contact with Meg Hornabrook in the past years has been acknowledgement in the book.

Books are now available from the Kununurra Museum at $35
(or contact us to order + Postage)

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