One of the principal aims of the Living Museum was, and still is, to make local history accessible. With this in mind the Museum produced a number of short histories in the form of broadsheets, brochures and even postcards.
The idea was to normalise the idea of local history being part of the present narrative so that local people were more informed of their history and their context so they could be more confident of participating in a wide range of issues.
The following products cover a range of topics, which are very suitable for school subjects but also interesting for anybody.
These broadsheets are a group of large brochures of four pages that look at a local topic in some detail. They are particularly targeted at school students. The term broadsheet is taken from the idea of a newspaper format.
Broadsheet 1: Factory on the River – Innovations in Industry
This broadsheet looks at the history of industrial activity at Pipemakers Park and describes the history of the meat processing factory, the tallow factory and the pipe making factory which cumulatively occupied the site for more than a hundred years.
Broadsheet 2: Getting Around – Transport in Early Melbourne
In the early days of Melbourne and the western region there were no cars, there were no roads, there were no trains and there weren’t even any bridges over the rivers. How did people get around? This broadsheet explains how people travelled in those first few years.
Broadsheet 3: Altona – Town by the Sea
This broadsheet gives some interesting information about this little known suburb on the coast of Melbourne’s western region. There is much more to Altona than those very familiar tank farms.
Broadsheet 4: Maribyrnong River – A River of History
This broadsheet has a look at what is often called Melbourne’s ‘second’ river. Surprisingly many people in Melbourne know very little about this river, some are even unaware the river exists at all. Actually the Maribyrnong has a variety of sights along the banks from a boat’s eye view and an important history.
Chaffmills in Melbourne’s West
This brochure is a summary of a larger book about chaff mills in the western region of Melbourne. The fuel for a society and an economy that was moved largely by horse power was mostly chaff. Chaff is basically the husks and stalks of grain crops and it was used to feed livestock including horses. The brochure gives a potted history of this crucial industry.
Irrigating the Dry Plains
The plains to the west of Melbourne do not have a high rainfall so for some crops it was deemed necessary to provide a more secure form of providing water to local farms. This brochure gives an outline of that effort to provide a secure water supply.
You would hardly notice Kororoit Creek as you drive over it these days but it was once a significant milestone on the way to the goldfields with several hotels built on its banks. It was also once a place where Olympic trials were held. It has a significant history.
Origins of Industry
Where did industry start in Melbourne and the western region? What resources were available and what resources were provided? What was imported and what was produced locally. This brochure looks at those early steps.
Duty Nobly Done
As well as books and brochures the Living Museum presented small history products in other familiar formats. This series of pictures and quotes was originally in a diary to keep track of your appointments and other important dates. It is a series of snapshots of history about the McKay Harvester Factory and was originally in a diary form with pictures in between pages. The diary has been removed and here is the history that went with that diary in 1987. The history hasn’t changed.
‘Go West Young Woman’ – The Diary
This is an example of the Living Museum using normal daily products to promote and distribute local history among local people. We have taken out the dates of the diary to leave these snapshots of history of the local munitions industry that was so significant to the western suburbs and the whole nation during WW1 and WW2. This munitions diary is part of a larger study of the local munitions industry by the Living Museum.