Volunteers at the Scholz Park Museum in Riverton celebrated yesterday their successful nomination for Clare & Gilberton Valley Council’s 2017 Australia Day Community Event of the Year award. They won the award for the reopening of the museum on Sunday 10 April after two years of closure.
Volunteers at Riverton’s Scholz Park Museum were justly jubilant when they discovered their nomination for Clare & Gilberton Valley Council’s 2017 Australia Day Community Event of the Year award had been successful. They won the award for their reopening of the museum event held on Sunday 10 April after two years of closure.
This voluntary-run community museum on the main street of Riverton was created to preserve the home and business on land originally purchased by Silesian migrant August Scholz and his wife Wilhelmina in 1865. The complex consists of a four room cottage built in 1872 to accommodate the growing family, a wheelwright shop and an adjacent Blacksmith which Scholz had purchased from his former business partner, smithy William Saunders in 1886.
In 1970 the property was sold to the District Council of Riverton by August's grandsons, Harold and Norman Scholz. As a condition of sale, the land, building and contents were to remain an example of the early days of the town. The original Scholz Park Restoration Committee set out to develop a museum in 1978 which opened in 1981.
In 2014 the committee was informed that serious occupational, health and safety issues existed within the buildings, requiring the museum to close until these matters were addressed.
Extensive fundraising began and with positive community support the committee was able to undertake additional work, such as restoring the tyre furnace and the wheelwright shop office, re-establishing the garden area at the rear of the museum, paving and attending to aspects of the cottage exterior as well as a range of other tasks.
Using the Museum’s own funds, fundraising and financial contributions, coupled with in-kind support nearly $30,000 was spent addressing the OH&S issues and other works, plus more than 2,000 volunteer hours.
The event back in April last year was supported and attended by many locals, visitors, schools and service organisations. The reopening was combined with another important community event, the Riverton RSL Sub Branch Field of Remembrance Dedication service. Two working forges were in operation courtesy of the Artist Blacksmith Association of SA while members of the Victoriana Society were in attendance dressed in appropriate 1860s costume. Members of the Scholz and Saunders family also took part in the event as well as other VIPs such as Riverton RSL president Roger Aitchison, Clare Gilberton Valley Mayor Allan Aughey OAM and Member for Wakefield, Nick Champion.
Scholz Park Museum is one of 66 registered and accredited museums in the History Trust’s Community Museums Program.