OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe towns we live in today serve as constant reminders of the history that created them. Whether you live in Gladsydale, East Warburton, Yarra Junction or anywhere in between, knowing the stories of the past, helps us understand the connections we enjoy today and the legacy we have inherited as communities. A visit to the Upper Yarra Museum provides a glimpse of the many people and places that have bought life to the valley for more than 130 years.

The Upper Yarra Museum has its home in the former Yarra Junction Railway Station (an 1888 building relocated from Lilydale in 1914) located on the Rail Trail, one of our most appreciated tourist and recreational assets. The last train left the Yarra Junction platform in 1965.

Tom O’Meara is the president of the not-for-profit Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society (UYVHS), which, with the help of many volunteers, manages the Upper Yarra Museum. In the last three years, financial memberships have grown from eighteen to more than eighty.

Funding has seen restoration of the buildings and the research and cataloguing of paper and non paper-based artefacts donated by the community. The collection contains railway memorabilia, toys, household goods, machinery and local icons. There is even a ‘device for getting potatoes out of cows’ throats,’ says Tom – an example of the engineering knowhow of our elders.

A miniature railway train is being restored by volunteers and will soon offer rides. There is a themed children’s playground and Children’s Month each October brings history to life for local kids.

yj railway oldThe collection also honours the ANZAC legacy and work continues on a project to recreate an avenue of honour for ‘fallen’ WW1 diggers. A display featuring indigenous leader and local William Barak takes pride of place in the former ‘General Waiting Room’. A working blacksmith also offers ‘try your hand’ classes each month.

Recent restoration projects include the Powelltown Union Church and the Centenary of the Powelltown Tramway.

The cause of Upper Yarra History is enhanced by our sponsorships. We sponsor the annual event Crank Up event, which has been running for more than 34 years. Crank Up, which includes the popular Wood Chop, brings more then 2500 attendees to the museum and showcases the early industrial and economic features of our pioneering history.

The Back to Yarra Junction project invites locals with images and stories to participate in an event on 16 November to collect material for the History of Yarra Junction book project and will be a great opportunity for reunion. For more details see Facebook/YarraJunctionHistory

Nothing beats a hands-on history experience where sights and sounds can be experienced.  Entry is $5 per person or $10 per family. (Concession $3). Group visits by arrangement.