Development of the Society
In November 1993 an exhibition featuring the history of Mt Wilson was held in the Village Hall. The development of the Society emerged from this exhibition in conjunction with the 125th Anniversary luncheon of the surveying of Mt Wilson.
Following the success of that exhibition the Mt Wilson Community History Group was formed within the Mt Wilson Progress Association. This became the nucleus of the Mt Wilson Historical Society Inc. which was incorporated in 1996. The Society's scope was extended in 2001 to include the Mt Irvine community.
Turkish Bath Museum
The first major project undertaken by the Society was the restoration and conservation of the 1880s Turkish Bath building situated within the Wynstay Estate. The Turkish Bath and its precinct were leased to the Society by the owners of Wynstay on January 18th 1997 at a nominal rental of $2.00 per year. The Society maintains and operates the Turkish Bath as a museum of local history, with changing exhibitions and displays showing earlier life and times in the two villages.
The Museum is open 12.30pm to 3.30pm on the third Sunday every month except December, every Sunday during April & May and September & October, and on most Public Holidays. Group tours are also welcome by arrangement.
Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in community life and its history. From small beginnings the Society has grown to a membership of around 190 interested people, not all of whom are local residents. Some of our most active participants, both on the management committee and the working groups do not live in Mt Wilson or Mt Irvine but maintain their interest from many other locations.
Membership fees are due on 1 July each year and are as follows:
Individual: $20.00; Concessional: $15; Household (at the one address): $30.00; Life Membership: $500.
Members enjoy two general meetings each year, in which the business of the Society is reported and discussed. Each meeting usually features a guest speaker or other presentation on some local or more general historical topic.
A management committee of nine members is elected at each Annual General Meeting This committee meets usually four times per year. In addition, a number of subcommittees and working groups deal with ongoing matters including guiding at the Museum, fund raising, archive management, historical and archaeological research, publicity, exhibition design and development, open-days, function organisation, membership records, newsletter coordination and other tasks. All members are welcome and encouraged to participate; become actively involved, learn about the community and have some fun, too!
Annual fund raising events in the past have included outdoor live jazz concerts in the grounds of the Turkish Bath, a community market weekend held in the Village Hall attracting hundreds of visitors, street stalls, art shows and group walking tours along the Avenue. The success of these and other community events has always been thanks to the participation of members as volunteers, and we invite everyone to help out where they can.
The twice-yearly newsletter provides stimulating and entertaining articles, reports on activities, recent research and coming events. For those members who live further afield it is a vital link with community activities.
The Society has an extensive archive of documents, images and artefacts which tell the story of pre-settlement, exploration and the European settlement of Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine from 1875 to the present. We also welcome donations of material to add to the collection:
- Originals or copies of relevant historical records for the permanent collection, including documents, photographs, maps, books etc.
- Records and objects on temporary loan, suitable for exhibition
- Information from individuals from materials held in private collections, to be appropriately noted in the Society's records
- Materials for possible purchase
Such materials might include any which may potentially illuminate the stories of settlers in the 19th and 20th centuries and the growth of the district, the services it has received from outside to enable it to function in spite of its isolation, and the local industries which enabled it to thrive economically.
The Society has a comprehensive policy and documentation for acceptance of donations or purchases. Anyone wishing to add to the community's historical records is welcome to contact a member of the management committee.