The Sir Edgeworth David Memorial Museum was officially reopened at its new Abermain location on Saturday, the ceremony having been delayed from August 2021 by the recent lockdown.
The opening was conducted by the museum's three patrons: its founder and former state and federal MP Bob Brown AM, Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson MP and former Cessnock City councillor Catherine Parsons.
Mr Brown had created the nucleus of the museum at Kurri Kurri High School in 1971, when he was a senior staff member at the school before being elected to State and then Federal Parliament.
The collection - which comprises more than 5000 historic items and 3000 binders, boxes and reference books on mining and local history - was removed from the site in 2020 due to increasing demands for space at the school.
Its new home at the former Abermain School of Arts is just 100 metres from the spot where Sir Edgeworth David discovered the Greta Coal Seam in 1886.
"I was disappointed when you told me you had to leave Kurri Kurri but l can now see what an amazing display you have to showcase the Hunter Valley," Mr Brown said.
While walking around the Museum room which has been named in his honour, Mr Brown saw the radio that had belonged to his father, the late Edward Brown.
He touched the radio and said: "This was my dad's first brand new purchase. l remember sitting with dad, Teddy, bringing in all the stations one by one. He was so excited and happy when he got this radio. It was so special to him, and our family."
"I have walked in here today and l can touch the radio that has been a special part of younger days," he said.
Saturday's proceedings commenced with an acknowledgment of country delivered by Aunty Judy West, followed by an introductory address delivered by Coalfields Local History Association vice-president Bill Holland, which placed the museum site at the epicentre of coalfield development in the late 19th century.
Ms Swanson, Ms Parsons, Cessnock councillor Anthony Burke (representing the mayor) and former councillor Darrin Gray all reflected on the role the museum has played and would continue to play in interpreting the rich history of the Hunter Valley.
Following the cutting of the ribbon, guests were invited to inspect the displays.
The Sir Edgeworth David Memorial Museum is located in the School of Arts building on the corner of Cessnock Road and Orange Street, Abermain (at the new traffic lights) and is open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Access to the building is from the rear laneway. Admission is by gold coin donation.
The museum is also open by appointment. Call 0409 452 555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or bookings.
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