HISTORIAN: Monto's resident historian Harold
HISTORIAN: Monto's resident historian Harold "Spook" Ware has been the driving force behind the Historical Society. Emily Smith

Monto Historical Society to host Heritage Day

THE MONTO Historical Society is preparing to take residents for a walk down memory lane.

Next Sunday, September 30, the society hosts the 49th annual Heritage Day - a celebration of the district's rich history at its Flinders St precinct.

The Monto Historical and Cultural Complex - comprised of a museum and art gallery - was established to preserve the culture, heritage and history of the Monto district and its people.

It's home to priceless artefacts, machinery and mementos from yesteryear, and a gallery dedicated to displays of photography, textiles, art and craft from local artists.

The impressive collection of historical exhibits spills out of the main building and into the grounds and wheelwright's workshop, featuring original pioneer structures, railway memorabilia and a remarkable array of horse-drawn vehicle replicas.

All this and more will be on show on Heritage Day, including eye-catching demonstrations of the old machinery by Harold 'Spook' Ware, the enthusiastic and highly-skilled founder of the society with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the district's history.

The Selene Hall, Cania Goldfields slab hut and the 108-year-old Birnam Homestead, were relocated to the complex from surrounding properties and are open to explore.

The yearly event is a fantastic day for anyone with an interest in the storied past of the region.

There will be morning tea and a barbecue lunch provided, a shovelling and fencing challenge, a raffle and incredible feats of engineering on display.

They will fire up the gold stamper and test Frank Anderson's steel straightening machine.

Monto Historical Society secretary Col List promised an interesting social occasion for the whole family.

"It's a reminder to people about the great history of the district ,” Mr List said.

"I've been here all my life - I was born in 1939 - so I've seen a few changes.

"The old Selene Hall was built in 1947 and once formed part of the school.

"It was unused for many years and it was great to bring it back to life.”

The refurbished old hall has also bee re-purposed. The Historical Society intends to use it as a picture theatre for film nights once a month.

In another of his painstaking passion projects, Mr List has compiled clippings of noteworthy stories from the now-defunct Monto Herald, neatly organised into a series of professionally printed books.

The project took him years. The tedious process made all the more challenging when the old broadsheets were water-damaged during the 2011 floods.

The Historical Society has published the books, which document all of the district's major events from 1931.

Books are arranged chronologically by year. If you would like to support the society, they will be available for purchase for $10.


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