News 2011-2012

Batchelor Museum's Official Opening was Saturday 04 August 2012


Batchelor Museum Official Opening was changed to Saturday 04 August 2012 to align with Batchelor's Linga Longa Festival, to be held on the Saturday as well.

06 Nov 2011 - Batchelor Museum Community Event video and photographs below.

MUSEUM UPDATE - March 2012
As displayed elsewhere on the website the great news is that gifts over $2 are tax deductible. The Tax office informed us of this in February.

We will shortly be announcing a plan for "your name on a louvre" to recognise donations. There will be different levels, as is usual. We will welcome donations as we strive to put in place the beginning of the exhibits in the next few months.

Our caretakers, Nick and Bec with their young sons took the opportunity to move to a nearby property late January. They are both still keen supporters and involved. Then on February 13 James and Denise came to stay at the Museum until June.

Meantime Greening Australia agreed to donate a large number of native trees to enhance the area. Since we took possession the grounds have been tidied of excess mahogany seedlings etc and much general maintenance so that the area looks beautiful. The Coomalie Council generously funded the removal of several large dying and overhanging trees. The previous Wet, one tree did considerable damage to the bathroom area of Block A, and a branch fell on the roof of Block C-an addition since the RJ days- causing roof and electrical damage.

The garden has now been planted with the selected trees and surrounded by substantial mulching from the mowing and smaller dead trees cut down last week.

A Community Grant awarded us $4500 to paint Building A. First we need to finish the repairs and do extensive cleaning of mould. For the architraves we will have Mike (carpenter featured on the video) and the rest will all be done with volunteer labour as we endeavour to get this building into presentation stage.

Another Grant application has been lodged to fund part of the Batchelor Farm exhibit. This will be known in May. Meantime getting the photos and text organized.

The NT Museums Grant applications close in May so if we are successful that work will occur very much later in the year.

Other Grant applications will be made as they become available.

However these do not pay for items such as insurance, power and water. Fortunately we have been exempted of land rates.

We have a plan for a coffee shop so the electricity in Block C was repaired and power points added for this eventuality. The cost of this was shared between the Jones (Ros and Bruce) and Jan (President). It does allow this space to be utilized for meetings. It is envisaged also as an education space.

Enquiries come via the web site, particularly for information regarding relatives. These have been passed to a WW2 historian who has given information to assist.

Please check regularly to get an update, and advise those who you know do not have internet contact.

Regards, Jan Hills - President


The Batchelor Interpretive Museum is a work in progress with renovation and repairs still happening. As well Block A is being prepared for painting.

We have great caretakers, James and Denise, who have enjoyed being part of Batchelor's social scene and who have contributed much to the development of the premises and wholeheartedly entered into this project. They have now been here 3 months and will be leaving early June. All of us have benefited from their participation and skills.

Recently we have applied for funding (Museum Grant) to develop the WW2 exhibit specific to Batchelor. Both Bob Alford (military historian) and Dr Tom Lewis from the Darwin Military Museum will prepare the material for display if we get the Grant.

There will be one or two display cases with small items and the relative story, similar to the ones at the new Military Museum at East Point. We are not a collecting museum, but if any one has an item which is significant, identifiable and specific and would be willing to donate for the display then please contact Jan Hills - +61 (8) 89767006. The donation would be acknowledged within the Museum.

A Heritage Grant application was submitted a week ago for professional painting of the heritage listed Block B. It will be some months before we are advised re these Grants.

We do have sanding machines to prepare the surfaces, and are also ready to commence painting in some rooms of Block A. It would be great to get some volunteers from the community, so for local members if you can spare a few hours to help the current volunteers, we would be grateful for your help.

The garden is looking so much better now the excess mahogany seedlings have finally been overcome, and the trees donated by GREENING AUSTRALIA are planted and doing well.

Other areas have been pruned and some small plants added appropriately.
We have been advised to keep plants away from the buildings to reduce the likelihood of repeat termite infestation.

James, his visitor friend, Ray, and Bruce Jones have concreted in front of the new doorway so providing wheelchair access to Block A bathroom.
Electrical wiring in Block B was deemed safe and power has been restored to all lights and fans there. RCDs have been added and power is available in kitchen and laundry areas.

Electricity repairs have been effected in the added block-C- and this was funded jointly by donations from Ros and Bruce, and Jan.
Due to a fault in a termite infested wall the electrical wiring in A was compromised. We have yet to ascertain the effect and cost of this situation.

The first exhibit to be developed will be of Batchelor Farm. This is fitting, as this year (2012) marks one hundred years since the farm commenced operating. Pictures will be displayed with text about the farm and will be set up in Block A. Hopefully this will be in situ for the event planned for August 4, the same day as the Batchelor Linga Longa Festival.

The Museum has now got tax deductability for donations. Grants fund only specific items and we would be grateful for any financial assistance offered to fund the many items of expenditure outside the conditions.

Regards, Jan Hills - President


View before and after images below...

The amount of volunteer hours which have transformed the Building A from a blackened and vandalized area to a freshly painted sound building is well in excess of 1000 hours. New caretakers, James and Denise arrived mid-February and have devoted themselves to the project, changed departure date, supervised and befriended our overseas visiting volunteers and become involved in the local Community.

Initially our carpenter Mike was employed at a "friendly rate" to do the architraves, and started on the modifications needed because of white ant damage. James worked with Mike, and then took on the jobs relating to removal of some cupboards etc and the repair of walls that ensued. These jobs were essential to the painting presentation.

Meantime the cleaning with chlorine and gurney produced great results, so that mould was completely removed. The surfaces were then sanded, and holes left from removed appliances, vandalism, and louvre frames were filled.

We had advertised for HelpX volunteers to assist and the first of these overseas visitors arrived early May 2012. These young people have been essential to the project. They live on-site in Building B which has two of the bedrooms and the kitchen furnished from local loans or acquisitions. Building B contains the restored bathroom featured in the video you can view on this website.

A local electrician, Ashleigh, gave us volunteer hours to reconnect the electricity in this building, so the visitors have fans - very necessary in this climate!

Unfortunately building A will need to be rewired as there had been a fire in wiring within a white anted area. We have to use electricity leads to there - essential for the sanding machines. Having done some hand sanding there myself can vouch that the machines were definitely needed!

There has been change-over of HelpX people over the months and they have come from France, Finland and Italy. James and Denise, and Ros and Bruce have taken those without transport to see Litchfield Park, and involved them in Bush Skittles and BBQs after work- the skittles made by James from wood of lopped trees. These activities and friendliness contribute to their understanding of our language and life style which is what they want to experience.

After sanding the whole building has had an undercoat and then a surface coat of a semi gloss paint recommended by a professional painter asked to quote on painting building B. Bill also donated some paint. Paint, filler etc was bought with the $4500 Community Grant we received for this job and which has been fully acquitted.

The security screens bought with membership fees have now been secured. These are complete along one side of each building. As well, contractors working on a water supply project donated all left over soil and sand in return for minding their machinery. They also spread this so that the Museum garden has a more even surface. James also secured a load of mulch from another contractor trimming trees, so that helps our new plantings.

Regards, Jan Hills - President

We have posted several before and after images for you to view below…


Friday August 3 was a working bee to set up the initial permanent museum display, and place memorabilia from the Rum Jungle era and also WW2. This included video, and photographs on both CD and USB displayed through TV screens. As well the computer was set up to show the web site which is still being "discovered" and appreciated by people.

Visitors were impressed with the difference in the presentation of the building.

The initial display relates the story of the Demonstration Farm of 631 hectares set up around Rum Jungle. The area was then named Batchelor to honour the man who was the first Minister before his untimely death. Egerton Lee Batchelor came from Adelaide and was in State politics before Federation. He had a distinguished career.

On the day the official proceedings began at 3pm. Members of the Darwin Chorale sang several Australian songs before Anna Malgorzewicz (vice-President) spoke to the audience about the Museum development over the time and the people involved, particularly our caretakers for 6 months- James and Denise Wright. Then James and Denise, myself, and our local member, Rob Knight went forward to cut the birthday cake. There was a 100 candle and all joined the Chorale in singing Happy Birthday Batchelor. Accomplished local cake cook, Ruth McMaster had made several cakes to enable all those present to receive a slice.

Thank you to those members who sent best wishes emails for the opening.

Last week we were advised that the Heritage Council had awarded us money to professionally paint building B- which is heritage listed – and also put a white ant barrier around. We will need more money to put the barrier around both buildings. Building B will house the mining history, for which display we have received some wonderful donations from former mine workers and their families.

Presently we are waiting to see if the money to develop part of the WW2 exhibit will be awarded via a Museum Grant applied for some months ago.

Currently we are seeking a caretaker to stay at the lovely garden site.

Regards, Jan Hills – President

A well wishers Email we received from Kim & Billie Creed – Canada

Some photos from the Official Opening on 04 August 2012...


From August when we celebrated 100 years since Batchelor Farm was established, the Museum project has moved along quietly and I will list some of the various happenings.

The garden continues to be kept tidy, and is looking good with the rain, although much less for this season. Hundreds of mahogany seedlings appear and need to be removed. The trees planted early in the year are doing well. The resident Barking Owls produced two offspring and you can see pictures here.


We have been successful in getting a Heritage Grant which will pay for the painting of the heritage listed Building B. and also for pest control. The Pest Control technician inspected this week and there is no evidence of white ants in our buildings. There are nests in the garden area and these were treated. We shifted plants away from the buildings to assist control.

Bruce and James have continued to work each Monday and Tuesday on the extensive repair work needed to address white ant and vandalism damage in Block B. This is drawing to a close, and I have maintained contact with the paint firm. Painting will be done in January.

There is an appeal to Batchelor people to donate small items of WW2 significance ready for that display. Recently Dr Tom Lewis from the new Darwin Military Museum phoned to offer 2 glass display cabinets.. They have been collected and placed in the room ready for items.

Late December WW2 historian, Bob Alford, is coming to view the space available as he will work up the material for the WW2 display. Tom Lewis is also likely to assist. They are both highly qualified to produce the documentation for specific Batchelor WW2 happenings.
An amount of money has been granted to begin the WW2 display.

We are also contacting local Aboriginal groups for their display area and for painting on the exterior of Block A. This would introduce the Aboriginal display area which is at the Museum entrance. The Rum Jungle mining era will be in Block B and extensive. I have found a professional curator to develop this display. It will incorporate the great donations provided, and must tell the mining history as well as the social aspects. At this point we don't have funding for a professional exhibit. There is one bedroom which will be displayed very much as it was . We do have pictures and know the wall colour, but if any one wants to send comments please do so.

Sunday, December 9, was the last Batchelor Market day so we prepared a stall with books and some other items. Raised $51 and enjoyed a social morning.

The first weekend in August 2013, in association with the 60th anniversary celebration of Batchelor School, and the Batchelor Lingalonga Festival will be a good time to view developments in the Museum. Hopefully we will see some of you here at that time.

Regards, Jan Hills - President