The Tamworth area has several museums preserving the history of its original custodians, the city, the region and the nation. Key historic sites and buildings in the city have been connected in a Heritage Walk and Heritage Drive, with maps and information available at Tamworth Visitor Information Centre.
Australian Country Music Hall of Fame
The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame displays memorabilia from pioneers of country music through to our current stars. Walk a Country Mile is an interactive area that allows visitors to follow the growth of the genre, through artefact, screenings of old concerts and photos.
Barraba Shearing Display
The Barraba Shearing Display is one of the most comprehensive displays of antique shearing machinery in Australia. The display is located at 27 Alice Street, Barraba, you can contact them on 02 6782 1105.
Built by Tamworth’s first mayor, Philip Gidley King, in 1875 Calala Cottage is furnished mainly from the late Victorian era. The museum displays items from early Aboriginal artefacts to the establishment of Tamworth as a city. Bequests from notable local families include clothing, portraits, photographs, furnishings and machinery. The shepherd’s hut, built about 1840, is Tamworth’s oldest surviving building.
Gil Bennet Rocks, Gems & Minerals Collection
The Gil Bennet Rocks, Gems and Minerals Collection is located in Jenkins Street, Nundle. It is acknowledged as one of the finest collections in the world featuring some 1554 specimens from all over Australia including spheres, petrified wood, gypsum, calcite, quartz, agate, jasper, aragonite.
The Moonbi Museum was officially opening on 24 May 2015. It displays history from Moonbi and environs of photos and implements from the time of settlement in 1856 to the present day. The museum is located at Gill Street, Moonbi, you can contact the museum on 02 67603110 for opening times.
Manilla Heritage Museum
Manilla Heritage Museum houses the collections of local history buffs including stories, documents, artefacts and memorabilia. The Museum Complex includes historic Royce’s House (built in 1884); Manilla Rural Museum; Yarramanbully Schoolhouse; Harry Burrell Memorial Garden; Manilla Chinese Memorial Garden; and the Crompton Arc Light.
Mount Misery Gold Mine Museum
Mount Misery Gold Mine Museum in Nundle allows you to walk through a disused mining shaft, where you’ll find tools and machinery, photos, newspaper clippings – and maybe even the ghost of Cranky Jack, who reportedly struck gold but died in the mine before he could cash in. There is also a cafe and accommodation available.
Nundle Courthouse Museum
In the Nundle Court House Museum, you’ll find a carefully curated selection of domestic and town items that speak volumes about their times and their users. The collection includes farm equipment, kitchenware, furniture, clothing and information relating to the 1948 aircraft crash on Crawney Mountain. The 19th century colonial architecture style building was built by local builder George Davison in 1880 and has been cared for by the Nundle District Lions Club since 1988 to use as a museum. The museum is open Saturday 10:30 - 11:30am and Sundays 12:30 - 4:30pm.
Nandewar Historical Society Museum
Nandewar Historical Society Museum exists to preserve the history of Barraba and the surrounding district. The Museum encompasses the history of early pioneering families, mining, agricultural and military heritage. With many fascinating items and volunteers with a wealth of local knowledge, particularly family history, this Museum is well worth the visit.
Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum
The Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum is a private collection of more than 50 bikes from the ‘50s to the ‘80s, all in immaculate working order. A highlight is the extremely rare, limited-edition F4 MV Augusta Series ORO. Even if you’re not an enthusiast, these machines are things of beauty.
The historic Peel Inn is a gold rush pub. Built in 1860 by William McIlveen, after the discovery of the precious metal at Hanging Rock, William no doubt hoped to grow prosperous as prospectors spent their money in his establishment. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned. Not long after opening his pub, he lost it in a card game. The Schofield family continues to run the pub today. The exterior has remained largely unchanged over the past century, retaining the frontier charm of the gold rush days, with decorative iron work, a Wunderlich tin-lined balcony and six metre deep verandah.
Tamworth Powerstation Museum
Tamworth Power station Museum has a replica of the first power station building built on this site in 1888. There is a pictorial history of the development of electricity, plus 20th century electric appliances used for heating, cooling, cleaning, cooking and entertainment. It has one of the largest collections of electric light bulbs in Australia, and the world’s only two operational John Fowler steam-driven engines, which are periodically fired up to simulate the early days of power generation in Tamworth.
The Collectors Museum
Fans of cricket or Australian history in general must peruse The Collectors Museum at The Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre, which has the largest privately owned collection of Sir Donald Bradman memorabilia – some even available to buy.