The Southern Cross Historical Society began in 1971 and the Museum in 1979. Both entities operate with the same members under the title Southern Cross and Yilgarn District Historical Society and Museum. The museum is a Recognised Local Museum under the WA Museum’s Act, the building is vested in the Yilgarn Shire which does any maintenance. Museum artefacts are housed in the former Court House and Mining Registrar 1893 (pictured above).
The Museum highlights the fact that Southern Cross is the birth-place of goldmining in the eastern WA goldfields, the dividing line between the wheatbelt and mining. Volunteers operate the museum, and entrance fees, membership subscriptions, books sold, and the occasional stall meets operating costs. Grants from the Lotteries Commission and also the Shire have enabled updating of equipment and display cabinets.
Two books, Wish upon a Star and Yilgarn record the history of this district. In addition our Research Officer has produced a number of booklets for sale. The museum does not have its own newsletter, but its notices and historical articles are regularly published in ‘Crosswords’ a fortnightly CRC newsletter. put out by our local CRC office.
Museum meetings are arranged bi-monthly and open to all. Current membership numbers 23 with about a dozen of these active members and volunteers. Depending on the availability of volunteers, the museum is open from 9.30am to 12 noon, and 1.30 to 3.30pm. Entrance fee is $3 adults, 50 cents children, and $6.50 family. The travelling public make up the bulk of visitors. Queries, mainly for family tree research, are handled by staff without charge, usually by email.
Outside Southern Cross the district is criss-crossed with gravel roads into wild flower country. Abandoned mining sites and man-made hills of overburden are unique. Remains of ghost towns that owed their existence to gold in years gone by are a step back in time. Old wells and dams still standing are also worth a visit. Three of the five soaks in this district built by Charlies Hunt in 1865 have been restored by the Historical Society, the oldest European landmarks in the Eastern Goldfields.