Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society

Upper Yarra Historical Society was established in 1966 by local residents with “the aim of fostering a historical interest in and knowledge of the Yarra Valley firstly, and that of wider Melbourne and Victoria secondly [1] .

Now called the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society (UYVHS).

A dedicated group of volunteers continues to maintain the museum and its collection. The UYVHS Committee, the elected governing body, meets on the 4th Thursday of the month. All UYVHS members are invited to attend monthly meetings as well as the Annual General Meeting (May). New UYVHS members are welcome; induction programs for new members are conducted as needed. Volunteer members are also welcome; there are a variety of tasks and involvement opportunities to suit a range of interests.

The core role of the historical society in its early years was to manage the collection. Over time, this role has been extended to the maintenance and management of the railway precinct including the heritage buildings used to house the collection. ” The two are inextricably connected by virtue of their focus on the region’s history and heritage, by the Society’s home in the Museum, while their tasks are made harder by the dire need for improved preservation, access and infrastucture, and almost complete lack of income to care for their large collection” [1 p10].

An approach was made to then Gembrook MP Tammy Labarto and Yarra Ranges Council (YRC) staff in October 2010 to discuss the future of the Upper Yarra Museum given the urgency of the required preservation work.

This report (below) was tabled to brief councillors on the development of the Upper Yarra Museum, the condition of the facilties and the status of UYVHS. Specifically, the report raises issues relating to land ownership, buildings and grounds, collections and the capacity of the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society (UYVHS) to manage this asset and provides recommendations to support the UYVHS endeavours.

11-06-28 – Council report Item Upper Yarra Historical Museums v2

Membership Form

UYVHS Membership appl form May 2013-2

Rules for the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society

Under section 46 of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012, these Rules are taken to constitute the terms of a contract between the Association and its members.

UYVHS Model Rules (FINAL) for an Inc. Assoc 2013

Upper Yarra Museum today

Volunteers open the Museum Wednesdays and Sundays for visitors (and at other times as the needs arise). During opening times, volunteers will carry out tasks such as revamping exhibitions, managing and cataloguing the collection (paper and non paper-based)maintaining the grounds and facilities, participating in special programs and hosting visitors and tours.

Volunteer members are also invited to participate in collection management and exhibition installation tasks on Thursdays. This is an opportunity to engage in new interest areas and to develop skills while the facility is (usually) closed to the general public. While UYVHS financial membership has trebled in recent years, the number of active volunteers has remained largely static.

Training and induction are provided. We also invite members of the immediate and broader communities to come along to share their memories and “Tell your Stories”, to research family histories or just to add new information to our repository of material and knowledge.

The Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society is a Not-for-Profit Incorporated Association with Deductible Gift Recipient status. It has ‘professional’ affiliations with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the Association of Eastern Historical Societies. Museums Australia (Victoria) and the Yarra Ranges Heritage Network.


  1. Upper Yarra Community Enterprise Ltd, Woodchop, $3,000, 2013
  2. Upper Yarra Community Enterprise Ltd, Reburbish collection, $5,000. 2013
  3. Shire Yarra Ranges, Powelltown Tramway Centenary; Festivals and Events Grants $3,000, 2013
  4. Shire Yarra Ranges,Crank-up; Festival and Events Grants, $8,000, 2013
  5. Community Safety Grant, State Government, $10,000, 2012
  6. Upper Yarra Community Enterprise Ltd,, Woodchop, $3,000, 2012
  7. Shire Yarra Ranges, Crank-up; Festival and Events Grants, $10,000, 2012
  8. Community Support Grant, Master plan funding to develop the Yarra Junction Community and Cultural Precinct, State Government, $30,000, 2012
  9. Heritage Victoria for restoration of 1888 station, Community Development Grant; State Government, $90,000, 2012
  10. Upper Yarra Community Enterprise Ltd, Restoration Projects: $15,000, 2012
  11. Museum Australia, Victoria [MAVIC] fixtures and lighting station, $2500, 2012
  12. VicForests Community Support Program, $1,000, 2011
  13. National Library of Australia, Significance Assessment of Collection, Federal Grant, $4,400, 2011
  14. Volunteer Grants, Federal Grant, $3,350, 2011
  15. Upper Yarra Community Enterprise Ltd, Crankup 2010: $1,800, 2010
  16. VicForests Community Support Program, $2,000, 2010
  17. National Library of Australia, Preservation of Collection, Federal Grant, $5,000, 2005
  18. National Library of Australia, Preservation Assessment of Collection, Federal Grant, $5,000, 2004


  1. Yarra Ranges Shire for maintenance, grounds and collection, $10,000, 2012
  2. Yarra Ranges Shire for maintenance, grounds and collection, $10,000, 2011
  3. Yarra Ranges Shire, reblocking station, $20,000, 2011
  4. VicForests Partnership over 3 years, $1,000 pa, total $3,000, 2012
  5. Ward Funding Cr Chris Templer, for bus hire, printing, step repair, signs, $1,950, 2011
  6. Ward Funding Cr Chris Templer, for Gravel and signs, $1,000, 2010
  7. Ward Funding Cr Monika Keane, Upper Yarra Water huts, $2,000, 2008
  8. Upper Yarra Shire, member represented on UYVHS and provided yearly support $6,000, up to 1994

Donations and Sponsorship

Community support listed under Events

Collection Policy 2010

Statement of purposes of the Society and Museum are:

  • To develop and manage a publicly accessible resource of historical artefacts, photographs, documents, and records which are of particular relevance to the Upper Yarra Valley area.
  • To encourage community engagement with the Museum through public events and an online presence.
  • To encourage further research into the history of the Upper Yarra Valley.
  • To develop an appreciation of the historic value of the Museum buildings. [4]

(See also UYVHS Rules for extended list of purposes)

UpperYarra_Collection_Policy_2010 [4]

Upper Yarra Museum Donor Form 2012

Upper Yarra Museum is a Place of Deposit for The Public Records Office


Places of Deposit (PODs) are community facilities that the Minister for the Arts appoints to care for those public records not considered part of the state’s archives but of local historical interest. As well as being cared for in a POD these records are made available for research by group members and the general public.[2]

History of The Upper Yarra Historical Society

Original driver, George Coggin [employed by M.M.B.W] gathered support for an Historical Society and early meetings were held at Green Gables These meetings also included Mr and Mrs Frank Kurka [ Proprietors of Green Gables Chalet] and Stan Cooper [Cr, President, Tourist Development Authority 1968) who became the first Society president]. Other prominent participants in establishing the Historical Society included Syd Halbish, Marj Wilson, Lindsay Harris, Earle Parkinson, Don and Ben Parkinson, Fred Pickersgill and Norm Golding.

Flyer for Upper Yarra Historical Society

Flyer for Upper Yarra Historical Society

Meeting at Green Gables UYHS

Meeting at Green Gables UYHS

Line closed in 1965, Yarra Junction Station in 1969

Line closed in 1965, Yarra Junction Station in 1969





A public meeting was organised and more members joined the society so the meetings were transferred to Yarra Junction. After the closure of the Lilydale to Warburton rail line in 1965, the Shire of Upper Yarra arranged with the railway department for the headquarters of the UYHS to be established at the station. Dedicated members started the process of gathering the collection and setting up the museum to house the items being donated.

“Their efforts were directed towards collecting historical objects and records from the district, creating affiliations with like minded and other community organisations, arranging speakers, history tours and raising funds” [1]


Significance Assessment

The Report was prepared for Upper Yarra Museum by Emma Russell, History @Work, using a Community Heritage Grant from the Federal Government in 2011. A Significance Assessment was sought to provide UYVHS with information ‘about the value and meaning in their collection.’ This information has contributed to improved labelling, organisation, exhibiting, promotion and forward planning. (See Page 4, Statement of Purpose in the report below for further explanations of benefits).

Significance Assessment Report – UYM – April 2012 [1]

Executive summary

“The Museum’s collection is historically significant for its representation of the wider story of timber milling in the region and in Victoria, the social and industrial history of the Upper Yarra region, and the evolution of a gold mining settlement into a thriving township, a dormitory suburb of metropolitan Melbourne and a semi-rural area. The collection has research significance to be found within its engineering blueprints and some components of its archival and photographic collection, while the original railway buildings that form the heritage precinct are representative of an important early 20th century railway station.”[1]

The Shay at Powelltown 1932, driver Joe Trickey

The Shay at Powelltown 1932, driver Joe Trickey

Conservation Management Study 2011

Master Plan

Master Plan Objectives p 21

Conservation Management Study of the Yarra Junction Railway Precinct 2011 prepared by Trevor Westmore, Urban Design and Heritage Conservation.

“The precinct is of local significance to the Yarra Ranges Shire and the general region. lt has possible State significance as the transfer junction of construction timber from the Powelltown narrow gauge line for use across the state” [5] p 15-17

Conservation Management plan 2011 Trevor Westmore Sm [5]

Conservation Survey of UYVHS Collection 2004

The Report was prepared for UYVHS by Artifact Conservation, Kyneton, using a Community Heritage Grant, National library of Australia, Federal Government Grant in 2004.

The aim of the report was 2 fold:

  1. To assess the display and storage of cultural historic material
  2. To appraise the physical and chemical condition of the photographic and paper based collection

Conclusions from the 40 page report: [6]

  1. All buildings had sub standard display and storage facilities which are harmful to the collection
  2. Most items showed a need for hands on conservation to arrest the present and on-going deterioation of the collection.
  3. Lack of label identification or provenance of the collection
  4. lack of detailed cataloguing records and no archival or historic research room.
E J Storey Warburton

E J Storey Warburton


Euclid Belly Dumper Upper Yarra Dam

Euclid Belly Dumper Upper Yarra Dam

Granose Delivery van, Warburton

Granose Delivery van, Warburton