Toodyay Historical Society

About Us

Foundation of the Society

In 1980 the Toodyay Tourist Centre arranged a seminar to discuss the Historic Precincts aspects of the Toodyay Town Planning.

There was considerable community interest: 

On 30th October 1980 an informal gathering was held at ‘Glen Avon’ for those interested in forming a society for the preservation and restoration of Toodyay’s historic buildings and character, and in promoting knowledge and practice of old arts and crafts. 

The gathering resolved to proceed with the formation of a society. The inaugural meeting of The Toodyay Society was held at the home of Les & Moya Hammill home in Telegraph Road, Toodyay on 25th November 1980, with thirty-seven members in attendance.

The Toodyay Historical Society, established in 1980, is a knowledgeable, friendly and active organisation within the town.

The objects and purposes of Toodyay Historical Society Inc
  1. To maintain the identity of Toodyay by preservation and restoration of buildings and settings of historical significance;
  2. To encourage the use of sympathetic architectural patterns when new buildings are constructed;
  3. To discourage the disfigurement of premises, streets and open places by unsightly and inappropriate advertisements, poles, wires and unseemly structures;
  4. To encourage the conservation of aspects of the natural environment as it affects the character of the Shire of Toodyay;
  5. To promote and encourage the awareness of historical values;
  6. To encourage the studyand writing of the history of the Toodyay area;
  7. To encourage and assist in the collection, classification and preservation of records relating to the history of the Shire of Toodyay;
  8. To exchange information among Members of the Society and thecommunity by lectures, readings, discussions and exhibitions of historical material and to encourage contact with other similar associations, especially those in Western Australia;

  9. To encourage the establishment and operation of historical museums; and
  10. To promote social gatherings, particularly excursions to historical sites.


Coming Events


Upcoming Events 


Fri-Sun November 2-4:

Bush Poetry Festival

Free event, lots of fun.

Members please help out with the roster for THS stall in the Memorial Hall Foyer, Sat & Sun 9am-4pm. 


Wed 21 November, 7 pm:

THS Meeting, Drummond House. 


Sun 25 November, 6 pm:
End of Year Sundowner at Old Wicklow Shearing Shed, Clinton St, 6pm.



 THS Snapshots  

Some of our 2017-2018 events

Sundowner in Historic Connor's Mill

In October, members  viewed the new Coorinja Winery display, shared a sumptuous spread, caught up with friends and listened to Beth's lively stories of  the building when it was the Powerhouse generating Toodyay's  electricity in the first half of the 20th Century. 


The Edison Phonograph returns to Toodyay
In September, Richard Rennie entertained a capacity crowd in the Toodyay Library. We heard about Professor Archibald's remarkable demonstration of the Edison Phonograph in the Newcastle  Mechanics' Institute on Sept 3 1891. We were also able to listen to a genuine cylinder being played on an Edison Phonograph.


The Great Ride 

Carmel Charlton charmed the crowd in the Toodyay Memorial Hall in September, with her presentation on an epic WWI trek involving the 10th LIght Horse. 

Butterly Cottages
 Association History
Dr Robyn Taylor presented a fascinating talk at the June THS meeting on the fundi
ng, building and ongoing history of the Butterly Cottages for local retirees in Toodyay. Very few Australian towns can boast such accommodation run by an independent volunteer body. The Committee's fundraising and organisational success over the years has been phenomenal.
Lost Images of Toodyay Rediscovered
At the movie afternoon in June, an enthusiastic crowd thoroughly enjoyed the introductory feature, a short film from the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society. It told the fascinating story of the completion of the Trans Australian railway, with many wonderful images.  
The main feature was a film made by Rick Mason, who was involved in the exciting rescue and identification of a wonderful recently-discovered collection of Toodyay-related glass negatives in the collection of Robert Faust, who was manager of the Toodyay CLub 1911-1931. Members were able to view a display of copies of some of the prints from these negatives during afternoon tea.

Nursing at Toodyay

The July meeting was enlivened by a real treat: Desrae Clarke's Oral History interview with former Toodyay nurse, Agnes Cook. Agnes described with great good humour the very basic living and nursing conditions which existed at Toodyay Hospital in earlier years, around the 1930s-1940s.

Historic York

A very cheery group of members enjoyed the recent Historical Society visit to York, which included a fascinating tour of the Residency Museum. After a picnic lunch in the museum grounds we explored the wonderful new ANZAC display in the York Town Hall. 

Moondyne Festival

This year's Moondyne Festival in Tooday was a great success, in spite of the changeable weather. Our Historical Society stall was popular. Visitors enjoyed studying our display on Moondyne Joe. Others were keen to make  inquiries about their own Toodyay ancestors.  

E.L. Mitchell: the photographer who shaped Australia

Joanna Sassoon, special guest at our AGM in April, gave a fascinating talk on her recent book about E.L.Mitchell, the boy from Yorkshire who became a commercial photographer, much in demand. 
Mitchell moved to W.A. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work was often published in Western Mail features and the Battye Library holds large numbers of his works, which have tremendous value now for historians.
He was a superb photographer. Toodyay Historical Society has obtained copies of 19 wonderful images of Toodyay and surrounds, c.1920, believed to be the work of Mitchell.
 Jenny Edgecombe showed copies of these Toodyay images at the April general meeting. These included iconic local buildings such as  Masonic Lodge, Gaol and St Stephen's,St Philip's Church and rare shots of what were probably Yock Lunn's orchard and  Coondle School.







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