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Where to find Gympie's own time machine

FIRED UP: Ralph Richardson stoking up the steam engine at the Gympie Mining Museum, where there is plenty to see and do these school holidays.
FIRED UP: Ralph Richardson stoking up the steam engine at the Gympie Mining Museum, where there is plenty to see and do these school holidays. Craig Warhurst

THE school holidays are here for some, and the rest break up this week, and the age old cry will soon be heard: "Mum, I'm bored!”

This Christmas holidays, there is a way to keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours that is educational, fun and won't break the bank, and it's right on our doorstep.

The Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum is like taking a time-machine back to the past.

It has more than 14,000 individual exhibits from all sorts of domestic and industrial sources.

"I've got a huge box of tools I'm sorting through at the moment and have no idea what they're for,” secretary Ralph Richardson said before admitting he was not a historian.

About half of the exhibits, naturally, have links to Gympie's gold mining heritage but there are also exhibits

from other industries such as timber, dairy, and defence.

"And there's always our kitchenalia section,” Mr Richardson said.

On the first Monday of the month, the museum has its steaming day where all manner of steam-driven machinery takes pride of place.

The first one of the year will be on Monday, January 4.

Throughout the school holidays, the Blacksmith's workshop will be manned intermittedly, where visitors can learn about methods of forging and shaping wrought iron objects, that have scarcely changed in more than a thousand years.

Call the museum to check if the blacksmith will be working on the day you visit.

Another big draw this year is the miniature train rides, which will run every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 11am and every Monday and Tuesday at 1pm.

The big event at the museum these school holidays will be the Australia Day celebrations in January.

The event will start with a big early breakfast and throughout the day there will be vintage bus rides, gold panning demonstrations, historical re-enactments and all the steam machinery will be running too, plus live entertainment and lots more.

Coming soon, hopefully in time for the Easter holidays, the miniature railway, which most likely won't be finished before the kids go back to school.

"We're rebuilding it completely but it's a big job,” Mr Richardson said.

The Gympie Gold Mining Museum is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 9am-4pm and tickets cost $25 for a family, $10 for adults, $7 for concession and students (5-16) are $5.

Tour groups are welcome by arrangement (with the option of a tour guide), and at special rates.

For more information contact the cafe at the museum on 54823995.

Topics:  gold mining gympie gold mining and historical museum school holiday activities time machine whatson

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