About the Esperance Bay Historical Society
Since forming in 1971, the Esperance Bay Historical Society (Inc.) has been dedicated to preserving and recording the history and heritage of the Esperance district.
The need for Esperance to have a museum was recognized by the historical society who were looking too relocate their museum. Realizing, that the vacant customs and goods shed was an ideal location, Marjorie Barker, the secretary at the time, lobbied hard to obtain the historic building to ensure its future, as the new Museum. In procuring the Railway Goods shed, other railway facilities such as a passenger waiting room, booking office, cargo depot and associated platforms and railway tracks would be available.
The historical society was granted funding by the Commonwealth Government under National Estate Allocations, in doing so, secured the Railway Goods Shed for the museum. With the assistance of the Esperance Shire Council and local business’s, the former railway station, Goods Shed building became The Esperance Municipal Museum.
On the 9th October1976, the “Esperance Municipal Museum “was officially opened.
The next item was a steam train engine to compliment the Museum building. Again Marjorie Barker, secretary, realized the value and strived to obtain the steam engine for the museum. The historical society members strongly supported Mrs Barker, who travelled to Narrogin and Perth. After, extensive amounts of correspondence, various raffles and cake stalls, they had the funds to purchase the W919 steam engine.
The Arrival of the w919
The ‘W’ class steam locomotive 919 was a typical representation of rail transport in country regions of Western Australia in the 1950’s through to the 1970’s. The builder of this locomotive, Beyer Peacock & Co, Ltd Manchester, England. The engine was constructed in 1951; the original use for the locomotive was in the pool working for WA Government Railways Kalgoorlie to Esperance to Narrogin.
The Museum Today
The Esperance Museum, as it is known today, and according to many visitors is the best regional museum in the state. It remains a community volunteer based museum, administered by the Shire of Esperance.
The extensive collection of objects and displays include, maritime, vehicles and machinery, Skylab, Locomotive W919 and the pioneer displays that relive the charm of the 1800’s in the Esperance district.
The Royal Western Australian Historical Society (RWAHS)
Esperance Bay Historical Society is affiliated to RWAHS, which supports a network of historical societies across Western Australia. These societies support a growing community awareness and appreciation of local history and heritage.