The Arapiles Historical Society and its Collection are based in Natimuk, which for one hundred years was a thriving service-centre for the grain and sheep properties in the surrounding area of the Wimmera in Western Victoria. Natimuk is a small town of about 500 people (in 2009) about thirty kilometres west of its Local Government Authority, Horsham, and 330 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. Ten kilometres to the west of Natimuk township, marking the transition between the green countryside of ‘Australia Felix’ and much drier landscapes, is Mount Arapiles, a striking geographical feature which may have had special significance to Indigenous Australians, and was certainly inhabited and quarried by them before the arrival of Major Thomas Mitchell, and the Europeans. Since that time Mount Arapiles has been much-painted and photographed, and more latterly has become the centre of rock-climbing activities.
The Arapiles Historical Society (AHS) Collection consists of approximately 3000 items. The collection contains not only items relating to Natimuk, but also to surrounding communities such as Duchembegarra, Grass Flat and Noradjuha. The collection is reputed to be the only one in Natimuk and the surrounding area, and has been created since 1962 largely by families and businesses donating material which they had once used or owned. Local Arapiles businesses included hotels, butchers, bakers, general stores, a flour mill, a saddlery, smithies, and the Beard and Sisson Foundry. Local families include business-owners, farmers, pastoralists, workers and professionals.
The collection includes:
- Farm machinery and equipment (ca200 pieces) (10%)
- Personal and household objects, and objects from local commercial enterprises (ca700 items from Natimuk and nearby communities, of which about half have been electronically catalogued) (25%)
- Photographs (ca1000 photos, some of which have been grouped by subject, scanned, and researched, other photos are not identified, either by subject or subject-matter). (40%)
- Records and documents: for instance society and business records (10%)
- Published and unpublished family histories relating to the Arapiles district (ca50 items) (5%)
- Research Folders, 1962 to the present. (10%)
– Source: page 7, SIGNIFICANCE ASSESSMENT: ARAPILES HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION (including Natimuk, Duchembegarra, Grass Flat and Noradjuha), Prepared for the Arapiles Historical Society, Natimuk, by Pamela McLeod, BA(Hons), MA in History, Member of the Professional Historians Association, Victoria, April to May 2009
The AHS collection is being uploaded to the Museums Victoria – Victorian collections website. You can find it HERE