Wollongong Heritage and Stories

balgownie heritage school museum

220 Balgownie Road, Balgownie, NSW, 2519

Opening Hours
Open 2nd Sunday of each month 11am-4pm

Entry Free, donations gratefully accepted.

Opened in 1989, the Balgownie Primary School Museum aims to preserve the history of Balgownie through the conservation of artefacts, documents, and photographs of the social and working lives of the community of Balgownie. Here you can share the experience of life in Balgownie in the early years.


As a strong mining community, the museum also shares the story of mining in the community and features a photographic display of the Mt Pleasant Coal Mine and equipment used there, including safety lamps, one of which was used in the rescue of miners from the Mt Kembla disaster in 1902.


The collection includes photographic records of the school as well as stories, letters and work samples of the pupils dating back to 1890. Exhibits include an impressive display of badges, medals and postcards from World War 1. The museum has an active program of scanning local images as a community resource.


This volunteer managed museum is opened once a month or by appointment for group bookings.


Website here.


Balgownie Heritage School Museum

Pit Ponies

Horses and pit ponies have played a vital role in the local coal mining industry. Their job was to pull the heavy skips of coal along tracks out of the mine. Some ponies would spend all of their…

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Balgownie 'cavil' box

In the ‘pick and shovel days’ of mining by hand, men were paid by the amount of coal they brought out of the ground, rather than by regular wages. Some areas of a mine were more productive…

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The Ramsay Drill Shield

During the late 19th and early 20th, great importance was placed on the training and ‘drilling’ of children in schools to order to develop fit and strong young bodies.

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We Lived Our Lives by the Whistle

Many mines had a boiler plant to supply the steam engines of the mine. A steam powered whistle identical to that used on steam locomotives was used at each mine to signal the start and finish of the…

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Lunch Crib

Life down the mine presented miners with all sorts of daily challenges. One of them was how to stop the rats eating your lunch!

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James 'Judy' Masters - The Little Master

Local lad, James Masters started his soccer career with Balgownie Public School before joining Australia's oldest soccer club, Balgownie Rangers. Slight of build and a master strategist, Masters went…

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Thomas Cook's Lamp

This lamp belonged to Thomas Cook who was Manager of the Mt Pleasant Mine in the 1890s.In the hours and days after the devastating explosion at Mt Kembla in 1902, he went to the mine and used this…

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