|Location||Moe, Victoria, Australia|
It portrays the settlement era of Gippsland from the 1860s to the 1940s. Old Gippstown provides large-scale exhibits illustrating the history of the Gippsland region and was officially opened as Gippsland Folk Museum in 1973.
Set in three hectares of parkland, Old Gippstown is now visited by over 100,000 people each year.
Founding and history
The park was established in late 1967 by the City of Moe Development Association. It was laid out by architect Fritz Suendermann. It opened as the Gippsland Folk Museum in 1973 and was later renamed Old Gippstown.
In the 1990s the park came under the authority of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, and the collection is owned by the state of Victoria. Since 2005 the park has been managed by Michael and Ruth Fozard.
The park is mostly staffed by volunteers who have restored over 40 historical buildings that typify the heritage of the Gippsland area.
Old Gippstown has over forty historical buildings, mostly dating from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.
- Sunny Creek School – SS2903. The school building at Old Gippstown dates from the 1920s, but the school itself operated from 1889 through to June 24, 1966.
- Water Wheel. Old Gippstown’s Water Wheel is fully operational. It was originally used to generate electricity for a boarding house in Buxton.
- Moe Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The church was dedicated on December 3, 1895 and deconsecrated in 1968 after a new church was built.
- Angus McMillan’s Bushy Park homestead. Built for McMillan in 1848, it was originally located on the Avon River between Boisdale and Briagolong.
- Coach House. Originally built as a barn on a Willow Grove farm, it now houses part of Old Gippstown’s extensive horse-drawn vehicle collection.
- Rhoden’s halfway house. It was built near Pakenham in 1863 for the Cobb and Co coach route from Melbourne to Gippsland.
- Meeniyan National Bank. Built for the Colonial Bank of Australasia just before 1900, it became a National Bank of Australasia branch in 1914.
- "Loren" Iron House. In the mid-19th century gold rush period there was a large population increase and insufficient housing, so complete pre-fabricated buildings were imported, including iron houses like the Loren.
- Narracan Mechanics' Institute and Free Library. This building was built in 1905 replacing a building from 1878. It is currently used by a number of local groups, and is one of the newest Masonic Lodges in Victoria.
The extensive historical collection on display at the park comprises various antiques, artwork, books and papers, the largest publicly owned collection of horse-drawn vehicles, machinery, tools, and a wide range of unique and forgotten devices all representing the pioneer era in Gippsland. There is also a display of military antiques from the first and second world wars.
A large number of events are held at Old Gippstown throughout the year, including Australia Day, the Moe Jazz Festival, Carols by Candlelight, Fathers' Day Car Show, the Gippslife festival, music events and a monthly market. In addition, the park is frequently used for wedding ceremonies and reunions.
Groups which use Old Gippstown
Old Gippstown is used by a number of varied groups, those doing yoga, belly dancing, art and needlework. In addition it is the meeting place for the Old Gippstown Masonic Lodge, the local Woodturners and Woodworkers Club. Many school groups also regularly make use of the park.