Appin Historical Society ‘desperate’ to find new home

Historian and Appin Historical Society founder Nola Douglas is calling on the public to help find the society a new home to meet and store their collection. Picture: Simon Bennett
Historian and Appin Historical Society founder Nola Douglas is calling on the public to help find the society a new home to meet and store their collection. Picture: Simon Bennett

The Appin Historical Society is in desperate need of a new home.

Members have been told to vacate their existing premises at the notable Appin cottage known to locals as the Bourke house.

They have used the house, along Appin Road, for meetings and to store their large collection of archives and memorabilia since 2015.

Historian and society founder Nola Douglas said the Bourke family offered the society use of the home for nominal rent when owners Betty and Tom Bourke went into the nursing home.

Now the family is selling the home.

“We have been left with no where to go,” Ms Douglas said. “It is sad. Time is ticking and we will be forced to move out soon.

Ms Douglas said other groups including a coffee club and a crochet club also used the room and would have to find somewhere else to meet.

The society would like to hear from businesses, residents or other community groups able to offer them a meeting room and space to store their archives.

Members have been collecting artefacts and information on Appin’s history since 1994. 

“We research the town’s history and have everything that has ever been written about Appin,” she said.

Ms Douglas said the society, which formed in 2009,  held history displays regularly in the past.

Members originally stored their collection and met in a room next to the butcher shop in Appin but the rent became too expensive.

The society use two rooms in the Bourke house. to house maps, a compactor that stores history files, as well as boxes of memorabilia.

Ms Douglas said members wanted to keep the collection together because otherwise they risked losing documents.

Wollondilly councillors offered store rooms in the shire community hall in Picton but there was not enough space for their archives.

The scout hall in Appin was also considered because it offered the members a place to meet but there was no space for the collection.

“We are desperate,” Ms Douglas said. “It would be lovely to have our own permanent place where we could meet and keep our collection safe.

“The items we collect may be junk, they may not be elaborate, like a butter churner, but they are remnants of a bygone era and a reminder of how people lived.

“Whether they are newspaper clippings, Aboriginal artefacts, obituaries, scrapbooks or more, they show what early life was like in Appin.

“The artefacts need to be kept for posterity’s sake. It is legacy surely worth preserving.”