Wollongong is home to a diverse range of museums that highlight all aspects of the region’s history. They’re all open on the second Sunday of the month so why not hit the road to find out more about our social, industrial and environmental heritage.
Download your copy of the Wollongong Museum Trail Brochure to learn about the museum’s you can explore on these Sundays and their individual opening times and entry rates.
Do you love your history and would like to contribute more? Your local museums are always on the lookout for more volunteers. The second Sunday of each month our museums are open to welcome prospective helping hands. Find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org
Market Square, Wollongong Town Hall and the site of Throsby’s Stockman’s Hut are all must-see stops on the trail which takes approximately two hours to explore. The Heritage Trail features 23 locations across the city, including some of the most significant and historic landmarks. You can download the Wollongong City Centre Heritage Trail brochure
Find out more about our region’s history at the Illawarra Museum
In Wollongong’s CBD, the museum has a range of permanent exhibits including furnished rooms, a farm shed, blacksmith’s shop and an air raid shelter. The museum, which is a popular excursion for local schools, also draws from its extensive collection to host a range of temporary displays.
11 Market Street, Wollongong
Open Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 12pm to 3pm
FREE ENTRY! (Charges apply for group bookings)
(02) 4228 7770
Step into the past at the Black Diamond Heritage Centre, Bulli
The Centre holds research materials on the northern suburbs, lost village of Sherbrooke, the coach era, coal and rail during World War I, as well as other local stories. Get up close to an 1888 Hudswell Clarke Steam Locomotive, a brake van dating from 1897 and a Corrimal/Balgownie Coal Wagon, believed to date from the early 20th century. Railway buffs will enjoy looking over the range of railway and coal mining artefacts, and social history exhibitions.
Bulli Railway Station East
Open every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm
Adults $4 – Seniors $3 – Children $2
(02) 4283 6429
Take-off into our aviation past at the HARS Historic Aircraft Museum
Travel through aviation history at this museum at the Illawarra Regional Airport. The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Inc (HARS) has an ever-growing collection of aircraft which includes a F111C fighter bomber, Neptune Submarine Hunter and a Messerschmitt 108 (Nord 1002). One of the newest drawcards is the famous Qantas 747-400, which landed in 2015. HARS, a not-for-profit organisation, was formed in 1979 by a group of aviation enthusiasts interested in the preservation of Australian aviation history.
Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park Rail
Open every day 9.30am to 3.30pm
Adults $20 – Senior/Concession $15 – Children $8 – Family $55
Tarmac Days (Monthly open air aircraft exhibition)
The second Friday to Sunday of each month 10am to 4pm
Adults $15 – Senior/Concession $15 – Children $5 – Family $35
(02) 4257 4333
If you love old cars, bikes, buses & trucks drive down to The Australian Motorlife Museum
Explore motoring history through the Museum’s wide range of vehicles and memorabilia. The growing collection includes thousands of antique items, including some loaned out for the production and filming of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby in Sydney. The museum, established in 1992, is within the Integral Energy Recreation Park at Kembla Grange, which features a huge picnic area, extensive children’s playground and barbecues.
Integral Energy Park, Darkes Road, Dapto
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm
Adults $15 – Concession $12 – Children $5 – NRMA members $10
(02) 4261 4100
Everyone love’s a steam train ride at the Illawarra Light Railway Museum
See narrow gauge steam and diesel locomotives, rolling stock and a range of items from Australia’s industrial railways – including the sugar cane, coal mining, and blue metal industries and other tramways at this popular museum. Plus, kids will love the miniature and steam train rides through the picnic grounds. The grounds include wood-fired barbecues and children’s play areas. Parking is available inside the museum grounds.
48 Tongarra Road, Albion Park Rail
Open the second Sunday of each month 10am to 4pm
Check their website for special open days
Entry is free – Ride prices available on their website
(02) 4256 4627
Step back into the Illawarra’s military past at The Breakwater Battery Museum
Step into our region’s military past at the Breakwater Battery Museum, which was set up in 1988. The building itself overlooks Port Kembla harbour and dates from 1939 when it was used as a headquarters and command post for the Breakwater Battery fort complex during World War II. See the Owen Gun – the revolutionary submachine gun was developed by Wollongong resident Evelyn Owen and was manufactured locally during World War II.
Port Kembla Heritage Park – Foreshore Road, Port Kembla
Open every second and forth Sunday of the month 11am to 3pm
Adults $3 – Seniors $1 – Children $1 – Family Pass $5
(02) 4274 4119
Uncover the Illawarra’s coal mining history at the Mt Kembla Heritage Centre
Uncover the Illawarra’s coal mining history at the Mount Kembla Mining Heritage Centre. Learn about Mount Kembla village and its mining history, including the 1902 Mount Kembla Disaster, where 96 men and boys lost their lives. After exploring the centre, visitors can head to nearby Windy Gully Cemetery where a memorial stands to Australia’s deadliest industrial disaster.
300 Cordeaux Road, Mount Kembla
Check website for opening hours
Guided tour bookings available
(02) 4271 1452
Step-back into the classroom at the Balgownie Heritage School Museum
Read stories, letters and samples of pupils’ work dating back to 1890 at the Balgownie Primary School Museum. The museum, which opened in 1989, aims to preserve the history of the Balgownie community. There is also a pictorial display of the village and notable families, which gives a glimpse of life in the suburb from the early 1860s-1900s, a model coalface as it would have been, and a photographic display of the Mt Pleasant Coal Mine. Don’t miss the display of mining lamps, including one that was used in the rescue following the Mt Kembla Mine Disaster in 1902.
Balgownie Public School – 220 Balgownie Road, Balgownie
Open the second Sunday of each month 11am to 3pm
(02) 4284 4245
Discover the Shellharbour district’s past at the Tongarra Museum
Showcasing our history through changing exhibitions of Aboriginal and European culture at your museum. Our collection features artefacts, photographs and historic documents relevant to the history and development of the Shellharbour City area and its people
MUSEUM CLOSED FOR RELOCATION – REOPENING DECEMBER 2017
(02) 4256 6698
Discover the Illawarra’s industrial past and future at Australia’s Industry World
Experience exclusive tours of the gigantic Port Kembla Steelworks, included BlueScope Steel, Port Kembla Coal Terminal, Graincorp, Port Kembla Gateway, car Imports and general cargo. A unique combination of heavy industry with education and tourism, Australia’s Industry World brings together heritage, culture, safety, environment, education and industry.
BlueScope Steel Northgate Entrance – Springhill Road, Coniston
Tours available most Friday’s, starting 9.30am and returning 12pm – Bookings essential
Adults $20 – Concession $16 – Family Pass $60
(02) 4275 7023
The Illawarra Mining and Metallurgy Heritage Trail
The Illawarra Mining and Metallurgy Heritage Trail is a knowledge resource which seeks to recognise, honour and make more widely known the rich industrial history of the Illawarra region of New South Wales. Because of its location and natural resources the Illawarra has had a long association with mining and metallurgy, which continues to this day.
Illawarra Migration Heritage Project
The Illawarra Migration Heritage Project is a community initiative designed to protect and promote the heritage of Illawarra’s diverse cultural communities. The project aims to achieve this goal by linking with a wide range of communities, talking about the importance of protecting our heritage and providing the resources that groups and individuals need to record and celebrate their heritage. Monthly meetings are held in Wollongong on the first Thursday of the month. Members and the public are welcome to attend and participate in projects. Contact the Migration Heritage Project by email if you would like to attend email@example.com
Old Court House Wollongong
The Old Court House, Wollongong is used by a wide variety of community groups. It features meetings, classes and exhibitions by groups as diverse as embroidery, quilting, gardening, painting, and an ‘in house’ art studio. It is also used by couples as a wedding venue.
Corner of Cliff Road and Harbour Street, Wollongong
Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 1pm
(02) 4227 4614
Next time you visit the famous Kiama Blowhole take at step-back in time at the Kiama Museum
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday 11am to 3pm
Adults $3, Concessions $2, Families $6
(02) 4236 0130
The Virtual Museum of Italian Immigration in the Illawarra
The aim of the virtual museum is to collect, protect and celebrate Italian heritage in the Illawarra. The Illawarra region, outside Sydney, has the highest concentration of population of Italian heritage. This initiative will build awareness and understanding of the historical, cultural and societal factors which induced a person to leave their homeland.
Visit the virtual museum at www.vmiii.com.au