Old Butter Factory set for triumphant reopening

Members of the Busselton Historical Society and Old Butter Factory volunteers have spent hours cleaning the grounds and objects in preparation for the reopening. Image Sophie Elliott.
Members of the Busselton Historical Society and Old Butter Factory volunteers have spent hours cleaning the grounds and objects in preparation for the reopening. Image Sophie Elliott.

The reopening of the Old Butter Factory grounds next week will mark the beginning of a bigger and better future for the museum.

On March 27, just two weeks after its 100th anniversary celebrations, the heritage museum was devastated by a fire.

The main gallery and all contents, fittings and cabinetry were lost, heavy smoke and water extensively damaged the building.

The passionate group of volunteers from the Busselton Historical Society banded together and began work to salvage precious artefacts from the wreckage.

The team have been restoring and cleaning all the damaged artefacts, with assitance and advice from the WA Museum.

Busselton Historical Society president Sandra Johnston said reopening the grounds would be a triumphant moment for all involved.

“When I told all the volunteers, I’ve never seen so many happy faces,” she said.

“We are all very positive and have so many big ideas for the museum’s future like hiring the grounds out for wedding ceremonies and hosting picnics.

“We are moving forward. The museum will be bigger and better than ever.”

Ms Johnston praised the tireless efforts of the museum volunteers.

“What we have been doing is entering every single artefact on an electronic database that will eventually be available to view nationally,” she said.

“The amount of work is amazing and a huge undertaking. Every single item has to be extensively researched and photographed.

“It is the most important job we have ever done.”

The Old Butter Factory grounds will open to the public on January 22 for a gold coin donation.

Following this, it will revert to normal opening hours and entry fees will be half price until the full museum collection is available for viewing.

The old settlement house, school room and machinery shed will all be able to be viewed.

Ms Johnston said she hoped for the museum’s main building to be reopened within the first half of the year.

The City of Busselton is expected to award the restoration contract this month, with works to begin immediately.