Busselton Historical Society to host museum fundraiser

Almost two years after a fire tore through the top floor of the 102-year-old Old Butter Factory, the Busselton Historical Society is preparing to officially reopen the much-loved museum.

The museum is permanently closed as builders work to repair the building, the top floor of which was burnt just weeks after the museum celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018.

The Historical Society were due to receive the keys to the establishment late last year, however, an assessment of the building, owned by the City of Busselton, found one of the rooms to be 'structurally unsound'.

Although the fire damage has been repaired, building crews will now need to remove the concrete floor to allow engineers to better assess the structural beams.

Despite the delay, Busselton Historical Society president Sandra Johnston insisted the museum was set for a successful reopening - with a federal government grant financing a museum-grade lighting upgrade and Lotterywest funding to bring Perth specialists in to modernise the museum.

"If all goes according to plan, the museum committee expect to have the keys back by the end of March," she said.

"The plan is to reopen on the second anniversary of the fire.

"We're fortunate to have some really dedicated workers who have really stuck it out over what have been a difficult few years. The builders have been brilliant, too.

"We're lucky to have builders that are so passionate about the museum and about what we do and that are really invested in seeing us up and running again.

"The City of Busselton have also been terrific, really supportive of the museum as well."

Although positive about the reopening, Mrs Johnston admitted that the closure of the factory had taken its toll on the museum's financial situation.

The society is now holding a screening of 'A Fortunate Life' in the hopes of raising $4,000, with Happs Wines Margaret River and Margaret River Dairy Company generously donating wine and food for the event.

"Unfortunately, the museum's only source of revenue is door sales and memberships.

"In the time that we've been closed, bills have accumulated and we're now running low on funds.

"We're holding a fundraiser and need to sell more than 200 tickets, but I don't think that should be a problem.

"This is a must-see screening, the first of its kind in WA.

"The Perth actors are coming to Busselton to perform in front of the screening."

A Fortunate Life will be screened at Orana Cinema on Friday, March 13, with doors to open from 5pm.

To purchase a ticket and support the museum, contact Mrs Johnston on 0408 082 441.