Koppio Smithy Museum - Koppio, Eyre Peninsula
The rolling hills of Koppio at the bottom end of Eyre Peninsula are part of a standard tourist drive for any visitor to nearby Port Lincoln. This is classic farming country with good rainfall, and plenty or top grazing land. It looks a picture now, but for the pioneers who built this blacksmith's shop, old Tom Brennand and his wife Adeline, opening up the country was sheer hard work.
"Tom Brennand came over from Lochiel in 1903 when the whole pastoral area was broken up into farm settlements".
Tom established the Koppio blacksmiths shop at what was then a remote crossing, confident that the passing parade of horse and bullock teams would provide plenty of business. He was right, and soon the Brennand's had built their own stone cottage, a lasting monument to their pioneering spirit. Not that such spirit has always been given the appreciation it deserves, after all, this was the smithy back in 1967and the cottage didn't look much better.
But now thanks to the efforts of history lovers like Norm Jericho and Betty Duns, the Koppio Smithy is the centre piece of a truly remarkable museum which has just grown and grown. It'' not so much a museum, but a village, which building by building, tells the story of the early days of the Peninsula. This 1890's pug and pine cottage was slowly crumbling in a field near Cummins, about sixty kilometers away, until these two got hold of it.
"You trucked in a pine and pug cottage?".
"And you put it together again?"
"Dismantled and put it together again"
The old country store, which once stood in Liverpool Street in Port Lincoln, has had many lives, once a Tailors Shop, then the local butcher, and now the entrance way to the Koppio Smithy Museum.
"We took the front off it and put it on the low loader and brought it in".
For these National Trust volunteers it seems everything is up for grabs, and out here they've done what many country folk would love to do, brought the bank to the people, it was trucked in from nearby Ungarra. The Wheat Agent's shed played an important role in the district.
Wheat was brought in from local farmers and graded before being transported to the nearest shipping port. The shed was transported here from the railway siding in Cockaleechie. The school, well, that was trucked in from two kilometers east of the museum. And in the array of sheds, an amazing array of farm machinery like this Bagshaw Winnower used to separate wheat from Chaff, in the early nineteen hundreds.
And if Norm Jericho's an industrious hoarder of everything imaginable, then spare a thought for the bloke who brought this General Stuart tank over to the West Coast.
"It was purchased in Melbourne in an army disposal sale. It was driven on road from Melbourne to Port Lincoln and it was used for scrub clearing south of Lincoln in the late forties".
"So this was really a classic example of how the Australian cockie will use whatever is around at the time and make the most of it?"
"Yes, there weren't many big tractors around in the late forties so they used this as a powerful machine".
And nearby a replica World War One Tank, used in the movie The Light Horseman. Norm found it in the sand hills of Coffin Bay and you guessed it, trucked it into the Koppio Smithy Museum. In the Pioneer Women's Room, a reminder of how some must have dreaded washing day. For Norm and his mates the shed, complete with stationary engines, is sheer bliss. This one started first time, providing a bit more light and a cool breeze, there's just another fifty to check. It's all but a glimpse of what's on offer at the Koppio Smithy Museum in Koppio, about 40 kilometers from Port Lincoln.
It's open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is four dollars for adults, three dollars for pensioners and one dollar for children.
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