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Picture of Hampton's Cheeses

 Conservation and Research


Remembering the Eastway Drive-In

Do you remember going to the Drive-In? Pulling up beside the speaker, fiddling with the radio to tune in and watch a double feature?

The Eastway Drive-In was Belmont's local drive-in theatre. Built in 1959, it became the place to catch the latest movies for nearly 30 years.

Sadly, the Belmont Museum doesn't have many stories of the Eastway Drive-In and we ant to capture them all before they're forgotten!

Did you go there? What did you see? Do you have photos, stories, memorabilia to share? Have you hung on to a ticket stub or program or the memory of your first kiss in the back of a station wagon? We want to know about it!

Better still, do you have a car (or part of a car) that you used to go to the drive-in? We would love to preserve it for you. If you'd like to make a donation or have any suggestions please contract the Curator.

The Belmont Museum is planning to launch a spectacular new Eastway Drive-In display, and we'd love your input! Stay tuned for more news!


Hampton’s Cheeses - The Old Great Eastern Highway, Built by Convicts

In August 2012, the City of Belmont was invited to inspect an extraordinary discovery on Great Eastern Highway: large wooden discs, known as “Hampton’s Cheeses” were found under the highway. Dusted in sand and debris and crumbling away after decades in darkness, these jarrah wooden blocks were the last known remnants of a 19th century convict built road.

The “Hampton’s Cheeses,” so called because of their round cheese-like shape and their association with the historical era of Governor Hampton, were a significant find with local and state-wide significance. It was believed that convicts working in the 1860s had cut down 300 year old jarrah trees to create the important road that would become Great Eastern Highway, guiding people from Perth to Guildford and beyond. It followed a well worn Aboriginal track.

What followed was a unique collaboration between City East Alliance, the State Heritage Office, the WA Museum and the City of Belmont.

It was decided that the most natural home for the Hampton’s Cheeses would be the Belmont Museum. The Council set about collecting as many as they could, but in the end the cheeses were so fragile they were disintegrating and only five could be saved.

Executive Director of WA Museum, Dr Ian MacLeod, kindly offered his services in directing the conservation process. For nearly 33 years, the focus of Dr MacLeod’s work has been shipwrecks and rock art collections and since 1986 he has been involved in the conservation of Aboriginal rock paintings, making him the perfect candidate to develop a conservation program for the delicate wooden structures. Under his direction, the Belmont Museum staff began a long and careful chemical treatment of the cheeses, and they are coming to the end of this process.

The Hampton’s Cheeses are an amazing and tangible example of the work of the convicts in the Belmont area. It was only natural then, that experts in this significant area of history be called in to add their contribution to the Cheeses’ story. The WAGS Convict Group Committee were invited to the Belmont Museum to view the cheeses and other artefacts discovered on the road and to see what other information could be gleaned from various historical sources.

Bringing the Hampton’s Cheese’s stories to life has been the most exciting aspect of the process. It is lovely to think that the community that still travels on Great Eastern Highway are able to visit the museum to see the fruits of the labour of our convict forebears over 150 years ago, and through supporting primary documentation, hear the experiences of the people who lived in those times.

We are excited to hear the stories that are uncovered and are grateful to the WAGS Convict Group for sharing their expertise and enthusiasm in uncovering them for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

Other discoveries found at the site, including a brass button and a piece of broken spectacles, will soon be on display.

Watch this space for more updates, or better yet, come in and discover the Cheeses for yourself!

Link to State Heritage Office media release and short video.


We Want You!

As a Citizen Curator

Are you interested in history, photography, investigating the past? Then Belmont Museum wants YOU!

Belmont Museum’s citizen curators are an integral part of the development of our museum into a well-known space for the community in Belmont.

The mission of the museum is to “... give the Belmont Community and visitors both a ‘sense of place’ and the opportunity to experience the City’s cultural heritage”. And what better way than to get involved as a Citizen Curator?

We want to promote unique opportunities to get involved in the museum for Citizen Curators – not your ordinary museum volunteer!

We are looking for people to develop and run public, education and arts programs based on the collection at the museum.

Some roles include:

  • Citizen Curator- Accessioning project

Do you have a keen eye and an interest in artefacts? We need citizen curators to take photographs and assist museum staff with recording information about the wonderful range of artefacts held in the collection.

  • Citizen Curator- Mosaic Project

We need organised and attentive people to enter information about historical artefacts, photographs and documents into our new database, Mosaic.

You can even create your own custom made museum project to suit your interests and skills!

Please contact the curator for more information.


Stories of Belmont

Belmont Museum Community History Project

The Belmont Museum is establishing a community history program with the aim of recording the memories, experiences and perspectives of the people who have lived, worked or played in Belmont and surrounding areas.

It is anticipated that some of the material collected from the community history program may be included in:

  • publications; education programs & materials; interpretation and exhibitions;

  • a broadcast, website, DVD or other electronic presentation;

  • placed in a public repository for future researchers (such as a library, archive or local history centre).

As well as peoples’ stories, we are collecting original historical material photographs, books and items of interest relating to life in the Belmont area.

If participants prefer to keep their original material, we are also happy to arrange a suitable time to take photographs and/ or scanned images of your photographs and documents.

This very exciting project that will ensure the City’s rich history is recorded for the benefit of the community and future generations to come.

If you would like to contribute to the project or require more information, please contact the Museum.

Contact Us

Contact the museum on 9477 450