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Picture of Hampton's Cheeses

 Conservation and Research

Research


What Do You Remember about Belmont’s Parks and Open Spaces?

We’re researching Belmont’s parks and open spaces and we’re looking for your memories, photos and memorabilia that can help us tell their story!

Did you ever go swimming on the shores of the river by Garvey Park? Or go picnicking on Signal Hill? Maybe your footy team trained in Centenary Park?

If you'd like to share your story or if you have any suggestions please contact the Museum Curator.

Memories of Redcliffe

The Belmont Museum is now collecting oral histories, stories and memorabilia from the people who live in the Development Area 6 (DA6) area of Redcliffe, or have significant memories of it. We need your help to preserve this amazing history. Development Area 6 (or DA6) in Redcliffe, is about to undergo some significant changes as part of the expansion of Perth Airport and its facilities. The area is bounded by Tonkin Highway, Great Eastern Highway, Coolgardie Avenue, Redcliffe Road and Fauntleroy Avenue.

This is an area that has traditionally attracted a large migrant community, particularly in the post-war period. Many people built their houses with their own hands and with the help of friends and family, making Redcliffe their home.

The Local History Curator would love to hear from anyone who may want to share their experiences of living in this area. For further information please telephone the Belmont Museum on 9477 7450 or email museum@belmont.wa.gov.au


Conservation 

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.

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

View the State Heritage Office media release and short video.


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 7450 or museum@belmont.wa.gov.au