Denman District Heritage Village has big plans

This peculiar and interesting object lives at Denman.

It’s a horse-drawn grader, from around the year 1915, used for work on the highway from Newcastle to Gosford, according to Catherine Reddish.

It’s one of the many objects planned to be part of a museum known as the “Denman District Heritage Village”.

It may sound strange for a museum to be known as a village, but bear with us.

Catherine, who co-ordinates the museum’s exhibits, said the village theme relates to plans to add old heritage buildings to the complex.

Most of the objects and artefacts were donated from the collection of Jeff Wolfgang.

“He has collected heritage items since he was young. Jeff’s passion is history and preserving it for future generations. He’s become a local historian for the area.

“We are all very fortunate to have a man with such great foresight.”

It’s always been Jeff’s dream to create the village for his many unique objects.

These objects include all kinds of things like an old exercise bike that legendary boxer Les Darcy owned, a cauldron used to make tallow for export to England and a gold bullion strong box. 

Only Jeff himself knows the history and secrets that many of his objects hold.

The museum is presently housed in a shed at Denman, next to a men’s shed which is affiliated to the project.  

But there are big plans afoot to expand. 

You see, Jeff has collected so many objects, much more room is needed to display them.

“A lot of the locals have given him things and there’s a heritage-listed house in town that people have given him,” Catherine said.

“He’s collected things from everywhere – things that were just going to scrap.”

Les Darcy’s Bike

Catherine said Les Darcy actually built the exercise bike, which is now in the museum.

“Visitors delight in having a pedal like the champion once did,” she said.

Also in the collection are a tobacco-cake slicing machine, a 1958 Goggomobile, Cyclops pedal cars, a gas mask from World War II and an old wooden washing machine.

Another unique object is an 1883 Crossley gas engine, which was used to run the printer for the now-defunct Budget newspaper in Singleton. It’s not in the museum yet, but could be one day if space allows.

Catherine said the museum was “up and running, following an incredible amount of hard work, mostly from volunteers”.

“In the last six months, we’ve had almost 500 visitors through our doors,” she said.

It took a decade for the village project to get off the ground.

A grant has been secured to build another shed to display items.

“Our existing shed is – if you like – a demonstration of what is to come, provided we continue to be supported.”

The museum opens by appointment every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 3pm. Other days can be booked by appointment.

An old Les Darcy exercise bike.

An old Les Darcy exercise bike.