We were very excited to arrive at our long awaited destination and home for the next three months. The museum is located in the Heritage Precinct of Alice Springs which also houses the Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility (RFDS) and the Reptile Centre. A variety of tour buses base themselves outside the RFDS and their passengers don’t have to walk far to see all three attractions.
The museum is located in the old Alice Springs Gaol and Labour Prison. It is heritage listed and like most gaols, is surrounded by barbed wire along the perimeter fences. We were going to be staying inside the facility and had to pull the caravan through two sets of gates to get to our site. When we first enquired about the position we had to measure the height of our van. It had to be under 4 metres high to fit under the barbed wire that went across the top of the first gate. Even the barbed wire is heritage listed and therefore cannot be cut or removed. So unless we could drive under without dragging the wire with us, we would not have been able to apply for the role.
In the picture above you can see the sliding gate in the brick wall. Above that is the roll of barbed wire.
In this next photo you can see the two padlocked gates into the grounds of the museum.
Thanks to the brilliance of Ray’s driving skills not only did he get through the first and second gates, but he reversed in to the site in one go! He breathed a huge sigh of relief!
After a few days to settle in and have our orientation we jumped into our roles with gusto. The staff and other volunteers have made us feel very welcome. Ray is in his element keeping the grounds tidy and doing odd jobs. He even has access to a man shed! He is also a whiz at covering library books with sticky contact! Jude is enjoying her role as a Volunteer in the Old Gaol Shop. This involves greeting visitors, processing admission fees, giving people a brief overview of the museum and selling merchandise. We are meeting so many interesting people from all around Australia and overseas.
The National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame is one of two women’s museums in Australia. It is dedicated to preserving the place of women in history for their special contribution to Australia’s heritage. It was founded in 1993 by a lady called Molly Clark who lived at Old Andado Station, south east of Alice Springs. Molly was disappointed that the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland, was only about men. The museum has been based in the Old Alice Springs Gaol since 2007, and also explores the history of the Gaol which was in operation from 1938 to 1996. We would highly recommend you make a special trip to Alice Springs and come visit the museum!