There are five themed galleries at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre – each one depicting an important aspect of our pioneering history. There is also the Hugh Sawrey Art Gallery located in a building adjacent to the Hall.
The exhibits comprise a combination of objects, images, audiovisual presentations and open displays, which foster the individual interpretation of the fascinating story of outback Australia.
There are currently more than 1200 items on display. This number continues to grow with new donations and increased exhibition space following the 2002/03 renovations. The reserve collection, consisting of archival material, photographs, artworks and various other items, is used for research and new display development.
Many of our museum collection items can be viewed online here. If you are unable to visit us in Longreach, this is a great way to see what we have all online.
The Hugh Sawrey Art Gallery holds art exhibitions on a continual basis each year. Please see our upcoming events page for full details.
- The Outback Stockman’s Show will educate and entertain visitors to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame from Tuesday through Sunday between April and October each year.
- New ‘Our Story’ Gallery: Aboriginal Workers in the Pastoral Industry.
- Extensive grounds featuring the main Hall of Fame complex, verdant gardens, sculptures, windmills and dams.
- Five exhibition galleries which outline the story of Australia’s pioneers in the Pastoral Industry and salute the individuals and families of the outback.
- New “Land” and “People” slide shows presented on screens in the building’s vaulted ceiling, with accompanying light and sound experience.
- Introductory theatre-based audiovisual presentation featuring stunning outback photography.
- 12 touch-screen audiovisual films outlining the history of outback life.
- Children’s Discovery Drawers – enabling children to touch some of the objects from the Museum’s collection and learn more about their history.
A vivid light and sound experience is now featured in the ceiling vault of the main exhibition hall. Two large screens present photographic displays of Australia’s “Land” and “People”. They appear as backdrops to the exhibits and can be enjoyed in seated comfort or while walking through the Museum.
Images for the “Land” and “People” shows were gathered from the Hall of Fame’s own extensive photographic collection, as well as from numerous other sources throughout Australia. The result is a wonderfully impressive production that encompasses all of the seasons and faces of the outback.
The two screens run on a 20 minute cycle, with an audio experience every 15 minutes.
The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre tells the story of outback Australia through five major galleries: Our Story, Pioneers, Outback Properties, Royal Flying Doctors, and Stockworkers.
But stockworkers are not the only members of the outback story. There are the storeowners, smithies, saddlers, hawkers, shearers, swagmen, telegraph and telephone operators, mailmen, pilots, teachers, book keepers, miners, fencers, well and dam sinkers, and coach, truck and rail drivers, among many others. Their stories too, are part of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre.
The Our Story gallery follows Aboriginal workers in the Pastoral Industry.
In our own words, memoirs of a Station Owner, moving to the Pastoral Industry, before the Pastoral Industry, Aboriginal Woman, and wild cattle and horse.
The Display also recognises notable Aboriginal Stockmen and Woman.
This gallery houses large open displays to allow visitors a better look at Australia’s pioneering past. It examines the pastoral life of Australia prior to the introduction of power in the forms of electricity and the internal combustion engine.
Pioneer life from the 1860’s to the 1920’s is also examined in the gallery. Subjects covered include transport, housing, rural trades, and the wool industry.
As the explorers opened up the inland, the pioneering settlers followed close behind seeking suitable land for pastoral pursuits and a place to raise their families. These brave settlers were often explorers in their own right. They had to clear scrub, build huts and tame difficult land in order to forge a living and bring wealth to the inland.
Outback Properties Gallery
Our third gallery outlines the history of the epic struggle between people and the land.
An extension of the themes in ‘Pioneers’, ‘Outback Properties’ details the era of pastoral empires and the formation of pastoral companies – a time when technology broke down the barriers of isolation and settlements began to spread across the continent.
The gallery tells the story of the rural families and their properties, and their struggle with the harsh and unpredictable climate. Cyclones, flash floods, hailstorms, fire, drought, disease and pests often caused havoc and massive destruction during these times, bringing long and agonising torment to the farmer and his stock.
The size of many of these early station properties exceeded many thousands of square kilometres. And no matter how big, there was always a need to ensure that stock could be fed and watered without overgrazing the land and stunting new growth. Stock had to be mustered from paddock to paddock, often over great distances. A good stockhorse and well-trained dog were, and still are, essential.
Royal Flying Doctor Gallery
This gallery is devoted to the history of the RFDS and displays of radio and medical equipment from across the years. It also shows how the Flying Doctor works in the 21st century, providing comprehensive, quality health care to people living, working and travelling in rural and remote areas.
On display is the full-size cutaway representation of a Beechcraft King Air B200 with the medical equipment that turns it into a flying intensive care unit – visitors can have their photo taken in the pilot’s seat. The display includes a number of interactive and audiovisual features as well as sections on the Flying Doctor’s medical, aviation and communication history.
A highlight of the gallery is the new addition of an original Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) aircraft, a Queen Air built in 1977. The aircraft has been meticulously restored and is now on display, suspended in the atrium of the Hall.
Stockworkers Gallery and Library
The history of Australian stock work is not limited to a particular century or group of people. It is a story which spans many generations, cultures, and landscapes, and involves centuries of changes and developments.
So, as a climax, the museum’s themes and subjects are brought together in this final gallery. The aspects of the Australian stockworker are examined – their development, lifestyle, significance, tools of trade and of course, the work itself.
An overview is given of this very broad topic, beginning with the stock camp and the “Talking Drover”, and ending with the saddle tree. The displays weave through the stockworker’s experiences, be they legend or fact.
The gallery is a tribute to the men and women who work the land.
And while the stockworker faces many challenges on the land – drought, flood, plague and vast distance – it is this same harsh and unrelenting Australian landscape that has created the many characters and communities who are defined by their determined spirits.
Children’s Discovery Drawers
An important part of children’s understanding of Australia’s history is the story of the outback. Through our Discovery Drawers, children can familiarise themselves with some of the main themes featured at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
Our younger visitors can explore these drawers and learn more about the historical objects already on display in the main galleries. In the discovery drawers, they have the advantage of being able to touch and feel many of the items.Curator’s Office and Storage Area
The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame holds a vast reserve collection of items that have been removed from previous displays or are waiting to be included in future displays. Housed behind a glass wall, this main storage area gives visitors an insight into the “behind the scenes” work of a museum.
Those items in storage are rotated in displays over a period and are sometimes used for research or loaned to other museums.