Cundletown Historical Society opened to the public in 1996 in the vacant teacher’s residence within the grounds of Cundletown Public School. It principally was a resource centre with photographs and written records of the district and was called the “Melvie Chick Centre”, after the town’s former historian Mrs Melvie Chick.
It was quickly realised that its name did not identify where this Centre was located, so the name Cundletown & Lower Manning Historical Society Inc., was instigated to represent the village and nearby rural districts as well.
The Society quickly realised the school premises was far too small for the growing artefacts and written word collection, so the search began for a new permanent location. Following a considerable search, the underutilised Cundletown Soldiers Memorial Hall was identified as the best location for the growing organisation. This move has now assured the Hall will always be preserved and used to its full extent.
Very early in the Society’s establishment, it was identified that the history of the dairy/farming community was not being collected or preserved. This local history also included two milk/butter factories, which had served the Manning Valley and closed many years ago.
The Society then chose to source a major collection of all aspects of the dairy industry and include the extra activities of the farmers of timber and sleeper cutting, which supplemented their income. River trading was prevalent along the lower reaches of the Manning River in the early days, when the river was the highway linking each district or settlements.
The Museum was officially opened in January 2012 at its current location and members immediately started fundraising to add another building to house larger items of equipment and memorabilia related to its collection. This facility, named “Coleman Pavilion”, was officially opened on 4 June 2017.