Museum/Wilcannia Athenaeum | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Museum/Wilcannia Athenaeum

Item details

Name of item: Museum/Wilcannia Athenaeum
Other name/s: Pioneer Museum; Museum
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Education
Category: Other - Education
Primary address: 37 Reid Street, Wilcannia, NSW 2836
Local govt. area: Central Darling
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number


Property boundary
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
37 Reid StreetWilcanniaCentral Darling  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Wilcannia Athenaeum completed in 1883 is a very rare institution for community education established in the Shire. By its presence it demonstrates the aspirations and sophistication of late nineteenth-century Wilcannia. It is associated with the town's short lived newspaper and with the town council. It makes a very important contribution to the streetscape.
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Not Known
Builder/Maker: Not Known
Construction years: 1883-1883
Physical description: A rusticated sandstone single-storey building with a parapet and central semi-circular entablature with urns (two extant). Both urns located at the base of the semi-circular pediment are missing. The parapet has a deep cornice running through the middle of the stucco parapet front. The smooth stuccoed panels have been used for signage. The remainder of the facade is composed of random coursed rusticated sandstone. Windows have smooth faced sandstone quoins. The windows are double hung pairs of sashes. Two windows are located on either side of the central doorway. The front door is a new insertion. Style: Victorian Free Classical.


Historical notes: Built in 1883 it was originally named the Athenaeum. It was the School of Arts and Public Library. Brown, the editor of the Wilcannia Times was one of its greatest supporters. The building was taken over by the Council and used as Council Chambers for the Municipality of Wilcannia and after 1959 the Shire of Central Darling. The council moved to its current chambers in the early 1970s and the Athenaeum is now a gallery, museum, tourist information centre.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This item is assessed as historically rare regionally.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This item is assessed as aesthetically rare regionally.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
This item is assessed as socially representative locally.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
This item is assessed as scientifically representative locally.
SHR Criteria f)
This heritage item is rare
SHR Criteria g)
This heritage item is representative.
Integrity/Intactness: The heritage item is not intact.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanCentral Darling LEP 2012I2301 Feb 13   
Heritage study  01 Jan 98   
National Trust of Australia register      
Register of the National Estate     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Central Darling Cultural1996085Godden MackayJ S Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Written: Wilcannia Historical Society Guide Book 1978 Ted MacMillian. Oral: Graphic:

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1330114

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