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Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

215 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour (old Courthouse building, opposite Coffs Harbour Public School)
Open: Tuesday to Saturdays from 10am to 4pm
Phone: (02) 6648 4847
Cost: $5 per adult. Children under 16 free.  Group visits negotiable.
Coffs Harbour Regional Museum aims to bring Coffs Harbour’s history alive by reflecting the social and cultural history of the Coffs Harbour Region with a primary, but not exclusive emphasis, on developing collections and exhibitions reflecting the relationships between the region’s residents and the area’s maritime and hinterland waterways.
The museum has been fortunate to have received grants that have helped us to store our valuable photographs. There are over 5,000 digitised images available on Picture Coffs Harbour to explore with many more to come.
Visitors to the museum will also discover interactive features for children to cater for all ages.
New Exhibition
Bananas to Beautizone: Coffs' Changing Summers
on display until 25 February
 This exhibition explores how the experience of summer has changed in in the Coffs Coast region. In the first half of the 20th century, summer was a time of hard work for many residents of the Coffs Coast. Tropical fruit was one of the mainstays of the local economy and it ripened in the summer months. Growers, labourers and carriers laboured in the heat to get crops picked, packed and transported by rail to capital city markets. 

After the Second World War however, the local business community recognised the potential of tourism as a major industry for the region. The late 1950s and early 60s were a boom period. A Mid North Coast Tourist Authority formed in 1956 and the area was christened the “Pacific Beautizone”, the catchy title chosen as the winner from over 1400 entries in a competition to name the area from the Clarence to the Nambucca. 

The two industries were sometimes in conflict. Promoters of the Beautizone, for example, were not in favour of the Big Banana and the idea of agri-tourism, they wanted to promote sun, surf, relaxation and the natural assets of the area.  To them, a giant artificial banana was not a thing of beauty - it was something that “might be seen in Hawaii or Queensland” they complained. Despite their protests, the Big Banana opened in time for Christmas 1964 and was an immediate success. In its first week of operation there were 2000 visitors each day. The Coffs Harbour Advocate reported that the “horticultural mammoth … held the spotlight”. The Mid-North Coast Tourist Authority had in fact shut down a few months earlier. The concept of the Beautizone went with it.

Mary Gordon carrying bananas, 1912

 Come and see one of the yokes that were used to lug bananas down steep hillsides.




Upcoming Exhibition
Not So Solitary
14 April - 24 June 2017

Image Credit: Bronwyn Rodden, Ross Glover

Poetry, music and linocuts inspired by memories of the place now known as the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Together with historical photographs and artefacts, this exhibition draws on an extensive oral history project by the NSW Department of Primary Industries with Aboriginal knowledge holders, commercial and recreational fishers, tourism operators, divers, marine scientists, surfers and more. Explore the rich heritage of this special place where warm tropical waters meet and mix with cooler currents from the south, bringing species, people and ideas together.

This exhibition is a partnership between Coffs Harbour Regional Museum and NSW Department of Primary Industries.


Honouring local service men and women from the Great War

Museum Volunteer Linda Rose has spent much time researching the names on the Museum's Honour Boards. This has resulted in a book of images and information for each of the listed soldiers and one nurse for each of the Honour Boards.

This helps contextualise the men and women that went to war for their 'King and Country'. The Boards are from Karangi, Lower Bucca and St John's Anglican Church and are hanging in our Remembrance Room at the Museum.
There are 4 men that we have been unable to find any information. They are Private A.P.​ Miane and J Pearson who were both killed in action. Also J Robinson and Alec Freeman. We know that they survived but we have been unable to find any record of them in any archive.
The Museum would welcome the support of locals in its efforts to honour these citizens who answered the call and enlisted. 

The Coffs Harbour Regional Museum, a service of Coffs Harbour City Council, relies on volunteers to support a wide variety of functions within the museum. If you are interested in joining our valued team of volunteers, please contact the Amanda Williams on 6648 4128.