Discovering Eumundi – Heritage and Visitor Centre

Guest Blogger: Discover Eumundi – Sunshine Coast Region

Series: Changing Landscapes

The Eumundi and District Historical Association (EHA) which runs Discover Eumundi Heritage and Visitor Centre successfully obtained a ‘Building Our Future’ Australian Government Community Development Grant in 2014 to create a multi-purpose community space designed to be used for workshops, community meetings, exhibitions, arts and local heritage events.

Guests attend the official opening of the Discover Eumundi building extension in May, 2015. Courtesy of Discover Eumundi.

Guests attend the official opening of the Discover Eumundi building extension in May, 2015. Courtesy of Discover Eumundi.

The newest addition to the centre is the culmination of many years of community consultation which began with an extensive report and survey in 2006 identifying the need for more space to expand the museum and deliver new programs for visitors and the residents of Eumundi.

Links to the past
James Burrell of James Burrell Homes was the successful builder in the tender process, whose family have a wonderful historical connection to Eumundi and the land on which Discover Eumundi is situated.

Township of Eumundi ca. 1925. OM 6199 Dunning Photograph Albums, John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland

Township of Eumundi ca. 1925. OM 6199 Dunning Photograph Albums, John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland

Joseph Gridley – great-great-grandfather to James Burrell arranged for a ‘Conditional Purchase’ selection in Eumundi in 1873. Gridley Street in the town centre is named after him. Discover Eumundi Heritage and Visitor Centre is situated on the corner of Gridley Street and Memorial Drive, Eumundi.

Joseph’s son William Burrell purchased the first three town lots subdivided in 1890 and constructed Eumundi’s first building – the Railway Hotel.

The Railway Hotel built after 1890. Courtesy of Discover Eumundi

The Railway Hotel built after 1890. Courtesy of Discover Eumundi

It was renamed the Eumundi Hotel in 1900. After a second story was added it was renamed the Commercial Hotel… this one burnt down. For any visitors to Eumundi today, Joe’s Waterhole marks the site of the original Railway Hotel building.

Joe's Waterhole Hotel - Memorial Drive, Eumundi, 2004  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 7483 Cheryl Rodgers and Gavin Bannerman Photographs

Joe’s Waterhole Hotel – Memorial Drive, Eumundi, 2004 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 7483 Cheryl Rodgers and Gavin Bannerman Photographs

James’ great-uncle, Arthur Gridley bought the land where Discover Eumundi is sited today. He donated the land to the Salvation Army who erected Eumundi’s first church. It was sold again to the Methodist Church, who constructed a new Church building in 1911. This building and the surrounding land was sold to the Eumundi and District Historical Association (EHA) in 1996, to house the growing heritage collections for the township.

More facts

James’s grandfather, Tom Burrell, was the first Eumundi born resident to enlist in the First World War. Tom and his daughters – Norma and Ollie, were all married in the Methodist Church albeit many years apart.

The Burrell connection to the town and the land surrounding the whole precinct forms a wonderful part of the story and the heritage collections housed at Discover Eumundi.

It was very fitting then that James Burrell’s father Rod be the person chosen to turn the first sod of earth at the start of construction in October 2014, with his son James beside him.

Rod Burrell turns the first sod of earth with his son James Burrell alongside, October 2014. Courtesy of Discover Eumundi

Rod Burrell turns the first sod of earth with his son James Burrell alongside, October 2014. Courtesy of Discover Eumundi

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Wendy Birrell, Manager
Discover Eumundi Heritage and Visitor Centre