The aim of the museum is to inspire, educate and inform the Willoughby community and visitors, and to contribute to the conservation of the history and heritage of the City of Willoughby. It is housed in the 1913 Federation cottage, Boronia, at 58 Johnson Street Chatswood, which serves as the base for the Society's operations and as a small local history museum.
Boronia is a modest cottage that is representative of the Federation era. The property was bequeathed to the Society in 1988 by Sonya Kirkham, a WDHS member who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1988. It lies within the South Willoughby Conservation Area, one of 12 in Willoughby City that have been established to protect Willoughby's heritage and make sure that new development does not detract from the streetscape, landscape and character of the city.
Boronia Willoughby Museum
The museum is located at 58 Johnson Street, Chatswood. It is adjacent to the Chatswood Central Business District and within easy walking distance of the Railway Station, bus interchange and the Victoria Avenue Mall and shops.
From the station and bus interchange, take the south exit from the station concourse and walk through the Garden of Remembrance to Albert Avenue. Turn left (away from the railway) a block to the lights on Victor Street, cross Albert Avenue (to the right) and walk south along Victor Street one block to Johnson Street. Turn left and the museum is a short walk to the east on the other side of the street. If arriving by bus along Victoria Avenue, alight at the bus stop near the Westfield entrance. Walk up Victoria Avenue and the Mall to Victor Street (the T-junction in the centre of the Mall) and go one block south to the lights at Albert Avenue then follow the route described above.
The museum does not have car parking facilities, but the Westfield car park nearby has two hours free parking available. Enter from Devonshire Street (off Johnson Street) and park as close to the Devonshire Street entrance as possible. Take the stairs nearest to the entrance to the ground floor and walk along Devonshire Street back to Johnson Street. The museum is located across the street. Two hour street parking is available in Johnson and adjacent streets.
How to get there - click on map for larger view
The Willoughby Museum is open each Sunday from 1-4pm, late January to the end of November.
NOTE: CLOSED 20th APRIL (ANZAC WEEKEND)
Adults $5, concession $4, children $2; family $10.
Pre-booked group tours are welcome. We have a range of options available that cover a guided tour of the museum, morning or afternoon teas in our delightful back garden and, if desired, guided tours to historic sites and natural heritage areas in Willoughby can be included. These include the Walter Burley Griffin landscape and buildings in Castlecrag, Federation Conservation Areas in Chatswood, the Harold Reid Reserve in Middle Cove and the history of Flat Rock Gully, including the Griffin-designed Willoughby Incinerator. Due to space limitations, a maximum group size of 25 is recommended. If you are travelling by a tour bus, we can reserve a parking spot outside the museum. Please contact the museum to arrange a package to suit your needs.
Contacts: Phone (02) 9410 3203
The Willoughby Museum focuses on four core themes:
- Local industries and working lives:
Our displays feature objects and photographs of the specific industries that helped build Willoughby's economy and provided employment for its residents. In particular, we explore the history of the Mashman and Eaton potteries, our tanneries, the Buzza Products and Speedo factories in Artarmon, and the Hallstrom refrigerator factory in Willoughby.
- Domestic life:
Displays in the kitchen explore the domestic work experiences of Willoughby residents from all socio-economic strata during the late 19th and 20th centuries. The focus is on the diversity and unique characteristics of Willoughby.
- Towns, suburbs and villages:
We are developing improved presentations that will explore the factors that shaped the patterns of settlement in Willoughby, particularly urban development since the 1890s. The railway and tramway were key drivers of urban settlement from the 1890s, while more recently the private car and freeways have brought new challenges for local residents.
- Immigration and Ethnic Influences:
While the Chinese have played a significant role as market gardeners since the 1870s, post-war migrations brought a dramatic influx of divergent ethnic groups to Willoughby City, notably Armenians, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Poles, Iranians and Indians since the 1950s. We will be exploring this theme through temporary exhibitions over the coming years.