Stalwarts bring history to life

By Kimberley Price

THE ECHUCA Historical Society – the pillar of the past, present and future of our community – recently awarded new two life memberships.

At the February meeting, Mick Hallahan and Don Fraser received the honour for their tireless work with the society.

Since joining in 1992, Mick has been a vital part of the organisation and has taken up several leadership roles.

In 2006 Mick was president during a particularly difficult time and for the next three years continued lifting the museum and society’s profile.

From his place of comfort up a ladder, Mick has always been involved with the outdoor exhibitions and buildings. As a former draughtsman he has drawn up plans for new constructions requiring permits and successfully gained these permits for the covered outdoor buildings which is now called covered ways. He has shown dedication through his involvement in working bees for the construction of these buildings and is always available for the heavy lifting.

He has not only led the way in renovations, he has assisted with work on the costume room, removed displays, painted rooms, re-hung multitudes of displays and reconfigured the front reception.

As treasurer, he ran a tight ship, which ensured the continuing prosperity of the society.

Mick strongly advocated for a Museum Display Principals and Procedure manual for the care of the collection, which led to the society becoming an accredited museum.

Don joined the society in 1969 and hasn’t looked back.

In the early stages of collating the extensive museum the society showcases, Don was an active member of the museum committee and sourced many of the objects in the collection today.

In 1972 Don was the representative for the society on the Echuca Regional Development Society, which had the aim of promoting the town to business persons and pursuing and promoting events.

In 1977 when the society was advocating to council for the preservation of heritage buildings in the town – including the Old Loco Shed – Don was the society representative reporting to a government committee to decide the fate of the disused building.

In 2012 Don returned to work at the museum as the Friday guide and he was always very popular with locals and visitors. He recently retired and left enormous shoes to fill as his knowledge he gathered as an old riverboat captain is unbeatable.

Over the years Don has been a vital member of the society and was called many times to officiate at the election of office bearers and held office on numerous occasions.

Mick and Don’s contribution to the Echuca Historical Society and by extension the Echuca-Moama community is second to none.