SCENIC ROUTE TO A
Beautifully set amongst the scenic hills of Lower Eyre Peninsula are the 2.5 acres of Koppio Smithy Museum. Central to all travel plans in the area it can be reached from any direction with an enjoyable drive through peaceful country of rolling hills and interesting places. It is well worth your visit.
Go To Koppio website
Over the past 40 years, National Trust volunteers have established what is really a village encompassing the area’s heritage. Their work in collecting, researching and restoring these buildings, vehicles, machinery and artefacts has created a place of value and amazing interest for all ages. In fact you enter this remarkable Museum through the old country store of 1910, which once stood in Liverpool Street Port Lincoln.
Of significant interest is the Koppio School, built in 1934 and the last of its kind on the Peninsula. In its single room, one teacher taught seven grades right up till its closure in 1970, when it was transported over 2 kilometres of road to the museum using wooden sleighs and four tractors. Displayed now as an historically furnished classroom, it delights many visitors. Also furnished in true historic style is the 1890’s Pug and Pine Cottage, now beautifully restored from the crumbling shell relocated from about 60 kilometers away.
The centrepiece of the museum is The Blacksmith’s Shop, built by Tom Brennand in 1903 to service the horse and bullock teams of newly occupied farm settlements. His
‘Smithy’ and stone cottage represent the remarkable spirit of early Eyre settlers which can be experienced throughout this wonderful museum.
Pioneering is hard work, so you may want to take a break and enjoy your lunch or BBQ if you brought it along, at the restful picnic area. Or perhaps a hot pie, cold drink or icecream from the museum shop. You are also welcome to use the modern 40-seat function room, complete with kitchenette and toilet facility, all disabled-friendly.
As you continue your museum meander, watch for the Wheat Agent’s Shed, White Flat Post Office building, and the unbelievably small Bank of Adelaide building from Ungarra. Other sheds house all manner of heritage trucks, cars, machinery and equipment which it’s doubtful we’ll see the like of again, particularly those purpose-made by desperate and ingenious pioneers. This includes a WWII Army tank, driven from Melbourne to Port Lincoln by road, and used for scrub clearing in the late 1940’s.
Throughout these displays the presence of women is subtle, until you get to the Pioneer Women’s Room, where their hard lives are evidenced with open cooking fires, laundry boilers and hand-sewn clothing that was repaired and re-fashioned for usually 11 or more children. Many descendants of these families still live on the Eyre Peninsula, and it is indeed the family - and visitor-friendly nature of this amazing museum, that contributes to its ambience and continuing successes. Every display, of which only a few have been mentioned here, rises from the dedicated work of all involved and thus continues the ethics of our settlers.
So plan a day at the Koppio Smithy Museum and enjoy the journey – a scenic route to some stunning re-collections.