Talking Machines get the go-ahead

Rachael Vincent, Museum of the Riverina with a Nicholson back delivery combined reaping and mowing machine, c. 1878.

This machine, possibly the earliest surviving harvesting machine in the Riverina, will feature in the _Talking Machines_ project.


Regional Partnerships funding brings $150,000 to the Riverina in 2015.

The Museum of the Riverina will receive $150,000 from the NSW Government for the project Talking Machines: reviving Riverina rural technology collections with video testimonies

By focusing on dormant farm machinery in 10 museum collections across the Riverina, the stories of generations of men and women who farmed the region will be recorded and preserved along with the important role mechanisation played in their lives. An award winning local film maker and regional cultural consultants will work with Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Museums & Galleries of NSW, Oral History NSW, and the Wiradjuri Language and Cultural Heritage Program at Charles Sturt University on the two year venture.

The project builds on extensive research undertaken earlier by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and uses the illustrated database of over 25,000 historic farm machinery items complied by rural technology expert Margaret Simpson, Curator of Science and Industry.

The tangible outcomes for this project include 40 video testimonies, new audio-visual interpretation across partner museums, a unique educational resource for the Stage 5 National History syllabus and a Talking Machines tour and educational resource. The video stories and educational resources will be available on our website expanding the audience for the Riverina’s rich oral histories so important in bringing the massive rural machines to life. 

By focusing on this vanishing community heritage Talking Machines will develop sustainable relationships between communities and rural collections across the participating social history museums, and will ultimately create an important community cultural resource.

The 10 community museums participating in the project are Wyalong MuseumUp-to-Date Store in Coolamon, Cootamundra Heritage CentreGreens Gunyah in Lockhart, Temora Rural MuseumPioneer Women’s Hut in Tumbarumba, Tumut MuseumBatlow MuseumWhistlestop Museum in Weethalle and the Junee Broadway Museum

By working together, arts organisations can achieve greater economies of scale and collaborate on projects that provide a net benefit for all of the partners," Troy Grant.

News of the successful grant was widely welcomed. Announced by Troy Grant, Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, who is supportive of partnerships between arts organisations that stimulate locally-driven arts and cultural activities.

“The NSW Government recognises the benefits that working in partnership can bring; by working together, arts organisations can achieve greater economies of scale and collaborate on projects that provide a net benefit for all of the partners,” Mr Grant said.

Michael Rolfe, CEO M&G NSW was also extremely pleased and said “As local storytelling lies at the heart of any community museum, it’s wonderful news to hear of the Museum of the Riverina’s success in being awarded funding for its Talking Machines Project. Here at Museums & Galleries we look forward to supporting this project as it comes to fruition.”  


The Museum of the Riverina is one of five regional arts organisations sharing $600,000 in Regional Partnerships funding in 2015.

Regional Partnerships is an Arts NSW initiative.

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