Busselton Museum in the Old Butter Factory

Star 4.7 (140 Google reviews)

The Heritage Butter Factory and Busselton Museum has many display rooms packed with photographs, equipment and memorabilia which trace the family, social, civic, commercial and maritime history of Busselton. Everything from agriculture to whaling; from crockery, clocks and cameras to sewing machines, travel and transport are included. The one-hectare site is nestled on the banks of the picturesque Vasse River. A replica of the Jetty Rotunda enhances the vista and the exhibits demonstrate Busselton’s diverse agricultural, forestry and maritime history. Special attention is focused on the famous 1920’s Group Settlement Scheme.
Owned by the State Government, through the Agricultural Department, this Butter Factory was opened in 1918. In 1926 South West Dairy Produce Co-operative became the owners and the name changed to Sunny West. Development of the Group Settlement Scheme in the area caused a great upsurge in production, as there were 735 farms in the Busselton district by 1926. Then came the Great Depression of the early 1930s, the 1939-45 war and the boom period which followed. This boom saw the factory reach peak production of about 30 tons of butter per week. Before the days of refrigeration, the factory also operated an Ice Works, supplying the town of Busselton and local fishermen with much sought after ice.

High overheads during the offseason coupled with more efficient road transport caused closure of this and several other factories. Operations were then centralised at Boyanup. Busselton ceased making butter in 1952. A dried milk plant was installed, but a slump in overseas markets made the process unprofitable and production stopped. The premises served as a depot for trucks and tankers until operations ceased altogether in 1973.

The building was vested in the Shire of Busselton which then leased part of it to the Busselton Historical Society.

The Museum opened in 1975 and is now run entirely by volunteers. Tuesdays are set aside for this willing band of workers who collect Busselton memorabilia, maintain the artefacts and build new displays.

Amenities

Location

Busselton Museum in the Old Butter Factory

Old Butter Factory Complex, Peel Terrace, Busselton WA 6280, Australia

Reviews

Star 4.7 (140 Google reviews)
Dave A 06 August 2023

Apparently they had a serious fire through this museum (or part of it) a few years ago and it's a tribute to the hard-working volunteers that you'd never know if they didn't tell you. Stacks of interesting exhibits and a good historical overview of Busselton and the surrounding area. Well worth a visit!

Robina Ellis 11 February 2024

HBH indulges a nostalgic morning learning about life through the generations in Busselton. We needed something different to do; Busselton Museum was perfect. Friendly helpful staff [I guess volunteers]. Many different rooms each themed. From sewing machines and kitchen wares, military displays, farm machinery, an old school house fully kitted out and much much more. Outdoor and indoor displays. And everything about the origins of this place - the Busselton Butter factory and how it worked. Great for every age group, outside area overlooking the river. A place of discovery.

Ivon Robson 16 November 2023

The quality of the displays is very good. Friendly staff with views of river outside

derek williamson 08 July 2023

I love community museums, with their eclectic collections and everything on display ethos. The central story here is around the dairy industry as it is in an old butter factory. But there is plenty of other material. A gorgeous location on the banks of the river would be lovely to bring a picnic with you. There were limited stories with objects, which would have made a difference. I also couldn’t find much about the local aboriginal communities and their relationships to the industry and events displayed. This would have also been a great addition. I visited with a 6, 10 and 14 year old who all found interesting elements to look at. It really is an interesting way to spend a few hours. And you don’t have to exit through the gift-shop.

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