Our exhibit philosophy is simple; preserve and educate.

Our displays will educate the visitor about the importance of the Great Lakes to our region.

The experience is designed to educate a diverse audience both in age and knowledge of the topic.

We accomplish this goal of education in visually, auditory and tactile compelling ways so that the experience is engrossing and entertaining.


Join us in the fascinating stories of the Great Lakes as you learn about the rich history of the regions origins,  resources, local trades, industries, it’s people and culture.  Immerse yourself in unique display’s and hands-on experiences. The Great Lakes Museum is a complete experience—our campus includes maritime models with unique artifacts and beautiful landscaping. Located in the heart of Tuncurry.

The Historical Society started in 1976 and the museum
has been opened to the public since 1987.

When Tuncurry celebrated its centenary in 1975, the organisers saw the need for a local museum.
A steering committee was setup and the first meeting of the “Wallamba District Historical Society”, now the “Great Lakes Historical Co-Operative Society Ltd”, was held on March 1st 1976.
Land was acquired in Capel Street Tuncurry and the old National Bank building in Forster was transported across the bridge in two pieces to become the museum, housing a growing collection of artifacts.

Over the years the Museum has grown

The original first Tuncurry School built in 1886A Tuncurry Police lock-up cell used from 1949-1959 & the 1940’s pioneer Cheers Cottage, which has been restored and contains many photos of the pioneer families as well as many artifacts relating to the Great Lakes district.



A large photographic collection of donated photo’s and over 3,000 black and white photo’s taken by a local photographer that attended many wedding, parties, sporting events and activities in the district from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. Along with this, there is a research library housing a large amount of information on pioneer families, as well as information on the local history, including details on many of the buildings, churches, sporting groups and local community groups.


Two modern paintings by artists from the Tobwabba Aboriginal Artists Group as well as ,any donated aboriginal artifacts of the Biripi and Worimi tribes. 

Display on oyster growing, whale bones, and items collected by the local fishermen along with many ship models displayed in the main museum buildings. These include a model of the car ferry used on Wallis Lake, a model of a log punt “The Wallis Lake”, a model of a drogher “The Victory”, a model of “The Eldorado II a fishing boat which was built in the 1940s, a model of the tow boats which were built by the Wright Shipyards in Tuncurry for the USA army during World War 2.

Outside with the pristine gardens is a working windmill, several shipping artifacts, horse cart and the Machinery Shed housing a mock-up blacksmith’s forge, with blacksmiths tools and tools used in the timber industry such as cross-cut saws, bow saws, circular bench saw blades all  beautifully displayed and labelled. Machinery includes a Chaff Cutter, Cream Separator, Corn Sheller, Pipe Vice, Hand-operated Drill Press.






The Museum’s collection is now housed in new display cabinets, new carpet laid, the ceiling has been replaced and the whole room repainted. Meanwhile this makeover has enabled the area’s maritime history to be expanded and highlighted. Future expansions are in the planning stage.

 Come in for a visit and immerse yourself in the history of the Great Lakes today!