Our Museums are temporarily closed until further notice.

Chifley Home and Education Centre

In a quiet residential street in Bathurst is one of the country’s most intimate museums — the former home of Prime Minister Ben Chifley and his wife, Elizabeth.

Whether your interest runs to Australian politics or you’d like to step back in time, this unique museum and Education Centre provides a glimpse into how the Chifley’s lived, and offers an experience of everyday life in the 1940’s. Its original collection of household furnishings, kitchenware and personal effects date back to when the Chifley’s first occupied the house in 1914.

This is a house that saw the hardships of the Great Depression, and wartime austerity. From rationing cards still on the kitchen table to Mrs Chifley’s soap saver in the kitchen, 10 Busby Street has little in common with The Lodge or Kirribilli House, and is all the more interesting for it.

 

MUSEUM UPDATE

With the confirmation of COVID-19 cases in the Central West, Bathurst Regional Council is following advice on COVID-19 from the state and federal health departments.  Our Museums are temporarily closed until further notice.

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Included in the guided tour is a short screening of the documentary The Chifleys of Busby Street. The stories and memories of friends, neighbours and colleagues tell of a remarkable member of the community and a born leader.

The radio (or wireless) was the main form of communication. With no TV or internet this is where Mrs Chifley heard her husband Ben address the country as Prime Minister from Canberra while she was at home in Bathurst. Ben Chifley was known to ring up the local radio station and request his favourite song, ‘I’m a lonely little Petunia in an onion patch’.

This airplane model of a DC-3 was presented to Chifley when he launched Butlers’ air service between Bathurst and Sydney in 1946. Ask your guide what gift was contained inside.

Floor coverings of the 30’s and 40’s needed to be hardwearing and inexpensive. The original patterned lino floors in the kitchen and office remain, as do the off-cuts used to line the pantry shelves.

Mrs Chifley’s handbag in the bedroom was a special gift Prime Minister Ben Chifley brought back for his wife following official business in London. The very same style of handbag had been presented to the then Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) on her marriage to Prince Phillip in 1947.

Like many women of the time, Mrs Chifley was an avid knitter. From tea cosies to napkins, there are many pieces of her exquisite crochet and needlework throughout the house.

 

Many Prime Ministers have visited the home including Robert Menzies, Gough Whitlam and Julia Gillard.

 

‘Make Do and Mend’ was clearly an ethos Prime Minister Chifley held dear. Take a look at some of his hand laid concrete slabs in the backyard!

 

Experience a replica 1940’s sitting room, complete with working Pianola in the Education Centre.