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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Experience History at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village in Warrnambool Victoria Australia

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Some historical tourist attractions can be overdone and appear fake, but the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village in Warrnambool Victoria is a journey where you step back in time and walk the streets as early pioneers did in the 1800s. Warrnambool is close to my heart, as my ancestors settled this region over one hundred and fifty years ago, and where my parents took my family each year for beachside Christmas holidays.

Visiting as an adult is very different when seen through grown up eyes, yet just as wonderful.

Warrnambool is situated on Lady Bay.

Entering through the main entrance at the Visitor information centre, which includes a well stocked gift shop, entry into the complex takes you through the museum.

In the village you can see the 1800s industry and shops. Guests are free to walk around at their own paces or can experience a daily heritage tour. The local guide relates fascinating tales as you venture through the village and museum. Check the FHMV for tour times.Before the days of department stores, little shops specialised. Walk past the dressmakers, the confectionary ship,

Drop into the Stella Maris Tearooms for refreshments.

The unique pub located near the lagoon is sometimes open during summer months for a cold refreshment. Also in summer there are various days with live music. (check with FHMV for times and dates)

The lighthouse complex also houses a Keeper's cottage, toilet, the Flagstaff. Check out the working 80-pound cannons in the fortifications and garrison area.

At the Lighthouse Lodge, the original Harbour Master's House, guests can stay in the renovated building. It includes three ensuited bedrooms, kitchen, lounge and outdoor entertainment area.

At night I was delighted to witness the sound and light show over the water. This multi-million dollar experience details three separate stories. Over the lagoon, water sprays into the air and the action takes place on this fluid screen. The whaling past will shock and entertain, while educating, and being grateful we have stopped hunting these precious creatures.

Local Aboriginal stories are related and come to life.

The Shipwreck coast is a well-deserved title for this area of Victoria, and more tales are told.

The museum is well set out and spacious. There was just enough information to inform and entertain. If visitors wish for more details, the well-stocked giftshop has many books available to purchase. I marvelled at the famous Loch Ard Minton Peacock. How incredible that it survived. This heritage listed statue was washed ashore two days after the sinking of the ship Loch Ard in 1878 off the coastline of Victoria. It is now worth over 4 million dollars. The peacock is a symbol of survival and resurrection, and indeed, I am grateful that this one did survive the wreck, for all of us to enjoy the skilled workmanship it took to create this glorious statue. It stands 150cm (59 in) tall.

French Sculptor Paul Comolera studied live peacocks to aid in his production of this life size ceramic model. The brilliant colours of green and blue glazes mimic the plumage of the bird and were hand painted. It was created in the Mintons factory in England, using majolica glazes.

89 Merri Street, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia

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