THE Melville History Society risks becoming a museum piece unless it can attract a younger generation, says second-hand book queen Elizabeth Schmitz.
Although retired from her eponymous bookshops, Ms Schmitz is one of the society’s young’uns and fears having to shoulder an unreasonable workload.
“We have a lot of members, but we need people who can volunteer to help,” Ms Schmitz said.
“Doing things like being on duty at the museum, and committee members who can offer ways to bring the Bakehouse back to life in the community.”
The MHS looks after the Miller Bakehouse in Palmyra, built in 1936 for master baker Henry Miller with a VM Shields semi-scotch oven that’s one of only six examples of its type left in the world.
Mr Miller died suddenly in the bakehouse in 1969 aged 91 and a few years later his sons retired from the business and not long after the property was sold to Melville council for a park.
The MHS played a big role in saving the bakehouse from being demolished, convincing the council to renovate the building as a Bicentennial project.
The museum is now open every Sunday and the society hires out the old store room as a medium-sized meeting room with kitchen and audio visual equipment.
Since Covid the room hasn’t been hired out as often, with a university using it regularly for classes migrating to online learning, and Ms Schmitz said that hurts the society’s bank balance.
She hopes younger members might have the social media savvy to help promote the facility a bit more actively, or crank up some events.
“There’s a great opportunity to run some events; it’s next to a park so you could have some boot sales,” she said.
A good chance to check out the Bakehouse Museum comes up on Sunday October 17, when the Home Bakers Group will be bringing along their wares, with a chance for visitors to have a taste.
by STEVE GRANT