Located in a purpose built building and the former railway station building, the Centre offers visitors diverse experiences through several major collections and interpretive displays.
The Gum Family Collection of restored stationary engines, tractors, machines, farm and household memorabilia and the Wurfel Grain Collection, comprising samples of many cereals and other grains, give insights into farming life in Pinnaroo and the mallee region. An exhibition using model landscapes explains how agriculture has progressed in a dryland farming region of South Australia. A major exhibition ‘They Stood beside Them’ looks at the important roles that women have played in the development of the mallee region. The printing section of the Centre contains a collection of presses and letterpress type demonstrating the changes in printing technology. The display is accompanied by a video “STOP PRESS! Preserving a Craft”, which covers the history and the process involved in Letterpress Printing.
Enjoy the centre’s landscaped surrounds, which are planted with a variety of native shrubs. Take a walk along the “Spirit of the Mallee” path, a project undertaken with sister towns Karoonda and Lameroo. This spirit has been interpreted with a steel pipe fence on one side of the access path, and a series of clay plaques surrounded by concrete “motor tyres.” These plaques bear information explaining the various aspects common to mallee communities such as water, fire, mallee, land use and settlement history.
The Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre Committee manages and conserves items of local historical significance and recorded history for the community under the auspices of the Southern Mallee District Council. The Centre was created in 1999, drawing together several collections that were located on different sites around Pinnaroo. The Pinnaroo District Council gave $50,000 and earthworks towards the establishment of the complex. Grants were obtained and many local businesses, organisations and individuals contributed. The main Centre building was constructed by local tradespeople. The Pinnaroo Historical Society had oversight of the Farm Machinery Museum (1969) on the Showgrounds, the D A Wurfel Grain Collection (1983) in the Institute, the Heritage Museum (1984 in Hensley Street) in the former Railway Station building and the Printing Museum (1988) in the Soldiers Memorial Park.
As the major tourist attraction in Pinnaroo, about 30 volunteers on roster duty make it possible for the Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre to be open for three hours daily. The group is actively continuing to add or improve the complex, displays and surrounds. Coach groups are able to visit the Centre and share in their ‘deal with a meal’ offer.