TRAVELLING back to the good ol’ days, Old Gippstown celebrated its 50th birthday on April 13.

Many people came from far and wide to celebrate the day’s events. Some dressed in traditional attire and others sat back in horse-drawn carriages to observe the open museum town.

Musicians from the Latrobe Community Concert Band and O’Dowd School of Singing uplifted the vibe, leading to a welcoming opening ceremony by local council members, park committee members and Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron.

Transport: All modes of transportation were available for the town’s tour. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Mr Cameron shared his memories of how he grew up visiting the heritage park and begged people to help keep it alive.

“What you don’t realise is that this is one of the hidden gems here in Latrobe City,” he said.

“When I was a young fella, maybe 10 or 12, I first came across Old Gippstown as an excursion with Grey Street Primary School and followed up in secondary school. Then, a couple of other times through my adult life, I brought my kids here,” he said.

“Being able to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they roll through because it is an untapped asset. I urge everybody here today to annoy the absolute bejeebers out of your council and local members so we can secure this facility (moves) into the future because it is a great, rich asset that we have.”

Old school: Dara Carey from 137 Forging On, Phillip Island came to demonstrate her skills alongside Old Gippstown’s resident volunteer blacksmith. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Latrobe City Mayor, Darren Howe stepped in next, explaining the park’s importance and how historically important it is for the park to keep going, as it is one of the few of its kind still going.

Closing the ceremony, the Chair of the Old Gippstown Committee, Libby Scott, shared the history, dating back to March 10, 1973 (the actual date of celebration), and the manager of Old Gippstown, Kellie Simpson, brought on many thanks to those who came.

People moved around the town, delighting themselves with old-fashioned games, butter churning, dressmaking, photos, whip cracking, paper making, Clydesdale cart rides, fire truck rides, old movies, watching weavers weave, and observing the blacksmith’s works. While few people dressed in old-fashioned attire, committee members enjoyed the experience of wearing old-style clothes.

Historical: Rides were offered to people throughout the event with ‘Big Red’ coming out for people to enjoy. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Other groups that joined in throughout the day included the Traralgon Neighbourhood House, which held the weaving demonstrations, the Latrobe Valley Woodturning and Woodworking Club, the Lions Club of Moe, Old Gippstown Men’s Shed, the Trafalgar Holden Museum, and the Baw Baw Old Engine and Auto Club, which brought demonstrations along with them.

Later in the day, the committee held the raffle and placed items in a new time capsule that will be opened in 50 years.

“We now look forward to a happy and hopefully financially viable future ahead, with a concentration on maintenance, preservation and presentation of our heritage assets, our core aim and continuing to make Old Gippstown a community and educational hub, and a tourist destination, for all to enjoy. We are also home to local community and service groups,” Ms Scott said.

“We are fortunate to be located at the gateway of the Latrobe Valley region and stop off the point to further Gippsland destinations, close enough to Melbourne for day trips.”