Foster Museum


The History of the Society

The Shire of South Gippsland Historical Society, now known as the Foster and District Historical Society, was formed at a public meeting in Foster on 3 August 1973 with the hope of setting up a Museum in Foster.

An anonymous donor donated $3,000 and a further $1,500 was collected locally to begin to establish the Museum but it was another four years before it was officially opened.

Situated in Main Street, the Museum complex which comprises the former Foster Post Office built in 1890, a one-teacher school building, a cottage, a bark hut and a more modern prefabricated school building used as a hall, is set in a terraced garden with Kaffir Hill at the back and Pearl Park in front.

The Society and the Museum combine very well. Much research has been done and a number of local histories have been written by members. Great credit is due to the volunteers who have contributed so much during the Museum's first very successful 25 years.

The Museum

See how the district developed - from the discovery of gold in 1870 to the establishment of a thriving dairy industry in later years.

The lifestyle of early pioneers is recreated and is supported by a fascinating collection of photographs and mementos.

The entrance to the Museum complex is through the old Post Office building, where the main collection of exhibits is displayed.

Don't miss this glimpse into the past ... a visit to the Museum is a rewarding experience.

Activities of the Society

Besides running the Museum, the Society also conducts other activities such as organising special outings, producing a regular newsletter, creating special displays and conducting educational tours of the Museum.

The Society meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month at 8.00 pm. The venue is Crawford Hall in the Museum grounds. Visitors are always welcome.


The Society will undertake research into family histories and other types of history through our computerised cataloguing system on the following basis:

An upfront payment of $10.00 is required with the request to cover the first hour's work. This should be all that is required in most cases. Beyond one hour's work, a fee of $5.00 per hour will be negotiated.

Victorian Certificate of Education students will be assisted in information gathering, but are required to take out an annual student's subscription ($5.00), and to make available to the Society a copy of the work done.

Send as much information as possible together with the upfront payment to:

The Research Officer,
The Foster and District Historical Society Inc.,
PO Box 231, FOSTER, 3960.

The Discovery of Gold in the Foster District

In 1870 a party of prospectors discovered gold in Stockyard Creek, about where the present footbridge is.

It proved to be a very rich find, and the registered claim was named the Great Uncertainty. After the news of the find become known, the rush to the field commenced, and many rich alluvial claims were discovered. The alluvial field comprised Kaffir, New Zealand and Ophir Hills, and a large area of the flats below them.

Some of the richest claims were Number One South, about where the present-day Commonwealth Bank is; the Scotchmans, in the old State School grounds; the Prussians, in the car park at the entrance to the old tennis courts; the Big Long, behind the old Shire Hall; the Rise and Shine, behind "The Mirror" office; the Lankies, behind the Court House, and many others.

When the alluvial field was more or less exhausted, mining activities were concentrated on quartz mining, three of the main ones being the Victory (the Historical Museum being on portion of the lease), the Gladstone in the Parks Victoria depot yard, and the Jubilee on Kaffir Hill north of Mrs. P. J. Wilson's home.

The Victory commenced operating in 1887 and continued until 1908, producing 26,000 ounces of gold in that period. Mining continued spasmodically for a number of years, including the hydraulic sluicing of New Zealand Hill in 1917.

The last company-operated mines to work in the Foster district were: one near the site of the Foster Bowls Club house and in the Foster Recreation Reserve off Pioneer Street, opposite the Foster Primary School.

There was also alluvial mining at Turtons Creek but this ran out in about 10 years.

There was a small revival of prospecting and mining during the depression years, but nothing of any consequence resulted from these efforts.

H. L. Lasseter

Harold Lewis Lasseter of the fabled "Lasseter's gold reef in Central Australia", is a name well known in Australia.

He lived in the Foster-Toora area at Corner Inlet for a few years from mid-1918 onwards .

Among other things, he did survey work and repaired navigational beacons in Corner Inlet.

Lasseter used the "Victory", a work boat which is on display at the Foster Museum, to float logs down the Franklin River to his work site, for this purpose. Nobody else would take on this dangerous job.

Lasseter had grand ideas to boost the district. A detailed blueprint of the project, drawn and signed by Lasseter, is also on display at the Museum in Foster today.

He left the district around 1923 and very little is known of his life until the ill-fated 1930 expedition to the centre to find his lost gold reef.


How to Contact the Society

Should you wish to contact the Society for further information, please write to-

The Secretary,
The Foster and District Historical Society Inc.,
PO Box 231, FOSTER, 3960.