Located in a park along the main street of Riverton, the museum complex consists of a stone cottage and a wheelwright and blacksmith shops, which were once the home and business of the Scholz family for a little over a century.
August Scholz (1832-1919) migrated to South Australia from Ransen, Silesia (now Poland) with his father Gottlieb, a fellow wheelwright on SS Peter Goddefroy in 1860. Originally settling in Mt Torrens to be near his brother, August eventually moved to Riverton with his wife Wilhelmine Strempel and their young son Ernst in 1865. There August set up his wheelwright business, and later built a stone four room cottage in 1872 to accommodate their growing family of eight children (although only six survived infancy). He later went into partnership with neighbouring blacksmith William Sanders eventually buying the business and premises in 1886. August and his three sons carried on the business as wheelwright, blacksmith, machinist and coachbuilder, meeting the needs of the people in the area.
The Scholz family business continued until 1966 when August’s two grandsons sold the land, buildings and contents to the Riverton council on condition that it would remain an example of life in a bygone era. The property became state and national estate registered and was restored, eventually opening to the public as a museum on 15 March 1981.
Today visitors can see the cottage set out as it was lived in by the family in the 1890s including the living room, kitchen and bedroom where August and Wilhelmine’s two spinster daughters Pauline and Hulda sadly died during a heatwave in the summer of 1939.
On display is also the camera, glass negatives, photographs and postcards belonging to youngest son Edwin (Ted) Scholz (1881-1952), an amateur photographer who left a wonderful record of South Australia through his photographic legacy of c1900-1910. In addition there is a cabinet dedicated to the war service of August’s grandsons Harold and Norman Scholz who both fought in the First World War.
The wheelwright’s shop is complete with tools (many handmade), machinery and benches while there is a small laundry to one side and a printing office for creating their business flyers. The blacksmith’s shop has three hand blown forges and many items of functional equipment including several large bellows. One can also see examples of horse drawn vehicles and agricultural equipment on display in the shed beside the blacksmith’s shop.
There are more photographs of the museum here