Located in the Port Elliot showgrounds, the museum has an agricultural focused collection as well as a lot of general history items including a sulky that brought one of the first young married couples to Mount Compass.
The museum is managed by a sub-committee of the Southern Agricultural Society Inc Management committee, the organiser and convenor of the Port Elliot Show. It is the result of the combined visions of two men David Coote of Middleton and Ken Ekers of Mount Compass.
David Coote, a resident of the area, had a vision of building a museum for horse drawn equipment in Middleton. On his passing, his wife Sheila wanting to fulfil her husband’s wish and finding that a museum at Middleton was not viable, approached the Southern Agricultural Society Inc. with a view to establishing a museum at the show grounds. The President at the time, Mr Deanne Perry presented the matter to the committee and members and it was agreed to set up a museum in David Coote’s memory at the grounds. The Coote Family kindly donated $5,000 towards the building of the museum hoping that other funds could be found and within a short space of time generous donations of $5,000 each were also received from Ian and Carol Youles and the Victor Harbor Harness Club, thus allowing the building of the museum to proceed.
The late Ken Ekers of Mount Compass was a collector, with a dream of setting up a museum of local machinery which had a known connection to the district. Sometime in the 1990s there was a lot of work done towards the establishment of a museum in Mount Compass but unfortunately it did not eventuate. However, Ken’s brother Colin became interested and after much consultation, a group was formed at Mount Compass in 2009 to again look into establishing a museum at Mount Compass, but unfortunately again this did not eventuate and the group began looking elsewhere for a venue to establish the Ekers collection.
With the David Coote display already established at the Port Elliot showgrounds, an approach was made to the Southern Agricultural Society Inc. and after much consideration, debate and several meetings, it was agreed to house the collection in the current museum.
A new Museum committee was formed and the museum was set up. The group now has organised bus tours visiting the museum and visitors are treated to interesting tales behind the historical equipment on display. The sulky which is on display was given to Ken and Colin’s mother as a wedding present and she and her husband drove the sulky from Wool Bay on the Yorke Peninsula to Mount Compass where they settled after purchasing 1,000 acres of land for £1 an acre.
The museum moved to a new location at the northern end of the showgrounds which was officially opened on 26 April 2014.
Volunteers meet weekly on Thursdays 9am-3pm to carry out restoration of artifacts.
Enter at northern entrance gate via Wright Street or Water Lane.