Irwin Districts Historical Society
The Society acknowledges the traditional owners of the Irwin Districts, their continuing connection to land, sea and community and pays its respects to elders and their cultures, past and present.


The Packout Room is the first phase in the development of the

Museum of Fishing and the Sea in Port Denison.

The Packout Room opened to the public on 11 December 2021.  The museum is being developed by the Irwin Districts Historical Society with its partners the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative (GFC) and Dongara Professional Fishermen’s Association (DPFA). The Museum of Fishing and the Sea (MOFAS) is a larger project being developed over time to encompass the larger history and heritage of the Port Denison fisheries and their maritime environs on the Batavia Coast.

Packout Logo blue

This compact museum is situated in the former Packout Room, or Packing Room, of the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative building, known as ‘The Lives’, on the Port Denison foreshore. The picture below shows ‘The Lives’, facing Point Leander Drive in Port Denison, with the Packout Room entrance on the far-right (north-east) corner.

Packout Room exterior

The museum features exhibitions of the fishing and maritime history and heritage of Port Denison and its coastal environs.  Six themes or stories are represented in the displays: Seaside Resort, Fishing Equipment, From Pastime to Professional, Coast and Islands and Science of the Fishery.  There are three additional displays: In the Beginning (about the museum’s origins), Cray Pots Over Time, and Social Life in Local Fishing Communities.  A digital content area features a series of short films and videos on a continuous loop, with a mix of historical and contemporary footage.

Note: the museum currently has no external signage, so watch out for the two sandwich board signs being displayed when the space is open to the public.  There is ample car parking available, and the working fishing wharf, boat pens, fish shop and beaches adjoin the site.

Pullin’ the Pots is a history of the fishing industry along the Irwin Coast and is a work in progress.  As chapters are completed, a revised version of the book will replace the current version on the IDHS website.  Interested readers, of which there are now many, are invited to provide feedback, comments through or Contact Page, corrections and new materials as new versions are uploaded. 

You can find the cover page and current version here.

Featured Image: Bob Hope on the Sea Breeze, 1960, Bob Hope Collection

Port Denison, 1975 | IRME0365

Pullin’ the Pots – Oral Histories

Oral histories of the crayfishing industry centred in Port Denison and along the Irwin Coast and the Abrolhos Islands have been collected. Thanks to Trish Parker for conducting the interviews and transcriptions by Pamela Sistrunk of Transcriptions WA. The project was partially funded by IDHS with additional funding from our project partners.
Please contact us for more information.


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