In the early 1970s Terry Caraher, a Murray Shire Councillor, embarked on an extended holiday to Britain and America. Due to his interest in community activities he noticed the enthusiasm displayed for arts and crafts in both countries.
On his return to his home town Pinjarra, armed with his recently acquired experiences, he began the process of establishing a support organisation for arts and crafts within the Murray district. A small group of like minded individuals began the task of finding a suitable location for the first home of the group, incorporated in 1974 as Murray Arts and Crafts Society W.A. Inc. (fondly known as MAACS). Pinjarra's local drycleaner Ron Lane kindly donated an old house for its initial base and the conversion of a vision to a reality was started.
As with all good ideas, growth in society members taxed that facility and as the original McLarty Edenvale Farm Homestead site had been established as a trust site for the Murray community, thoughts turned to the possibility of using it as MAACS's permanent home.
The original Public Works Department (PWD) Building, no longer occupied, was recognised for it's historic value and with assistance from the Murray Shire Council, the PWD and a Federal Government grant was relocated to Edenvale and after extensive refurbished was initially used by MAACS as an arts and crafts workshop.
Over the years various additions, (including the addition of an annex and verandah on the western end of the PWD building - funded in part by a grant from Alcoa Australia Pty Ltd), have been added complimenting our expansion and the complex itself.
The building named Liveringa was constructed in 1865 – some twenty years before the homestead was purchased by John McLarty in or around 1885. Edenvale Homestead was constructed in 1888 and was then used by the McLarty family as their primary residence. John’s son Edward's seventh and youngest child, (Sir) Duncan Ross McLarty, became Western Australia's 17th Premier.
The compound was saved from public sale in 1979 when the State Government was urged to purchase, retain and restore the buildings, and make it available for public use, which it did. The complex was opened on November 14, 1982.
Liveringa was later refurbished by the Shire and its occupation as a dual Arts Workshop and Art Gallery allows our members works to be prominently displayed, providing a welcome extension to our craft outlet now located in the old PWD building.
The Craft Outlet and the Liveringa Art Gallery are opened for public viewing nearly every day of the year thanks to our member volunteers and only art and craft created by our members is displayed and available for purchase. A recent addition has been an EFTPOS facility in the craft shop.
For over forty years MAACS has not only focussed on supporting Art and Craft in the greater Peel region but is an active participant in the development of the Edenvale Historical Homestead as the historical focal point for the Murray District. We are proud community supporters of non profit and charitable groups through various fund raising activities. Recently, we agreed to have the Shire of Murray Pinjarra Visitor Information Point relocated within our Craft Outlet facility. Our member volunteers assist visitors to the centre with informal local knowledge.
Murray District Arts and Crafts Society Inc. has been strongly supported by The Shire of Murray, with assistance from Alcoa, the Heritage Commission and of course, the untiring efforts of our members. Over the years our Society has developed and created a facility that the community can be proud of. We hope to add new crafts in the future to compliment our active range of crafts taught and practised. Credit goes out to our teachers, committee members and all volunteers past and present for their dedication and the passing on of skills.