In the Media (4)

Read about the Bible Museum in the media

Australian Geographic Magazine July/Aug features the Bible Museum

The Bible Museum & Butterfly Garden is featured in the July/August edition of the Australian Geographic Magazine on an article about St Arnaud.  Note: there are some errors - particularly where the King James Bible is mistaken for the Geneva Bible (first Bible with verses and mass produced).

 Aust Geo Mag pg 1 Aust Geo Mage pg 2


Aust Geo Mag pg 3 Aust Geo Mag contents

Aust Geo Mag Cover




Interview on Vision Radio

Ellen Reid was a guest on Vision Radio today (29th June 2015).  The interview is 25 minutes long and is about the Bible Museum and Butterfly Garden. You can download the podcast from the link below (for windows - right click & save link as) or press the play button to listen to it.




Weekly Times: St Arnaud bible museum a tourist drawcard

FIRST there was the small matter of the nine termite nests that laid waste to the historic building.

Then came the problem of the broken windows — a welcome gift from the local vandals — combined with a ruinous economic climate that was putting every other shop on the St Arnaud street out of business.

Australia’s first Bible museum — and the world’s only Bible museum to be run by women — was off to a rocky start.

“We bought the shop in 2008 the week the global financial crisis hit and it was in a street full of empty shops,” said Ellen Reid, 72, who runs the museum with daughter Jean Reid, 42. Quite often we found ourselves wondering what on earth we had done.”

But the pair need not have worried. By some small miracle, the museum has grown to become one of the great tourist draw cards of the region, with regular visits from car clubs, the Country Women’s Association, scout groups, and even a women’s motorcycle group.

Naturally, some of the more secular of the townsfolk were cynical about a Bible museum taking up residence in their town.

Success: Jean, right, and Ellen Reid at the Bible Museum in St Arnaud.

“The locals at first thought we were the weirdos at the end of the street. They considered us Bible bashers,” Ellen said. “But now they know us, they are happy that we have become popular with tourists.”

The pair renovated the shop — which dates back to 1900 — and officially opened the doors in 2009 with more than 1400 Bibles from across the world.

It spelt the end of a long hard slog for Jean and Ellen, who had spent the past five years nursing Ellen’s husband, Jim, who eventually died from a long illness.

Ellen — who has long collected Bibles and old maps as a hobby — decided to make a fresh start by recruiting Jean to set up the museum as a way of celebrating the “world’s most popular book”.

Booked out: The main display room at the Bible Museum in St Arnaud.

“We allow people to touch the Bibles and turn the pages, which is probably not great for the books, but at most museums you only see the two pages displayed,” Jean said.

The pair started off with about 600 Bibles, gleaned from Ellen’s collection, but that number swelled as Ellen tracked down more and more rare books and artefacts.

The Bibles range in size from large Victorian “family” Bibles to miniatures that require a magnifying glass to read. Their covers are made from vellum, velvet, olive wood, mother-of-pearl and tin, as well as the more common leathers. Some were printed 400 years ago.

The collection also includes 300 foreign language Bibles, including a full facsimile of the Codex Sinaiticus, which is the Christian bible in Greek.

There are also models, including a large-scale Ark of the Covenant, temples, musical instruments, oils, models, maps and lamps.

“People come from all over the world to see the books,” Jean said.

“We had a group of Coptic Christians from Egypt visit and they looked quite intimidating. At first we thought they were ISIS, but they were lovely.”

While Ellen and Jean are both religious, they stress the purpose of the museum is not to convert anyone. In fact, they regularly receive visits from atheists who have a similar passion for books and manuscripts.

The Bible Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturdays, 10am-5pm; 125-133 Napier St, St Arnaud. Visit


ABC: Gallipoli 2015: Museum keen to give precious Bible to family of WWI soldier

A Victorian museum is trying to return a wartime Bible to descendants of an Adelaide man who served in World War I and was among the first soldiers to land at Gallipoli a century ago.

Ellen Reid and her daughter run a Bible museum at Saint Arnaud in country Victoria, and Mrs Reid picked up what appears to be Frank Cathro's Biblewhen she was the only online bidder for it.

She told 891 ABC Adelaide she would love to see the Bible go to the soldier's family rather than stay at the museum.

"On the inside front cover it says 'From Egypt', and it looks as though he's posted it back to Edith Cathro, who's from Grey Street, Kilkenny (an Adelaide suburb)," she said.

The museum curator said there was another name in the holy book which might also give someone a useful clue.

"In the back of the little New Testament it's got the name Colin Cathro, 5 Chapman Court in Mile End. From what I can see [in online records],Colin Cathro served in the Second World War," she said.

Mrs Reid said millions of Bibles were given to those who served their country.

"The Bible Society produced about 40 million little New Testaments and parts of Bibles during the First World War," she said.

"I've been collecting Bibles since 1981 and I have a military section in the museum.

Mrs Reid's investigations found Frank Cathro survived the Gallipoli campaign and had daughters, which is why the family name had been harder to trace beyond the war years.

She said Frank returned to Australia after his war service.

"He was wounded twice, he had a gunshot wound and he was hit by a bomb, and repatriated medically unfit in 1916," she said.

"There are other Cathro brothers who were with him, I think Harry and Richard, they left [for the war] one in 1915 and one in 1916 and both returned."

Mrs Reid said anyone able to shed light on her hunt for the former soldier's descendants could contact her via the museum website.

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