Museum’s tribute to Tom

Sam and Matthew Wiles, grandson of the late Tom Wiles, with a special plaque to be placed on Tom’s model of the Adelong Falls gold mine.

The Adelong Alive Museum owes the late Tom Wiles a lot, and on Saturday, it paid some of it back, with the opening of an exhibition that is a tribute to his dedication and talent.

Tom, who was a founding member and great contributor to the museum, passed away at age 94 in March.

On Saturrday, his ashes were interred at Adelong Cemetery and afterwards, the exhibition opened at the museum. It features many of the brilliant models he built and artefacts he contributed to it over the years, and a slide show about his life.

Museum curator Margaret Bentley said Tom was passionate about Adelong and its history.

“He knew all about the Adelong Falls gold mine and the mechanical aspects of it,” she said.

This is obvious when you see the model/diorama he made of the mine in its heyday, which will of course feature in the exhibition.

Museum visual arts director Jason Sullivan said the museum wouldn’t exist with Tom and Margaret.

“Tom was voted by the town’s people to represent them on the Falls committee,” he said.

“He also helped at the Adelong Men’s Shed and was an active part of the community.”

Tom was born in Cootamundra, but his family origins are in Adelong, and it always seemed he would go back there.

He joined the Royal Australian Air Force in World War 2 and was training to fly bombers, but the war ended before he got the chance to be posted overseas.

“That was his greatest regret,” his son John said.

He did, however, clock up 500 flying hours.

Mr Sullivan is hoping to install an interactive display highlighting the different parts of Tom’s Adelong Falls model.

“We are raising money for that,” he said.