Fair Dinkum Australian Exhibition

Fair Dinkum Australian Exhibition

Fair Dinkum was a unique bit of Muncie’s history, in the form of a museum about Australia and two Australian restaurants. Fair Dinkum opened in the Mitchell Block building in May 1993 by Allen Johnstone, an Australian restaurateur. It contained the Fair Dinkum museum, a three story exhibit, with overnight dormitories in the basement, and the Bushtucker and Shearing Shed restaurant.

Johnstone won a $65,000 loan from the Muncie Industrial Revolving Loan fund, as well as a $20,000 UEA grant to aid in the funding of the project. The museum featured a smorgasbord-style restaurant, and several attractions per floor. On the first, customs, a gift shop and jewelry store, featuring Australian opal, and an Australian fast food restaurant. The second floor discussed Aboriginal history, Australian inventions, and the Great Barrier Reef, among other exhibits, and the third floor featured a theater, sharing the music of Australia.

Fair Dinkum was the only permanent exhibit about Australia outside the continent, and won an award for downtown revitalization in late 1993. They opened a dinner theater in January 1994. At the time of its one year anniversary, Fair Dinkum had reportedly attracted 25,000 patrons from 37 states and 13 countries. It was frequently reviewed glowingly, but after missed loan payments and financial troubles caught up with him, Fair Dinkum “closed for refurbishment” in September 1994, claiming it would reopen in 1995, but the lease was terminated by October, marking the end of the museum’s future. 


Fair dinkum gallery (Photos from the star press)

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