Step back in time and explore Dysart’s colourful past ...

Jim Swan in front of one of the displays at this year's summer exhibition in Dysart
Jim Swan in front of one of the displays at this year's summer exhibition in Dysart

PEOPLE are being invited to learn more about Dysart’s colourful past with the launch of a new summer exhibition in the Royal Burgh.

The free display, based in the Town Hall and in one room in the nearby Tolbooth, features a selection of items including fossils found on Dysart beach, a nostalgia corner including washboards, clay pipes, a mincer and a carpet beater, as well as an array of photographs and artefacts from Dysart’s history.

There is also a special section on John McDouall Stuart - the Dysart-born Australian explorer - which features the actual walking stick shaped like a snake that he used.

The exhibition, organised by Dysart Trust, looks back at the burgh’s old school days, shops, businesses, pubs, harbour and local industries from the 1800s.

Jim Swan, chairman and founder member of the Trust, has been showcasing old photographs and other items from Dysart’s history ever since the mid 1960s.

He said: “The Trust started in 1964 and held its first exhibition in the summer of 1965 in Normand Hall.

“The three local churches got together and put on a display about old Dysart to raise money for the Freedom of Hunger (Christian Aid in Africa). There were 500 tickets sold and 2000 people came over the weekend.

“It was such a success the display has been held ever since, and over the years we have built up a collection of old photographs, which have been handed in, as well as other artefacts.

“There is an appetite for nostalgia in Dysart and so my main aim is to collect as much as I can about its past and build up a big archive of photographs and written material. I am still doing research and learning about its history.”

Mr Swan said the photographs of the ‘Wee School’ and Dysart Primary always prove popular.

The exhibit also includes a timecapsule buried in 1884 from the Normand Hall. It was recovered when the hall was demolished in 1995 and contained a copy of the Fife Free Press newspaper of the day along with a scroll, a half crown, florin, shilling, sixpence, three pence penny and half penny.