Friday, 30 May 2014
About 1500 visitors attended the recent Pioneer Weekend at the Herberton Historic Village. The owners, Craig and Connie Kimberley said that this fifth annual event had been 'unbelievable' and a perfect time for the opening of the new John Deere Tractor Shed. With traditional mining skills like tin panning and hand-steel drilling displays and wood chopping competitions and music from bush bands, this event is becoming a real folk heritage festival. Craig and Connie were already looking forward to a bigger and better one next year.
The latest newsletter from the Mareeba Historical Society reached my desk recently but it contained little news on the happenings within this group. It appears the approaching centenary of the start of the First World War is the main project which is occupying their efforts. Towards this venture, the group is applying for another grant to raise funds to employ the services of a conservator to explain how to conserve some related items in their collection. Members were quite relieved that little damage was done to the Society by the recent passing of Cyclone Ita. Their Centre had some water come in under the back door which was soaked up by the small carpet there, but that was all they suffered.
Thursday, 1 May 2014
While looking back over some of the Society's old records the other day, it was realized that the history centre in Malanda had just reached its 20th anniverary. The April 1994 meeting was the first official meeting to be held in the new Eacham Historical Resource Centre but any thought of some kind of celebrations of this event was overshadowed with the sad news of the passing of two of the Society's past presidents within weeks of each other. The presidentships of Meryl Allen and John Bailey covered some of the most important years of the Society's development and these two remarkable history buffs will be fondly remembered. This has highlighted the problem of the aging of the group's active membership and the declining attendance at monthy meetings is becoming a concern. On a happier note, a member decided to share a windfall they received by giving a generous donation of $500 to the Society which will be used to upgrade the chairs at the Centre. History papers presented at the recent meetings are still of the highest quality with recent bulletins covering the history of the early newspapers of the Atherton tablelands and of the story of the remarkable Malanda Jungle Tourist Venture which was years ahead of its time. The members who run the Society's museum at Millaa Millaa have reported an increase in visitors coming through the doors and that they are busy getting the institution ready for the approaching tourist season.
The big news from the Cairns group is their 'In Times of War' exhibition held at The Tanks Art Centre which was launched to commemorate the approaching centenary of the start of the First World War. The Society's usual April meeting was also held at the Tanks so members could view the exhibition which is based on the group's extensive collection of photos of soldiers and to listen to lectures on local Victoria Cross winner, Harry Dalziel and the Cane Beetles Recruitment March of 1916 and of the Kanowna Expedition which was the first Australian action of World War One. The Society is also busy organizing their next big event which is the Heritage Week fieldtrip to be held in early May. This annual Society trip, which is combined with the Cairns branch of the National Trust, will be a train ride up to Kuranda instead of the usual bus trip with a theme this year of 'Journeys'. It was also reported that the Society museum's 'History on the Move' trailer has had a make-over with the interior having been remodelled for their visits to local schools. The trailer project has been a great success for the Society having been visited by 1177 school children last year with the feedback received being very positive. Their Research Officer, Nicky Horsfall has also been hard at work with her team of volunteers checking and correcting the new database and conducing their first ever stocktake of research books which was needed after the big move when some of the bookshelves were combined. She is also calling for anybody who has overdue library books to return them as soon as possible so they can be recorded. Good to see this group up and running again.
The folk at the Douglas Society are certainly embracing the new computer media world with their new Facebook page which they have just recently launched as well as having commenced two new local history Blogs. One of the new blogs tells the story of Christy Palmerston's 'Bump' Road while the other gives a short history of the old Royal Hotel of Mossman. Two members of this group, Pam Burden who acts as their Media Liaison Officer and Noel Weare, travelled to Cairns to attend a recent seminar on social media conducted by staff from the Queensland State Library and it appears to have paid off for the Society. Although, along with their recently up-graded website, they will certainly be kept busy sustaining this effort. The Society was pleased to have assisted with the project to create the longest history mural in the North at the Mossman Woolworths' Shopping Centre. Another major project which this group has started involves a long-term study of the pioneering Chinese community of the Douglas district. This project began at the groups April meeting where members were asked to bring along any stories they had of the district's early Chinese people. The group has also been busy with their Heritage month displays, one at the Coffee Club in Port Douglas and the other at the Shire Hall in Mossman. The next meeting will be their AGM.