Tuesday, 31 March 2015
The first meeting of the Heritage North Association was held at the end of February at the small museum in El Arish with ten delegates in attendance representing six member groups. The El Arish group reported on the recent break-in to their museum and their relief that little was lost. A discussion was then held on the different projects been planned by the Societies for the coming Anzac centenary. After the member group's quarterly reports, it was decided to plan a training workshop to be held in June to cover the subject of history researching using internet resources. The meeting also held a brief discussion on the development of a new tourist brochure to promote the museums of the Far North Queensland region. The next meeting will be held in Port Douglas at the end of May.
The members of the Douglas Shire Historical Society finished off last year with their annual Christmas dinner party which was again held at Mojo's in Mossman. They had just reported having spent two great days of interviewing local descendants of men who had served with the ANZAC's for the group's Centenary of Anzac Day project. Research is continuing into the people of the district who had connections to the First World War. The Society has started this new year off with their annual maintenance of the Port Douglas Court House Museum which was closed for the whole month of February while the work was carried out and was re-opened in the first week of March. This job was finished in time for the March meeting which was held at the Mossman Community Centre with Mrs Pauline O'Keefe of the Cairns Historical Society as the guest speaker who spoke on the Cairns group's photo collection and the SS Kanowna.
After long years of reseach, Mr Tony Griffiths has finally published his work on the life and times of Douglas Grant. This small book entitled 'Douglas Grant; that Black Digger from the Scottish mob', tells the life story of this indigenous man who was taken as a young toddler from the site of a local 'dispersal' and sent down to New South Wales where he was raised as a part of a white family and given a full education. He became a qualified draughtsman and later served with the first AIF where he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. He was taken prisoner by the Germans at the battle of Bullecourt and it was as a POW organiser in the camp where he earned much of his wartime reputation. After the war, Douglas spent many years at Lithgow and wrote extensively about the plight of the Aborigines making him one of the earliest activist but he also suffered badly from depression in his later life. The Eacham Historical Society was able to help Mr Griffiths with reseach concerning how Douglas Grant came to be 'fostered' by the Grant family and their efforts are acknowledged by the author. This study is an important addition to our aboriginal history and copies can be obtained from the Malanda Vistors Centre.