Thursday, 30 June 2016
With the start of this new year, it was realized that the Eacham Historical Society was fast approaching its 40th anniversary. At the March meeting, it was decided to celebrate this special occasion by organizing a small event at the museum in Millaa Millaa. Even the weather came good on the Sunday chosen for the gathering with more that fifty members and guests attending the morning tea on the footpath in front of the museum. Two of the founding members were present and they spoke of the struggles that the first members had in establishing the Society during the early years. An anniversary cake was cut and the museum team showed everyone through the collection. A brief history of the society to date was put together and published. It was also reported that the recent field trip to explore the heritage sites about the Wondecla area was a great success with fifteen members attending and enjoying the outing. Petrina reported that her small equipment grant application had been successful and will be used to purchase office equipment etc needed about the history centre and the museum. The members who volunteer at the Society's museum at Millaa Millaa have reported an increase in vistors coming through the doors and that they are now busy getting ready for the approaching tourist season. The next meeting, which is to be held in late June will be the Annual General Meeting which had been postponed from the May meeting as the annual financial report had not yet come in from the accountant.
The recent meeting of the Heritage North Association which was held at Millaa Millaa turned out to be a quite a disappointing affair with just three member groups sending delegates. With such a poor attendance, it was questioned if the group's activities should be discontinued and it was decided to bring this issue up at the Annual General Meeting at the end of the year. The meeting continued with several Societies reporting dissatisfaction with the information written for their group's entry in the proposed promotional brochure. It was not understood where the information was obtained and many mistakes needed to be corrected. A discussion was held on problems concerning a failed grant application by the Innisfail Society and on the recent successful grant application by the Eacham Society. The ongoing problem of attracting new and active members to the local historical societies was also discussed with many of the ideas on this issue having the basic problem of finding the volunteers within those groups to implement any plans. The possibility of a shared field trip to visit the sites of all the closed sugar mills was brought up and tentative plans for the tour were made for about August or September. Eacham is to contact the Mulgrave and Innisfail societies with details closer to the trip date. The next meeting is to be held in Gordonvale in late August.
The Innisfail Society has brought forth its new Quarterly E-newsletter entitled 'Innisfail Inklings' and I wish them well with it. They have reported that as the South Johnstone Sugarmill, Post Office, State School and Police Station are all celebrating their centenary this June, the Society has prepared a 'Memories' booklet of photos and local history to commemorate the occasion. It had taken near six months of hard work but it made it to the printers. The group had also planed the repeat of the 'Spirits of South Johnstone' town walk for Friday evening of 24 June by the special request from some of the local town's folk. The Society has also had a couple of schools come in to visit the museum over the past couple of months and the youngsters were highly amused (or horrified) at the new outdoor dunny display and at the thought of how such a toilet was run. The Feast of the Senses Market Day was held again in March and the Society had the museum open and a bookstall out the front and as it was the Tenth anniversary of Cyclone Larry, they had a display of cyclone photos in the museum windows. And recently the Innisfail Library put on a display for Heritage Week which featured the history of the Railway. Society volunteer Gloria Ballington was one of the speaker on their opening day and her talk was warmly received.
Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Fifteen volunteers from some eight different museums and heritage groups travelled from across the tablelands to attend the recent Tableland Heritage Network (THeN) meeting. This second meeting for the year was held at the Mareeba Heritage Centre with that organization acting as host for the day. The meeting opened with a workshop conducted by the region's Museum Development Officer, Dr Jo Wills which centred on the correct handling of artifacts within the museum and how best to secure a index label on each object. After morning tea and reports from the different member groups, the delegates made a tour of the newly renovated Jamieson House where the Centre's plans for this development was explained. The next THeN meeting will be held at Ravenshoe in late October.
The local MP, Mr Shane Knuth and the new Mayor of the Tablelands Regional Council, Mr Joe Paronella were the special guests in attendance at the recent Annual General Meeting of the Tolga Historical Society. One important issue dealt with at the meeting was their need to raise the large amount of funds needed to enable the construction of the large shed beside the museum. Recently the Society was fortunate enough to pick up one of approximately fifty of the original, old fashioned railway chairs that once sat outside each of the main Queensland railway stations. Some of these chairs are nearly 150 years old and it will make a great and useful addition to the museum. The Tolga & District Lions Club along with the historical society has replanted a Banana Fig tree ahead of Anzac Day to remember all service men and women. Once the revitalization work in the Main Street is completed, the tree will be permanently replanted amongst a new garden bed with a dedication plaque, to replace the century-old Anzac tree that collapsed recently. Already the area is starting to look better with the shelters sheds receiving a face-lift. The Tolga Historical Society has a fantastic display of memorabilia on the local historical railway, township of Tolga and World War Two history and the museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 10.00am to 4.00pm for those who are interested in the local history.
Sunday, 26 June 2016
The annual Pioneer Women's Day was held recently in that township's little community shed in what was once the old main street of the village. Although the weather was wonderful, the crowd on the day was down a little on the previous year but those in attendance enjoyed the usual program of music and various bush poetry followed by the traditional bush lunch. The lady featured this year was Mrs Elizabeth Leinster nee Pascoe. Her family built and ran one of the early hotels at Watsonville during the old mining days. It is hoped to see a small book on this family history produced some time in the near future. Congratulations to the members of this tiny Association on their continuing efforts to organize this heritage event each year which has become a regular annual outing for many heritage-minded folk and I hope it will continue for many years to come.
Due to the public interest shown in the Society's World War One photographic displays, for which the group won the local Australia Day Community Award, it was decided to have a collation of all four displays so that people could have more time to view it all. The last few months had been very busy for the Society with an invition from the Council to attend the unveiling of plaques commemorating local pioneer families and an invite to the presentation of the land to the Mareeba Heritage Centre. Members also attended a presentation evening of the Bendigo Bank Community sponsorship to receive a $250 grant to purchase archival lever arch storage boxs. The group has been fortunate to have a university student come in to help with the library database while they were on their holidays. It was also decided to begin planing for a future project to scan the vast number of mining history documents that the Society hold. These are at least an hundred years old and great care will need to be taken and once digitalized, they will be correctly conserved. On a sad note, news came of the recent passing of Mr Eddie Sheerans who was a past President of the Society, condolences to the Sheerans family.