Tuesday, 13 September 2016
The Cairns Historical Society was proud to have won the prestigious John Oxley Library Community History Award for 2016. The Society was commended for its efforts in continuing its programs despite the closure of the museum while the building is undergoing major renovations. Imaging Manager, Mrs Pauline O'Keefe received the certificate on behalf of the Society and acknowledged the contribution of the group's members over the last sixty years. Mrs O'Keefe was also honored recently by been awarded with the S.E. Stephens History Award for 2016. A most deserved recognition of her extensive efforts for the Society since she becoming a volunteer in 2004. Another long-time member, Mr Geoff Wharton was recently awarded in recognition of his service to the preservation of history. Geoff received an Order of Australia medal for his thirty-five year involvement with recording Western Cape York history and his work with the indigenous communities. The Society reported on their successful field trip to the Goldsborough Valley which began at the site of the early Pyramid Sugar Mill and ended with a picnic lunch at Kearney's Flat. The last quarterly lecture series was held at the Cairns Library Meeting Room with a theme of 'pioneering families'. Papers on the Wilkinson, Mohammed and Earl families were presented. Many members attended the 'Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience' exhibition which told the story of Australia's involvement in the First World War. The Society provided a number of images and stories on the local World War One story to complement the broader national ANZAC narratives. The Society also gave notice that their AGM is to be held on Monday 19 September at 10.00am at the Old Post Office centre in Grafton Street. The agenda will include an update on the Museum Refurbishment project which appears to running on schedule.
The recent meeting of the local Mining History Association saw a rather disappointing turn out of members. It was reported to the meeting that the historian Felicity Jack has begun recording the life story of the northern mining entrepreneur Mr Donald Walker. The tale of Don's mining adventures should make a great addition to the recorded history of the north's more recent mining story. Ivan Searston then gave a very interesting talk on the research into the very early tin mills about Herberton, in particularly the Monarch battery and the Herberton Tin Crushing & Smelting Company's plant. As these enterprises were set up by mining people from Tasmania, it was interesting to learn of the importance of their attempts to use water power to run these mills of those early days. It was also reported that the folk living at Milkmans Flats on the North Palmer River must vacate the mining lease they are on and there is some concern about the collection of artifacts in their small museum. The meeting closed after a short discussion on a proposed geologic time-line walk project that is planed for the mining centre. The next meeting of the Association will be held at the Herberton Mining Centre in November.
Saturday, 3 September 2016
Thanks to the Queensland Government and the Cairns Regional Council, the Society was able to obtain a RADF grant to restore research material from the Meringa Sugar Experiment Station which was donated to the Society by SRA. These seven cases of items show aspects of Dr Jarvis' research at the Station between 1919 and 1933 and contain insect varieties, drawing and photographs used to inform cane farmers about the different pests that might affect their crops. This year's tea cosies competition was well supported and was open to the public for viewing at the 'Rambler Station' opposite the Mulgrave Settlers Museum. The Society along with the assistance from the history students from the local High School, will present a 'Ghosts of Gordonvale Cemetery' evening. Those interested in attending are asked to gather in the cemetery shelter shed at 3.45pm on Sunday 4 September. There is no charge but a small donation would be appreciated and please contact the group of your intention to attend.