Wednesday 31 July 2013

Cairns Historical Society

The great upheaval at the Cairns Historical Society is continuing with both the museum artefacts in the store rooms and the research library books been boxed up for the move across to the temporary centre at the old Post Office building.  I attended a recent afternoon tea for volunteers in the old postal building where the Management Committee explained the plans for the operation of the Society during the period of the renovations to the School of Arts building.  There may not be enough room for a museum display area but there should be sufficient space for storage of the artefacts and for the history research centre.  Sadly, the turmoil appears to have affected this year's Society show display which could only be described as pitiful.  It was an embarrassment to be on duty at the display this year and it seem such a waste of a great opportunity to publicize the changes now happening.  It appears the Society will need to be out of the building by late September, so the next couple of months will be hectic and then it will take some time to set up again.  Hopefully they will have things sorted out in time for the annual general meeting in November.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Douglas Shire Historical Society

The folk at the Douglas Shire Historical Society must be congratulated on the presentation of their newly built internet website, the end result of which is very impressive and a great improvement over the original site.  At a recent heritage event, I found myself talking with a member of this group who informed me of her ambitious project to research the history of that districts old farm machinery.  I wish her well.  She also spoke of the Society's project to begin a database on the graves in the old historic Port Douglas cemetery.  It was pleasing to see that they are continuing to publish local history bulletins with the latest by Ken Keith on the building of the St David's church.  Good to see this group coming back to life after their long slow period.

Watsonville Pioneer Women Day

The annual Pioneer Women's Day was held recently at the small community shed in what was once the Main Street of Watsonville.  The crowd on the day was down a little on previous years but those in attendance enjoyed the usual bush poetry and songs from Sing Australia and the bush lunch.  The women that were featured this year were from the Borghero family.  Two of whom, Grace and Peg, took over their father's transport and taxi service in the early 1920's and were the first to introduce motor vehicles into the local service before moving their business down to Mareeba in the 1930's.  The members of the tiny Western Progress Association must be congratulated on their efforts to organize this heritage event each year and they announced a future project to erect interpretative signs at local historic sites of significance about Watsonville to ensure they do not disappear and be forgottem.  It was good to look over the crowd and see about a dozen members of my historical society in attendance and I will certainly be back next year.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

John Atherton Memorial Day

After many years of planning, Mareeba historian Mrs Elwyn Troughton saw her memorial event to commemorate the centenary of the passing of the pioneer Mr John Atherton come to fruition.  I was lucky enough to be among the forty guests who were invited to attend this small private event held at the Atherton family cemetery at Emerald End.  A number of descendants of the Atherton family were present to hear the many tributes to the man after whom the town and Tablelands were named.  Even though there were a couple of long-winded speakers who bored the audience halve to death, (never let a churchman near a podium) it was an enjoyable day for local history buffs.  The local Lions Club organized the catering and Mrs Troughton launched her booklets on the Atherton family history.  It was good to hear that the owner of the private property on which this burial ground is situated is to make a Trust park for the cemetery.  It was a pity that the event wasn't open to the public as many local history buffs stated later that they would have liked to have attended the event.

THeN Meeting

The last meeting of the Tablelands Heritage Network (THeN) was held at the delightful Ravenshoe Mountains Institute with a good turn-up of about eighteen representatives from visitor and heritage groups from across the Tablelands.  The meeting Convenor, Gwyneth Nevard introduced Ms Suzanne Gibson from the Cairns museum who was the guest lecturer at this meeting and who conducted an excellent discussion in regards to all aspects of carrying out oral histories.  The morning closed with a tour of the adjacent Ravenshoe Visitor Centre and it was interesting to hear of their plans for the future of that Centre.

Atherton Family History Group

Gwen and the members of the small family history group at the Atherton Library were pleasantly surprised with the wonderful success of their recent researching workshop.  Some fifty family history buffs from all over the Tablelands attended the series of free lectures conducted by the professional genealogist, Mrs Judy Webster which was held at the Atherton Library.  The talks covered the fields of using indexes and strategies for researching relatives who had vanished or were the family 'black sheep'.  The final lecture was on the usefulness of the many internet website which is now available.  I only made it to the last of the three talks which covered the many useful internet websites for genealogical research and found the information presented most helpful.  Speaking afterwards with others who had attended, I found a general agreement that all had learnt something of value which would help them with their study of their family trees.  I recommend Mrs Webster's lectures to anyone interested in this field of history study.