Wednesday 30 December 2015

Cairns History Updated

After almost twenty years since first taking up his pen on this project, Dr Timothy Bottoms has finally had his study on the history of Cairns published.  The book entitled, 'Cairns; City of the South Pacific' was recently launched in the Cairns Botanic Gardens at an event hosted by the local Member for Cairns, Mr Rob Pyne.  The author stated that he wanted to provide a balanced coverage of the story of the people and events that built the town from the founding of the city in 1876 up to 1995 with a few little 'forays' into the future.  Dr Bottoms said that he had tried to give the reader as much information as they would ever likely need and he hoped that local tour guides would use his book to better inform visitors to the Far North.  I think this new volume will be a worthy successor to Dorothy Jones' splendid Trinity Phoenix and would make a great companion to that book.  Local history buffs should find this new study an easier read then the text-book like earlier volume and it will certainly find a place on my book shelves.

Myra Jones Story

The family of the late Mrs Myra Jones was pleased to be able to present a snapshot of Myra's life in this small booklet which was featured at this year's annual Pioneer Women's Day at Watsonville.  Entitled 'Myra Ruby Jones BEM', this story is a condensed collection of memories and the history of her life with many family members contributing to its content.  Myra was born towards the end of the First World War and served with distinction during the Second World War with the Australian Army Medical Women's Service which included time spent at the 2/2 Army General Hospital at Rocky Creek.  After the war, other than the decade that she and her husband spent at Malanda, Myra lived most of her long life about the Innisfail district where she was to receive many accolades and honours for her outstanding community service including the British Empire Medal and the Johnstone Shire's Citizen of the Year award.  This booklet is a welcomed addition to the collection of stories that the Watsonville folk have published for their little annual event and is worth the effort to obtain.

Monday 14 December 2015

Atkinson Family History

I have just received a copy of the impressive leather-bound, two-volume history of the Atkinson family to preview.  Researched and written by the well known local historian Mrs Marjorie Gilmore, the huge book tells the 150 years long story of this prominent pastural family and their involment in the northern cattle industry.  Entitled 'On Eagles Wings; the Atkinson Family of North Queensland 1862-2014', the first volume covers the early pioneering history of the family from when the newly arrived Irish immigrants, the young James and Kate Atkinson, set off from Victoria by bullock wagon for the North and on through to the cattle stations that they and their children worked to develop.  The second volume tells much of the family history of the later generations who are now scattered all over the North but with many still been involved in the grazing and agricultural industries.  The book can only be acquired through the family and is in limited numbers which makes in difficult to obtain.  But this well illustrated and valuable book would be a grand addition to any history library.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Search for Hells Gate

This eighth publication from local historian, Mr John Hay was released recently in a very low-key fashion.  The book entitled 'Beyond Hell's Gate, The Return Journey', is essential an up-dated rewrite of his earlier book 'Beyond Hell's Gate, The Journey' which was taken from a manuscript that John originally wrote back in 1980.  One part of the book tells the tale of the infamous Hell's Gate Track used by the gold diggers of old during their rush to the Palmer River Goldfield in 1874 and the journey to rediscover the notorious Hell's Gate pass a century after the great Palmer River gold rush.  The other part of the story tells of the effort and problems that John and a team of film-makers had to go through to film the story of the Gate for Bill Peach in 1982 for an episode of the 'Peach's Gold' television documentary series.  A book for anyone interested in the stories of the gold fields that helped to open up and build the North.  This new book also illustrates the maturing literary skill of the author who is developing into a fine story-teller of Far North Queensland history.  

Thursday 3 December 2015

Wartime Aircraft Crashes

Michael Musumeci's long-awaited new book on the local air crashes of World War Two has recently appeared in the bookstores.  This large book of over 570 pages entilted 'Aircraft Crashes of Northern Queensland 1942-1945', provides detailed accounts of fifty-two aircraft crashes, many forced landings and other aircraft mishaps that occurred in North Queensland during the later World War Two years.  The book also includes over 490 photographs, both in colour and black & white, along with official crash reports, telegrams, eye-witness stories, memories and documented research.  Michael's heavy volume will make a great textbook for those historians of the future who seek to study our local military history as it is packed with as much information that the research to date allows.  It pays due respect to all those in the Air Force who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances and it will have a place on the book shelf of anyone interested in northern military or aviation history.