Thursday 29 June 2017

Douglas Shire Historical Society

The Society's website was recently upgraded, so the group couldn't post anything for some time.  The Annual General Meeting of the historical society was held in May at the Port Douglas CWA hall and after the meeting, those in attendance heard profiles of some of the pioneering women of Douglas from the members.  Featured were Betty Whiting, Cathy Jack, Ema Anich and Belle Cheyne.  Several committee members recently visited the elderly folk at the Port Douglas OzCare home and presented them with some of the Society's books for their library.  They also did a sit down 'Walk through historic Port Douglas' and jogged some memories in the elderly folk.  Recently, the Society was pleased to host a visit to the museum by students from the St Augustine's Primary School in Mossman.  The school officer Mrs Richelle Woods brought the children along and Society secretary Annette Anich conducted the tour of the collection.  The Society now has copies of the new book on the Daintree Blockade of the 1980's for sale at the Port Douglas Court House Museum or from the website.  The story was written by a local Society member, Mr Bill Wilkie and everbody who is interested in local history is urged to obtain a copy.  Price is $35 with postage an additional $10 (it's a big book).  The next meeting of the Society will be held on Monday 3 July.  

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Tolga Historical Society

The Tolga Historical Society's long campaign to build a storage shed beside their museum has taken a step in the right direction.  The Tableland Regional Council has recently agreed to amend the User Agreement with the Society to allow for the new construction.  The proposal was to change the size and shape of the museum site to solve the problem of accommodation of the new shed as the original proposed site to the right of the museum was not large enough.  This problem has held up the project for many years with the Society needing to expand.  The Society has artifacts that are being stored in members sheds and garages because it doesn't have the room at the museum.  The decision will allow the shed to meet the required building approvals and fundraising can now go ahead.  

Watsonville Pioneer Women

Watsonville's small community shed in what was once the main street of the village was again busy with about eighty history buffs attending the annual Pioneer Women's Day event organized by the local Western Progress Association.  The usual singing from You Can Sing Too and various bush poets entertained the crowd before the traditional bush lunch.  The pioneering lady featured this year was Mrs Eileen Mary King (nee Miles) who raised a family at the Croesus mine and worked as a cook but would not take on work unless she was paid men's award wages.  Local historian Jane Chapman again produced a small booklet on the featured lady which was for sale on the day.  This little heritage event has become a regular annual outing for many and although the crowd was down on previous years, I hope it will continue for many years to come.

Cairns and District Chinese Association

The Cairns and District Chinese Association has at last received planning approval to build their long awaited culture and heritage centre.  A centre dedicated to celebrating the city's rich history of Chinese immigration will finally be built after decades of planning and fundraising.  The organization's vice-president Nathan Lee Long reported that the group had held land at Arthur Street in Manunda since the 1980's for this project which will initially include a multi-use space with the ability to store artifacts from the old Lit Sung Goong temple which was built in 1897 in the city's Chinatown at Grafton Street.  The second stage of the project will incorporate a museum to display their nationally significant collection of artifacts and relics to the public.  Construction of this heritage centre is expected to begin within a year.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Mungana Scandal Again

Mungana is now just an insignificant ghost town near Chillagoe but in the 1930's it was the centre of one of Australia's most controversial scandals.  The discovery during the Great Depression that the Federal Treasurer, Mr E.G. (Ted) Theodore and Labor politician, Mr William McCormack had interests in a company which sold mining assets to the government at considerable profit had caused a great outcry.  Now forty years after the eminent historian, Dr K.H. Kennedy wrote his book on the affair, a new study of the scandal has appeared entitled 'The Curse of Mungana'.  This new book is written by David Moore who is the grandson of the conservative Prime Minister at the time of the Royal Commission into the affair.  Although found not guilty in the civil prosecution, this is not just the story of a failed mining venture and its victims but an expose of the arrogance of powerful politicians who compromised integrity for personal gain and it is pertinent to ask if ethical standards have really improved over the past eighty years.