Thursday 22 February 2018

The Don Walker Story

I recently attended the book launch event for Felicity Jack's biography on the life and times of local mining identity, the late Mr Donald Robin Walker.  This small event which was held at the Herberton Mining Museum attracted some sixty people who heard the local Mayor Joe Paronella official launch the book entitled 'You'd never believe!..The life and work of Donald Robin Walker'.  The story covers Don's family life from his childhood growing up in Victoria to his arrival in North Queensland as a young man seeking opportunities in the timber industry just after the end of the Second World War, through to his long involvement in the local tin mining industry.  Felicity spoke of how she came to write the story and although the many 'skeletons in his cupboard' was left out of the book, it still makes a good read on how Don came to find many opportunities on the Atherton tablelands for a young entrepreneur at that time.  The ninety year old Donald, who was then in failing health, lived long enough to be able to attend the event although his daughter spoke on his behalf and together they generously gave away a copy of the attractive hardcover book to all those in attendance.  Donald Walker passed away just several weeks after the book launch and a page has closed on the history of the Far North.  I have been told that stocks of the book has already sold out so it may be hard to find a copy.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Mulgrave Shire Historical Society

Everyone who came and shared in the fun and games at the Member's Christmas party in December was thanked for their attendance.  The Society would also like to thank the Cairns RSL for the grant they recently received.  They purchased a compactor with the money which has been installed into the Mulgrave Settlers Museum.  This will provide easier storage for all our historic documents and photographs.  The museum is open and ready for visitors for the new year with the volunteers been behind the scenes updating the central display.  They are now showing off items from the Mulgrave Sugar Mill.  Changes have also been made to the kitchen display and now have a variety of games and activities that kept kids busy in days gone-by.  Not one piece of electronic technology to be found.  The Mulgrave Shire Historical Society have began a project to compile a booklet of the early days of Edmonton.  They would like to hear stories of life and times in the township of Edmonton - school, work, sporting activities home life etc.  Please bring along any photos you would like to share as these may prompt other visitor's memories.  The first monthly meeting for the year was held on 3rd February.  The Society has also created a facebook group to enhance our museum page making it easier for members to add photos and information that relate to the old Mulgrave Shire from 1879 to 1995.  Check out the page; 'You know you grew up in the Mulgrave Shire when.' 

Monday 19 February 2018

Innisfail & District Historical Society

As the 100th anniversary of the huge cyclone which devastated Innisfail and the surrounding areas in 1918 will soon be here, the Innisfail & District Historical Society is planning to issue a booklet of photographs and stories commemorating this event.  To this end they are wondering if anyone has copies of any old photos and/or stories in your archives which could be passed on to the Society for possible inclusion in this publication.  If you are able to assist would you please furnish them and to save on cost they could be e-mailed.  The group will be telling stories of the people who lived through this and showing photos on the big screen documenting the devastation that occurred.  This is still thought to be the biggest cyclone to hit the Queensland coast.  A hundred years ago, they had no emergency services or armed forces to come immediately to their assistance - they were on their own.  Also, most of the young men were away fighting in the Great War while here in Innisfail their people at home were fighting a battle of their own.  In addition, the Society will be marking this historic event with the launch of this booklet with a function.  There is a change of venue for the event, instead of the first planned Warrina Lakes venue it is now to be held in the Shire Hall.  Write it in your diary now!  Saturday 10th March 2018 at 7pm.  The CCRC are assisting with this event and it is going to be big.  Watch for the publicity posters etc.  Hope to see you there.  Also, the winner of the Giveaway at the High Tea competition was Mrs Margaret Fontana with the only correct guess for the spaghetti machine.  People were really puzzled this time and it was interesting to listen to people discussing the object and trying to work out what it was.  With the new year here, check out the Society's Calendar for 2018 with the theme 'Life on our Waterways'.  At only $10 and with lovely photos from the past, it would make a good gift.  You can buy them at the Innisfail museum in the old School of Arts building.

Sunday 18 February 2018

Douglas Shire Historical Society

The rugged pioneering spirit that gave birth to the Douglas Shire was remembered when the 140th anniversary of Port Douglas was celebrated recently.  Douglas Shire Historical Society and the Douglas Shire Council unveiled a sign detailing the 'Proclamation of Port Douglas' at the iconic Teamsters Park.  The memorial, located on the Captain Cook Highway at Craiglie, pays tribute to those who discovered the route from the Hodgkinson Goldfield.  Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu said the new sign would help tell the story of the region.  Craiglie was originally known as Four Mile and served as a good base for animals, such as horses and cattle, due to the pasture available.  In its prime the town had three hotels, a store, a bakery, a butcher, a blacksmith and a saddler.  A 2015 Council study revealed more the 8,000 vehicles pass Teamsters Park every day.  Port Douglas was proclaimed as an official port of entry for the levy of dutiable goods on December 1, 1877 and was named after the then Queensland Premier John Douglas.  The Society's first meeting of this new year was held at the Mossman Community Centre.  The group is researching the war-time mines and bombs that were washed up on the coast, so if you're interested in the subject or have something to tell them, please come along.  Also, what a great achievement and congratulations to Ken and helpers Belinda and John on their new book.  Yungaburra resident Ken Keith's new book details the early history of farming in this region.  'Cattle, Cane and Cedar; Early farming in the Douglas Shire' also covers attempts to produce cereals, fruit, coffee, coconuts and even rubber.  Mayor Julia Leu launched the book recently at the Mossman Library.  This Book is available at a special price at the Society's Court House Museum or at the local newsagencies and bookshops.  Or you can order on line with postage at $12 - because it's a very big book!

Saturday 10 February 2018


Cairns and District Chinese Association Inc is honoured to have Cairns Business identity Mr Michael Aw as its new president as the group moves towards its next phase of growth and innovation.  The computer upgrade is almost complete with another computer in working order to enable the museum database to be networked across three computers.  The timber furniture preservation project is underway with conservators working to repair artifacts from Cairns' Lit Sung Goong collection.  This project is funded by a National Library Community Heritage Grant.  A fieldtrip was held late last year with members surviving the long, hot and dusty road to explore historical Maytown, the main township of the old Palmer goldfield.  At the peak of the gold rush there were as many as 18000 Chinese on the goldfield.  One can also step back in time to the 1880's by visiting a miniature version of Cairns Chinatown.  Created by local historian Mr Col Walter, this display is complimented by information compiled with the assistance of CADCAI.  This display can be viewed at the Cairns City Library to the end of February.  The program of events for the Chinese New Year has been set with the annual street festival in Grafton Street to be held on the 24th February 2018.