Cardwell and El Arish responding well
Last day in January and heading north up to Cardwell, El Arish and Innisfail. It has been one year since Cyclone Yasi visited north Queensland and caused such widespread damage to these towns and communities. First stop was an 11am on site meeting at the building site of the J.C. Hubinger Museum in Cardwell.
This meeting was called to go through the processes that led to the demolition of the old Museum and inform the Cardwell Historical Society, and broader community as to why the building had to be demolished rather than rebuilt. As MDO this was a good insight into the raw emotion that still exists regarding community heritage and the ownership that they have for both their built and moveable cultural heritage. As one of the attendees said – “we are passionate, angry and confused about losing our heritage because the community built most of it”. The JC Hubinger hall was built by the community 119 years ago. My role as MDO is to assist with the ‘new’ museum as the building is built. I will also be assisting in the planning of new displays and to plan a new building with limited funds. The historical society has new showcases and display boards as well as a new hanging system that will be installed once the building is completed.
Next stop was El Arish where the museum was also damaged by Yasi. I have worked there consistently throughout 2011 and was very pleased to arrive to a shiny new roof, new concrete slab, new wiring and switchboard and a final exhibition plan. El Arish is a soldier settlement town and they are working on telling the stories associated with the history of the town with objects and images. A post cyclone grant allowed for a new hanging system and frames to be purchased and installed.
The next day I travelled north again to Innisfail and to the museum to meet with the new Cairns MDO, Dr Jo Wills. Jo travelled down for the day to meet with the Innisfail members (who are also involved in Heritage North) and to help with Thematic Mapping. I have been working with Innisfail on their Great Barrier Reef collection samples and storage and shelving solutions for their collection. The new Jubilee Bridge is open in Innisfail and the Innisfail and District Historical Society have sold most of their “the Life and Times of Jubilee Bridge 1923-2011” publication and I was lucky enough to purchase a $20 bundle that included a piece of the old Jubilee Bridge. I managed to have a clear run through from Innisfail to Townsville stopping at Tully to talk with Council and a short stop in Cardwell for a debrief. I was pleased to be able to make it south of Cattle Creek as police and traffic controllers were just starting to arrive to close the highway due to flooding.