Snapshots from FNQ

We might only be in March, but 2018 has already been busy up here in the Far North. Apart from attending a new exhibition opening in the temporary gallery at Cairns Museum, helping groups submit grant applications and planning for textile conservation workshops, here’s a quick overview of some of the FNQ MDO museum work since January:

Loudoun House Museum, Irvinebank

I visited Loudoun House Museum in Irvinebank in January and was overwhelmed by the work and changes instigated by the volunteers at the museum. They have done a fantastic job at implementing and adapting recommendations I made in an interpretation plan. The museum now has a dedicated John Moffat display in the original office and refreshed and  exhibition spaces.

Plus, the group also found time to pull out some railway artefacts for the railway display in the Old Post Office Gallery in Atherton. Special mention, and farewell, to Ellen Barnes.

Railway Ready – War Ready and the Railways 1914-1918 travelling exhibition, Atherton

At the end of 2017, I started working with groups from the Atherton Tablelands to create a local component for the QM Railways 1914-1918 travelling exhibition.  Apart from curating the project, I also stretched my graphic design skills to create text panels to accompany the photographs and objects.

Big thanks to Eacham Historical Society, Herberton Mining Museum, Loudoun House Museum, Mareeba Heritage Centre, Ravenshoe Visitor Information Centre and Queensland Railways for helping with image, information and objects. The exhibition opened in February and has since moved onto Douglas Shire Council offices in Mossman.

Collection gold: Croydon  Miner 1887

At the end of last year, a Cairns resident requested help finding a suitable repository for an early newspaper from the goldfields which he thought might be important. After some research we discovered just how special it was – a first edition copy of the Croydon Miner 1887 printed on silk. No other institution has a copy of this newspaper, so it’s quite a treasure and its research value and historical importance is exceptional. A quick glance at the advertisements and articles reveal a window into 1880s Croydon and its goldfields during its heyday.

As the item is fragile and needs conservation, I wanted to find a place with the capacity and resources to ensure its longevity. I also needed to heed the donor’s wish that the item be kept in north Queensland, so I approached James Cook University’s Special Collection Librarian, Bronwyn McBurnie. Needless to say, Bronwyn was delighted to work with the donor and the newspaper has now been acquired into JCU’s collection. It will be preserved in memory of the donor’s late son. We hope to work with Croydon Shire Council to recreate a copy of the item that can go on display in Croydon’s heritage buildings later in the year.

75th anniversary of the Torres Strait Islander Light Infantry Battalion exhibition

Finally, I’ve just come back from Thursday Island where, with Ewen McPhee and the team at Gab Titui, we installed two exhibitions to mark the 75th anniversary of the Torres Strait Islander Light Infantry Battalion. One was a travelling photographic exhibition called Indigenous Australians at War by the Shrine of Remembrance in Victoria.  It includes remarkable and candid images and stories that are an important part of our military history.

The other exhibition was curated by Gab Titui’s Exhibitions and  Public Programmes Manager, Leitha Assan, with help from Vanessa Seekee OAM, curator at the Torres Strait Heritage Museum on Horn Island. Stories from the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, the only Indigenous battalion in the Australian Army, remind us that at the time of their enlistment, these men did not receive equal pay, were not able to vote, nor were they recognised as Australian citizens. Despite this, 873 men enlisted – 36 were killed or died on active service.

As MDOs we have been liaising with Leitha over the last few months regarding the preparation of exhibition  content and materials and then travelled up to help them install and prepare the spaces. This continues the strong link between the MDO program and Gab Titui. We were privileged to attend the opening, which featured traditional dancing – the Aeroplane Dancers and Charlie Company Sarpeye Dancers – and attend the dawn service, the anniversary march along the main street and listen to the speeches.

 

 

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Posted on 21 March 2018, in Jo's Diary, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Historical Society

    ​Wow. You have been busy!

    Cheers Marge​

    Cooktown History Centre, for everything about Cooktown’s history. 121 Charlotte Street, PO Box 595, Cooktown 4895 Ph 07 4069 6640 Opening hours vary throughout the years. Please check with our web page. http://www.cooktownhistory.org.au

    On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 4:59 PM, Queensland Museum & community collections wrote:

    > Dr Jo Wills posted: “We might only be in March, but 2018 has already > been busy up here in the Far North. Apart from attending a new exhibition > opening in the temporary gallery at Cairns Museum, helping groups submit > grant applications and planning for textile conservation wor” >

  2. What an impressive range of projects you’ve worked on. Congratulations to the MDO team and all the volunteers/museum staff you work with. Tamara

  3. Goodonya Jo

    Best wishes

    Judith

  4. Historical Society

    Hi Jo, you have been busy. Wondering about paying for your workshop as we have not received anything, except a note to say they received our paperwork. Also Jenny is wondering if you have banked your cheque yet as it has not appeared on the statements. Things are underway with the new display. A friend who is a cabinetmaker has made our new display cabinets and they look great. The cataloging is progressing slowly. I can only manage it now and then as I have so much else to do. Peter Burns was going to do it but his wife was rushed to Brisbane for a urgent surgery to remove a cancer from her neck. He is home now but caring for his wife. I have started working on the posters etc and Lotsa is about to print the backdrop for the back wall.

    Regards Bev Shay

    Cooktown History Centre, for everything about Cooktown’s history. 121 Charlotte Street, PO Box 595, Cooktown 4895 Ph 07 4069 6640 Opening hours vary throughout the years. Please check with our web page. http://www.cooktownhistory.org.au

    On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 4:59 PM, Queensland Museum & community collections wrote:

    > Dr Jo Wills posted: “We might only be in March, but 2018 has already > been busy up here in the Far North. Apart from attending a new exhibition > opening in the temporary gallery at Cairns Museum, helping groups submit > grant applications and planning for textile conservation wor” >

  5. Wonderful work Jo, you and Ewen look awesome in those TS shirts!

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