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2007 Standards Program Participants - Far North Queensland

The 2007 Standards Pilot was conducted with museums in Far North Queensland: Cairns Historical Society Museum, Johnstone Shire Library, Innisfail Friends of the Temple, Mulgrave Settlers Museum, Cairns & District Chinese Association Inc. & Croydon Heritage Centre

Cairns Historical Society Museum

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Cairns Historical Society Museum 2005

The Cairns Museum, part of Cairns Historical Society, is housed in the School of Arts building, one of the oldest heritage listed buildings in Cairns. The School of Arts building celebrated its one hundred year anniversary in 2007 and was originally established as a library and a place of education for the Cairns public. The Historical Society was established within this framework to collect and preserve Cairns’ written, photographic and oral history. The museum continues this charter by displaying the history of the region. 

The Museum displays a unique collection of Aboriginal rainforest artefacts, including swords and shields found only in the North Queensland area, photographs of Aboriginal people with their weapons, basketry and dwellings taken by a well-known photographer of the time, Alf Atkinson and photographs of the construction of the Cairns to Kuranda railway. The Cairns Historical Society Library has an extensive collection of over 20,000 documents and 16,000 photographs, available to researchers. Many of these have been digitised and are available on a searchable database.

Address: Cairns School of Arts building, Cnr Lake and Shields St, 93-105 Lake St, Cairns

Cairns and District Chinese Association Inc. (CADCAI)

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Detail of the Lit Sung Goong altar table which was sponsored in 1886 by 19 Cairns residents

The Cairns and District Chinese Association is the custodian of the Lit Sung Goong Temple Collection, a significant collection of over 240 items from the temple which operated in Cairns between 1886 and 1964. 

The Lit Sung Goong Temple collection is an outstanding example of the material culture of Chinese-Australian religious practices. It comprises a range of artefacts, most produced in China and brought to North Queensland in the late nineteenth century. Objects include timber furniture, deity statues, decorative panels, altar table and canopy, printing and fortune telling materials and metal incense burners and processional items. The collection is accessible to the public by appointment and enquiries welcome.

Address: Grafton St, Cairns

Innisfail Friends of the Temple

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The altar of the Lit Sing Gung Temple in Owen Street Innisfail

The Lit Sing Gung Temple is an original art deco building constructed in 1940 by the renowned construction firm the Romano Bros. after the original Temple was badly damaged in several cyclones, flood & fire. Most of the Temple artefacts date from 1896 and originate from China. They represent deities of the Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist traditions.

Until recent years the Temple was the home of Ah Buks, elderly Chinese men who lived out their lives in exile in Australia, supported by the Chinese community, as they had failed to make their fortune from the gold rushes and could not rejoin their families empty handed.

Address: 10 Owen Street, Innisfail

Innisfail Library

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Johnstone Shire Library Exterior

The Cassowary Coast Library houses the Innisfail Heritage Collection which consists of photographs and printed works related to the history of the Johnstone Shire area or created by residents of the shire.

Mulgrave Settlers Museum

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Mulgrave Shire Historical Society logo

The volunteer operated Mulgrave Settlers Museum is set amongst the sugar cane fields of Gordonvale, next to the Mulgrave Central Mill. The museum displays objects, photographs and stories relating to the settlers of the then Mulgrave Shire. Displays depict objects, photographs and stories from the Aboriginal people of the area, the early gold miners and the timber cutters. These are set against a rainforest backdrop painted by Ivy Zappala, a well known artist. The settlers home features furniture and homemaker’s aids in the pioneering women’s domain, demonstrating the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the era.

Significant objects in the collection include a fully equipped blacksmith’s shop; a hundred year old gunpowder log splitter; a linen tablecloth from a church function held during the Second World War bearing signatures of guests and some of the 503rd Paratroopers. The collection also includes memorabilia from both World Wars together with a display of artefacts from the time the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment trained in Gordonvale.

Address: 60 Gordon St, Gordonvale

Croydon Heritage Centre

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Croydon Heritage Precinct Streetscape

Croydon Downs, a 19th century Queensland Gulf cattle station, became a bustling centre of fortune, progress, industry and hope when it was declared a gold field in 1885. Its living legacy is a 19th century heritage precinct containing civic and government buildings that are restored as museums; magnificent displays of steam machinery; historic cemeteries; a reconstructed railway station and unique heritage rail lines; the last hotel and General Store from the goldfield; replicated and original street lights, hand hewn sandstone gutters and bridge ramparts and an in situ mining museum - all free to the public. 

Croydon’s status as one of the largest rural Chinese settlements in Queensland during the gold rush is interpreted in the museum displays, at the Chinese Temple archaeological dig site and lives on in the remaining descendants of Chinese families.  

Croydon True Blue Heritage Centre has a Croydon family genealogy database dating from 1886, a movie shown in the theatrette and more museum information and archives. It has sculptures, machinery, antique cars and mining architecture in its botanical gardens.

Address: Croydon True Blue Visitor Information Centre, Samwell St, Croydon


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