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2011 Standards Participants - Cooktown and Tablelands

This year the Standards Program worked with a diverse group of galleries and museums from across the Far North Qld regions of Cooktown and Atherton.

M&GSQ is pleased to acknowledge the support of Cooktown & District Historical Society Inc and the Regional Arts Development Fund that made it possible to bring this program to Cooktown. This Regional Arts Development Fund is a Queensland Government and Cook Shire Council partnership to support local arts and culture.

M&GSQ is pleased to acknowledge the support of Mareeba Historic Society Inc and the Regional Arts Development Fund that made it possible to bring this program to the Tablelands. This Regional Arts Development Fund is a Queensland Government and Tablelands Regional Council partnership to support local arts and culture.

All participating organisations from the 2011 Standards Program have a Media Profile and Media Release available below.

Atherton Chinatown

Hans Pehl's dragon at the entrance to Atherton Chinatown. Credit: Tim Nemeth

• Did you know that the Hou Wang temple is the only original timber and iron Chinese temple in Australia and New Zealand?

• Did you know that the temple design includes double doors and a high step at the front to repel evil spirits and repel negative influences?

• Did you know that the ornate timber banners that hung each side of the heavenly well described the feng shui elements which determined the site for the temple? Translated they tell of the dragon's breath- the early morning mist in the valleys and the Jade caterpillar- Herberton ranges that act as the back door to the temple.

• Did you know that the grounds of the Atherton Chinatown included a pig oven which was used to cater for community feasts? The National Trust property, Atherton Chinatown, incorporates an interpretive centre and the Hou Wang Temple. The museum is located in the old Atherton Post Office building. The exhibitions orient visitors to the Atherton Chinatown site. Information panels, images, objects and interactive displays give the visitors relevant historical insight into Chinese culture and adaptations to day to day life in far north Queensland. Important temple objects including the official temple seal are also on display. The Hou Wang temple is the only remaining Chinatown building. It is also the only original timber and iron Chinese Temple in Australia and New Zealand.

Guided tours of the temple are a highlight of a visit to Atherton Chinatown, however visitors are also able to stroll the grounds and gardens as part of a self guided tour following the interpretive signs at their own pace.

Open hours: Wednesday to Sunday (inclusive) 11am to 4pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays.
Postal address: PO Box 1292, Atherton, QLD 4883
Street address: 86 Herberton Road, Atherton
Phone: 07 4091 6945

Cooktown History Centre

The oldest building in Charlotte St, built in 1876 as the Post and Telegraph office, now repaired and repainted to house the Cooktown History Centre. Credit: David Barker

• Did you know that the Cooktown and District Historical Society won an inaugural Gallery and Museum Achievement Award in 2004? The GAMAA was for developing and presenting a series of well-researched exhibitions dealing with local history including Cooktown, 100 Years Ago, and New Guinea Gold! Cooktown's Connection, and for their commitment to responding to requests for information about a variety of local history subjects with quality customer service equal to that of a professionally staffed museum.

The Cooktown History Centre resides in the former Shire Offices in Charlotte Street. Built in 1876 as the first Post and Telegraph Office in Cooktown, it is the oldest surviving building in Charlotte Street. The Centre is the location for a number of functions and facilities of the Cooktown and District Historical Society (CDHS):

Cooktown through the years: A comprehensive display details the history of Cooktown's establishment
• Archives and research facility
• Storage for original materials
• A library of publications about Cooktown and District
• Staff office and facilities
• Local publications and souvenirs for sale

The archive and research centre is the key function of the CDHS. It stores originals and copies of images and documents pertaining to Cooktown and Palmer River history, dating from 1874. All information continues to be entered into databasess for ease of searching. To date, there are about 50 tables with over 60,000 names. CDHS offers research assistance for anyone enquiring about family history and also local history.

The display is a more recent addition to the function of the CDHS. The current exhibition is a product of all of the research by the CDHS into Cooktown's events, natural disasters, people, local Indigenous history and involvement in the First and Second World Wars, using over 600 images. A diorama of Cooktown in 1874 brings together a collection of 14 images of Cooktown's beginning, gathered from a number of Australian libraries for the very first time. A dedicated team of 14 volunteers undertakes the work of the Centre, including the management.

Open hours: Monday to Saturday 9am - 3pm
Postal address: PO Box 541, Cooktown, QLD 4895
Street address: 121 Charlotte Street, Cooktown
Phone: 07 4069 6640

Herberton Mining Museum

Visitors enjoying the Great Northern Mine Walk at the Herberton Mining Museum. Credit: John Philippa, Herberton Mining Museum Volunteer.

• Did you know that Herberton is the oldest town on the Tablelands? Tin mining started here on the site of the Herberton Mining Museum in 1880. The railway line from Brisbane, through Cairns, Kuranda, Mareeba and Atherton, reached Herberton in 1910. During the first 30 years of mining in Herberton all the crushed tin-oxide (Cassiterite) had to be transported in 50kg bags by animal power (pack-horses and mules) down the range to the coast to be shipped to Brisbane for smelting. Steam trains changed that.

Herberton Mining Museum is located on the historic Great Northern Mine site where Australia's first tin-rush took place in 1880. Within a year over 150 mines were being worked and Herberton became the first town on the Tablelands. The site is recognized for the rarity and intactness of the surviving steam haulage machinery, which surpasses any other mining place in Queensland. The Great Northern Mine has a significant place in Queensland's mining history for its central role in the development of the mining industry on the Atherton Tableland and the development of Cairns as a major port in far north Queensland. The museum explains how tin mining developed in Herberton via an interpretive mine walk through the adjacent bush and a diverse collection of mining objects in its displays.

The museum's collections illustrate Herberton's mining history from the 1880s when tin ore was discovered and the 'tin rush' started, until commercial operations ceased in the 1960s. Both alluvial and hard rock tin mining are displayed and interpreted for visitors. The Minerals room houses several collections of minerals, rocks, precious metals and gemstones. Hands-on activities are located in the outdoor courtyard, where visitors and school groups can try their hand at rock drilling (by hammer and chisel) and tin panning. Although its primary focus is tin mining, the museum also includes displays on supporting industries, such as timber and transport, as well as Herberton social history - which reflects the continued support and interest in heritage values in the local community and their desire to see their heritage preserved for the benefit of future generations.

A local archives area is available for more in-depth research. Outside the Museum building, in addition to the impressive GNM archaeological remains, visitors can also enjoy the Gordon Gardens which feature a Tom Risley sculpture, a miner's cottage garden, a botanical walk, explorers' memorial plaques and the Women's Seat - a traditional lookout point across the picturesque, historic and hilly town of Herberton.

Open hours: 9am- 4pm every day, except Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Postal address: PO Box 41, Herberton, QLD 4887
Street address: 1 Jacks Road, Herberton
Phone: 07 4096 3474

James Cook Museum

James Cook Museum building.Credit: James Cook Museum

• Did you know the building itself has a rich history, which makes it as significant as the displays it holds? There are a considerable number of objects relating to its origin as a convent and school run by the Sisters of Mercy.

• Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II made a special diversion from her travel itinerary in April 1970 to stop at Cooktown in order to open the James Cook Museum after its renovation?

• Did you know the word Kangaroo is derived from the local Aboriginal dialect (gangurru - from the Guugu Yimithirr language)? The James Cook Museum is located within the restored St Mary's Convent Cooktown, a Sisters of Mercy School and Boarding School from 1889 - 1942. It is one of six properties in North Queensland operated and maintained by the National Trust of Queensland.

The new Joseph Banks Garden located in the grounds in front of the museum have been planted with specimens based on those which Joseph Banks collected from the region to take back to England. Exhibits within this magnificent building provide an insight to the region's fascinating history from the time James Cook and the crew of the stricken ship Endeavour spent in the safety of Cooktown harbor in 1770 through the heady Palmer River gold rush days over 100 years later, on to World War 2 and more recent times. The museum is filled with objects and stories of the experiences of European and Chinese arrivals and local Indigenous people. Come and explore those everyday items used by early settlers and mariners and marvel at the creativity of the Aboriginal people in the crafting of their tools with techniques handed down through countless generations.

The Endeavour Gallery within the museum portrays some of the encounters and Indigenous stories of the arrival of James Cook and his crew onto their lands. A feature exhibit is the anchor and a cannon jettisoned from the HM Bark Endeavour that were salvaged some 200 years after Captain Cook departed from the shores of what is now known as Cooktown.

Open hours: Daily 10am-3pm (1 Oct - 31 May) 9:30am-4pm (1 June - 30 Sept). Closed public holidays.
Postal address: PO Box 103, Cooktown, QLD 4895
Street address: Cnr Helen and Furneaux Helen Streets, Cooktown
Phone: 07 4069 5386

Mareeba Heritage Centre Incorporated

Converted AEC powered rail motor used from 1949 to the mid 1970's as a Rail Ambulance by the Mareeba Hospitals Board.Credit: Mareeba Heritage Centre

Did you know that the Centre's intriguing objects include:

• A rare example of a handmade vintage wireless station made in Mareeba by Marcus Brims and in Feb 1914 the recipient of the first experimental wireless licence granted in Queensland.

• An ant-bed shovel, an example of ingenuity of farmers who adapted a shovel to solve a specific need where no commercial solution was available.

• A rocking chair used by John Atherton, the founder of Mareeba from 1877.

Mareeba Heritage Centre is a vibrant museum and tourist information centre established in 1995 and well supported by its diverse multicultural community. Its collection of over 5,000 items owned, used and proudly donated by members of the community form the basis of its comprehensive and ingenious displays reflecting the heritage and culture of Mareeba and its district.

Mareeba Heritage Centre is the custodian of Australia's best tobacco industry collection. Mareeba-Dimbulah was the centre of tobacco growing in Australia. A new display tells this powerful story of hard work, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. Anonymous donations of homemade tobacco 'chop-chop' and the farmers locally invented machine, used to chop tobacco for home use and in some cases for the black market, capture the reality of local experiences of cat and mouse with authority. Another rare item of state significance is the Mareeba Hospital Board's Rail Ambulance, which continued to operate until the 1970s. Of the 29 operating in Qld, it is a surviving example all the more significant because of its original condition.

The Museum presents a timeline of their district through their Heritage Walkway including Aboriginal artefacts, early explorers and settlers, early 20th century school room, the railway, mining, tobacco, timber, WW1, elegant living betweenthe wars, the Mareeba rodeo and Mareeba Hospital Board's Rail Ambulance. Also included are the early 20th century local businesses such as the blacksmith, butchery, saddlers and the Jack & Newell Trading Store.

Open hours: Open daily 8am to 4pm, except Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Postal address: PO Box 154, Mareeba, QLD 4880
Street address: 345 Byrnes Street, Mareeba
Phone: 07 4092 5674

Mareeba Historic Society

Part of the Mareeba Rodeo Collection.Credit: M&GSQ staff

• Did you know that the Mareeba Historic Society holds a wealth of information on local store owners Jack & Newell and profiles information about this business on a specific website?

• Did you know that the Mareeba Historic Society holds a significant collection of World War II memorabilia and related research archives?

• Did you know that the Mareeba Shire included 38 cemeteries and that burial lists and monumental inscription data are available through the Mareeba Historic Society?

• Did you know that Mareeba Historic Society can tell you why the town was once known as the sanatorium of the north?

The Mareeba Historic Society was formed in 1993 to seek out, preserve and conserve the history of all areas encompassed by the original Mareeba Shire as well as neighbouring towns and shires. Our research centre holdings include images, objects and archives, which describe the social, economic, industrial and agricultural history of the area. We are an excellent resource for researchers and family historians. Our holdings include lists of burials and monumental inscriptions and cemetery lists for most of the 38 cemeteries; a large image collection; a maps and plans collection; an extensive library and archive which includes published works on Mareeba's history.

The collections also include artifacts and information concerning the first and second World Wars. Our website about Jack & Newell, concerning local store owners from 1893 to the mid-1970s, is well worth a visit.

Open hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 8am to 4pm. 2nd Saturday of the month 7.30am to noon or by appointment.
Postal address: 9 Toll Close, Mareeba, QLD 4880
Street address: 345 Byrnes Street, Centenary Park, Mareeba
Phone: 07 4092 3599

Nature's Powerhouse

Nature's Powerhouse entrance.Credit: Beverley Grant

• Did you know Nature's Powerhouse is set in the beautiful Cooktown Botanic Gardens, which are part of the 154 acres set aside by the Queensland Government in 1878 as a Botanic Reserve? The Gardens' collections include the Vera Scarth-Johnson Garden and the historic Solander Garden.

• Did you know the Solander Garden has living specimens of the 325 plants collected by Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander whilst in Cooktown in 1770 whilst repairs were being made to Captain Cook's HM Bark Endeavour? Banks and his team of botanists spent their time exploring and discovering many botanical and natural history wonders and the natural history artists on board the Endeavour painted them.

• Did you know Vera Scarth-Johnson was an artist who captured local flora through her illustrations in the tradition of the natural history artists on board the Endeavour? Her work can be seen in the Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery within Nature's Powerhouse.

Nature's Powerhouse is an innovative building located in the beautiful, heritage listed Cooktown Botanic Gardens and includes the Cooktown and Cape York Peninsula Visitor Information Centre, Vera's café, a gift shop, Charles Tanner Gallery and the Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery. The Cooktown and Cape York Peninsula Visitor Information Centre is the most northerly accredited visitor information centre on the east coast and provides comprehensive visitor information 7 days a week.

The Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery displays the only collection of original botanical illustrations of flora from the region. Many plants can be found in the adjoining Botanic Gardens. The Charles Tanner Wildlife of Cooktown Display offers visitors a close look at some of Cape York Peninsula's more notorious reptiles along with specimens of birds and butterflies. Nature's Powerhouse also hosts a wide range of community events and activities including concerts, nature presentations, educational programs and walking trails and tours in the Botanic Gardens.

Open hours: Open daily 9am to 5pm.
Postal address: PO Box 3, Cooktown, QLD 4895
Street address: Botanic Gardens, Walker Street, Cooktown
Phone: 07 4069 6004 Toll free: 1800 174 895

Tableland Regional Gallery

Tableland Regional Gallery.Credit: TRG

• Did you know Tableland Regional Gallery is the only regional gallery in an area slightly larger than Tasmania with a population of 42,000?

• Did you know the Old Post Office Gallery and Foyer Gallery are also under the management of Tableland Regional Gallery? The Old Post Office and Foyer Galleries welcome individual artists, community groups, educational bodies and cultural organisations. These are community galleries for artists who wish to curate their own exhibitions. The Tableland Regional Gallery assists the artists to install and co-ordinate exhibitions.

• Did you know that since its beginnings in March 2008, the Tableland Regional Gallery has provided the community with local, regional and touring art exhibitions?

The Gallery celebrates Atherton Tablelands, Coastal and Queensland artists and provides a dynamic program for residents and visitors. The Tableland Regional Gallery is situated in a region of diverse landscapes including World Heritage Wet Tropics, expansive Savannah country along with a variety of agricultural and pastoral farmlands. This environment has attracted a thriving arts community of fibre artists, potters, photographers, sculptors, artists and teachers.

The Tableland Regional Gallery was established in March 2008 to promote regional art and to encourage both emerging and professional artists. It is the only regional gallery in an area slightly larger than Tasmania with a population of 42,000 and it has become an important part of cultural life in Atherton and on the Tablelands. The Tableland Regional Gallery is operated by the Tableland Regional Council with one paid staff member and a large team of volunteers. It is situated in a library-gallery complex with a common entrance off the new workshop space extension. Staff and volunteers also operate the Foyer Art Gallery and Old Atherton Post Office Gallery.

The annual exhibition schedule provides a regularly changing program of local artists work and travelling exhibitions across the three gallery spaces. The newly created undercover open access space at the Tableland Regional Gallery will host a dynamic series of workshops, opening events and performances.

Open hours: Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. Sunday 10am to 2pm. Closed Monday.
Postal address: PO Box 573, Atherton, QLD 4883
Street address: 16 Robert Street, Atherton
Phone: 07 4091 5261


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