Connecting to Collections

On a recent trip to North Queensland, SLQ staff visited the Zara Clark Museum, a National Trust Museum managed under the auspices of the Charters Towers & Dalrymple Historical Society. Readers will find very useful background information about the Museum, its existence, Miss Zara Clark and the buildings with important links to Charters Towers on the National Trust’s website.

Thanks to volunteer member Kris Patterson, we were able to visit the Museum and view the collections on display, prior to the official opening time.

Kris Patterson with WWI certificate in frame

Zara Clark Museum volunteer Kris Patterson shares the Museums collections

Among the huge array of collection items on display, there were many everyday items and objects – even an early school desk complete with slates that were commonly used in early education in the late 19th century and beyond.

On display an early school desk and slates used for writing

On display an early school desk and slates used for writing

Of particular significance in 2015 were the #WWI collections currently on display. With the support of Queensland’s Museum Development Officers (MDO’s) the museum houses a collection of soldier portraits, objects, paper records and display boards that retell many powerful stories.

First World War display at Zara Clark Museum

First World War display at Zara Clark Museum

For additional images relating to Charters Towers, viewers can link to SLQ’s One Search catalogue and access digitised images and oral stories that help to interpret the value of collections to place.

Visit Zara Clark Museum online and like their recently created Facebook page.

Similarly, in Far North Queensland, Mulgrave Settlers Museum based in Gordonvale houses collections relating to each district in the former Mulgrave Shire, which includes the settlements of Gordonvale and Babinda.

During our visit to the Museum in June, we met with volunteer members Don and Pauline Lawie, who welcomed our visit after delivering Q ANZAC 100 workshops in the Cairns region. The museum, run by volunteers, delightfully displays objects and collections that retell the story of a blacksmith’s business and tools of trade, a traditional shop counter before the invention of the modern supermarket, and much much more. Of particular interest was the WWI and WWII militaria objects all with a connection to the Mulgrave district.

Front counter display at Mulgrave Settlers Museum

Front counter display at Mulgrave Settlers Museum

Militaria objects labelled and arranged in secure cabinets

Militaria objects labelled and arranged in secure cabinets

Thank you Mulgrave Settlers Museum and Don and Pauline Lawie, who extended the invitation to visit the museum. The collections were interesting, and evoked a better understanding of the district and its unique heritage.

L-R Niles Elvery, Pauline and Don Lawie of Babinda, North Queensland

View more digitised images of Gordonvale in the State Library’s One Search catalogue. If you would like to correspond with the members, follow their Facebook page or read more about the Museum on the Gordonvale Town blog.

Anne Scheu, State Library of Queensland