Cardwell is one of Far North Queensland’s earliest frontier towns and today Cassowary Coast Regional Council and the Queensland Government opened the region’s historic crowning glory, the Cardwell Library-Museum, as part of Queensland’s 150th Celebrations, Curtis Pitt, Member for Mulgrave said today.
The Queensland Government granted the Cassowary Coast Regional Council $100,000 in Q150 Legacy Infrastructure funding towards its more than $1.3 million Cardwell Library-Museum project.
“There’s a lot of history in Cardwell as well as natural beauty,” Mr Pitt said.
“Right on the waterfront, it was first established in 1864 and predates the establishment of Cairns and Townsville.
“There are still many historical artefacts around town and in the wider region that tell the story of this town’s past and the people who made it.
“What’s been missing has been a place to show these artefacts in their full glory.
“Tucked away under houses and in sheds, these artefacts might have shown more the effects of age and slipped into oblivion but for the determination of Council and the local community to find a permanent home for them.
“The Cardwell Library-Museum is the new home of the region’s artefacts which include a spring cart used in the town’s centenary celebrations in 1964.
“In this year of Queensland’s 150th birthday we have the opportunity to celebrate our people, our places and our stories and take time out to appreciate our past and how it’s influenced the Queensland we enjoy so much today.
“Locals love living in Cardwell for many reasons not least its natural beauty and history.
“Travellers enjoy Cardwell as one of the first places on their journey north where they can not just see but touch the sea and experience tropical north Queensland.
“Now they have another reason to linger a little longer, the Cardwell Library-Museum, where they can soak up the history and come face to face with some of the best kept historic artefacts anywhere.
“What a great legacy to leave future generations.”
Cr Bill Shannon, Mayor of Cassowary Coast Regional Council, said the Q150 program of events had been right across the region from Innisfail in the north to Cardwell in the south and Tully in the region’s centre.
“There was a huge amount of local interest in the Q150 Steam Train which stopped at Cardwell, Tully and Innisfail,” Cr Shannon said.
“We had a recital for passengers and locals with the new Steinway grand piano at the historic Innisfail Shire Hall just restored after Cyclone Larry.
“Innisfail in the north is the largest town in the Cassowary Coast region.
“About 100km away at Cardwell in the south of the region, which is also one of our largest towns, we have this major Q150 Legacy Infrastructure project, the Cardwell Library-Museum.
“This is particularly important to us because Cardwell was the first area to be developed north of Bowen so we have some very significant history here.
“Some of the historic buildings including the old telegraph station and old shire hall still exist and they have formed a historical precinct in the town.
“To have this facility the Cardwell Library-Museum, as part of that precinct and backed by Q150 which obviously recognises history, is very significant for the community.”
The new library and museum are located on a site in Balliol and Victoria Streets with the historic Cardwell School of Arts Building which was previously used as a library. The new museum is built in such way people can view its historic contents whether or not it is open. It complements the old shire hall which will be maintained as a community museum. The new library building is air-conditioned and modern with public computers, internet access, gallery space, comfortable reading areas and extensive children’s and young adult areas.
It also received funding from the State Library of Queensland. The historic School of Arts Building will be used once again as a venue for arts and cultural activities. These buildings form a historic precinct at Cardwell which also includes the old Cardwell Post Office and Telegraph Station and the old courthouse and gaol.
2009 marks Queensland’s 150th anniversary year of separation from New South Wales.
The Q150 Legacy Infrastructure Program is a $100 million capital works funding program initiated by the Queensland Government to assist local council’s throughout the State create long lasting legacies of the 150th celebrations.
There are more than 90 of these projects around the State. Find out what’s on in Queensland at www.q150.qld.gov.au