The Innisfail and District Historical Society has captured ‘the way we were’ on an image DVD launched today by popular demand to coincide with the opening of the Society’s expanded premises on Edith Street said Curtis Pitt, State Member for Mulgrave.

Mr Pitt was in Innisfail today to launch the DVD at the RSL Club following a lunch to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Society.

“The Queensland Government had granted the Innisfail and District Historical Society $3982 towards the production of the DVD which is the first in a series of historic photographic DVDs the Society plans to release,” Mr Pitt said.

“The more than 300 images on the inaugural DVD were part of visual display at an event early last year marking the end of Johnstone Shire and beginning of amalgamation of Cardwell and Johnstone shires.

“Locals loved the photography so much they wanted to know where they could buy a DVD.

“The Innisfail and District Historical Society rose to the challenge and applied for a Q150 Community Funding grant which they subsequently received, and the rest as they say is history.

“This DVD which looks like sparking a whole series of DVDs, covers events from 1880 to 1945 including the first settlers who arrived to establish Innisfail.

“The Irish arrived first to plant the sugar cane and then came the Italians to harvest it.

“In this year, when we celebrate our 150th birthday, it’s great that we have images such as these to reflect on our past and celebrate our people, our places and our stories.”

Innisfail and District Historical Society President Val Robertson said that the Society appreciated the Queensland Government’s Q150 Community Funding and the photographic contributions from the community which came from far and wide.

“The Q150 Community Funding money has gone towards the inaugural DVD and we plan to fund the remaining series from sales of the DVD,” she said.

“It’s truly a remarkable collection of photographs that we have sourced from locals and from people who once lived in Innisfail but now live in other parts of Australia.

“They all responded generously.

“It means that we have what we think is one of the most comprehensive historic photographic collections available of this area which makes us pretty proud.

“Local photographer Steve Berry-Porter has put the compilation together for us.

“We think they are all great but probably those images that comes to mind most because of cyclone Larry are those of the devastation of our ‘first’ big cyclone in 1918 which wiped the town out completely.

“Cyclones didn’t have names in those days and it was bigger than Larry.

“The good news is Innisfail has been rebuilt three times in its art deco style as there was also a huge cyclone in 1906, and the town is once again looking fabulous.

“We are grateful that we can share these images with the wider community as a legacy for future generations to know about their past.”

She said that the day’s proceedings would begin at the Society’s 25th anniversary lunch at midday, followed by the DVD launch both at the RSL club, before a procession of members and friends walk to the Society’s new expanded premises.

The DVDs sell for $20 each and are available from the Innisfail and District Historical Society by telephoning 4061 2731.

The procession will go past the marble statue and fountain contributed by the Italian community in 1959 which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. The fountain will be active for the occasion.

The Queensland Government’s $4 million Q150 Community Funding program offered grants between $2000 and $10,000 to communities to help them mark Queensland’s anniversary in ways that were meaningful to them.

There are more than 500 Q150 Community Funding activities and events around the State for Queenslanders to enjoy in 2009.