Museum community's triumphant
RENOWN wildlife crusader Bob Irwin officiated the opening of a living museum to forever record a community’s struggle to save the Mary River.
As residents savoured their victory over the Traveston Crossing dam proposal, many are still reeling in the shock such a huge episode in their lives is over.
“It’s like a grief reaction,” Rev Iain Watt said after Sunday’s opening.
“Any big change can be a shock, even if it is good news.”
The new museum is an incarnation of the former Save the Mary River Co-ordinating Group headquarters, which ran its anti-dam revolution mostly from a table and a fluorescent light on the building’s front verandah at Kandanga Railway Station.
Group president Glenda Pickersgill said the museum would be “a tribute to all the people who worked so hard to overturn the decision to dam the Mary River”.
The tribute comes complete with a story-board running along the inside of the building, with episodes linked by the knitted protest scarf – the work of craftspeople who put their skills into the three-and-a-half-year anti-dam battle.
The museum also features a huge collection of photographs, music, sculpture, poetry, cartoons, paintings, posters and protest memorabilia, along with articles from The Gympie Times and its sister publications the Sunshine Coast Daily and the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
“The community were mobilised by a desire to protect the river, its endangered species, the farmlands and lifestyle of our valley,” Ms Pickersgill said. “From the start the campaign was characterised by creativity.”