The future of our past is 'up to us'

GYMPIE is a heritage region but it is not a heritage tourism region, according to National Trust chairman Bob Fredman.

That means heritage structures, from the Albert Park grandstand to the Rainbow Beach propeller, are preserved - or not - according to the community's will, rather than any commanding financial incentive.

And some of our past is disappearing quickly.

The grandstand, for example, seems soon to be destined for the demo yard, to be replaced by a new structure.

So it is too with the old Rainbow Beach toilet block near the surf club, including the recent heritage of work-for-the-dole murals, done by young people as a substitute for graffiti.

Rainbow Beach resident Peter Cantrell said he was not particularly excited about the future of a toilet block, although former mayor Mick Venardos remembered the young people who painted it.

"That was part of a program of public art, which was protected by an unwritten law that no one puts graffiti on someone else's tag,” he said.

"That campaign reduced our graffiti repair bill from more than $100,000 a year to about $10,000.”

Mr Cantrell remembered when he and residents Tony Huxley and Adrian Patterson reached into their own pockets to buy the Rainbow Beach propeller and bring it back.

He also remembered the recent community campaign to keep the propeller where it is, despite a council plan to shift it to a less prominent location. Heritage won in that case, he recalled.

The re-purposing of some of Mary St's most historic stone buildings, many as legal offices, was one positive sign of a community keeping its heritage alive, Mr Fredman said yesterday.

But the National Trust does not tell the community what to do, he said - it is up to us to have that discussion.

GOING:  Albert Park sports ground grandstand (above) and toilet block mural at Rainbow Beach (below left), along with the Beach propeller symbol, safe at last.
GOING: Albert Park sports ground grandstand (above) and toilet block mural at Rainbow Beach (below left), along with the Beach propeller symbol, safe at last. Renee Albrecht

"The debate we have to have is about which bits we keep and which we forgo as we modernise the region,” he said.

"Fortunately, a very useful forum is the letters section of The Gympie Times.”

He welcomed news of major funding to renovate the old Gympie railway station.

"The National Trust is confident this will include the timber footbridge to the station,” he said.

Gympie Times


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