My sister and I had some debate about making the trip to Herberton when we were visiting the Atherton Tablelands. She thought it was a long way to go to see nothing but I'd read about their museum and, really, it wasn't far from the other scenic spots. I love it when I'm right! It was so well worth the trip. The Historic Village Museum is recognised as one of the best living museums in Australia.
We really enjoyed strolling the streets with more than 50 buildings including the old time bank, telephone exchange, blacksmith shop, garage, dress shop, toy store, grocery store, butcher, pub, dentist, doctor, and jail. Almost all the buildings are as they were originally constructed. Regular maintenance keeps them sturdy and secure with things like modern lighting and steps installed for visitors safety, without losing any of the character of the place.
I think this was a miner's cottage.
Imagine the heat inside that corrugated iron building in summer!
Inside that building, we found a replica of our grandfather's farm hat. He could well have left it there on his last day on the farm.
I shouldn't have been surprised to realize that memorabilia from my school days are now part of history. Although, to be fair, I think The School Papers on display were a little before my time.
Another blast from the past was the little sign about the grocer's broken biscuits. They weren't just for children. They were also for large families. How often did I see an lb of broken biscuits on the list I took to Mr Bowes' grocery shop in Nudgee. He would weigh them out and then throw in a handful extra for me to have on the way home. He was such a kind man. They would have to be carried carefully in their brown paper bag or I'd arrive home with biscuit crumbs and Mum would not be happy.
I liked the pretty display of dolls. I don't think I ever saw such lovely dolls gowns. Mind you, I can't remember having a doll but my best friend did. Marie, was her name Antionette?
We crossed a sturdy and new looking suspension bridge to the railway station on the other side of Wild River.
I was taken with the little ambulance that had been modified to run along the railway line.
On that side of the bridge the exhibits were more rural - a farmhouse, tractor shed. There was a children's playground which, to me, seemed to be a little far from most of the exhibits. There was also an impressive pile of old junk.
Even the toilet facilities were in character. Thankfully, internally they were of a modern variety.
Herberton is only a small town with a shrinking population (855 in the last census) but it can be very proud of its museum which is staffed by volunteers. It was established in 1880 as a tin mining town. At one stage it was the richest tin mining field in Australia and was home to 17 pubs, 2 local newspapers and a brewery.
Several crops are grown in the area including avocados, lettuce, tomatoes, maize and pumpkins. Poultry and beef industries are also present