November 8, 2021
About 50 people gathered recently on the rear lawn of the Roy Emerson Museum in Blackbutt to celebrate its 10th birthday.
The museum – which opened its doors in 2011 – is housed in the former Nukku school building and is operated by the Blackbutt District Tourism and Heritage Association (BDTHA).
The school building now forms part of a larger complex that also includes the restored Nukku siding railway building and a statue of Blackbutt’s international tennis legend Roy Emerson that was unveiled in 2017, all housed in landscaped grounds.
BDTHA was founded in the late 1990s by former Nanango Shire councillor Kev Allery.
The group was established with the aim of collecting stories and photos from the surrounding districts of Benarkin, Blackbutt, Taromeo, Nukku, Gilla and Googa from 1842 onwards to create a permanent record of the Timbertowns’ history.
However – for the first decade or so of its life – most of the materials it collected needed to be stored in members’ homes until the Museum’s opening ensured a more permanent home.
BDTHA president Noeleen Bird welcomed the guests to the Museum’s birthday party and gave a brief summary of the group’s history.
She then asked former South Burnett councillor – and Kev Allery’s daughter – Deb Palmer to give a talk.
Deb told the guests she had been serving on the South Burnett Regional Council 10 years ago when the Nukku school building became available after the Nanango Girl Guides branch closed down.
She said former Mayor David Carter wanted to use the building to extend Wondai’s Art Gallery, and the Nanango Race Club had expressed an interest in having it moved to their Lee Park track.
However, Noeleen had spoken to spoke to Girl Guides Queensland about BDTHA’s plans to create a museum at Blackbutt and the 10 years of work the group had already put in, and this had won the day.
Deb said she was certain Noeleen’s calm, well-planned proposal was the main reason the former school house was signed over to the group, and congratulated her for her efforts.
Noeleen said that over the past 10 years BDTHA members had made many improvements to the building and its grounds.
These ranged from building a disability access ramp into the Museum to planting and tending the gardens that now surround it.
She was very pleased the result had created such an attractive facility for the town, and such an eye-catching trailhead for Blackbutt’s many rail trail visitors.
Noeleen said BDTHA members had also been responsible for a number of off-site works over the past decade.
These included the restoration of Blackbutt’s bullock wagon; signposting of the former Googa Googa Creek State School; and restoration work being carried out at Jesse’s Well, among many other projects.
BDTHA also runs regular monthly History Mornings where long-standing residents share their recollections of Timbertowns life in earlier days, and regular “Tagalong Tours” of historic sites in the district.
Following the speeches, a special 10th birthday cake was cut by long-serving BDTHA member Bob Muller, who joined not long after Kev Allery created the group.