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An historic walk-through Babinda’s ‘street museum’

18/June/2021
Babinda’s historic and unique State Hotel

BABINDA may not have a fully-fledged museum up and running yet, but locals and visitors can, in the meantime, at least get a sense of its early settlement days, thanks to a “street museum” of sorts – an historic walk through the town. 

Twenty or so plaques featuring the individual stories of a swathe of historic buildings have been put up along the town’s main street, including outside the iconic State Hotel, unique because it was the only government built and run hotel in Australia. 

The Munro Street walk, according to Babinda Taskforce’s Tanya Tuttle, has been devised as a celebration of the town’s history, “for not only visitors, but locals, many of whom have deep family history in the area.”

The local butcher was also a ‘state’ butcher and those with an interest in history may also be curious to know that the current town real estate office was once a bakery. The historical walk is based on early settler history up until the 1950s.

Eventually, there will be more than 30 plaques, including ‘out of town’, when stage two and three of the historic walk will start, taking in a trail as far down the road as Mirriwinni, some seven kilometers away.

“We want to try to take advantage of the large number of visitors who go to the Babinda Boulders,” said Tuttle. “Many do not stop in town but now we are encouraging them to look around the main street and find out more about our history.

“The Babinda Museum won’t just be inside a shop, it is already throughout the streets, in local businesses, all around us.”

The actual museum will be located in an old store alongside the Taskforce’s offices, but the final fit out is still $60,000 away. The project is continually applying for grants to hopefully fund its establishment and is planning many more fundraising events and drives. 

On Saturday, May 29, the Babinda Community celebrated its town’s history. The local State Hotel had its 104th Birthday, Babinda Museum held its first Friends of Babinda Museum Members Morning Tea, and The Babinda Museum Walk was officially opened. 

Three long-term local residents were presented with honorary membership awards. Annie Wonga, Ronald Stagger, and Elsa Sganzarla were each presented their award by Mayor, Cr Bob Manning.

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