historical aerial image of clump point bay and surrounding land

Echo of the Past - Historical photographs from Mission Beach 1890s-1950s

5 July - 2 November 2024

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Djiru Traditional Custodians of Country around Mission Beach and honour their Elders past and present. We respect the deep enduring connection to their lands, waterways and surrounding clan groups since time immemorial. We cherish the richness of their artistic and cultural expressions. We are privileged to gather on Djiru Country and through this exhibition to share their knowledge, culture and art now and with future generations.

Disclaimer: First Nations Peoples should be aware that this exhibition contains names and  images of deceased people. 

Historical photograph of Clump Point from a vantage point showing the bay
Clump Point Beach, Bob Beldin.

Mission Beach is a beachside township 150km south of Cairns in far north Queensland. The town is situated in the wet tropics and set in ancient rainforests, known as Djiru Country.

Mission Beach is steeped in art, culture, and a rich history, which has been contributed to by local indigenous people, timber-getters, coffee, banana and tropical fruit farmers, environmental activism and activists, art and tourism.

Coinciding with the anniversary of the 1918 cyclone, a series of historic photographs (portraits, landscapes, social events and work life scenes), a slide show of photos, videos, Djiru cultural objects, history boards and series of drawings about the Hull River Aboriginal Settlement together with the artefacts from the Cairns Historical Society & Museum collections provide an insight in the diverse early history of Mission Beach.

The display offers a snapshot of an intriguing, beautiful, dynamic frontier region and its people, making the history of Far North Queensland accessible for current and future generations. Through the themes of community, sea and land, the photographs and Djiru cultural objects have been used as points of focus to examine all aspects of Mission Beach history.

Echo of the Past exhibition poster from Mission Beach Historical Society
Original poster from the Mission Beach Historical Society exhibition, Echo of the Past.
Photo of historical images framed as part of Echo of the Past exhibition
Frame 'Djiru', shown as part of Echo of the Past exhibition.
Photo of historical images framed as part of Echo of the Past exhibition
Frame 'Pioneers', shown as part of Echo of the Past exhibition.

Recollections from Djiru people, the first pioneers and later settlers, farmers, attendees at gatherings and war time events allow all visitors to reflect on the past, preserve and enhance important memories and events, and foster and celebrate a sense of identity, diversity and cultural connections between Djiru and the wider community.

Following the displacement of many Djiru in 1918 to Palm Island, Djiru were not welcome to come back to Mission Beach until recently. It seems like a whole page of history has been blanketed or obliterated through massacres, abuse and discrimination. Djiru desperately wanted to tell their side of history and share it with the wider community.

The aim of this exhibition is to tell stories that are relevant and significant to today’s multicultural society and to emphasise the history of the Djiru people with the aim of achieving reconciliation and healing of the past.

 

Acknowledgements

With thanks to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation for their philanthropic support. This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Queensland by Flying Arts Alliance.