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Rediscovering Buk Ti

MUSEUM NEWS: 28 January 2022
Runs 19 Feb – 13 May 2022

The Cairns Museum’s new exhibition explores a little known history from far north Queensland.

The award winning exhibition Rediscovering Buk Ti: Chinese settlers in the lower Herbert district takes us 230 kilometres south of Cairns to explore the hidden history of the Chinese community of Ingham.

Developed by the Ingham Family History Association in association with Chinese heritage specialist Dr Sandi Robb, Rediscovering Buk Ti brings to light the history and heritage of local Chinese families. The exhibition also showcases the settler history of Ingham and Halifax, the role of Chinese men in the development of the sugar industry and the movement of these Chinese men and their families back and forth to China. 

The exhibition title Rediscovering the Buk Ti (pron: book-tee) references one of the most exciting “discoveries” of the researchers, namely the Buk Ti Goong (temple) in Halifax. The temple was built in the small sugar town on the lower Herbert River by the local Chinese community, in the late 1900s. It remained functioning with a caretaker through to the 1930s.

Fittingly, the deity Buk Ti is the Emperor of the North or the Northern God.

The Cairns Museum is excited to bring this regional story to Cairns. The exhibition allows locals to discover more about the rich history of the Far North and explore the business and family links between Cairns Chinatown and a small regional community 230 kilometres south.

A particular feature is the installation ‘Invisible Lives’  which names the Chinese settler men who lived, worked and are buried in this region, unable to take the final journey home to China.

Rediscovering Buk Ti: Chinese settlers in the lower Herbert district will run from 19 February through to 30 April 2022 at Cairns Museum. Admission is free with Museum entry.

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