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Military museum and Council join forces for history tours

5 March, 2019

Volunteers from the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum will bring to life Australia’s involvement in the First World War through tours of the Gallipoli to Armistice memorial in Queens Park.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council has signed an agreement with the museum to conduct the tours through the memorial built in historic Queens Park.

“Council has given the museum the rights to conduct the tours through the memorial which has been heralded as the best memorial to the Great War outside of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra,” Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said.

“We have also waived any fees associated with conducting the tours in recognition of the museum’s charitable status and the important role they play in preserving and promoting military history.”

The memorial uses a combination of sculpture, graphics, sound and stories to reveal Australia’s involvement in the First World War from Gallipoli to Armistice. 

“It is important that we keep this history alive, not to glorify war, but to show how war affects people, from those fighting and those left behind.

“And it reminds us of the sacrifices that have been made for us to appreciate the freedoms and lifestyle that we enjoy today.

“To paraphrase comments by the director of the Australian War Museum, Dr Brendan Nelson, at the opening of the memorial – ‘It reminds us of those things in which we believe - which bind us as Australians, the people who gave us what we have and made us who we are. For we are young and we are free’."

While two tour groups of school children have been escorted through the memorial and museum so far this year, there are bookings from 15 other schools ready to go, Museum Director John Meyers said.

“It is a very popular excursion and we’ve had a good response from schools between Caloundra and Bundaberg,” he said.

“In April, 100 students from a Redcliffe high school will visit.”

The museum is working with a bus company to develop the tours.

“If the tours arrive on a Thursday, the students will also get to see the time cannon fired and the Mary Ann steam train in operation,” Mr Meyers said.

Council and the museum have been working together for a number of years to develop tours through the historic Wharf Street precinct, Cr Seymour said.

“Already we have the Portside Visitor Pass which allows people to visit the three history attractions in the Wharf Street Precinct - the Bond Store Museum and Customs House operated by Council and the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum.”

Military History was becoming a significant tourist attraction for the region, Cr Seymour said.

“Council is continuing to work with groups across the region to develop the Fraser Coast Military trail,” he said.

“The trail includes the memorials at Dayman Park, Hervey Bay and on Fraser Island to Z Special Forces, the Australian commandos who trained here during World War II; former World War II military bases in Tinana and at the Maryborough Airport. 

“Planning is underway to display artefacts salvaged from the former HMAS Tobruk as it was prepared for scuttling to become a dive site in Hervey Bay and the development of the Maryborough Military Aviation Museum.”