In the words of JR Tolkien "Not all those who wander are lost". My passion and loves are my family, travel and writing. I'm fortunate to be able to combine all three for an extraordinary life adventure....
At one point or another, we have all heard of the phrase; one person's trash is another person's treasure. Well, in the case of Harry Skennar, his extensive range of old relics collected from his beloved Atherton Tablelands region is today part of our very own national treasures, beautifully displayed and cared for at the Historic Village of Herberton.
Harry and his wife Ellen, both keen and passionate collectors, dedicated many years to searching for and preserving the region's historical relics which otherwise would have been destined for the 'junk pile'. Instead, each memento from a bygone era was like a piece of the puzzle designed to fit together to give us a snapshot into a life once lived, from another period in time.
Herberton, the oldest town in the Tablelands, was established in 1880, by John Newell on the back of a tin mining boom. It is therefore fitting that this is also the site of the Historic Village, based 90 minutes drive from Cairns.
Set on 16 acres, the Historic Village Herberton is a replica tin mining town with shops, pub, bank, chemist, grocer, printer and garage. There are more than 50 restored original period buildings from the local area making this outdoor museum, a significant one in Queensland.
Soon after 11:00am, we watched the vintage fire truck, Dennis, splutter and come to life, ready for fire action if there was one! This was followed by a wander through the Day's Garage where a Harley Davidson, a 1923 T Model Ford, and the 1927 Morris Cowley van were ready to breathe fire in their engines and rev up the day as if they had always done so. It is amazing to see so many vintage vehicles in one space.
My children thoroughly enjoyed the Blacksmithing live demonstration. Daryl Cooper, the local Farrier, crafter extraordinaire and Herberton's curator, has kept alive a unique and special trade which is fascinating to watch in action.
Daryl made his creations from ordinary blocks of steel to ornate mementoes look simple and effortless. Daryl showed us many examples of his work and then crafted a letter opener with a delicate hook and a special golden twist.
Of course, we couldn't bypass the opportunity to have a specially made 'Wanted' poster of our very own on the still functional early 1900s printer press. The skilful staff member was on hand to help my boys decide the nature of their crime (not obeying mum!) and to come up with a cool alias; watch out for the 'Bad Boys Baker' gang. My sons got so carried away that when the poster finally came through the printer press it all seemed too real!
A lunch stop at the Bakerville Pub overlooking the leafy surrounds meant that by this time we were famished 1800s style. Ginger beer, homemade delicious pie, trifle and scones were the order of the day.
Crossing the river via the suspension bridge took us to my husbands favourite spot - an expansive area with many old trucks to ogle and admire. The kids had time to run around and let 'off steam' in the playground and I sat and took in the peaceful bush setting.
Finally, it was off to the school house for some old-fashioned writing and sums on blackboards, minus the elbows on desks!
Our final stop of the day was a tour of the beautifully restored Queenslander, named Elderslie House; the original home of John Newell, Mayor and businessman who went on to establish the town of Herberton.
Plan to spend the day and take your time wandering in and out of the various 'stores' and exhibits; from the dentist of yesteryear to the chemist (thank goodness we don't give those 'medicines' to children anymore) to the toy collection of once upon a time.
The Historic Village is pet-friendly - dogs on leads are welcome and have free entry!
You are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it in our Village grounds. There are undercover areas with picnic tables
Toilet amenities are immaculately clean and available throughout the site
Plenty of free parking is available on site, including space for RVs and caravans.
Working exhibits are brought to life during school holidays and on some weekends. Check website for more information
10:30 - 2:30pm
Historic Rail train rides on the Tinlander
Annual Pioneer days are usually held on Mothers Day weekend each year. Check website for information and details regarding activities on the day.
Click here to see the Historic Village map and exhibits
International visitors from all around the world add their mark!