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Historic Village Herberton

Home > Cairns > Unusual Things to do | Places of Interest | Museums | Family | Antiques
by Rose (subscribe)
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....
Published November 6th 2017


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.

historic village herberton, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
range of collectibles


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.

Cool vintage


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.

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Keeping the blacksmithing craft alive


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.

historic village herberton, blacksmithing, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Crafting a letter opener on the spot


Many of his created works are for sale at the gift shop for a reasonable price and include letter openers, billy lifters, coat hooks, and business card holders.



However, what you won't find but you may want all the same, is a dozen bunch of handcrafted forever roses for your loved one.

historic village herberton, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Clever and romantic!


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.

historic village herberton, bakerville pub, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Yummy lunch stop


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.

historic village herberton, playground, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Historic Village playground


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.

historic village herberton, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Beautifully restored Queenslander


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.

historic village herberton, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Enjoying the detail of the miniature railway set


Step back in time and marvel at how life was like in the 'olden days'. Maybe you will feel a little nostalgic or perhaps, relief that you were born in a different era and period of time.

Whatever the visit impresses upon you, you will relish the chance to see first hand the care and dedication of the staff and the owners who have seen the fruition of one couple's lifelong ambition.

historic village herberton, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
Delicate antiques


Handy tips

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

Every Sunday
:
10:30 - 2:30pm
Historic Rail train rides on the Tinlander
Weather permitting

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

historic village herberton, things to do near Cairns, outdoor museum, vintage vehicles, collectibles and antiques
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Why? The Historic Village Herberton offers a rare glimpse into the Atherton's region pioneering history with a range of collectibles, antiques and vintage vehicles.
When: We are open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9.00am - 5.00pm in the high season, 9.30am - 4.00pm during the low season, and after hours by prior arrangement.
Phone: (07) 4096 2002
Where: 6 Broadway Herberton Queensland 4887
Cost: Adults $29, Children (4 - 14 yo) $13, Concession $26, Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) $72, Under 4 yo free
Your Comment
Looks like a great day out!
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 2|987) 107 days ago
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