Nambour's glory days as the centre of sugar production and commercial and administrative hub of the Sunshine Coast may be over, but a team of enthusiastic locals at Nambour and District Heritage Museum ensures the district's legacy is showcased for future generations.
Sadly the Mill didn't make it too far into the 21st Century
The Bruce Highway bypassed the town back in 1990, but if you're exploring the hinterland, you'll find a welcoming little community with some of the best cafes and coffee on the Sunshine Coast, so it's worth a detour to check out this charming museum.
Part of the well displayed and eclectic collection
The museum occupies a large block of land between Mitchell and Bury Streets, Nambour. The old buildings housing the museum were once part of the Moreton Sugar Mill, which closed in 2003, costing a lot of local jobs. Mill Village Shopping Centre now stands where the main processing took place, and a huge street sculpture outside the centre is actually machinery parts from the mill.
After paying your $5 ($1 children over 5) entry, wander the many rooms and corridors of the museum, discovering the eclectic collection. Rooms are arranged by theme, including military, school, telecommunications, household items, farming, work life, etc.
Start with the small collection of artefacts from the local Gubbi Gubbi people. The artefacts were discovered on farming properties. It would be wonderful to see more items donated to the museum to honour the original inhabitants of the area.
There's a whole room dedicated to the amazing Matchcraft produced as a hobby by Ken Underhill. Tens of thousands of matches, painstakingly glued together into models of ships, and a model of London's Tower Bridge that took 31,000 matches.
Retro lovers will find plenty to covet in gorgeous displays of household items, clothes, and souvenirs. Lovingly assembled collections of needlework will delight stitchers.
There'd be hell to pay if your bloomers actually showed like this
The town's history as a sugar centre is well documented, with wonderful old steam locos on display. These hauled long cane trains, which ran right through the centre of town, holding up traffic on what was then the main highway north from Brisbane. Old-timers remember the trains with a combination of fondness and frustration. A video room shows footage from that time, not so long ago, but so different from the modern suburban nature of the town.
One of the more surprising items is a specially commissioned flag which has been to space and back. At the invitation of the (then) Maroochy Shire's sister city of Tatebayashi in Japan, it was taken on board the Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-95 in 1988 by Chiaki Mukai as part of her flight kit.