Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Inside the Library of the Cairns Historical Society.
The Skipper of Pelican had flown back to Melbourne after our meetings in Cairns with Hope Vale Elders and Balkanu about this year's project. I was due back in Brisbane as I had planned to visit my Mum and hopefully meet my brother in law, Mark with my daughter for the weekend. But I just could not get on the plane. My Mum had warned me that things were flooding near her and advised me to stay an extra day. My brother in law was not able to get time off work and my daughter had to stay in Melbourne.
I did not need much prompting to stay for some extra time on my own. Solitude is a rare and to be treasured thing. It is the reason I had time to wander in Cairns. During this time I found the Historical Society of Cairns and its Library and ended up spending the afternoon researching Sea Country and looking up information about Cape York. A lovely older gent took all my slips of paper and diligently searched as I found more and more material. Some of the material was from anthropologists, one of them being Ursula McConnel, who worked up the Cape in the early part of last century.
As I buried myself in the piles of materials I had to reflect on the riches that were saved and archived by these wonderful volunteers working in the Library. You could see they had no money, surviving on the tuppences they get from the entry fee to the Museum. The main guy had worked there for 24 years following his retirement as a paid librarian. I just wanted to post a huge thank you to all those passionate volunteers in all walks of life. Our world would be impoverished without the dedicated work of these mainly unsung diligent people.