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Coochiemudlo Island History Society – Occasional Newsletter, May 2008

Occasional Newsletter May 2008

We are very pleased to welcome new members, Rob Allan, Irene Martin, Sue Hudson, Di and Des Binstead, Kerry Brammer, Pat Marini and Trevor Watson.  Rob came to Coochiemudlo from Nimbin Shire, Sue from the United Kingdom, Irene is a well known artist whose fine charcoal sketches of the 1995 bushfire are in our collection, and Trevor is a new resident whose family is moving in at Aminya Street.

Sadly, this year we farewell Rosemary Opala who died suddenly.  She had been a stalwart member for many years, was a Moreton Bay personality associated with the histories of both Coochiemudlo Island and Peel Island, an accomplished artist and poet, and a most obliging person.  Shortly before she died, she escorted Ted Jones and David Paxton to the Peel Island Exhibition at the Redland Museum which featured her contribution as a nursing sister at the Lazaret.  The Society is planning to hold a memorial service for Rosemary in conjunction with the Friends of Peel Island. 
The Society holds copies of many of Rosemary’s works and also the headstone for her cat Taddy, whose story featured in the Woman’s Mirror magazine.  With her agreement, we are in the process of converting her account of Peel Island into a Word document, so that we can publish it.

Joy Fritz, who also has been an outstanding contributor to the Society, left the Island for Port Douglas.  She donated a box of her book Joy of Coochie which the Society can sell at the markets, and also some of Rosemary’s work which had been passed to Joy by Dr John Pearn.  Barbara Larsen also left the Society, in 2007, and it was great to see her and Geoff again at the Easter markets when they visited from Nanango. John Pearn has donated copies of Characters Coves and Cliffs which are always popular sales on market days.  We intend to approach the 150 Year Anniversary fund for money to republish Chronicles of Coochiemudlo.

Ian Rowland has donated copies of a DVD he produced of the various television shows which have been made on Coochiemudlo Island.  This has been a popular seller at market days.  We continue to help Margarette Cheras to sell her books from our market stall.

Last year the Flomersfeld/Thomson family were guests of honour on Flinders Day.  They are relatives of Matthew Flinders.  This year they have bought a cottage on James Street and will again take part in the re-enactment of Flinders’ landing, which is organised by the Progress Association.  We hope they will become active members of the Society.

The celebration of Matthew Flinders’ birthday on 16 March has been the major event for the Society so far in 2008.  The birthday party was attended by over 120 people and featured the play The Flowering, written, produced and acted by Donna Cameron who was assisted originally by a Regional Arts Development Grant.  Suffice to say, the play is original and thought provoking, Donna’s portrayal of several characters is outstanding, the stage and lighting management was excellent, the setting at Mudlo was magic and the audience was awesome.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and agreed that the event added to the cultural values of the Island.  Being a patron of the arts is an expensive business, but we did make a profit thanks to the amazing generosity of donators of raffle prizes (especially Millie Semic).  For the play we commissioned Sab Bufalino to build a wooden stage/dance floor which will now be available for community use.  We are working towards a birthday party in 2009 which will focus on children:  ideas are welcome.

The second major event for 2008 is the ongoing hosting by the Society of a series of seminars on climate proofing of communities, necessary because of climate change.   Coochiemudlo Island is being used as a pilot study, The Society and Bushcare worked together with SEQ Catchments (Sean Galvin), University of the Sunshine Coast (Prof. Peter Waterman), and Rob Friend.    The first seminar was held 8 March and was attended by some 30 people.  The audience appreciated the transfer of knowledge on climate change and there was stimulating debate.  Matthew Flinders Café provided a notable lunch.  The next seminar is planned for 21 June 2008, so keep an eye on the notice board for details.

The Society bought furniture for the History Room, courtesy of the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.  This has enabled us build up our library, which is stored securely in a metal cabinet.  Ted Jones has donated a large number of Coochiemudlo-centric documents and books, including facsimile editions of William Bligh’s Voyage to the South Sea and Mutiny on HMS Bounty and a comprehensive biography of Captain James Cook.  Dr John Auty, a Life member, donated  a facsimile edition of A Voyage to Terra Australis, by Matthew Flinders, comprising 2 volumes and a volume of charts.  John also donated two rare volumes of Flindersland and Sturtland by William Jessop, which contain some unique historical observations.  The Society held an open evening at the Room, which was attended by some 30 guests, including Arthur Underwood and family, who had donated many framed photographs which were on display;  Professor John Pearn, our distinguished Honorary member; and Lorraine Dixon-Bone, a Life member, who donated copies of letters from Wallie Rice covering the period between World Wars I and II on the Island.  These shed light on a period not well covered in our collections, and describe the Phillips family, when Bill and Betty were ten years old.

The success of the open evening led to Dr Pearn asking if the Society would help with a visit of the Water Transport Association, of which he is Patron.  That visit is 24 May, from about 2.30pm.  Anyone wishing to participate please contact David Paxton (3820 8989).  Among other things, the Association will view the plaque marking the cookhouse of 43 Landing Craft Company at the Isle of Coochie Golf Club.  The Society arranged the plaque and the Club paid half the cost.  The Association will also view the Lone Pine and the plaque there provided by the Society, the cost of which was donated by Lorraine Dixon-Bone.  The plaque was installed very professionally by Keith Slack.

After nearly three years’ work by volunteers, Trim, the Flinders Day dinghy, is just about ready to be launched.   We are indebted to Bruce Wollstein who has put the finishing touches to the woodwork and to John and Andrew McLennan, who continue to allow us to use their garage in Perulpa Street.  The Progress Association has offered to meet half of the inevitable cost over-run to complete the dinghy.  We shall now approach to Gambling Community Benefit Fund for approximately $1,200 for a boat trailer, the trailer donated by Scott and Suzie Middling being unsuitable for sea water exposure.

Flinders Day will be held on 20 July this year and among many other participants will be a large contingent from the Wooden Boat Association, which will stage a sail past at the re-enactment (weather permitting).  One of the boats to be on display was built by an Islander, Ian Primrose.  It is a putt-putt launch which has won several awards for excellence in construction.  Volunteers at our stall will be welcome.

The Society will again support Coochie Island Resort to hold a Flinders Day Ball on the Friday evening before Flinders Day.  We shall book a History Society table for those who wish to join a group.  The Resort has opened up one wall  to expand the dining room out towards the pool.

On Saturday 7th June The Bayside Vehicle Restorers Club Inc will be visiting  the island for lunch as part of their three day rally which is being held in and around the Bayside area,    The Society has been invited to give a presentation on the history of the Island.    The lunch will be held at Mudlo and to make the most of the occasion any locals who would like to set up a stall within the ground of Mudlo are more than welcome.

Grace Chu Te is renovating the Coochiemudlo Island website ( so that stakeholders, such as this Society, can update information more easily.

The Society intends to transfer its bank account to the Bendigo Bank at Pelican’s Nest.

The Committee continues to operate enthusiastically in spite of some problems:  our Treasurer, Denise Preston, requires gall-bladder surgery at the end of May and Kel Cranston, husband of Margaret, our Vice President, has been ill with prostate cancer.  He is following with fortitude a chemotherapeutic strategy developed by Wesley Hospital specialists which we all hope will be successful.  Our best wishes to Denise and Kel.

Visit our site at:

David Paxton
Hon. Secretary

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