A STOREHOUSE OF INFORMATION THAT'S BEEN GATHERED FROM THE PAST...
TO BE PRESERVED FOR THE FUTURE
The charter of the Millmerran and District Historical Society Inc can be summed up as: To preserve, record and display the historical artefacts, buildings and documents of the Millmerran district, and create awareness of their significance to the community.
The Society fulfils its role through its Museum collections, oral history records, publication of local history books, special events, restoration projects, genealogy support... and the work involved is diverse, interesting, immensely rewarding, and ongoing. There is an imperative to maintain the Society, however like many others, even worldwide there are real challenges when it comes to engaging the interest of a younger generation within a changing society. How to maintain the volunteer numbers that are required to maintain the Society and the Museum, has become a major goal as we move forward. Without an adequate number of community volunteers to help fulfil the Charter, the Society is at risk of being dissolved.
Millmerran's Historical Society has, as at 2021, been in operation for forty-three years. In Twenty-Five Years of Millmerran & District Historical Society Inc 1978-2003 Grant Uebergang has contributed an important account of the early days of the Historical Society and Museum. It is a testament to the dedicated and hard-working volunteers of the times who laid the foundations of the Museum we have today, and which we hope will be preserved into the future.
Extracts from the book follow:
"In 1977 the Millmerran Lions Club asked Millmerran Shire Council to form an Historical Society in the town. The Council was favourably impressed with the idea and sent circulars to all local clubs and organisations notifying of a meeting to be held on 6 September 1977 at Millmerran Sportsman's Club. This meeting resolved to form an historical Society under the auspices of an eight member steering committee with Graham Goodall as President, assisted by Nell Macqueen, Val Vance, Lloyd Weedon, Bev Sandilands, Ernie Moffatt, Joan Muir and Mary Dooley. They were charged with the responsibility of drafting a suitable constitution. Copies of other Historical Society constitutions from Goondiwindi, Texas, Miles, Chinchilla, Stanthorpe, Pittsworth and Bowen were studied. Using these as a precursor, the Steering Committee formulated a constitution. The public meeting to form the Millmerran and District Historical Society was held on 19 April 1978, when the draft constitution was read and accepted without amendment. Millmerran and District Historical Society became an Incorporated Associated in 1987 and the name changed to Millmerran and District Historical Society Inc.
Election of officers followed and resulted in:
President Graham Goodall Vice President Mary Dooley. Secretary Lloyd Weedon Treasurer Bev Sandilands Assistant Secretary Margaret Weedon Librarian Nell Macqueen Additional Committee Members: Norma Jenkins, Tom Lawler, Don McPaul Joint Patrons: Frank McCalman and Arthur Ezzy
Meetings continued at the Sportsman's Club till the end of 1978. Then, on 17 January 1979, the first meeting was held in the Society's premises generously made available in the former Shire Chambers building by Millmerran Shire Council. from this time on, a very special and important relationship continued to develop between the Society and Council. The museum precinct is situated very close to the site of the first settlement at Back Creek, Millmerran's former name. Across the street looking east are the remnants of Edward Walpole's original store, now a private residence. In 1881, Walpole was the founding father of Millmerran. The original Shire chambers is historic in itself, being built in Charlotte Stree in 1913 when Millmerran Shire was carved out of the large Jondaryan Divisional Board, and serves as the Society's meeting room today.
Why was the Society formed? To answer that question, a diligent search has been made to define the six main achievements of the Society over the past 25 years. Each achievement recognizes two things:
a) the diverse nature of historical society work in the preservation, recording and display of historical artefacts, buildings and documents and in creating awareness of their significance to the community;
b) it has shown the Society's ability to harness the different skills of its members and volunteers supported by consensus and community input in seeing that the projects come to fruition.
It appeared that the formation of historical societies was becoming "fashionable" in the State of Queensland, commensurate with a renewed interest in genealogy and local history. In southeast Queensland there were more than 26 such organisations established in the period 1967-1992. For Millmerran, the then approach Centenary of the town in 1981 appears to have triggered the interest. On 22 February 1979 the Society convened a public meeting for the purpose of forming a committee to be entrusted with the planning and organisation to he 1981 Centenary Celebrations. The Centenary Celebrations Committee functor independently of the Historical Society. This then emerged as the first real physical evidence of the Society's achievements. "
The achievements can be summarised from the book as follows:
1. The opening of the Millmerran Museum in 1981
2. The removal and reopening of the Lavelle Public Hall 1984-1988.
3. Historic Railmotor and Steam Train Trips to Millmerran 1948-1987.
4. Restoration of Steam Launch "Water Baby" and the Bicentennial Celebrations and History Book 1988-1993.
5. Acquisition and Removal of the Kooroongarra Church and Re-Opening in the Museum Grounds 2001.
6. Darling Downs Small Museums Conference 1984 and 2002."