How exploring our past creates gift for future

Sunshine Coast Council

At Landsborough Museum, you’ll find a watch chain made entirely from plaited human hair and an inkwell made from the dismembered foot of a favourite pony.

The watch, reportedly made from the hair of Mary Stokes, born in England in 1876, was donated to the museum in 1970 by her granddaughter who lived in Landsborough. The inkwell belonged to Mrs McBride, mother of Tom McBride, a Landsborough Shire Councillor from 1915 – 1917.

From exploring their significance, to uncovering the mystery behind a memorial plaque on the roadside near Bankfoot House, the Sunshine Coast Cultural Heritage Levy is helping us piece together our past, so we can preserve it for the future.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said that in 2021/22 the Heritage Levy generated almost $2 million in funding for a raft of essential, forward-thinking and innovative projects and investments.

“The Levy made the inaugural Historian in Residence program possible, enabling two professional historians to take a deep dive into local research topics, mapping First Nations sites and documenting our sporting history since 1901,” Cr Baberowski said.

“The community enjoyed 71 events and public programs with more than 8,500 people attending, and 877 school students experiencing our curriculum-aligned education programs.

“We supported heritage students through the My Summer Workplace Internship Program to the tune of $22,000 and delivered the $2000 student Cultural Heritage Prize in partnership with UniSC.

“The Levy supported 16 organisations through the community partnership funding program and invested more than $190,000 in grants initiatives, including $25,000 to support projects developed in collaboration with Kabi Kabi Peoples, Jinibara Peoples and Descendants of Australian South Sea Islander peoples.

“And it helped fund a number of interpretive projects across the region – Dicky Beach, Buderim, Montville and Eumundi to name a few.

“These few examples reiterate the importance of the Levy and its role in delivering our vision, ‘Our heritage is our gift for the future'”.

The annual Heritage Levy Program, aligned to the Heritage Plan and guided by the Heritage Levy Policy, delivers a range of projects under the five outcome areas of Knowledge, Conservation, Support, Communication, and Advocacy.

Sunshine Coast Coordinator Cultural Heritage Services Peter Connell said one investment that spanned all five outcome areas was the $135,000 used to conserve assets at the State heritage-listed Bankfoot House and Landsborough Shire Council Chambers (Landsborough Museum).

“Our nationally significant collection at Bankfoot House provides a seemingly never-ending resource from which to discover insights into the Glass House Mountains and surrounds,” Mr Connell said.

“The donation of more than 14,000 items from the Landsborough and District Historical Society in November 2021, including the watch band and inkwell, is keeping heritage staff and volunteers busy assessing, cataloguing and fact checking the information associated with each of these objects.

“They provide the starting point from which to discover forgotten, hidden or unknown facts about our heritage—something borne out by the discoveries made during the first Historian in Residence program.

“Dr Ray Kerkhove made a host of First Nations discoveries around Bankfoot House by examining the documents, assets and artifacts the Levy preserves.

“And our next Bankfoot Historian, Dr Tony Brady, will use the bill spikes, used by the residents of Bankfoot to store every piece of paper that went through the precinct, to uncover the agricultural background of the Glass House mountains.”

The Heritage Levy Annual Report 2021/22 was unanimously endorsed at Sunshine Coast Council’s November 17, Ordinary Meeting with councillors thanking the hundreds of heritage volunteers, who contribute to delivering the region’s Heritage Levy Program.

The Levy, which is charged to every rateable property, is used to document, research, conserve, protect, promote and provide access to those tangible and intangible items, places, facilities and events that define the stories, history and values of the people, communities and culture of the Sunshine Coast.

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