Historical society’s mission to preserve Lockyer Valley’s rich history

Gatton and District Historical Society village blacksmith Richard Smith With assistant secretary Marney Smith in front of the former Upper Tenthill Congregational Chapel available for hire at the village. picture: JESSE HAMILTON

Through the years, volunteers from the Gatton and District Historical Society have endeavoured to uphold the historical essence of the region by exhibiting its structures and artifacts and preserving local family records.

The society’s historical village was founded in 1972 and consists of three distinct sections including a Soldiers Memorial Hall, blacksmith shop, and an extensive collection of operational tractors and stationary engines.

Gatton and District Historical Society vice president Kelven Freeman said the village has managed to stay afloat through a core group of volunteers and features key displays that define the region.

“We have the Gatton tragedy display presentation of the Gatton murders that happened in 1898 and a display of working telephone and telegraph equipment dating back to 1890,” he said.

“It is integral for locals and visitors to have a place that showcases the visual, written, and oral history of the region.”

“We get a number of family lineage enquires that give multigenerational locals interested in their history a richness once they get a sense of their family lineage.”

Mr Freeman said volunteer numbers in recent times have been improving, but the

the committee is aging and needs some fresh faces.

“All the committee are over 70, we would like people who could spare a couple hours a week on a Monday or Tuesday to come out and help,” he said.

“The heartbeat was very slow and very weak two years ago, but in the last 18 months the displays are reorganised cleaned and mostly marked.

“All we need is more volunteers, we’ve completely reorganised the 1890s house, and turned the office room into a research centre.

Gatton and District Historical Society assistant secretary Marney Smith has been volunteering for the past 12 months and has always been fascinated with family history.

“I’ve loved volunteering here,” she said.

“When you get to our age, a lot of people start wanting to go back and ask where my grandmother came from and where she was buried.”

The historical village is located on Freemans Road Gatton and is open by appointment for schools and other groups, with the church and meeting hall available for hire.

Vice president Kelven Freeman said the society is holding its Lockyer Heritage Festival open day on 27 April , encouraging everyone to step back in time.

“We’ll have the blacksmith shop operating, we have the 1912 Denis truck up and running, static display of stationary motors running, horse and sulky rides for kids, stalls, entertainment, and a colourful quilts display,” he said.