Friday 28 April 2017
The intention of our trip was to learn about local history of the 1800’s. As it turns out Gympie is known as the “town that saved Queensland”. James Nash is credited as the first person to discover gold in Gympie. People from all over Australia and the world flocked to Gympie in the 1800’s to find gold. The riches found in Gympie created the beginnings of the town that still exists today.
We gained an insight and understanding about what happened when you were mining and panning for gold and living during that time. Mining is such a dangerous profession and that era saw many people killed trying to find gold. The tools and methods that were used were so hazardous. Even if they broke an arm in those days it was life threatening as antibiotics didn’t exist.
A highlight was walking through one of Australia’s Prime Ministers, Andrew Fisher’s, house who lived in Gympie. His actual house is on the site of the museum. Fisher was a founding member of both the Labor Party in Queensland and of the federal parliamentary Labor Party. He held the House of Representatives seat of Wide Bay from 1901 until 1915.
When Fisher was Prime Minister a number of important projects were undertaken. The Royal Australian Navy was established, the Commonwealth Bank was set up, the Northern Territory of South Australia was transferred to the Commonwealth, the federal capital of Canberra was founded, and the construction of the trans-Australian railway line linking Perth to the other capitals was begun. As well as introducing maternity allowances, Fisher acknowledged the need for greater political equality for women (http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/).
Along the way students visited a one-teacher school, saw a blacksmith in action and saw historical memorabilia from that time. I heard students saying, “Wow, that’s cool. I didn’t know history could be so interesting.” Many Year 5’s would agree it was a highlight of our semester.
Leath Ramsay, Year 5 Teacher