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Historic photos wanted for Picture Bundaberg

Man in a goat-drawn cart ca1925 form the Picture Bundaberg files.
Man in a goat-drawn cart c1925 form the Picture Bundaberg files.

Bundaberg Regional Libraries is calling on people to submit historic pictures of the region to be included in the Picture Bundaberg archives.

Library and technical services coordinator Estelle Quinlan said Picture Bundaberg is a pictorial record of the Bundaberg Region's history.

It's made up of many photographs contributed by residents and now it's time to update the system.

“Many old photographs often sit in shoe boxes or drawers, looked at once and then left,” Estelle said.

“Few people think that their local photographs are of importance to anyone else.

“The next generation is going to be curious about the last few decades and images from recent events are as important as images from 200 years ago.”

Estelle said Picture Bundaberg began in 2009 to collect, scan, digitize and preserve the visual history of Bundaberg and district.

“Picture Bundaberg aims to preserve Bundaberg and district's visual history for current and future generations, and to ensure easy and perpetual access to this record,” she said.

“Currently there are 6732 images in the system.”

The drunken grouper was captured on the banks of Saltwater Creek in 1936.
The drunken grouper was captured on the banks of Saltwater Creek in 1936.

Interesting and unique images in Picture Bundaberg

Out of those photos, Estelle said the most popular and unique included an image of a drunken grouper on the banks of Saltwater Creek after the distillery fire in 1936.

“The Rum Distillery Bond Store at East Bundaberg was struck by lightning and caught on fire on November 21 of that year,” she said.

“The fire destroyed most of the building and it was three years before production resumed.

Picture Bundaberg: The Olympic Pool diving board.
The Olympic Pool diving board.

“Local stories tell of dead and drunken fish laying on the water surface and riverbanks when the rum flowed into Saltwater Creek.”

Another popular photo, according to Estelle, is that of the diving board at the Olympic Pool in Bundaberg.

“The Olympic Pool opened in 1956, the site was formerly the Memorial Baths which were established by the RSL in 1923 and sold in 1939 to the City Council,” she said.

“This image tends to bring back memories for those people who loved to test their fear of heights, many exclaiming that the diving board seemed much higher when they were children”

Earliest photos in collection

Estelle said some of the earliest images in the Picture Bundaberg collection were from 1870 and included a photo of Adams Hotel and flooding in Bundaberg.

“The Adams Hotel was located on the south-eastern corner of Bourbong and Barolin Streets, Bundaberg, and was later known as the Metropolitan Hotel,” she said.

“The photo of the flood in Bundaberg was taken in 1872 and focuses on Barolin Street looking north to Burnett River.”

Barolin Street looking to Burnett River during flooding in 1872.
Barolin Street looking north to the Burnett River during flooding in 1872.

How to submit your photos

Estelle said library staff were hoping to receive many more interesting and unique images from the public to include in the Picture Bundaberg collection.

She said photos that showed some aspect of Bundaberg's history, including buildings, landmarks, events, people, landscapes, natural disasters, social history and more, were all wanted.

“Formats such as printed photos, slides and negatives are all able to be included,” she said.

“As the source material is required for scanning, please contact the Library, or drop the images to the Picture Bundaberg coordinator at Bundaberg Library.

“Images are only required for a short time for digitization and are returned in full.”

Estelle said while information about the pictures would be ideal, it's not necessary.

“Ideally a description of the image and dates are required, but unfortunately many older items are not dated,” she said.

“It does not matter if details are scant, the images are still important.”

Estelle said Picture Bundaberg was accessible digitally to all members of the public.

Just click here to start your search.

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