Library exhibition celebrates our civic history

Published on 12 July 2019

Alderman Theodore Kingel from the CQ Collection, Rockhampton Regional Library

The Southside Library today launched an exhibition celebrating 100 years since the regional municipalities consolidated under the Greater Rockhampton scheme.

At the launch of the Greater Rockhampton Scheme Centenary Exhibition, Rockhampton Region Mayor said that the exhibition captures a slice of our fascinating civic history.

“This exhibition traces the evolution of the local Council from 1860 when the first Municipality of Rockhampton was first declared, all the way through to 1919 when the Rockhampton and North Rockhampton regions amalgamated under the Greater Rockhampton scheme,” said Mayor Strelow.

“While at first glance this might seem like a straightforward journey, a deeper look reveals that it was one filled with arguments, controversies, and dramatic events.

“For example, this exhibition contains the story of Mr Coker, the first Town Clerk for the North Rockhampton Borough Council, who was arrested in 1890 after it was found he had been misappropriating funds for the previous four years.

“It also highlights some particularly heated Borough meetings, including one in 1885 that police were called to.

“As well exploring these local stories, the exhibition demonstrates how outside factors – from the state government to forces of nature – shaped the evolution of our region.  

“For example, the state government proposed an amalgamation of Rockhampton, North Rockhampton, Fitzroy, and Livingstone as early as 1916.

“However, it wasn’t until North Rockhampton and Rockhampton City were both struggling with the need for a good water supply – particularly after the great flood of 1918 - that the regions voted in favour of the Greater Rockhampton scheme in 1919.

“While the Rockhampton Regional Council has certainly continued to evolve in the years since 1919, it is incredibly interesting to look back at the origins of our local government.

“The exhibition will run until Thursday 8 August, and I would like to invite everyone in the region to come along and explore this slice of our history.

“If the exhibition inspires you to look back on your own family history in this area, I would love to remind everyone that the Rockhampton History Centre is always open to donations of paper items of significance – such as photos with details, business records, and old house deeds.

“All of these items help us to form a fuller understanding of our region’s past.”

The Greater Rockhampton Scheme Centenary Exhibition is open during the Library’s normal opening hours and will run until Thursday 8 August.

Please contact the Rockhampton History Centre on 4936 8040 if you are interested in donating old photos, film, or paper materials to the Central Queensland Collection.