180 items mark 180 years

Queanbeyan is one of the oldest regional townships in the country. It was officially proclaimed a village on September 28, 1838, a decade after the first settler called it home. A full 75 years before Canberra was conceived by politicians.

Front page of The Queanbeyan Age newspaper on 7 July 1972, announcing the townships new status as a city. The photos show Queanbeyan in the 1800s and the 1970s.

Front page of The Queanbeyan Age newspaper on 7 July 1972, announcing the townships new status as a city. The photos show Queanbeyan in the 1800s and the 1970s.

To mark this milestone, 180 historically significant and little-seen objects will be displayed throughout the city at various venues and businesses including The Q Performing Arts Centre, the Library, the Queanbeyan Sporting Gallery, the local Museums, and the Royal Hotel, a local institution there almost from the beginning.

These are just two of the rare and unusual items to form part of a unique local exhibition. Set to be staged from September 28 until October 14, it’s a tangible celebration and will encompass a number sourced from private collections as well as some nominated and voted for by the public; and a selection will even be available for closer inspection and monitored handling.

According to one of the organisers, author and social historian, Nichole Overall, each memento is a window onto the development of the region, from the pre-European history, to the instigation of a town with a population of less than 50, Queanbeyan’s significant role in the establishment of Canberra, and its more recent incarnation as cosmopolitan centre.

“Many know us thanks to our impressive list of champions including international names such as rugby legend David Campese, acclaimed author Miles Franklin, and one-time Bond, George Lazenby, who grew up here,” she said.

Items range from the armour worn by Mick Jagger in Ned Kelly (1970) to the racquet used by Heather McKay during her unbeaten 19-year domination of the squash court.

Items range from the armour worn by Mick Jagger in Ned Kelly (1970) to the racquet used by Heather McKay during her unbeaten 19-year domination of the squash court.

“Our story though is even more rich and varied with extraordinary and far-reaching successes in everything from business and industry to cultural pursuits and the arts.

“This exhibition is another chance for us to present some of these amazing stories, people, and events in an engaging and interactive way, highlighting our journey which, to a degree, also charts the progress of a nation.”

Other rarely seen items will include the first gravestone erected in the town, the silver cup presented to the first international sports star in 1897, and wedding dresses belonging to early families of the area.

“While it’s taken a great deal of organising, local businesses, organisations, and individuals have all come together to help support this initiative, proving once again the strength of our community spirit and our civic pride,” Mrs Overall said.

The official launch of 180 Mementos, 180 Years will be on the evening of Thursday September 27 at The Q. For further details, email qbn@qbncityofchampions.com.au or see:

  • 180Mementos.wixsite.com/qtown