Palmerin St looking south, one in a collection of old   photos.
Palmerin St looking south, one in a collection of old photos. Contributed

Celebrate our region's history

A LOVE of history is what has driven Janice Flood to bring back the Southern Downs Heritage Festival for a second year.

Being held from April 21-30, the festival celebrates the region's history as part of the National Trust Queensland Heritage Festival, which this year celebrates the theme of Having a Voice.

As festival co-ordinator, Mrs Flood said more than 38 events were scheduled for the event.

"We've had a lot of interest from visitors already and we're just in the process of getting our flyers and more information out there," she said.

"We had our first meeting for 2017 on January 16 and we have more than 20 different community groups and businesses.

"It's really interesting to see community groups come together to help and we are very fortunate to have so many people involved and enthusiastic for the second festival.

"I have heard Abbey of the Roses in Warwick is already booked out, while the Allora Autumn Festival at the very end of our festival was packed out last year.

"We have high hopes because there's already a lot of interest and I'm amazed by how much has spread by word of mouth."

Mrs Flood said Southern Downs Regional Council had given about $495 through the Community Funding program to the Heritage Festival Committee to print event flyers, which would soon be delivered to the region's visitor information centres.

The former president of the Warwick and District Historical Society said the Southern Downs was an ideal location to host the festival, as the region had such a diverse heritage that encompassed agriculture, mining and the timber industry.

"It's our heritage and knowing that history, knowing what we've been through in the past, gives us a resilience as a community in the present," Mrs Flood said.

"Warwick was the first free settlement in Queensland, Killarney was renowned for its timber as well as the rich, fertile fields, and the district of Glengallan and Allora were known as the food basket of the region.

"The Leyburn-Karara-Stanthorpe area has a history of mining - tin and gold were found in this region.

"Sheep bred in the traprock country are still renowned for their fleeces and Glengallan Homestead was once a world-class breeder of merino sheep.

"The earliest winery was set up in 1939 and still produces wines that are sold all over the world, and the soldier settlements of Stanthorpe were the beginning of the establishment of orchards and market gardens.

"The more people that know about it the better from my perspective, because I would hate to see any more of the heritage buildings in the district get knocked down."

With the events just around the corner, MrsFlood said the committee was hopeful for a successful event, given the attention it was getting from the community and visitors alike.

"The visitor information centres are already getting a lot of people asking about it," she said.

"The National Trust has been watching what we're doing with a lot of interest and I've helped everyone lodge their events with the National Trust website.

"So people can take a look at the National Trust Heritage website and go into our website and then see what each little event is.

"Otherwise, people can follow along on our Southern Downs Heritage Festival Facebook page."

The second Southern Downs Heritage Festival will run from April 21-30.

For more information about the event, phone Janice on 0407431628.

Groups or businesses interested in being involved are welcome to email southerndowns

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