In a Pioneer Museum in Queensland this week I saw a number of objects that are relics of Australia’s past. There was the original Dalby lockup, and a cottage with a backyard toilet, an old boxy TV with a remote connected by a power cord, and bones of local dinosaurs. There was also a collection which would normally do nothing for me: one of Australia’s largest gatherings of old agricultural machinery. But wandering through the open sheds, expecting nothing, I found something. The old beauties in the photos below are really my scene. I would have loved a ride in any of them. Well, almost any. There was this jazzy yellow Ford truck:
A 1957 Chevrolet fire engine:
A train whose chugging days are over:
And weirder than all of the retired vehicles on display, and one I don’t want a ride in, is this Chandler hearse, one of only two left in the world. I can’t say for sure there was no one in that box:
I was in Dalby to speak to someone in the historical society, hoping to find a few relics from my family tree… On a map, Dalby appears as the centre of a spidery star with numerous roads radiating out from it. Or is it that all roads in the region lead to Dalby? This town is the centre of a great farming region, the Darling Downs. The cultivated landscape is hill-free, tree-free, flat as if it’s been levelled, nothing but rolling plains of cereal and vegetable garden either side of the road. A few cows and sheep congregate under trees, when there are trees. Dalby was proclaimed a township in 1853, though my pioneering relatives were there a decade earlier, squatting on land, claiming it as their own. It’s all been divided up and sold off now, but it’s inspiring to know I had self-starters in my family.
Thanks to the retirees who run the Pioneer Park Museum and historical society, who care for our relics, for without them we wouldn’t know about the stages in our development, we wouldn’t understand the progress we’ve made and are making every time we try to do something that’s never been done before, like our pioneers.
See hundreds of relics on the WordPress photo challenge.