How the Roy Emerson Museum came about
Guest blog: Blackbutt & District Tourism and Heritage Association
In 2011 the Blackbutt and District Tourism and Heritage Association (BDTHA) was gifted the original Nukku State School.
The building is now dedicated the Roy Emerson Museum.
With substantial help from the company Stanwell, and its Tarong Community Partnership Program, the building was relocated to the Rail Head at Blackbutt only a few miles from where it originally stood. The committee renovated the building thanks to financial assistance from community groups and additional fundraising. Events included the Nukku School Reunion; From Train Track to Walking Track -100 Years of Rail; displays and other events to coincide with the Bloomin Beautiful Blackbutt Festival held in September each year.
The building now houses photos and articles relating to the history of Blackbutt, Benarkin, Taromeo, Googa Creek, Gilla and Nukku. The story boards describe the history of rail, timber, the Nukku State School and stories connected to the Australian tennis player, Roy Emerson. Roy completed all of his primary school education at the Nukku State School.
Roy Emerson won 12 single Grand Slam titles and 16 double Grand Slam titles. He was a key player in many successful Davis Cup wins for Australia in the 1960’s. When Roy and his wife Joy attended a “Back to Blackbutt” luncheon in January 2015, former Mayor of South Burnett Regional Council, Wayne Kratzmann spoke of Roy’s achievements and pledged $2000 towards a bronze statue.
The life-sized bronze statue is situated near the Roy Emerson Museum. The Association is proud of its connection to Roy Emerson and proudly shares stories of his early days growing up in the Queensland bush as well as showcasing his stellar career. It was unveiled on the occasion of Roy’s 80th birthday.
It became the association's focus to actualise the project. Hours trolling through archives, video footage, organising functions, phone calls, contacting the media, asking for help and organising a petition to have part of the D’Aguilar Highway renamed the “Roy Emerson Way”.
Recognition of Roy revived interest in the game of tennis in the community with the re-establishment of the Blackbutt Tennis Club (which began in the 1930s) after a closure of 8 years.
The statue, museum and courts provide locals and visitors an insight into the story of our small town in South East Queensland.
Noeleen Bird, Roy Emerson Museum and Blackbutt and District Tourism and Heritage Association.