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.

Roy Emerson attended Nukku State School during his early education. Photo contributed by Blackbutt and District Tourism Heritage Association.

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.

BDTHA members Hazel Christie-Small, Iris Crumpton (2015 Vice President), Noeleen Bird (2015 Secretary) and Evelyn Feige view the Roy Emerson display at Nukku Nook, Blackbutt. Photo: BDTHA featured in the South Burnett News.

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.

Phillip Morris representative James R. Fawke meets Carole Graebner, American representative in the Women's Federation Cup Competition, Maureen Brinker, and Australia's Roy Emerson at Mareeba airport for a sporting promotion with TGT Pty Ltd in Mareeba. Contributor: Tablelands Regional Library Service, State Library of Queensland. Image in copyright.

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.

Artist and sculptor with the life-size clay model of Roy Emerson. Photo: BDTHA, 2016.

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”.

Tennis great Roy Emerson immortalised as part of the redevelopment of the Roy Emerson Museum in Blackbutt. Photo by BDTHA, 2016.

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.

The Museum is open daily. Follow our progress on Facebook or contact members by email.

Noeleen Bird, Roy Emerson Museum and Blackbutt and District Tourism and Heritage Association.

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