Queensland Places - Thursday Island 50th Jubilee Celebrations (1927)

Thursday Island’s 50th Jubilee celebrations, taking place in 1927, were a significant milestone in the island’s history and was celebrated by a series of events and activities attended by community members and visitors from near and far.

The main events celebrating the 50th anniversary were held on Saturday 18 September 1927 and included a large procession highlighting the island’s community groups, industries and businesses.  The day was declared a public holiday, with a large sports day as well as a range of individual church and other activities being held.

One of these celebratory events was held by the local branch of the Royal Geographical Society in the Thursday Island Town Hall.  A large number of people attended including many who had been residents of Thursday Island for more than fifty years.  Prominent on the main platform at this event were the Mayor, Alderman Corran, Mr. Broadbent, the local president of the society and Dr. Thomson, a visitor who gave the main address.  A leading church figure, the Reverend McFarlane also took on a prominent role in proceedings, reviewing the progress that had taken place on the island since Mr. H.M. Chester, as the police magistrate, had opened Thursday Island as a settlement and harbour in September 1877.  There was rapid growth in these early years, for instance by 1883, only some six years after the Queensland government had established Thursday Island as an administrative centre, more than two hundred pearling vessels were operating in the area.

A range of historic objects and memorabilia relating to the island were also on display in the Town Hall and a motion was put that these form the basis of a collection and that a museum be established to keep and record the island’s history.

One of the highlights of the evening was a telegram from the Governor of Queensland, Sir John Goodwin, expressing his congratulations on this important Thursday Island milestone as well as indicating a desire to visit personally as soon as possible.

This photograph records the main Jubilee procession and clearly demonstrates how important this event was to the Thursday Island community of 1927.

Brian Randall - Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

 

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