The Moreton Bay History Seminar was held at North lakes Community Centre on 11th May 2017 as part of the National Trust sponsored Australian Heritage Festival. A number of Abbey Museum staff and volunteers attended and were especially keen to hear the second speaker, Dr Geoff Ginn, who spoke about the history of the Abbey Museum and its founder J.S.M Ward.
The morning consisted of three speakers on very diverse subjects – but all related in one way or another to the local region.
The first speaker, Dr Regina Ganter, professor of Australian History at Griffith University, spoke of the missions at Zion Hill and Stradbroke Island. Her talk examined the social experiment that these missions represented and why they both failed to achieve the results that were initially expected of them. In discussing the difficulties encountered by the missionaries, Dr Ganter touched on the expectations placed on them by their home societies, as well as local issues which affected their efforts.
Dr Geoffrey Ginn, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Queensland, was the second speaker. His talk was an explanation of the background leading to the establishment of the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology in the ‘bush’ at Caboolture. Dr Ginn focused his talk on the founder of the Abbey Folk Park in north London in the 1930s, Rev. J. S. M. Ward, a historian and religious visionary. Having published a biography of Rev Ward, detailing his interest in collecting items of historical interest, his vision and philosophy, Dr Ginn was able to explain an incredible and complex man. Ward has left a legacy which now forms the basis of the collections at the Abbey Museum and is also an integral part of the Moreton Bay Region.
The final speaker for the morning was Mr David Jones, a local marine historian and author. His subject, shipwrecks of Moreton Bay, was fascinating and his passion for the subject was obvious. Accompanied by appropriate illustrations he not only discussed each shipwreck but also explained how and why they occurred. Many of the issues which led to a ship foundering were matters which had been noted by Matthew Flinders in his voyages of discovery around the area.
The seminar was well attended and greatly appreciated. Council are hoping to make this an annual event – so keep an eye out!