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Bowen: Two Up Two to Go .. 2005 Beckons

The journey by car from Main Beach to Bowen is 1400 kms and we spent two days going and two days making our way back. Rockhampton was an especial delight staying at the town's oldest hotel, The Excelsior, on the Quayside. It was a true appetiser for Bowen itself with the latter's sprawling laid back Queensland charm ...and of course more than a score of murals to revisit.

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Everyone was on hand to welcome us led by the Mayor, Michael Brunker, and including Henry and Joyce Young, Helen Hansen, Noel Dundas, Ron Wearne and, not least, matriarch Thelma Jenkins.

First Order of Business: Two new Murals

First order of business was to see the two latest murals as depicted below.

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The first describes the story of the town's port and has Australia's 2001 Centennial stamp of approval. Helen Hansen and Lady Avril stand in front. The second was inspired by a teacher at the local school who fronted up to the visiting Premier of the State with a proposal that one of the town's most distinguished sons should be recognised - not least as a prime mover 40 years ago in the school's establishment. Sir Peter Delamothe rose from town doctor to Member of the Queensland Parliament, into the Cabinet and finally to London as Agent General for Queensland on the Strand. During the 2nd World War he served with the RAAF hence his cap in the mural beneath which Prestoungrange (some time Flying Officer RAF) perched himself for his camera call.

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Sir Peter has the distinction now of being muralised twice. 85 kms to the south west of Bowen in Colinsville he has been commemorated for over a decade, since that was where he did his earliest doctoring. That earlier portrait is also shown below.

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Global Association's Regional Seminar 2005

The second order of business was outline planning for the scheduled Regional Seminar in 2005. Henry and his colleagues will be making their full announcement at the Lindsay Seminar by October 1st 2003 so all can plan their visit which must surely include a short holiday in the area as well.

Bowen is readily accessible by road and rail. Proserpine or Townsville airports can be easily reached from Auckland direct as well as from Sydney and Brisbane. Once arrived Bowenshire's Mayor has promised the warmest of welcomes and is already talking through the Society's business plan. All are agreed that the Seminar should be a share and compare occasion with discussions around given themes such as Commissioning the Artists, Donations rather than Royalties for Reproduction Rights, Strategies for Finding Funding, Economic Impact Assessments, Recruiting 'new' even 'younger' members to Societies, including other Works of Art in the Portfolio promoted, and Encouraging Schools to share in the History and the Painting and more such as at Queen's Beach in Bowen..

Bowen has already had a long life as a Murals town and myriad enquirers from across Australia and New Zealand; so as the Seminar approaches a major marketing effort to reach those contacts has now begun. They have enquired from Margaret River WA, Claremont and Alpha in Queensland, Mendooran in NSW. Throughout the region spectacular successes have been scored at Sheffield Tasmania and Kati Kati in New Zealand. And all this without international visitors from America and Europe.

Watch this space...

The Journey Home ...and the Wild Scotchman

As always, any visit generates surprises ... its a part of the fascination. Before leaving Bowen the new Interpretation Centre gave details of the sinking of The Gothenburg, laden with gold bars, on the reef offshore.

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The coffee stop on Day 1 was at Sarina and revealed five fine murals painted around a central services facility in town, depicting the life of a sugar planter, which is the area's major industry. They appear below. All except the first are signed by Jenni Kirkwood alone; the first also has Donna Wright's signature as well.

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Day 2's coffee stop was at Gin Gin, where we had deliberately resolved to get to the bottom of a motel's story calling itself The Wild Scotsman. And some tale it turned out to be.

James Alpin McPherson he was, and he was Queensland's Ned Kelly, the only bushranger/bushwhacker the State ever seriously sported. Befriended by a judge early in life and an educated individual, he was robbed of his fortune as a drover. So he murdered the thief (an innkeeper) and took to a life of bushwhacking. He killed no others subsequently but robbed extensively, always returning the unfortunate's horse some considerable distance away. Eventually caught at nearby Monduran Cattle Station he was taken to trial and gaol in Sydney but by favour of his earlier acquaintance with the judge concerned received a lenient sentence and returned to Queensland to marry and settle down in Monduran.

To all but the motel he is known as the Wild Scotchman as depicted in the Gin Gin tourism logo below.

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Published Date: April 12th 2003

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