It was such a pleasure to be invited to represent the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) at the launch of Storybank, a re-purposed heritage listed bank building, which has been transformed into an exciting museum in Maryborough, Queensland. What a fantastic project. The building itself is a beautiful example of the architecture of prominent Queensland architect F.D.G. Stanley and demands a visit if you find yourself up that way.
ILF board member and Butchulla elder, Uncle Glen Miller spoke powerfully at the launch about the history of the Butchulla people in the Fraser Coast region and the power of story to bring two cultures together.
The launch took place in a room dedicated to ‘The Legends of Moonie Jarl’, by Wilf Reeves and Olga Miller. ‘Moonie Jarl’ was first published over 50 years ago, and is considered to be the first Indigenous picture book ever published. The stories provide important records of the legends and tales of the Butchulla people in the Fraser Coast region. They have been given new life by ILF’s publishing this recent edition.
The rest of the museum is dedicated to the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, who was actually born in the building. Travers’ family lived upstairs, while her father worked downstairs in the bank.
The two stories - Mary Poppins and The Legends of Moonie Jarl - have more in common than geography. Travers was always fascinated by myths as a source of wisdom, and the stories of the Butchulla people, as recorded in The Legends of Moonie Jarl speak directly to this fascination.
P.L. Travers wrote:
“No culture can satisfactorily move along its course without its myths, which are its teachings, its fundamental dealing with the truth of things, and the one reality that underlies everything.”.
Storybank is a lovely place, a source of wonder for everyone, young and old. Hearty congratulations to Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and his team for making it happen.