Moreton Bay’s colourful past

General news0
Lazaret Peel Island
Lazaret – Peel Island – Moreton Bay

Museum of Brisbane’s new exhibition The many lives of Moreton Bay will open tomorrow, unearthing untold stories of the epic Bay and showcasing newly discovered artefacts.

The monumental exhibition will centre around Bribie, Moreton, North Stradbroke, Peel and St Helena Islands and will include insights into the region from traditional owners the Quandamooka people, a General Manager at Port of Brisbane, a lighthouse keeper family and a resort owner, to name a few.

Situated 45 kilometres from Brisbane, Moreton Bay was once a haven for its traditional owners and became a microcosm of colonialism within just a few years of European settlement in 1824.

In the decades that followed, the region housed a prison, leper colony, whaling station and benevolent asylum. Today, the Bay is a hub of tourism and recreation, an important centre of industry and place of conservation and environmental research.

The many lives of Moreton Bay will showcase the ever-changing region and its intriguing past through a contemporary mix of social history, visual arts and multimedia, including an interactive map, video interviews, archival footage and a gallery of paintings.

The exhibition will include the amazing find of an 1878 painting, generously donated to Museum of Brisbane by Trisha Anderson. Created by a convict on St Helena Island, the painting is currently changing many assumptions about the former prison. Works by acclaimed artists such as Ian Fairweather and Ralph Wilson will also be presented.

Museum of Brisbane Director Peter Denham said as Moreton Bay had undergone endless transformations it was important to draw out its many lives and weave them together to give a balanced history.

“Very few people know the extent of the rich and diverse history of the Bay – it is not just a holiday destination or wilderness retreat, but a place of great historical significance to Brisbane,” Mr Denham said.

“In The many lives of Moreton Bay we cover all bases; we delve into topics such as Indigenous history, conservation, mining, recreation and more; and of course we look at the lives of those who endured, survived and thrived there.

“It is an incredibly powerful exhibition and I hope that it encourages people to get out to the Bay and make their own discoveries.”

The many lives of Moreton Bay will run until 12 October 2014, visit the museum website for more information.

Museum of Brisbane is open daily from 10am to 5pm on Level 3 of Brisbane City Hall. Free entry

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