The Cherbourg Ration Shed Museum‘s Reconciliation Fun Run attracted a record number of participants on May 21 this year and earned plenty of praise from event sponsors and community leaders.
Among the high profile supporters was champion marathon runner Robert ‘Deek’ de Castella, who now heads up the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.
The Foundation advocates for marathon running as a way to promote healthy lifestyles to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and it certainly lived up to this vision in Cherbourg.
The overall winner of the 2017 Reconciliation Fun Run was Deek protégé Orlyn Fisher, who shared the limelight with Hervey Bay triathlete Brandi Alberts, the first female to cross the finishing line.
After a blessing by Cherbourg pastor Willie Moses and a light warm-up routine from Deek, the race started in light fog at the Murgon Showgrounds about 8am.
For a full report on the event, including the other prize winners and more photos, see this story by the The South Burnett Times. There is also a great write up with photos on the Ration Shed Museum’s website.
About Cherbourg and the Ration Shed Museum
Cherbourg is an Aboriginal community in South East Queensland. It was established by Salvation Army member William Thompson in 1899 and was taken over as a Government Settlement in 1904.
Under the “Aboriginal Protection Act” tribes from all over Queensland and New South Wales were moved to the settlement.
On the settlement, the government administration controlled almost every aspect of Aboriginal peoples’ lives; the language they spoke, what they ate, what they wore, where they went, for whom they worked and, in some cases, whom they would marry.
Aboriginal people, removed to Cherbourg were either placed in dormitories or lived in camps. Large numbers of boys and girls, men and women were brought up away from families in the dormitories. Anyone breaking the strict laws were severely punished – locked up in jail or sent away to other reserves like Palm Island and Woorabinda.
Tea, sugar, rice, salt, sago, tapioca, split peas, porridge, flour and meat, were given out in small amounts as rations from a shed at the Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement. Today that same shed has been restored and is now called the Ration Shed Museum. It is a standing memorial to those days.
In 1991 the first independent Cherbourg Council was elected and today Cherbourg is a vibrant community with its own culture and identity with approximately 2000 Aboriginal residents.
The Ration Shed Museum has a vibrant education program in place for schools and visitors. opening hours are from 9am-4pm – Monday until Thursday. Friday 9am- 1pm. Bookings for weekends can only be made for large groups and will incur a extra fee.
For more information about how to organise a tour or group booking, visit the Ration Shed website or call (07) 4169 5753.