Museums & Galleries Qld

Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group wins 2012 Gallery and Museum Achievement Award

Posted on: 28 November 2012

This week we have been bringing you the stories on each of the Winners and Special Commendation recipients of the 2012 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) in five categories.

Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) proudly announced the recipients of the 2012 GAMAA at a special event hosted by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture, on Saturday 17 November. Guest presenter, Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts congratulated this year’s recipients and presented the winners with a specially-commissioned trophy created by Queensland artist, Donna Marcus.

In this second article, we announce the GAMAA Winner of the category, ‘Organisations: Staff of Under 5’:

WINNER – Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group for their project, Strong Women Shadow Boxes.

This category was generously sponsored by Brandi Projects. The Winner receives goods/services to the value of $1,000.


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The Strong Women Shadow Boxes project engaged nineteen Indigenous women elders and young women from Cherbourg – an Aboriginal community in South East Queensland – in diverse story-sharing processes that remembered women in their lives who had given them strength and encouragement.

The aim of the project was to strengthen Indigenous women’s networks and to support women’s cultural traditions in Cherbourg. A major outcome was the passing on of the Cherbourg stories of events, of friendship, support, struggle and courage from women elders to the young women. This was in the form of reviving the yarning circle tradition, with Facilitators Carol Low and Katina Leedie bringing the generations together. Guided and supported by a collaborative team, the process was a deeply emotional one for participants as they recalled times of loss and hardship as well as those of hope and encouragement.

Each of the women then created a memory box with photos, objects and archival material that told their stories. Items in the boxes included images and objects of everyday life, such as trinkets from a grandmother’s dressing table, archival photos of old Cherbourg, fishing gear to conjure up fishing trips with a best friend, a poem inspired by someone’s mother, a ceramic owl to represent their totem, as well as original artwork.

The workshops concluded with a ceremony to plant a bunya tree as a symbol of hope and strength for all women around the world.

The nineteen shadow boxes, accompanied by the participants’ photos and words describing their story, were displayed in an exhibition curated by Carol Low and designed by Peter Trail at the Ration Shed Museum, Cherbourg. An 8-minute film produced by Robyn Hofmeyr documented the journeys of the workshop participants and provided a moving experience for viewers as part of the exhibition.

For some of the young women participating in the project, it was the first time that they had been so actively engaged with the Cherbourg Historical Precinct. They valued hearing the stories of the elders and deepening their relationships with them, and learning of the history of Cherbourg. For the women elders, the project fulfilled a need to share the stories of Cherbourg with the younger women in their community.

The Strong Women Shadow Boxes project involved high levels of community engagement not only in informing the exhibition’s content and thematic treatment, but in production of the exhibition itself. The local Yiddings Artists, Robert Langton and Venus Rabbitt, played a crucial developmental role in working with the participants to progress their ideas for, and execution of their boxes.


The 2012 GAMAA was presented by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. This prestigious annual event is designed to celebrate the outstanding achievements, professional excellence and innovation of Queensland’s museums and galleries. The Awards recognise the valuable contribution our State’s museums and galleries make to enriching their local and wider communities, and honour the extraordinary commitment and talents of paid professionals and volunteers working in the industry.

For a full list of winners and photos of the event, and to see what the GAMAA Judges said, go to the M&GSQ website at

The 2012 GAMAA were proudly sponsored by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Brian Tucker Accountant, Brandi Projects, Archival Survival, Regional Galleries Association of Queensland and Museums Australia Queensland.


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Museums & Galleries Queensland

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Phone: 07 3059 9740

Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Museums & Galleries Queensland promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. We strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.

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