23 November, 2022
Help keep temple history alive
A HISTORICAL Atherton museum that contains priceless artefacts of an early Chinese settlement is in danger of closing for good due to a debilitating lack of volunteers.
The Hou Wang Chinese Temple and Museum was built on the grounds the Cedar Camp Chinese settlement, established by Palmer River gold miners.
A 110-year-old temple is the only remaining original building from the settlement and it houses many of the museum’s priceless artefacts.
In the early 2000s, National Trust Queensland took over the temple and decided to build a museum dedicated to the original settlement and open it up to tours.
With only four volunteers working at the museum, its hours have been cut and the temple no longer opens on Saturdays – taking away vital weekend trade.
The centre needs approximately double the number of volunteers it has now to operate properly.
“We had a lot of families come through on the weekend so it is a shame but we are stretched very thin,” site coordinator Chris Neibling said.
“If we are not able to get volunteers we would just have to close.
“We just need people who are happy to show other people through the temple and through the grounds and have a bit of an interest in local history.”
Many of the current volunteers are working double shifts to keep the museum open and give visitors a great experience when visiting the temple.
Mr Neibling would like to give his hard-working volunteers a break and is asking for anyone interested to attend to their upcoming volunteer open day and sign up.
“We have got a couple of volunteers here that have been here since the very beginning, over 20 years and some are pulling double shifts at the moment,” he said.
“They have put a tremendous amount of effort in some are at the temple three times a week volunteering and I would like to give them a break.”
The volunteer open day is this Friday, 25 November and people are invited to come along for a free tour of the museum, enjoy some light refreshments and learn about volunteering at the temple.
If you would like to sign up on the day, there will be sheet provided to fill in, otherwise you can contact the temple on 4091 6945 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org