Broadford Historical Society's Broadford State School display from last year was awarded Mitchell Shire Council's Community Event of the Year.

BROADFORD Historical Society has won back-to-back Community Event of the Year awards for its display on the history of Broadford State School on Australia Day last year.

The display collated photographs and other historical documents from the school’s history, with 102-year-old former student Jill Schneider supplying her old school pictures.

The society also opened up the Courier office, Old Broadford Jail, pioneer cottage, outdoor pavilion and APM Mill digester were also opened for the day.

Group president Rod McKenzie said the state school display had built on the success of a display about the Broadford Paper Mill the previous year.

“It’s a big thrill [to win Community Event of the Year] after winning it last year. It’s terrific to win it for the second year in a row,” he said.

“The past few years we thought we’d have a theme for our displays. We’ve had local sporting teams, the paper mill and we thought we should do one on the school because there would be a lot of photographs and other material around.”

Mr McKenzie said many former teachers and students from the school attended.

“With a lot of the [photographs] from the past 40 or 50 years, people spent a lot of time reminiscing and looking at them, talking about how people had changed and what things were like back then,” he said.

“It’s a way of encouraging people who haven’t been back to the town in quite a while to come back and reconnect with friends.

“The whole thing is about starting conversations and building connections, and it worked very well on that basis. People seemed to enjoy it, and then they went and had a look through our other buildings.”

Mr McKenzie said the group’s ability to prepare for today’s Australia Day exhibition had been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had hoped to do a presentation on the Courier office because it’s the 130th anniversary, but because it still needs some work done on it, we thought we would go for Broadford then and now,” he said.

“We’ve got some photos and accounts from the past and what it looks like now. We’ve got some photos of the same place sometimes separated by 120 years, so it’s interesting to show that.

“We’re hoping we can still honour the history of the paper and its connection to local families in October when it’s history week, or on Australia Day next year.”