Back in the 1950s, many relics were being sold off for scrap metal. Old buildings were being condemned for demolition. Collector Harry Skennar had a vision – to preserve history for generations to come. He set about creating The Village back in 1973, bringing the first building, Elderslie House, onto the site beside Wild River.
Many more buildings and relics followed. Most of the dwellings met for the first time when they arrived at the Village from around the region during the 1970s.
With the exception of the Tin Pannikin Pub, everything in the village dates from Herberton’s foundation years and almost all the buildings are as they were originally constructed. Regular maintenance keeps them sturdy and secure and in some cases modern lighting, safety grills, screens and steps have been installed for visitors safety.
Beyond this, the buildings and thousands of original items displayed in and around them reflect everyday life in North Queensland as it was from the 1880s onward.
The village owes its existence firstly to Herberton’s pioneers and then to a long list of dedicated residents who followed them. It exists today because of two couples – inspired collector Harry Skennar and his wife Ellen and owners Craig and Connie Kimberley who continue the tradition and restoration with the support of the local community.