HISTORIC artefacts from Cairns’ original Chinese temple will get a new lease on life thanks to funding from the Federal Government’s Community Heritage Grants Program, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch announced today.
“The Cairns and District Chinese Association Inc (CADCAI) will receive $13,630 to carry out conservation treatment on the Lit Sung Goong (Temple) furniture,” Mr Entsch said.
“This is great news for CADCAI, an organisation which is very active in our community promoting and preserving our Chinese heritage, and I congratulate them on their success.”
The Chinese Temple in Cairns, known as Lit Sung Goong, was opened in 1877 in what was then called Sachs St (now Grafton St) by settlers from the Zhongshan district of Guangdong.
The temple was a significant cultural site as it was a meeting place and the focal point of Chinese community life in Cairns well into the 1920s.
“Unfortunately a series of events – including a fire and cyclone that destroyed the front of the temple, dwindling attendance and a debt resulting from overdue City Council rates – forced the sale of the site in the 1960s,” Mr Entsch said.
Luckily the internal fixtures and the entire collection of temple artefacts were salvaged and today, members of CADCAI are custodians of this important collection.
“It’s their goal to establish a Chinese cultural facility in Cairns to re-house, preserve and showcase the collection for present and future generations.
“I’m glad that this funding will help CADCAI to maintain the integrity of these objects of national significance in our local community.”
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts, said the Turnbull Government was pleased to provide $415,000 in grants for the program in 2016-17, to support 77 projects across Australia.
“This program helps community organisations to preserve and ensure access to locally-held, nationally-important cultural heritage collections across Australia,” said Minister Fifield.
The Community Heritage Grants Program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations to preserve and display objects of national significance.
The program is supported by the Department of Communications and the Arts with four of Australia’s cultural institutions: the National Library of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.
Since the Community Heritage Grants Program began in 1994, the Australian Government has provided more than $6 million for over 1200 projects.
For more information about the program visit: www.nla.gov.au/awards-and-grants/chg