The James Cook Museum in Cooktown is in need of urgent roof repairs to ensure historical artefacts contained in the museum are not destroyed.
The former convent, now owned and operated by the National Trust of Australia (Queensland), is one of Cooktown’s major attractions.
The museum houses an extensive collection of local Guugu Yimithiir artefacts, along with an original anchor and canon from HMB Endeavour and a model of the ship that dates to the early twentieth century.
The museum also celebrates the history of the convent and the nuns and children who lived there until the 1940’s and displays telling the stories of the Chinese immigrants and the Gold Rush era in the Far North.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he was shocked to learn during a recent visit to Cooktown aspects of the historically significant museum had fallen into disrepair.
“Unfortunately, in recent years the original convent building that houses James Cook Museum has needed repairs to the roof and rainwater infrastructure,” Mr Entsch said.
“The ongoing leaks have led to some damage in the attic and the property needs significant upgrades to ensure its watertight.
“This will ensure the fascinating artefacts contained in the museum are not put further at risk.
“Thankfully, the museum’s dedicated team have been working to ensure the collection items are well looked after but unfortunately the scope of repairs is now significant.”
Mr Entsch said he was investigating funding avenues to ensure the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) could undertake the necessary and urgent repairs.
“We can’t sit by and watch this magnificent and historical building fall further into disrepair,” he said.
“The history contained in the building is simply amazing. It is our shared history.
“However, with all that has occurred over the past 18 months, it has not been possible for National Trust of Australia (Queensland) to complete these now urgent repairs.
“This is because the organisation is a not-for-profit-charity that survives based on donations, memberships and the proceeds of the Cururmbin Wildlife Sanctuary.”