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BCA News: Fall 2017

The Herberton Spy and Camera Museum

The Herberton Spy and Camera Museum located in far north Queensland (known by most Australians as ‘FNQ’) is about 1½ hour drive inland from Cairns. This country town is very small and, except for the large sign on the building, you could be forgiven for walking past and pay little attention to what’s behind the doors. But as we discovered, you would miss an experience that is special and unique.

On a recent and rare purely holiday adventure, Danielle Edwards and Gale Spring found themselves in Cairns, Queensland, one of gateways to the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. While in Cairns, we heard about the museum in Herberton and, like the Burma Shave signs of old in the US, discovered various small hand-made signs announcing the museum. After arriving in Herberton, we had second thoughts about going into the museum, but after about an hour talking to the proprietor, we were glad we did.

Gale Spring and Michael Peterson, proprietor of the Herberton Spy and Camera Museum

Michael Petersen is the proprietor, curator, guide, storyteller and commercial and wedding photographer. He is also a local Queenslander and is proud and knowledgeable about the region. The museum was originally established in 2000 by Roy Jaques, an ex-special forces operative who was very interested in spy cameras. In 2006, Michael visited the museum and discovered Roy wanted to retire. Michael also had a passion for old camera equipment and had a desire to ensure this unique museum would continue after Roy’s retirement. He purchased the museum and its contents and recorded the many stories Roy told about spies and spy cameras.

Michael’s passion and enthusiasm is apparent as he directs you through the museum giving the history on each distinctive piece. There are real gems in this museum that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. He admits it’s hard to be a one-man operation. The day we visited he had to close early to travel to Cairns to do a commercial shoot.

It’s nice to discover little gems in out-of-the-way places but if you can’t make it to the museum, you can visit their website.

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