Noosa River Kinaba Centre.
Noosa River Kinaba Centre.

Preserving past at Everglades gateway is a labour of love

THE diversified skills of a lake loving community are hard at work preserving a unique public asset.

Last Sunday morning about 30 of the 'Friends of Kinaba 'group sailed up to the iconic building for a friendly brekkie, general group inspection and before the morning was over at least one volunteer had the tape measure out preparing details for renovation work.

Nearly three years ago, the likeminded Boreen Point neighbours, all owners of watercraft, noticed a marked deterioration in a Noosa River building, known as the Kinaba Info Centre.

Passionately appreciative of the waterways, flora, fauna and heritage, they wasted no time in forming a group that boasted skills from tradies to website builders and engineers. The underpinning philosophy was a belief that the Kinaba Information Centre opened in 1979, was well worth a significant investment of their time and love.

If you're a first time Noosa River cruiser, the sight of the 70s style double story timber building nestled into the natural wilderness at the gateway to the Everglades, comes as somewhat of a surprise. History records that it was built during the years of Queensland's Bjelke-Petersen government. It was originally occupied by National Park Rangers who lived on the premises. But 40 years later; although National Park Rangers kept an eye on the building, it had been unmanned for the past decade and faced becoming decrepitude by desertion.

While a general view from the river would label the centre in good nick, a closer knowledge revealed the roof's solar panels had been stolen and camp fires lit on the deck. Inevitable signs of ageing included rot in certain joints and posts.

In 2011, concerned Boreen Point residents decided it was time to do something. That July, they gathered and formed the 'Friends of Kinaba' a group dedicated to the preservation and meaningful usage of the centre. They see its value as a source of 30 years of history for the Noosa Region and a symbol and practical point of usage/rest place .

"If we were going to do something," Friends of Kinaba member Geoff Welsh said

"The time do it was now, before it was falling to bits."

Their goals include centre operation as a interpretive centre, manned via an ongoing Friends of Kinaba roster.

"We would like to see it re-opened as a info centre to remind people that this is a national park," Rikki Coulson said.

FOK also sees the centre as strategic point for potential emergency situations and flood evacuations.

A member said that it was not unusual for a first time kayaker to be become disorientated in the river.

"Just being able to get them to a place where they can sit and calm down, plays an important part in averting a lot of the panic," he said.

The centre has also been used as a safe haven during flood evacuations.

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