Great Historical speeches celebrated at Cobb+Co Museum

03 August 2015

Local historian Peter Cullen is keeping up the tradition of Toowoomba’s great orators by delivering his own speech at Cobb+Co Museum’s next Curator Conversation series of talks on Wednesday 5 August at 2pm.

In Toowoomba’s early history, going to a public speech was a huge social event says Peter.

“It was an evening’s entertainment and people expected a show – anything less than half an hour and the crowd would not have been happy,” he said.

“As a result Toowoomba has fostered some impressive speakers including Irene Longman,  the first woman elected to Queensland Parliament, Queensland’s first governor Sir George Bowen, squatter Robert Ramsay, and suffragist Emma Miller, whose memorial in Queens Park marks the site of her impassioned speech.

“We have records of many of the speeches because they were often reported in full in the newspapers,” explains Peter, who will be sharing excerpts from these speeches during his talk at Cobb+Co Museum.

“They would have written their own speeches but much of it would have been delivered off the cuff and with such passion – it was a real skill,” he said.

“Of all the people I will be talking about, I actually heard Jack Duggan speak – he was a local member and mayor of Toowoomba for a short time, and my goodness he could speak.

“I would have loved to have heard Toowoomba’s first mayor, William Henry Groom, give one of his famous speeches. He may not have been the best orator of his time, but he kept to the point and never gave up, which gave his words incredible power”.

Curator Conversation: Toowoomba’s Great Orators with local historian Peter Cullen is on Wednesday 5 August at 2pm.

Cobb+Co Museum is part of the Queensland Museum Network. Located in Lindsay Street, Toowoomba, the Museum opens daily from 10am – 4pm.

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