PRISONERS at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre (LGCC) have restored a horse-drawn sulky and bullock dray for display in Yungaburra, the largest National Trust village in Queensland.
The restored vehicles are the latest in a series of projects carried out for Yungaburra Beautification Incorporated that have helped the village become a tourist drawcard on the Atherton Tablelands.
LGCC General Manager Richard Butcher said while the restoration work had been of great value to Yungaburra and the surrounding region, it had also been valuable for the prisoners and the correctional centre.
“Prison industries, such as the workshops in which the restorations were carried out, play a vital role in improving the safety and security of centres by providing prisoners with meaningful employment as part of a structured day.
“For many prisoners, this is also the first time they have had a daily routine which includes being gainfully employed.
“It provides a high level of theory and practical training for the prisoners, providing vocational skills which help them reintegrate into the community on release and improve their chances of avoiding reoffending when they are released from prison.
“International research shows that when prisoners are released into the community and have stable accommodation, social support and employment opportunities, they have the best chance of not reoffending, which makes the community safer,” Mr Butcher said.
The bullock dray, believed to date to the 1800s, was donated by Yungaburra residents, the late Clyde Evans and his wife Marilyn.
The century-plus sulky belonged to local resident Joan Napthali and her late husband, Norm.
Restoration work involved the LGCC carpentry, engineering and textile workshops, stripping back and restoring original wood and metalwork, replacing those materials beyond salvage and diligent research to recreate items, such as upholstery fabric on the sulky seat, which had not stood the test of time.
The restored vehicles will soon take on new life in Yungaburra – the sulky on display in the foyer of the historic Yungaburra Hotel and the dray on a traffic island fronting Gillies Range Rd, where it will be filled with flowering plants.
Sue Fairley, President of Yungaburra Beautification Incorporated, a not-for-profit community organisation, who are responsible for these projects as well as the hanging flower baskets, flowering tubs and many other Yungaburra Beautification projects, said the work carried out by the LGCC prisoners and the officers who train them was greatly appreciated.
“The standard of their work is exceptional, not just on the sulky and bullock dray, but on many other projects over the years.
“We have come to trust the work of Lotus Glen and know we can rely on them to help the community,” Mrs Fairley said.
Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Joe Paronella was also delighted with the quality of work.
“It’s fantastic to see the outcome of the prisoners’ hard work and I commend their efforts.
“Without the support of LGCC, we wouldn’t have these fantastic pieces of history on display for everyone to see,” Mayor Paronella said.
Division 4 Councillor Samantha Banks said locals and visitors often marvel at how beautiful the Yungaburra village is.
“I’m so proud of Yungaburra and the dedication of the community members.
“Working with others they have again ensured our history is kept alive and the village is looking its best.
“It’s also great to see LGCC prisoners having the opportunity to learn valuable skills to take forward in their lives,” Councillor Banks said.