Signs of the times

THIS month’s unveiling of a pictorial history of Brighton – its origins as an Aboriginal home, through its eras as an airport, an army camp and a critically, a refuge for POWs, evacuees from the 1967 fires and from war-torn Serbia is also showing off the special talents of a designer, and farmer, from the Derwent Valley.

They are the work of Derek Jones, a long-time resident of Macquarie Plains who is also a winemaker.

And a little research shows the Brighton history is only the latest in an extensive catalogue of Jones’ design work, which highlights Wade Gleeson’s information with the Peter Hudson statue in Arthur Square.

The eight information panels about Brighton’s past, set along Menin Drive, were launched by the mayor, Leigh Gray, with parliamentarians Mark Shelton and Jen Butler, along with Rotary’s Foundation Director, Michael Cooke.

The panels combine photographs and deeply researched history to tell a compelling story of Brighton, right up to the modern era.

Menin Drive itself was originally a horse racetrack and airstrip which became the first airport in Southern Tasmania.

One panel reflects Derek’s research that revealed a landing here by the famous aviator, Charles Kingsford Smith who piloted the first commercial flight on the Sydney, Melbourne, Launceston and Hobart run in 1931.

After thanking the Rotary Club of Brighton for bringing the project to fruition, Mayor Gray spoke at length of Derek’s meticulous research, as well as overseeing production and the installation of the panels with the Council work crew.

In the small world of graphic design, Jones is much sought-after. His work includes eight panels around New Norfolk called Walking Though Time, others on the Tasmanian Trail, for the Westerway History Walk, at Willow Court and interpreting Millbrook Rise, as well as the sign at Gretna about the bushranger, Martin Cash.

A number of other interpretive signs and shelter sheds are in Claremont, in the Cenotaph Park.

In compiling local history for the Brighton project, Jones himself is quick to acknowledge the assistance of others, particularly Professor Henry Reynolds from UTAS, the Launceston Aero Club and the Angelsea Barracks Museum.