22 December 2015 Revisit the Banana Republic

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22 December 2015 Revisit the Banana Republic

Coffs Harbour’s days as a ‘Banana Republic’ in the 1980s are being revisited at Coffs Harbour Regional Museum as the centrepiece of an exhibition celebrating the city’s history as a tourist destination.

“Coffs Harbour has always been a popular tourist destination and the range of souvenirs on display takes you on a journey through the different decades,” said Museum Curator Dr Leigh Summers.

“Many souvenirs are of the classic tourist kind - dishes, cups, and teaspoons. We’d also welcome the chance to display any other sorts of memorabilia that locals may still have related either to the ‘Banana Republic’ or to Coffs’ early days as a tourist spot.”

Coffs was declared a ‘Banana Republic’ as a publicity stunt in the 1980s. That part of the exhibition features uniforms, medals, promotional material and an episode of ‘Good Morning Australia’ filmed at the Big Banana in 1982 and featuring TV personalities Gordon Elliot and Kerri-Anne Kennerley - loaned by former Cowper MP Gary Nehl and local resident Paul McKeon.

In addition, the display includes designs for a ‘Banana Republic’ petrol station banner, books, tea towels, ‘Banana Republic’ passports and a one and a half dollar note.

Many famous people participated in the ‘Banana Republic’ including Jack Thompson (Minister for the Arts) and the late politician Fred Daley.

Two of the most locally-famous participants were the ‘Banana Twins’ Adele Hurley and Toni Mooey Hurley, the twin daughters of the famous Antarctic photographer Frank Hurley.

Please contact Dr Leigh Summers on 02 6648 4860 if you would like to donate or loan items to the tourism and ‘Banana Republic’ collections.

The exhibition closes January 30 2016.

Coffs Harbour Regional Museum is located at 215 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour. It is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Entry is $5 per adult. Children under 16 can go in for free.