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
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
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’
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.