Tweed Shire Council has unveiled two 50-year old time capsules – buried beneath the Murwillumbah library – for public viewing before they are retrieved and opened in coming weeks. 

The capsules were buried in 1973 at the start of the construction of the Murwillumbah Civic and Cultural Centre, which includes the library. 

One was placed by Tweed Shire Council and the other by the Murwillumbah branch of community service organisation, Apex.

Apex Life Member, Garry Smith, who was present at the sealing of the Apex capsule, said the service club’s capsule contained messages from the New South Wales Governor, the Tweed Shire President, other local dignitaries and the community.

“Members of the public were encouraged to add their own messages in specially-printed envelopes and add them to the Apex time capsule, creating a mosaic of voices from the era,” Mr Smith said.

“Before commencing the process to retrieve these memoirs of yesteryear, Apex has joined with Council to make the capsules available for public viewing while still in their resting place, in the ground under Murwillumbah Library.”

Council’s Director Sustainable Communities and Environment, Naomi Searle, said it was important the community had an opportunity to be part of the process.

“Many members in our community have memories or family connections to the time capsules and we want them to be able to see the capsules in place before their removal,” Ms Searle said. 

Apex representatives will collaborate with Council over the coming weeks to retrieve the time capsules from their long-standing resting place and undertake investigations to assess the state and preservation of the contents, with the understanding that some items may have been affected by the passage of time.

“Half a century has passed since these capsules were buried in the dirt below the foundations of Murwillumbah Library, with very little protection from the elements. A lot has happened in Murwillumbah in that time,” Ms Searle said.

“We’ve had a major flood in 1974 which inundated the Library site and others in 1989, 2001, 2008, 2017 and 2022. We’ve also experienced periods of extreme heat and high humidity, so we will investigate the condition and safety of the contents before considering next steps.”

The time capsules will be available for viewing in Murwillumbah Library during opening hours for the next several weeks.

Featured image: The time capsules as visible from inside the Murwillumbah Library. Image: Tweed Shire Council.

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