Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Fantome Island - Joe Eggmolesse's story of life after being diagnosed with leprosy (Hansen's Disease)

Joe Eggmolesse researching at the Maryborough Library
Joe Eggmolesse has recently presented the film he directed and featured in called Fantome Island.
Joe tells his story “in 1945, as a seven year-old I was diagnosed with leprosy. I was taken from my family under police escort and transported by rail and sea over a thousand kilometres to Fantome Island”.  Joe remained on the isolated tropical island off the North Queensland coast for ten years, seeing his parents only once a year.
Joe says “The film details how this community of coloured people, as we were known back then, became a community cared for by nuns from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary”. The fear of the disease and the policies developed by the Queensland government and medical establishment resulted in this segregation and isolation.
Joe Eggmolesse Maryborough Library Local History Room
Joe says, “I returned to the island for Fantome Island Remembrance Day”. As  a South Sea Islander and Elder, Joe reflects thoughtfully on his Fantome years, shedding light on what it was like to be both Indigenous and a ‘leper’ during this period. This is a deeply moving story.

Copies of the film can be purchased from Ronin Films (02) 62480851. They cost $35.95 postage inclusive.

The trailer of the film can be found here.

Patients with leprosy, or Hansen’s disease as it is now known, can be treated in their homes with antibiotics. More health information can be found here 

Published with consent from Joe Eggmolesse.
Tags #leprosy #hansensdisease #fantomeisland #southseaisland #maryboroughlibrary #frasercoastlibrary

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Crocodile found in the Mary River at Owanyilla 1964

There has been a lot of talk about crocodiles in the Mary River lately. Did you know on the 10th of June, in 1964 an 11 foot 1 inch (about 3.4m) crocodile was shot by James Greenfill and Albert Reinikka at a property called Sandeheyes. The crocodile had been eating calves and the men thought it might be smaller. The crocodile was paraded around on the back of their truck until it began to rot. The Bauple Museum has the top half of the crocodile skin displayed.
Crocodile found at Owanyilla in 1964

An article detailing this crocodile shooting can be found in the Maryborough Chronicle date June 11, 1964. The Maryborough Chronicle can be viewed on microfilm at the Maryborough Library local history room or at the Hervey Bay Family History Association in the Hervey Bay Library. This is the only way to access from 1955 to 2013 Chronicle articles.

If you search Crocodiles in the Mary River  on Trove's digitised newspapers lots of articles can be found about sightings before this date. Some of the most interesting include:

Large Croc in Mary River

Crocodile found in the Mary River 

A fisherman has shot a Mary River croc

Have you ever found a crocodile in the Mary River or heard any stories?

Tags #crocodile #maryriver #bauplemuseum #bauple

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Maryborough Family Heritage Institute 140th anniversary celebration

Jean Monaghan, Paula Hill and Bonnie Stacey of the Institute dressed up as immigrants

Maryborough Family Heritage Institute will be celebrating the 140th anniversary of the arrival of three immigrant ships into Maryborough port in 1877.


  • The Lammershagen from Hamburg with 379 passengers.
  • The City of Agra from London with 316 passengers.
  • The Saraca from Greenock/Glasgow with 288 passengers.


The Institute have been busy tracing descendants of the original settlers from these vessels and are planning a reunion for these people on Saturday 29th July, 2017.
All descendants are invited to attend the luncheon with other activities planned for the weekend for attendees to enjoy. Books about the voyages of these ships which will include passenger lists and stories of the lives of some of the families will be available for sale, together with a display of memorabilia and family trees.

Anyone who has any photographs, stories or family trees and would like them to be included in these publications could they please contact the Maryborough Family Heritage Institute as soon as possible to enable them to include this information.

If you are not sure how your ancestors arrived in Maryborough please contact the Institute and they will do their best to trace your family on their passenger lists.

Maryborough Family Heritage Institute Contact Details
Email: heritageresearch@bigpond.com or
Phone: 07 41231620
Address: 164 Richmond Street, Maryborough.
Opening Hours:Monday – Thurs. 9-3 and Friday 9-1.

Tags #familyhistory #Maryborough #immigration #Lammershagen #Agra #Saraca #Hamburg #London #Greenock #Glasgow

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Phyllis Klupp - a foot in both worlds

As part of our oral history series based on the theme of Having a Voice we interviewed Phyllis Klupp. Phyllis, although not originally from Maryborough, has spent many years working with children in the community. Phyllis was originally from Nowra, New South Wales.

When she first came to Maryborough she worked at Unndennoo Kindergarten. She later was employed at Maryborough Central State School as a Home School Liaison Officer. Phyllis spoke of her young life moving around a lot, as her parents worked in seasonal jobs.

She tells us about her life as one of nine children. Phyllis talks to us about her experiences as an Aboriginal women. A range of topics are covered. These include the racism that she has experienced,  the wonderful friendships she has made through her church and with the local Aboriginal community and her experiences growing up. Her oral history clip will be screened during Women's Week 6th to the 10th of March, 2017 at the Maryborough Library.

Tags#Unndennoo #oralhistory #maryborough #frasercoastlibraries

Monday, 23 January 2017

Lillian Coyne – the Matriarch of Bauple


Lillian Coyne out the front of the Bauple Museum
Fraser Coast Libraries is undertaking an oral history project in 2017 around the theme Having a Voice.
Our first clip is of Lillian Coyne who provided us with a fascinating insight into earlier times in Bauple. Lillian was born on the 12th of April, 1926 making her 91 years old this year.
Lillian has written several books on Bauple including:
1. The Bauple Bus Service / Lillian Coyne and Alex MacKellar,2002, Bauple Mount Bauple and District Historical Society
2. Bauple : looking back to pioneering times / Lillian Coyne, 2003, Bauple Mount Bauple and District Historical Society
3. Tinnanbar as I have known it / Lillian Coyne, 2002,Bauple Mount Bauple and District Historical Society

Copies of these can be found in the Libraries.

During our chat Lillian talked about trips to the Gundiah dances from Bauple in a bus that the boys had to push up the range. She explains how Bopple was changed to Bauple and shows us the 80 year old Bauple Nut trees her Grandfather Fred Bertram planted out of fruit tins.
The 80 year old Bauple Nut trees that Lillian's grandfather planted, opposite the Bauple Museum.
Other topics include the sawmill, sugar mill, the band and the war.

Images of the mills;found on the Bauple Museum walls.
Lillian has been instrumental in the establishment of the Bauple Museum that has records and mementos of a town that once thrived with seasonal mill workers and their families.
Bauple Museum - in the background you can see the instruments belonging to the Bauple Band from the early 1900.
She reflects on her life and changing times in our talk. “It takes the hard times in life to make you who you are and appreciate things” Lillian concluded.

These oral history clips will be launched during Women’s Week – the 6th to the 10th of March, 2017 at the Maryborough Library e-space.
Lillian outside the Bauple Museum.

Tags #oralhistory #bauple #museum #frasercoast #maryboroughlibrary #sugarmill #sawmill

Monday, 16 January 2017

Living off the land - Ewan Rockemer is a 5th generation cattle farmer

State Library of Queensland ran a series in 2016 called Queenslanders in conversation.  This series explored our state's cultural and religious diversity and the role it plays in our identity, sense of belonging, and ultimately in advancing social cohesion.  The August topic was living off the land and can be found here
Fraser Coast Local Ewan Rockemer was featured in this series. The series highlighted that Ewan has lived and breathed farming his whole life. “It is instilled in me, the dirt is not only ingrained in my hands but it runs in my blood. It’s not just a way of life; it’s my livelihood, it’s who I am”
State Library of Queensland discovered  Ewan is a 23 year old, 5th generation cattle farmer from Brooweena, South East Queensland who is passionate about the cattle he breeds and cares for and enjoys the challenge of constantly improving and innovating new farming practices to remain sustainable and viable for generations to come.
Cow Bails

These talks were live streamed. What is coming up in 2017 at the State Library can be found here 

Live stream videos can be found here  and webcasts can be found here

This year in 2017 our local history theme will be Having a voice.

 We would love to hear your stories.

What gives you a sense of belonging?

tags #Brooweena #Frasercoast #localhistory #cattle #farming #SLQ

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Donna Suter - Community Champion and self-supporting mother part of Maryborough’s History



Donna Suter has just been awarded the Community Champion Award by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

Madonna  Elizabeth Suter was born on the 4th May 1931, the eldest child of Frederick Leo and Mavis Lillian Barbeler (nee Weinheimer).   Timothy, Veronica (deceased), Thomas (deceased) & Joseph made up this very close knit family.

“I was educated at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Maryborough and on leaving school, having obtained my Junior Certificate; I was employed in the Forestry Department until her marriage to Kenneth Suter on the 19th June 1954.  At that time the policy of the Queensland Public Service was that a woman could not remain in the Public Service after marriage.”explained Donna. “I then took up employment at the Maryborough Dairy Company until 1957.  Ken and I adopted two children, a son in 1957 and a daughter Jennifer in 1959.  Unfortunately Ken passed away on the 19th September 1961 from Leukaemia,” she reflects.

“In 1969 following pension eligibility changes I decided to seek full time employment.  A position came up at which I felt would be suitable in view of my previous work but on being asked her age and admitting to 38 the interviewing gent said “Oh, you are over the hill”.  Needless to say I gave up the idea of working for that company. At that time Gilbert Alison offered me employment in his accountancy firm where I stayed for the next 20 years, working in his accountancy practice and then I transferred to employment as his Parliamentary Secretary during his terms in State Parliament,” she clarifies.  Donna was the first official Electorate Secretary in the Maryborough State Electorate.  The Maryborough Electorate office was chosen as the Country office when the decision was made to trial computers in the State Members offices and this was a great IT learning experience.

In 1990 Donna accepted a position as Secretary of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish and was very active in her involvement in Parish activities. “I became very active in community affairs firstly as Treasurer of the Maryborough & District Committee on the Ageing Inc., a position I held for 44 years and then accepted nomination as Secretary of that organisation, a position I still hold.”

“I have received the 1992 Australia Day Citizen Award from the Maryborough City Council” she claims.

Other community activities included;

  • Treasurer of Granville Hockey Club –  Awarded Life Membership in 1984
  • Organised the St. Mary’s Catholic Debutante Ball for approx 15 years
  • Secretary of the Bicentennial Committee in 1988
  • Secretary of the Queensland Eisteddfod in 1992
  • Assists annually at the local Maryborough Eisteddfod
  • Member of the Maryborough Senior Citizens Club

She was instrumental in U3A Maryborough Inc. being auspiced by the Maryborough & District Committee on the Ageing in the mid 1980’s and she is very proud of the success of this organisation.

“I enjoy my involvement in the community and intend to keep this up as long as possible as I consider it is the only way to keep the grey matter working.”

We are very grateful for her work in our community.

Tags #madcota #Frasercoastlibraries #localhistory #volunteer