Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mysterious poisoning at Boonooroo

On March the 6th, 1932 the poisoning of three brothers occurred at Foster’s Camp,Boonooroo.
James Herbert Bayley 29, William Edward Bayley 23 and Henry Walter George Bayley 32 died of strychnine poisoning after eating scones at a Fisherman Hut located at  Boonooroo. The details of the inquest held in Maryborough on the 19th April, 1932 can be found here.

George Greaves and Emil Wegner were also poisoned but recovered.  The boys were heading out for a fishing trip when they met Alfred Dong. Alfred owned the hut. He was a farmer and owned a shop in Adelaide Street, Maryborough. He used the hut as a weekender. He was good friends with the five men. They crossed paths on this fishing trip and Alfred said they were able to use the hut as they pleased. The strychnine was in the flour and it was believed to have been put in there between the time Alfred Dong left the hut and the five men cooked scones.

Alfred Dong gave evidence here He stated that he was afraid of his neighbor and believed the poison was for him. He said   "I have suspicion on Frank Hugh Gormley, for he is my enemy, for putting strychnine poison in the half-bag of flour”("CAMP POISONING - Sensational Evidence INQUEST AT MARYBOROUGH MARYBOROUGH, April 19. - The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) - 19 Apr 1932", 2016).

It was found that despite the evidence “pointing in the same direction”, no arrest was made as “lack of suitable evidence made arrest impossible”("DETECTIVE RECALLED - MARYBOROUGH POISONING - Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 - 1954) - 27 Mar 1932", 2016). This conclusion can be found here

Who do you think did it?

We have some images of Alfred Dong’s sisters but none of Alfred, if you have any images of historical interest we would love to see these.

 You can find the location of the Dong’s shop by taking a walk down Adelaide Street and following the story trail signs. It is on the opposite side to the Town Hall Green. In 1912, it moved to upper Adelaide Street. His sisters ran the shop until 1956 when they retired.

CAMP POISONING - Sensational Evidence INQUEST AT MARYBOROUGH MARYBOROUGH, April 19. - The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) - 19 Apr 1932. (2016). Trove. Retrieved 20 October 2016, from

DETECTIVE RECALLED - MARYBOROUGH POISONING - Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 - 1954) - 27 Mar 1932. (2016). Trove. Retrieved 20 October 2016, from

Tags #boonooroo #Chinese #frasercoastlibraries #fostershut #poisoning #strychnine

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Hyne Timber innovating since 1882

Hyne & Son Timber Mill around 1897
This image is part of the Maryborough Wide Bay & Burnett Historical Society Inc. collection. Copies of this image can be purchased from the Maryborough Wide Bay& Burnett Historical Society Inc. Contact

Hyne Timber has been a cornerstone of Industry in Maryborough since 1882. J.R.L Hyne has written a history of the timber family in Queensland called Hyne-Sight that can be borrowed from the Library.  The mill was established late in the 19th century. An 1883 Chronicle article which details the mill can be found here

Like any successful business, Hyne Timber has always been able to adapt to a changing business environment. Mills were opened in Townsville and Rockhampton. Hyne acquired two sailing ships and they began shipping timber to Sydney and North Queensland and in 1886 the Mayflower Schooner was acquired. In 1889 “the Mayflower nearly came to grief in a cyclone” (Hyne, 1980, p.39). The details can be found here

Hyne was also a very active public figure. Hyne (1980,p. 22) claims “The 1880’s saw my Grandfather prospering in the timber industry and at the same time devoting himself to a wide range of public causes”. R.M. Hyne served one term (five years) in the Queensland Parliament, and aligned himself with the Griffith Liberal camp found here.

Mr Richard Mathews Hyne passed away on the 5th July, 1902 details of which are located here.

Henry James Hyne took over the business at this time, with J. R. Lambert Hyne taking part in the business in 1928. In 1936 Lambert and his three sons have built the business by utilising modern techniques through a responsiveness to technological change (Hyne, 1980).
The Hyne family: James Hyne (Executive Director and Tuan Mill Operations Manager), Chris Hyne (Director), Peter Hyne (Executive Director and Manager of Sales and Marketing), Martin Kriewaldt (Chairman) and Richard Hyne (Shareholder). Richard and Chris are brothers and uncles to both Peter and James who are also brothers.

Katie Fowden, Communications Manager for Hyne timber  states "Today, Hyne Timber is one of Australia’s largest producers of sawn timber products sourced from responsibly grown plantation softwood. We also have an engineered timber plant in Maryborough which supplies glue laminated timber solutions for a range of construction designs including iconic, contemporary commercial buildings". Some of these can be seen here

Just recently an Engineered Timber Bridge Solution has been developed by Hyne experts. A prefabricated and installed timber bridge near Maryborough, Queensland which can be used nationally can be found here

Have you or your family ever worked for Hyne &Son?

We would love to add your images to our local history collection.

Further information can be found in the library vertical files under the heading of Hyne & Son.


Hyne, J. R. L. (James Richard Lambert) (1980). Hyne-Sight: a history of  a timber family in Queensland. J.R.L. Hyne, Maryborough, Qld.
Tags: #Hyne  #timber #Maryborough #Frasercoast #industry


Monday, 3 October 2016

Susan Brandt - Movie Maker and Local History, Local Music

Susan Brandt an enthusiastic historian.

Fraser Coast Libraries and the Maryborough and Wide Bay Burnett Historical Society Inc have been working on a Historypin project called Local Music, Local History. A small group of dedicated contributors have made this the most successful collaborative project yet launched by the Partnership since it began early in 2015. Susan Brandt is one of those volunteers. Susan is a keen history enthusiast who attends all our local events. When we wanted to try and challenge our production of content on the Historypin site she keenly offered to assist.  She also always asks interesting questions which helps complete the story of the pictures we find.

Susan says her interest in history began when she was growing up; her favourite reading was biographies of well-known people, originally about their childhoods. “There was a popular series in the libraries of the time: "When they were Young". From there, I loved historical novels and later history in high school and university” enthused  Susan.
Susan continued “Years later I worked in Aged Care. It was often quite demanding work, but one of the principal enjoyments of it was the reward of listening to older folk tell their life stories”.

Susan claims she has never done any formal research, but when she retired she joined two local historical societies in North West Sydney where she has  lived most of her life. “This area, which centred around Castle Hill, was one of the earliest settled areas of the colony of New South Wales, and the local history groups had marvellous material with which to work, including quite a few folk who were descended from the earliest European settlers” she explains.

“When I retired to the Fraser Coast in 2015, to be near my relatives, I knew very little of the history of Queensland at all. My first connection was discovering the Mary River was named after the Governor's wife, Lady Mary Fitzroy, who had been thrown from her carriage and killed in the grounds of Government House Parramatta, caused by the reckless driving of her husband the Governor. The spot was well known to me as it is very well marked in Parramatta Park”.

 “Following that, I discovered the grave of John Carne Bidwill and read about his early role in the establishment of  Maryborough. The early settlers' homes in NW Sydney were often marked by the tree named after him: the Bunya or Araucaria bidwillii, and many still remain. From those connections I guess I just read any local history book I could find, and attended history talks in the library. I have found the history of the area absolutely fascinating” she impassions.
Robin Hinricks, Marilyn Jensen and Susan Brandt sharing some music history photos.
“Historypin is interesting because it encourages local people to share their stories, and especially their old photos. Local information of this kind completes the picture that formal histories only touch upon” she continues. “This is especially so, in understanding the life of any community, how they worked, what interested them in times past. I would never have known of the role Alfred Wynne played in the community with his music store and radio station, were it not for the photos and information collected for the recent Historypin project about him”.

Susan Brandt, Marilyn Jensen and Ken Brooks (President of the Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society Inc) getting the hang of Movie Maker.

We find History fascinating as well!

Do you know anything about the Fraser Coast’s Music History?

Susan Brandt and Marilyn Jensen used moviemaker to create a slide show of historical photos from 4MB. These can be found here

And it is great effort especially as it was a first go!

Other contributors include Marilyn Jensen, Peter Groom, Elwin Andersen, Karen Lynch and Robin Hinricks. Please feel free to come to the Historypin chat group on the first Tuesday of the month from 12-1pm at the Maryborough Library. You can also become a member on Historypin and add content to the libraries site.

Tags: #Historypin  #Frasercoastlibraries  #Localhistorylocalmusic

Sunday, 11 September 2016

John Graham and Fraser Island

There is a map of Fraser Island on the wall in the Maryborough Library local history room. On the label it says it was donated by Don Matheson, who is a well-respected local surveyor and a nonagenarian.

On first view the map appears drawn in free hand and is fairly roughly drawn. For those who are familiar with Fraser Island, however, it is an amazingly accurate map of the Island particularly as it was drawn by someone who had no formal surveying training. That someone was John Graham.  John Graham was a convict who was send to Australia from Ireland for stealing hemp string. 

Robert Gibbings has written a fascinating tale about John Graham.  The historical narrative called John Graham, Convict, 1824 can be found in our local history collection. In this novel which has been pieced together “from documents in the Mitchell Library, Sydney; the Public Record Office, London, as well as from Parliamentary Reports and contemporary news-papers” according to Gibbings (1957). Gibbings (1957) asserts “no event …has been mentioned without authentic evidence, and if there is any error in the story it is that of understatement”.

The narrative details John Graham’s time on Fraser Island and his interactions with Eliza Fraser after the ship she was travelling on The Stirling Castle struck a half-submerged coral islet. Other information on this event can be found here   and here. John Graham also had a lot to do with the Aborigines on Fraser Island and who called him Moilow. This name can be found on the map.

This map is one of four that were hand drawn by John Graham. They are all slightly different.  The intricate knowledge this man has of the landscape of the island belies the difficult life he had as a convict. The historical narrative is an easy and fascinating read.

Do you have any more information about John Graham and Eliza Fraser?

Tags #FraserIsland #JohnGraham #surveying #Elizafraser #StirlingCastle #Maryboroughlibrary #maps

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Calling for journal articles – Hervey Bay Family History Association Inc.

Did you know the Hervey Bay Family History Association Inc.  works out of the Fraser Coast Libraries' Hervey Bay branch.
 A partnership with this group of dedicated volunteers has been successfully running for 16 years. The volunteers have access to a plethora of family history data bases and will help with queries from the public for free. Seven computers are available to search the data bases as well.

The association is calling for any articles they can put into their digital journal on Family History. If you have done any research on a family history, please submit an article so this can be shared with other enthusiasts.

Another great initiative of the Family History Association is genealogy classes.

Brenda Wheeler has dedicated many year helping others with Family History
Brenda Wheeler has been awarded a life member of the Association in recognition of her dedication and has been organising events for many years. The next class will be An Introduction to Family History. This course will be held over four Saturday afternoons, and is suitable for those either beginning their research, or those who have been researching for some time. This talk will occur at Hervey Bay Library 10th September through to 1st October inclusive from 12.30 – 3.30pm. Bookings are essential and the cost is $35.00 for HBFHA Inc members; $50.00 non members. A book of notes will be also available during the course for $20.00 (optional).

The course will cover:

  • Pedigree Charting
  •  Family Group Records
  •  Basic Rules of Record Keeping
  •  Certificates and what’s on them
  •  How to use the Family History Research Facilities
  •  Storage of Material
  •  Computer Programs
  •  Censuses
  •  Parish Records
  •  Probates and Archives
  •  Internet sites
  •  LDS Family History Centres
  •  Overseas Countries

If you are interested complete an application form and pay at the Family History Room at Hervey Bay Library.

Any further questions please Phone Brenda; 0428297578.

Tags #familyhistoryassociation  #herveybaylibraries   #geneology #herveybay

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mina Rawson - the first female cookbook author hailed from Boonooroo

 Mrs Rawson State Library of Queensland Negative number: 13555 
Did you know the first female cookbook author in Australia, Wilhelmina Frances Rawson (Mina) (1851-1933), wrote many of her recipes while living in Boonooroo? Mina Rawson was “the first white woman to live at Boonooroo, on the shores of WideBay, Queensland” according to an article published in the courier mail in 1951 found here 

 In 1878 her recipes for early women settlers Queensland Cookery and Poultry Book was published in Maryborough. At the age of 21 she married Lancelot Bernard Rawson (Kingston, 2016). Mina lived on a cattle station in Mackay, Queensland, for some time.  “In 1877 Lancelot became a partner in Kircubbin sugar plantation, Maryborough” (Kingston, 2016). Mina’s respect for Melanesian labourers was fostered at this time. Kingston (2016) claimed bankruptcy struck Kircubbin in 1880 with the property still idle in 1901. Mrs Rawson’s writing provided the only income for the couple at this time. Information about this is found here

In 1880, Rawson’s set up a fish station at Boonooroo  found here   and became the first European settlers in this isolated beach location. It was a harsh environment found here

Using the local wildlife and knowledge gained from the local kanakas she created recipes pioneer women could find ingredients for, One such example can be found here

She had the youngest of her four children while at Boonooroo.

Mina's memoirs, serialized in the Queenslander (December 1919 - July 1920) as 'Making the best', described her life at their Boonooroo fishing station, the cattle station “The Hollows” in Mackay and the Sugar Plantations. She has published many cookbooks which can be found through the state library of Queensland searches found here   and here  
There is also a project to transcribe her book Australian enquiry book of household and general information at the state library of Queensland here

Lyndall Blackley (Mina’s great granddaughter) has commented on this blog that her great grandmother “Mina was an amazing woman. She had a hard life, but met difficulties with spirit, determination, humour and great resourcefulness.”

Wilhelmina Rawson. (2016).

She died in 1951 at the age of 81 found here

Do you know anything about Mina and the early days in Boonooroo? 

Kingston, B. (2016). Biography - Wilhelmina Frances (Mina) Rawson - Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from
Newspapers Home - Trove. (2016). Trove. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from
State Library of Queensland,. (2016). Retrieved 24 July 2016, from
Wilhelmina Rawson. (2016). Retrieved 24 July 2016, from
Tags #Rawson, #Maryborough, #cookery, #housewife, #Boonooroo, #cookbooks  #domestic advice, #settlers, #Kircubbin, #sugarplantations

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Reflections on Nana Rainbow - a Butchulla Elder

Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that this blog contains names and images of deceased people.

Chantel Van Wamelen belongs to the local Butchulla community. She is in her final year of university studying a Bachelor of Human Services and is a community support worker at Centacare, Fraser Coast. Through her studies at university she became interested in her family history and researched her Great Grandmother known affectionately as Nana Rainbow. She reflects on how government policies impacted her Great Grandmother and her family’s life.

Chantel and her Great Grandmother Nana Rainbow

“Queensland had a number of policies implemented to manage Indigenous people. In Queensland the Chief Protector was able to enforce protection polices to the effect that Indigenous people could be removed into large, highly regulated government settlements and missions. Children were removed from their mothers at about the age of four years and placed in dormitories away from their families. At about the age of 14 years, the children were sent off the missions and settlements to work” she continued.
"This happened to my Great Grandmother Eileen Rainbow nee Gala". 
Eileen Rainbow as a young woman.

“At the age of 10 she was removed from her mother in Hervey Bay and placed in a Cherbourg dormitory with her sister Maudie” Chantel explains.  She was separated from siblings at age 13 -17 and sent to Blackall to work on a station. She then worked as a nanny and servant for a local lawyer’s family in Maryborough.  She reunited with her mother Emily Gala and with her siblings. She remained close with them until they all passed. She met my great grandfather William Rainbow in Maryborough and married him and they started their own family. They moved to Childers and she worked for a family called the Kingstons".
Nana Rainbow and her grandson Noel (Chantel's father).
Chantel continues “This has had an impact on me by people doubting my identity and our family’s connection with the local Butchulla community. It resulted in deep losses of identity, culture, language, history, family and community. In the face of this hardship, our family have drawn on our incredible strength of character and unshakable knowledge of our Aboriginal identity. We have worked to find all the documentation and oral history to ensure that our links to our country and our ancestors is kept intact"

“The repercussions that this policy had on Nanna Rainbow and her family were devastating and huge” reflects Chantel.  “We may never know the full ramifications of these events as she rarely spoke about what had happened to her. I am not sure if this was out of shame or fear or if the events were so disturbing that she couldn’t bring herself to discuss it.” “My Aunty Annette has said that when my Great Grandmother, her mother and her sisters would get together around the camp fire they would grieve together by crying and wailing. Being separated would have caused loneliness, dislocation, deprivation of affection and love, and created stress and grief.” Chantel continues. “It was thought to have made them stronger women and pulled the family unit closer together.” Chantel said “It changed their ability to practice traditional culture. The woman only carried out traditions amongst themselves and not around others. The trust in governments and mainstream society was destroyed and they lived in fear of this happening again”.

Nana Rainbow and the younger members of the family.

Chantel concludes "Recent land rights success handing ownership of K’Gari (Fraser Island) back to Butchulla people has been a positive step forward to acknowledge Butchulla people. I am very proud to be part of this process and we have great hope for our future”.

Tags #Butchulla #K'Gari #FraserIsland #Frasercoastlibraries