Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Mr and Mrs Tomson started Cotton Plantation Sundon Dundathu. 1863-64 

According to Wilson (1963) Dundathu is an Aboriginal word meaning place of timber. Originally it only applied to the sawmill on the left bank of the Mary River but the whole locality became known by this name.

The sawmill was established in 1863 by Mr Pettigrew and Mr William Sim and families. This information is found in the Maryborough Chronicle here .Mr William Sim and their two sons came from Scotland to Brisbane in 1854 and settled at Dundathu nine years later. Mr Pettigrew was a timber mill man from Brisbane. They established a direct timber trade between Sydney and North Queensland. Mr Sim supervised the building of the mill. However, he was crushed to death by a log ten years later. It appears that this was also the fate of others, a description of which is found here .

The Sim family remained living in the area and Mrs Sim died at the age of 95 in Brisbane. The Sim sons continued running the mill for twenty years before moving to Maryborough. The mill was one of the largest in Queensland. Timber from Fraser Island, Tin Can Bay and the Valleys of the Mary, Burrum and Isis Rivers were a source of hoop and kauri, with reports of some logs being two metres in width. Soft woods were grown by the mill. The Mary Ann was the first locomotive built by Walkers and hauled logs over 12 kilometres of tram line that weaved through the plantations.
Over thirty pine shingled buildings sprung up around the mill. There were batchelor quarters as advertised here .The Village School was on the hill. Mr Charles Johnson was the school teacher for many years. Mr Cooke was the last school master. The school also hosted Sunday School and Church Services. A butchers shop was owned by Mr W.H. White. 

Wilson states, (1963) there was a big Aboriginal Settlement in the area. Many members of this community were known to do odd jobs at the mill. 
A paddle-wheel steamer called Hercules towed rafts of logs from Tin Can Bay to Dundathu. It was also used to take mill families to picnics at White Cliffs.

People would row their boats to town to get food and other necessities from the shops. The Miller family delivered milk by rowing over from Walkers Point to make deliveries. 

Other industries such as the Cotton Plantation Sundon were established at the same time as the mill by Mrs and Mr Tomson mentioned in the Chronicle here . The reason cotton was grown in Dundathu can be found here .
A lovely description of Dundathu can be found here

Rowing was a popular sport on the Mary River at the time found here .Teams were entered in the four oared Champion of Queensland and included the Sim brothers.
In 1893 the mill was devastated by a flood and totally destroyed by a fire on Christmas Day of that year. The mill was not insured so was never rebuilt.

Wilson, A (1963) An address delivered by Miss Alice Wilson at the Basket Picnic at Dundathu on Sunday, 9th March, 1963.

Tags #Dundathu #timbermill #pettigrew #sim #Maryriver

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Australian South Sea Island Planning Meeting

George Seymour, Ali Bates and Joe Eggmolesse
The 150th Anniversary of first ship to bring South Sea Islanders to Queensland occurs this year. A meeting was held at Hervey Bay Library on the 11th of March, 2017. The event that was facilitated by George Seymour and Joe Eggmolesse. Ali Bates attended to provide events organisation support. Lots of participation occurred with 32 people attending the event.

The ideas generated from this meeting will be further developed at the next meeting at the Hervey Bay creative space on the 8th April from 10am to 12noon, 2017.

Do you have any ideas for the event?

Come along to the next meeting and have your say.

A meeting will also be planned for Maryborough Library.

Tags: #ASSI #Maryborough #kanakas #port #Frasercoastlibraries

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dorothy and Lex - two women who got involved and continue to lead the way

Dorothy Ratnarajah

We have been celebrating local women through our local history project Having a Voice. Dorothy Ratnarajah and Lex Tudman are two more women who have got involved and continue to lead the way on the Fraser Coast. Dorothy has spent over twenty years as the treasurer for the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre. She did her PHD in her seventies and is now supervising several PHD students.
Lex Tudman
Lex Tudman has given to the community all her life as a Maryborough Hospital nursing sister, community nurse, deputy Mayor and now as a mother and grandmother.

These brave, resilient women have ovecome great adversity in their lives to tenaciously give back to the local community. Their fascinating stories will soon be available on Fraser Coast Libraries YouTube Channel found here 

Tags: #Maryborough #Frasercoastlibraries #oralhistory #herveybay #hospital #nursing

Monday, 6 March 2017

Women's Week Oral History Launch

Lillian Coyne, Phyllis Klupp and Barb Hovard 
Fraser Coast Libraries launched the Oral History Project Having a Voice on Monday at the Maryborough Library.
Lots of shared memories

Lillian Coyne and Library Technician Deb McCall share a joke
To honour Women's Week we presented two mini-documentaries about the lives of Phyllis Klupp and Lillian Coyne. These women have been involved and lead the way in the Fraser Coast community. Barb Hovard introduced the event on behalf of the Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society Inc.
Lots of stories were shared at the event

If you missed the launch you can view these stories on the Fraser Coast Libraries Youtube account found here  

Lillian Coyne is here 
and Phyllis Klupp is here

Gail Nancarrow, Philomena Grimwade and Lillian Coyne
Keep an eye out on this YouTube account as the next oral histories recorded will be uploaded soon.

Do you know anyone that we should interview? Let us know!

Tags: #Bauple #Maryborough #Frasercoastlibraries #oralhistory

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Having a voice - recording talks and oral histories

Fraser Coast Libraries have been running local history talks at Maryborough on the second Friday of the month at 12 noon and at Hervey Bay at various times.  The National Trust Heritage Festival has a theme each year. The details of this year’s festival can be found here  It will be held from 18th April to 21st May and the theme is Having a Voice.

Fraser Coast libraries will be conducting the local history program and collections based on this theme this year.  To start, we have recorded several local history talks.
Allan Woodward

The first was guest speaker Allan Woodward  who presented a talk at the Maryborough Library on the Memorials of the Fraser Coast found here.

Councillor George Seymour 
Fraser Coast Libraries local history patron Councillor George Seymour has presented many talks at the Libraries. The talk about the Urangan Pier can be found in three parts. Part one can be found here, Part two can be found here and Part three can be found here.

Do you know anyone that would like to give a talk on local history at the Libraries?

Future projects will include recording oral histories of people who traditionally did not have a voice. This will be launched on the 6th of March, 2017 at 11 am at the Maryborough Library. In future these and other talks will be available from the Fraser Coast Libraries Youtube Account found here

We are working with the Maryborough Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society and Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum to gather these histories of people in our community.

Tags # frasercoastlibraries #oralhistory #Uranganpier #Maheno #Warmemorials #Localhistory #Maryborough #HerveyBay

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