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

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Local History Local Music – Alfred and Olivea Wynne

The first tower for Radio 4MB was erected at the residence of A. P. Wynne, 669 Kent Street, Maryborough. This photograph shows the pole being transported from the Hyne & Son Sawmill in lower Kent Street. Walkers Limited Shipyards is shown in the background of the photograph. 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
Fraser Coast Libraries and Maryborough Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society Inc are working together on a Historypin project Local History Local Music found here 

During this project we have discovered that Alfred and Olivea Wynne were significant members of the local area's musical community.

Alfred Percy Wynne and Olivea Jean Wynne were business owners of Wynne’s Music Store in Maryborough. They married in 1913 and established the business in 1919 in the old Chronicle building, Adelaide Street before moving to Kent Street. Details can be found here

Mr Wynne was the secretary of the Philaharmonic Society and Secretary of the Wide Bay  and Burnett Musical Festival Council. Details found here 

Mr Wynne as managing director of 4MB in 1932 was very involved in developing commercial broadcasting in Maryborough. The first broadcast was from the Wynne’s home in upper Kent Street. Details found here  and here

Maryborough Family History  (Pin Interest collection) 673 Kent St - Alfred and Olivia Wynne's house from where 4MB was first transmitted.
It then moved to above Wynne's music store in 1937.

Alfred Percy Wynne died in 1966 and Olivea Jean Wynne died in 1968. They bequested $200 000 to the University of Queensland to be used as scholarships for Maryborough students. The 50th anniversary of this bequest is coming up and the University is keen to find out more about this philanthropic Maryborough couple.

Do you know why they donated this money to University of Queensland?

Have you or anyone you know completed studies with the help of this scholarship and live in Maryborough?

Do you know anything about the musical history of Maryborough?

Please come along to our special Historypin Local History Local Music chat group Tuesday 12 noon on the 2nd of August at the Maryborough Library E Space and help us keep our musical history alive.

Tags: #AlfredWynne #wynnes #musicstore #Historypin #localhistorylocalmusic #frasercoastlibraries #maryborough

Friday, 15 July 2016

Arnie Twigg and Maryborough Gasworks

Arnie Twigg retiring from looking after the Chronicle files 5th June, 1987.
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 Identifier: Image CP440 
Arnie Twigg was a well known character around Maryborough. In the days when lights were gas lit and not automatic, shops still wanted lights on outside of their businesses at night. His job was to use a stick, with a hook on the end, to turn the lights on outside of the Maryborough shops. He would return to turn them off in the morning. “He was a little man, often on his own, walking the streets at dusk and dawn” a reader remembers.
Gas was big business in Maryborough. “The Maryborough Gas and Coke Company Ltd was formed in 1878 – the directors being many Maryborough businessmen namely – Henry Palmer, John Walker, John Graham, J.Gilbert, R.M. Hyne, W.Young and E.Booker" (Scougall, n.d.).
If you walk into Bowen Street Maryborough today you can see the brick building which was constructed in 1883.  It was designed by Willoughby Powell, and over the entrance is the motto in Latin Ex Fumo Dare Lucem (Scougall,n.d.). Scougall says, “I am told that the translation broadly means to bring light from smoke."
Gas became the predominant source of lighting from the commencement on the second of August, 1879 through to the fifties. Information about this beginning can be found here 
Expansion plans can be found here
After this time demand for gas diminished, until March, 1965 when “the change over from a coal gas plant to a reforming plant using liquefied petroleum took place" (Scougall, n.d.).
With the reduction in the demand for gas, Arnie’s services were no longer needed. He moved on and worked for a time organising the Chronicle files.

Do you have any more memories about Arnie or the gasworks?

Scougall,I. (n.d.) The Golden Mile, Local History Talk, Maryborough Library. Also found in the Local History Vertical Files.

Tags #Gasworks #Maryborough #Arnietwigg #frasercoastlibraries 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Lexie Casperson and Foxie - local heroes

Lexie Casperson with his younger brothers and sisters and his little dog “Foxie” 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 email
Identifier: ImageCP0511
A partnership between Maryborough, Wide Bay and Burnett Historical Society Inc and Fraser Coast Libraries is ensuring images once kept in filing cabinets are now finding new life in digital form. Remarkable animals was the topic of one of our small projects. During this project we found out about a young boy and his heroic dog.
Lexie Casperson, a boy of 12 years was able to save his two brothers Billy (aged seven years) and Brian (aged four years) and his sister Gloria (aged ten years) from their burning home all thanks to their little fox terrier puppy Foxie.The animal was barking wildly outside and woke the boy who found the house was on fire. Lexie woke the other children just in time, with his sister getting her face scorched from the flames that licked her bed. Information about Lexie can be found here and here
The parents had been visiting the neighbours next door and came round the corner on the way home at around 11pm to see the house on fire.“Public recognition was accorded to Lexie and Foxie in the Granville Shire Hall on August 13th 1929, when the boy was presented with a medal and a wallet of money and the dog a beautiful collar (Trove, n.d.)”.The house was the old Bartholemew home which was an historic two storey wooden building at Granville. The details are found here.

Lex Casperson is a regular library customer and is the nephew of Lexie in this article. He was named after Uncle Lex by his father Brian, to honour him for saving  all the children from the fire. Lex now works at the police station. Before this, he spent close to thirty years at Walkers Ltd as a labourer. He is now the proud owner of the medals and certificate presented to Lex senior by the Royal Humane Society of Australia on the 28/7/1927.

The medal says presented to Alex Casperson by Granville residents and friends in recognition of bravery in rescuing little sister and brothers from fire 28th July, 1927 on the back. AC is written on the front.
“Uncle Lex lived in Mary Street for most of his life until his wife Aunty Lottie died. He then moved to Albert Street in 1991 to be closer to me, as his eyesight was failing” said Lex junior."He lived there until July 2015. He passed away on the 2nd of November, 17 days short of his 102nd birthday,” Lex reflects.
“He was always a humble man and never bragged about what he did or what he got. Even his workmates at Wilson and Harts timber mill didn’t know of his heroism even after he worked there for fifty-one years, as he never told anyone of his award or recognition.”

Lex junior said “Uncle Lex lived a happy, simple life and never uttered a hard word about anybody. He worked hard and lived cleanly.” Lex junior looked after Lex senior in his elderly years after he was diagnosed with glaucoma and surrendered his licence, helping him live out most of his senior years in his own home. He is immensely proud of him and remembers the humble and dignified way he lived his life.

Do you know any remarkable animal stories?

Check out his and other images on our library catalogue. We would also love to see you at Historypin Chat, first Tuesday of every month at the Maryborough Library to share your photos and stories.

Published with consent from Lex Casperson junior.
Tags: #bartholomewhouse #granville #maryborough #frasercoastlibraries