Friday 29 November 2019

A Herberton Mystery Solved

Often we would talk around the campfire about a little local history puzzle.  Way back in 2002, I was part of a group of history buffs who were researching and restoring an old bush cemetery near the site of a long vanished mining town not realizing that the answer to a local mystery was literately at my feet but we didn't make the connection.  The answer to this story unfolded recently when Herberton historian, Mary Searston was looking so chuffed because an elderly lady name Mrs Lee had come into the Herberton Mining Centre and stated that she was long lost John Brown's grand-daughter.  This now answers one of Herberton's longest standing mysteries - whatever happened to the Mr John Brown who was one of the team of prospectors who found the tin in Prospector's Gully at Herberton.  The story of the other three men of this team is quite well known to history but what of John Brown.  Well, Mrs Lee had the answer and I can now tell you that after he sold his share in the Great Northern Tin Mine and disappeared into the mists of history, in fact he had gone on mining and later owned two more local tin mines and is buried at the Stannary Hills cemetery.  Yes that very cemetery that I was working on.  Mrs Lee looked too young to be the grand-daughter of one of the original four men who found the tin in Prospector's Gully and so started the town of Herberton off way back in 1880.  But John married and had his last children late in life after he returned from nearly a decade of mining when he followed his old colleagues, William Jack and Christie Palmerston to south-east Asia.  So thanks to Mrs Lee's generosity with her family history research, the Mining Centre will now be able to finish the last panel of the town's founders board - an important museum item that the folk at the Centre have been waiting more than fifteen years to finish. 

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Peeramon History Book

The Eacham Historical Society launched a new booklet about the early years of Peeramon at this years Malanda Show.  This publication began with the research done by Petrina Callaghan for the recent Peeramon Honour Board project but then grew into a full study of the township history.  It includes information on the Railway Station and Belsen's wooden timber tramway, businesses of the village such as the Hotel, Hall, Post Office, Bank, Williams store, AL&S store, Butchers, Bakers and Blacksmith.  There is also the story of the School and Church and sporting groups.  It covers the story of the ANZAC tree plantings and has a list of the early settlers.  The booklet includes a photograph gallery of early and not so early photos.  There is the story of the murder-suicide tragedy at the hotel which gave rise to the story of the ghost.  The 1935 wheelbarrow race and mining at Peeramon at the small nearby wolfram and gold mines is looked at as well as the story of the first climbing of Mount Bartle Frere in 1919 by local residents.  There is also a list of the men whose names are on the Peeramon Roll of Honour Board with a short profile about each of them.  This booklet is a great addition to the Society's list of publications.