Jack Murray found an old box lined with the Gympie Times.
Jack Murray found an old box lined with the Gympie Times. Renee Pilcher

Box holds window to the past

JUNE 27, 1908 in Gympie was another time and very nearly another place for readers of The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette.

"Six pages" and "Twopence" proclaimed the masthead, as someone long forgotten re-used the pages of history to line a humble storage box.

That box is now an antique and almost a time capsule, its few remaining scraps of disintegrated newsprint providing a fascinating snapshot of life 103 years ago.

Much more recently, in an age of automobiles and electric rather than steam trains, the box was bought at auction by Garrick St restorer Jack Murray.

Like all good hobbyists, Jack put it aside and forgot about it, while getting on with other jobs.

When he finally got back to it recently, he discovered its age and decided restoration was no longer appropriate.

"If it's more than 100-years-old, you should leave it alone," he says, explaining that restoration introduces new materials to something which is valued because of its origins in a different and long lost world.

Yet not so different, as readers celebrated and fretted about sport, money, politics and the execution of "terrorists" in Poland.

The pages mention the Wanderers Football Club, the Hibernian Hall and "33 acres on Chinaman's Ck at two pounds an acre." Ashton's Brewery, Gympie, advertised XXXX ales and stout.

The Howard Smith line offered sea transport to Brisbane and Sydney and rail/coach services would take a person "first class" from Cooran to Tewantin for 10 shillings, or $1.

A "perfect fitting" suit cost $5.

James Campbell and Sons Ltd offered kit buildings "ready for re-erection by unskilled labour".

An SP bookmaker operated legally from opposite the Royal Hotel and MP, GH Reid, called for a more equal society and an end to "snobbishness".

The previous Thursday was "quiet" on the Gympie share market.

And new technology was making its mark, with a Lady Mary Tce dentist offering amalgam fillings, "better than gold - lighter and cheaper".

Gympie Times


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