Anne Sallaway was a receptionist for both doctors who lived and worked at 30 Lady Mary Tce during the years before the building was purchased and restored by the Department of Communities.
Anne Sallaway was a receptionist for both doctors who lived and worked at 30 Lady Mary Tce during the years before the building was purchased and restored by the Department of Communities. Lee Gailer

Fire sparks memories

WEDNESDAY was a sad day for Gympie people and former residents of the grand old homestead that burned down on Tuesday night.

What has come out of the ashes and blackened woodwork are stories of an old world, where doctors tended to their patients as they did their families.

Memories of the magnificent structure intermingle with stories of children playing in the family quarters while patients waiting in the sunroom - where a reception still remains today.

Anne Sallaway, nee Bentley, got a job at the doctor's surgery when she was 15 and remained there throughout the era of Dr Bill Lindsay senior and Dr David Cairncross.

She remembers Dr Lindsay performing operations in the surgery and said where the surgery was (at the rear of the building on the corner of Lady Mary Tce and Amy St) had hardly changed in the 40 years since her first day at work.

"It was a beautiful old place," Mrs Sallaway said.

"The timber was that old, it would have burned quickly."

She can recall the primitive telephone system in the house like it was yesterday.

The switchboard was located near the downstairs bedrooms for night-time safety and a big bell would ring in the reception.

During her earlier years it was her job to run for the telephone.

This was how the receptionists took calls for the doctor.

"My mum used to work here as the cleaner for Dr Cairncross," Mrs Sallaway added as she looked at the building's remains yesterday.

"It's sad to see, but these things happen," she said.

Gympie Times


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