Saturday, December 19, 2009

Miss F. H. O'Reilly reveals

When we first moved into the house back in April my husband found a metal trunk full of papers; old receipts, documents, cards, etc. It was inside this trunk that we found the original watercolour plans of Euphemia, dated 1904, the house was built the following year. (please note, due to my poor blogging skills, the paragraphs next to the photos in this post are not necessarily related!).

We've since framed the plans and hung them on the wall. Our architect was most impressed. He said in the 40+ years of practising architecture, he's only come across such plans a few times.

It's only been in the last few days that I've found the trunk again and had a proper look inside. It has a name on the outside, Miss F.H. O'Reilly, although I don't know who that was.

The first thing I pulled out was a receipt from the Church of England Grammar School at East Brisbane. It's dated 13th May, 1921 and is for 17 shillings and nine pence, being for term II, 1921 - yes, I think the fees have significantly increased since then. One of the boys in the family attended Churchie, while all the others had the good sense to go to Brisbane Grammar.

There were also lots of insurance papers from various years, all listing the piano separately to the rest of the contents. The piano requires some further investigation me thinks.

There was also a lot of postcards from Blackburn, which is either in England or Scotland, and a Remembrance Card from Christmas 1930.

One interesting brochure was the 'Program for Reception to H.R.H. The Duchess of York at Exhibition Hall, Brisbane, 8th April, 1927.' It listed the entire program including speakers and performers.

An old Mother's Day card had been cheekily signed, 'The Chicks'. I'm not sure if that meant the card was just from the two daughters, or if 'chicks' referred to all six children, as in baby chickens. My guess is it would be the latter.

Another Christmas Card looked very, very old indeed. It was more or less a slip of paper with the message printed on it, and a tiny photo at the bottom of the sender (?). Other cards had beautiful embossing or handiwork.

There were more papers referring to the house itself including what seems like hand written instructions on how to build it, and a receipt for some of the furniture including a lovely old rocker (downstairs ready for restoration) and the pink lamp.

We packed the trunk into the car along with another basket of bits and pieces and some photos and returned it all to Mr and Mrs Baby yesterday.

Earlier in my blog I queried why so many wooden cotton spools had been kept. Mrs Baby told me that during or after World War II people were encouraged to collect them, and they were strung together and painted to make toys for children. So there you go. Now we know.


  1. You certainly do not have poor blogging skills...your tales are riveting. Regards Anita.

  2. Wow, as a Churchie parent stressing over the fees that have just gone up significantly. One term, for one boy these days? over $4000! Sigh! I showed my boys your receipt and they shook their heads. Work hard for me sons! A-M xx