Doreen Reddan looking over some historical photos and records of the Reddan and Mellor Drapery Firm.
Doreen Reddan looking over some historical photos and records of the Reddan and Mellor Drapery Firm. Max Fleet

Collection brings back memories

BUNDABERG resident John Hampson looked at the photograph of the 1956 Wypers department store fire, on Quay Street, and remembered hosing it down.

“I was nearly 20 and there was a fireman hosing down the ashes,” he said.

“He gave me the hose while he went to have breakfast because he had been there all night.”

A Bundaberg boy born and bred, the 72-year-old said the regional library’s evolving collection of photographs, Picture Bundaberg, was an important historical archive.

Mr Hampson said while there was not really a “wow” factor to many of the photographs he donated, they were important historical records of buildings that once graced the city streets and the people who used to own or use them.

Every time Bundaberg resident Doreen Reddan sees the photograph of staff outside her husband’s family’s Bourbong Street drapery store, memories came flooding back.

The store opened in 1886 and was closed in 1984, two years before it turned 100.

“My brother ended up standing at the door to only let a certain amount of people in (during the closing down sale),” she said.

Fellow contributor Eleanor Southwick said she looked at the photographs and remembered a time of real freedom.

“We used to ride to Bargara — you’re taking your life in your own hands if you do that now,” Ms Southwick said.

She said she was grateful to have been a Bundaberg resident for the past 40 years.

“We’re so lucky that God gave us memories,” she said.

“The photographs take you back to a kinder, friendlier past and you can just immerse yourself and be divorced from the world we’re now forced to live in.”

Community services librarian Sue Gammon said the collection of about 2000 photographs was constantly evolving.

The library’s main goal in starting the collection was to preserve a visual history of the city. Ms Gammon encouraged people to donate pictures.

“We’re hearing reports of things ending up in rubbish dumps. We want people to bring these images in to us,” she said.



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