Wilf Rus­sell ren­o­vates man­sion and throws bash

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - With Ray Humphrys

IT WAS to be a party with a dif­fer­ence. Many peo­ple around the Dalby area had heard the de­serted Jimbour Homestead was be­ing re­stored to its for­mer glory.

They also heard there was to be an open day when ev­ery­one was wel­come to come and share in the fes­tiv­i­ties.

Fi­nally, Satur­day, Novem­ber 21, 1925, had fi­nally come and all roads led to Jimbour.

Wilf Rus­sell had bought the prop­erty two years ear­lier and de­cided to re­store the old man­sion.

It had been built by the for­mer owner Joshua Peter Bell in the mid 1870s.

De­signed by the Colo­nial Ar­chi­tect, FD G Stan­ley, it was an out­stand­ing two sto­ried sand­stone build­ing.

It was fin­ished in three years, com­plete with lo­cal tim­bers and stone.

Beau­ti­ful red cedar from the Bunya Moun­tains was a fea­ture of the build­ing.

Un­for­tu­nately it fell into dis­re­pair in the early years of the cen­tury and the leak­ing roof had caused great dam­age to the ceil­ings.

The gar­den was over­grown; a far cry from the ear­lier days.

Wilf Rus­sell ob­tained ex­perts to ren­o­vate the old home and re­design the gar­dens and his wife re­dec­o­rated the in­te­rior of the build­ing.

Fi­nally it was fin­ished and a grand open­ing day was planned, with funds raised go­ing to the Dalby Hos­pi­tal.

Peo­ple came from far and wide and the roads to Jimbour had never been busier.

The sawmill at the Bunya Moun­tains ceased for the day and most of the em­ploy­ees with their fam­i­lies climbed into the back of a truck and headed for Jimbour.

For coun­try peo­ple, the stately man­sion seemed like fairy­land with elec­tric lights and multi-coloured Chi­nese lanterns il­lu­mi­nat­ing the sur­round­ings.

The green lawns, artis­tic rose gar­dens and white gravel walk­ways com­pleted the pic­ture.

Danc­ing took place in some of the large rooms dec­o­rated by some 500 bal­loons.

Sup­per was served in a large mar­quee that seated 450 peo­ple and it was es­ti­mated more than 1200 peo­ple at­tended that night.

Many within closer dis­tance went home but the Bunya Moun­tain folk as well as oth­ers camped out that night and went home the next day.

The sun had again risen on the for­tunes of Jimbour House and in the 92 years since it is easy to see it was the turn­ing point of its his­tory.

For coun­try peo­ple, the stately man­sion seemed like a fairy­land with elec­tric lights and multi-coloured Chi­nese lanterns...


HOUSE PARTY: Part of the crowd of vis­i­tors at the re­open­ing of Jimbour House in 1925.

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