RAY HUMPHRYS TAKES A LOOK BACK AT THE TURNING POINT OF JIMBOUR HOUSE
Wilf Russell renovates mansion and throws bash
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.