The Gympie Times

LET­TERS TO THE EDI­TOR

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RE: ’Pro­fes­sor de­bunks Pyra­mid, re­veals sec­ond Gympie mys­tery’ (Gympie Times, May 24), the ‘Gympie Pyra­mid’ — the sand­stone out­crop also known as Rocky Ridge — has been ‘fake news’ ever since Rex Gil­roy ‘dis­cov­ered’ it in 1975. But Gil­roy’s idea that out­siders came to Gympie in an­cient times has taken off, espe­cially in the Chi­nese whis­pers of the in­ter­net.

From time to time, out­siders such as Pro­fes­sor Os­man­agich ar­rive in Gympie of­fer­ing their opin­ions with­out first con­sult­ing the re­search that has al­ready been done. For­tu­nately, evidence out­weighs opin­ion. Pro­fes­sor Os­man­agich men­tions two well-stud­ied sites. Rocks piled into walls on a prop­erty at Rocky Ridge have been claimed to be the work of an­cient vis­i­tors — Egyp­tians, Mayans, Phoeni­cians, Chi­nese — even ex­tra-ter­res­tri­als (take your pick!).

In fact, John Wil­liam Cau­per, a well-ed­u­cated Swiss nurs­ery­man, came to Gympie with the gold rush, took up Gold­fields Homestead Lease 215 on Rocky Ridge in 1876, and built th­ese now di­min­ished walls to form well-drained ter­races for grow­ing grapes. Driven out by the de­pres­sion and floods of the early 1890s, he left Gympie for the out­back and died in 1931, aged 96, at the Dun­wich Benev­o­lent Asy­lum. His story un­folds in ac­ces­si­ble files at the Queens­land State Archives.

Then there’s the non­sense that the im­pres­sive stone walls around the for­mer Sur­face Hill Unit­ing Church came from the ‘Gympie Pyra­mid’. Th­ese walls were built in 1937 as a project to relieve un­em­ploy­ment dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion. The late Clyde Kunst de­scribed how, as a teenager, he worked on the truck that con­veyed the sand­stone blocks, pre-cut by stone­ma­sons, from a quarry on Mrs Pa­tience Mul­hol­land’s prop­erty at Southside. Each day, un­em­ployed men lined up, hop­ing to earn money to feed their fam­i­lies. Some were then cho­sen as labour­ers to place the stones.

John Cau­per and the real builders of Gympie’s stone walls should be recog­nised as lo­cal heroes — never mind the fan­tasies about an­cient vis­i­tors.

Dr Elaine Brown, Coon­doo

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