The Gympie Times
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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