THEN & NOW: The old Atlantic Hotel during a Mary St flood and now the home of Mama and Papa's Pizzeria.
THEN & NOW: The old Atlantic Hotel during a Mary St flood and now the home of Mama and Papa's Pizzeria. Contributed

Historic Gympie scenes recreated 100 years apart

HERITAGE was one of the big assets listed by business and political analyst Neil Glentworth when he addressed a Gympie Chamber of Commerce business breakfast this week.

And it is fair to assume that Mr Glentworth was not being sentimental.

The hard, pragmatic reality he outlined, when he spoke at Gympie RSL Club's Orchid Room on Thursday morning, had nothing to do with a love of things just because they are old.

Gympie can no longer afford to live in the past, he said, even if it did save Queensland from bankruptcy.

That was a long time ago, he told his sell-out audience of more than 100.

He was talking about Gympie's future and the massive wealth that drives past every year as people turn off the Bruce Highway to head for Fraser Island.

"$250 million a year," he said. "That's the kind of money Gympie businesses are leaving on the table."

Gympie, he said, needed to develop a compelling reason for people to visit and perhaps spend the night or weekend.

He said heritage was the asset that would enable Gympie's past to become a foundation of its future.

 

Upper Mary St now heritage
Upper Mary St now heritage Arthur Gorrie

He was supported by well-known business identity Brendan Allen, who said the nearby Upper Mary St buildings were like something you would only these days find in Cuba.

He meant that in a nice way - heritage that is still being used, heritage that is still alive.

 

The old Atlantic Hotel during a Mary St flood.  CONTRIBUTED
The old Atlantic Hotel during a Mary St flood. CONTRIBUTED Contributed

 

Atlantic Hotel now
The former Atlantic Hotel, now Charlie's. Arthur Gorrie

It is something well-known architectural historian and Mary Valley councillor Bob Fredman has been advocating for years.

 

After Mass, St Patricks Church, c1920.Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries
After Mass, St Patricks Church, c1920.Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries Contributed

 

St Pats now heritage
St Pats now heritage Arthur Gorrie

Gold mining, timber harvesting and milling and a built environment such as most cities knocked down in the 1960s make a big contribution to the hidden gem that is Gympie.

 

Members - and urchins - outside the Gympie Stock Exchange Club.Attribution: State Library of Queensland
Members - and urchins - outside the Gympie Stock Exchange Club.Attribution: State Library of Queensland Contributed

 

stock exchange now heritage
stock exchange now heritage Arthur Gorrie

And so the past lives on, with the help over years of groups like the National Trust, the "Gympie the real treasure is the town" Facebook page, Gympie Family History Society, the Gympie Regional Council library service, the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum and the State Library of Queensland.

 

After serving as a court house, the Gympie Land Office went on to become the Land Office c1911.Attribution: State Library of Queensland
After serving as a court house, the Gympie Land Office went on to become the Land Office c1911.Attribution: State Library of Queensland Contributed

 

Lands Office now heritage
The former Gympie courthouse and Lands Office building, now home to the Australian Institute of Country Music Arthur Gorrie

Here we present a random selection of Gympie landmarks, as they look now and as they were about 100 years ago.

 

Jones Hill then heritage
Jones Hill in its early days providing Gympie with safe water. Contributed

The adventure of Gympie's history is something The Gympie Times has been privileged to report and record.

 

Railway Station now heritage
Gympie Railway Station now Arthur Gorrie

 

Second railway station, line open to Brisbane, 1891.Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries
Second railway station, line open to Brisbane, 1891.Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries Contributed

 

Memorial Park, Gympie Murray Views Postcard.Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries
Memorial Park, Gympie Murray Views Postcard.Attribution: Gympie Regional Libraries Contributed

 

Rotunda now
Rotunda now Arthur Gorrie

Thanks are also owed to Charlie's Hotel, formerly the Atlantic, for permission to access the property's Mary and Monkland street verandah, to re-create the camera angle of the first of this particular collection of historic photographs.

The old Stock Exchange building, now the offices of legal firm Neilson Stanton and Parkinson, is another example of living architectural history and the contemporary business use of a unique heritage.

St Patrick's Church on Calton Hill has been a Gympie landmark since 1887. The photograph here was taken after Sunday mass, somewhere around 1920.

The Memorial Park Rotunda has been an internationally recognised landmark since the future King Edward visited, driving through Memorial Land before it became pedestrian only.

Gympie was once the southern terminus of a rail line from Maryborough, before the line went through to Brisbane.

Gympie's first substantial government building, the Lands Office, was originally a courthouse and now home to the Australian Institute of Country Music.

And the Jones Hill water treatment plant has been keeping the community supplied with safe water since the 19th century.

Waterworks complex, 2017.Attribution: Abbie Grant-Taylor
Waterworks complex, 2017.Attribution: Abbie Grant-Taylor