Decades of Whitsunday photos found in mystery bag
GENERATIONS of precious family memories from the 1920s up to the 1980s landed in the bushes of Magnus Eriksson’s Brisbane home.
It was a discovery that would unveil decades of captured moments and bring thousands of people together to solve the mystery of the photo slides’ origin.
Mr Eriksson, a business consultant in Brisbane who also runs Facebook page House Histories on the side, which focuses on local history research and in particular house histories, found a collection of photo slides in a bag of junk.
The bag had been thrown into the bushes on his property boundary in Auchenflower.
“Among the junk was a couple of old envelopes of photographic negatives, and 35mm slides,” he said.
“I scanned one of the negatives and reversed the image, and the amazing picture of the two men with the huge mulloway (fish) appeared.”
Intrigued, Mr Eriksson looked through the rest of the photos, scanning them and publishing them as a series on his Facebook page in hope of finding the owners.
“I have several thousand Facebook followers and there was a lot of interest – people with all sorts of specialist knowledge contributing to solving the mystery,” he said.
“Some provided information on the car and motorcycle models, others the WWII uniforms etc. “I also received lots of feedback from local historians from all over Queensland, and we quickly established that some of the images were from Collinsville, others from Bowen and Gladstone.
“Some of the older images are stunning, clearly taken by a skilled photographer. But there was scant information other than the photos – no useful notes or names appeared anywhere in the collection.
“We followed lots of leads, trying to find the builder of the church in Collinsville (shown in the photos), tracing down car registration plates, looking at members of WWII volunteer organisations based on the uniforms worn by some of the young ladies in the ’40s etc., but with no luck.”
After a few days, the mystery was solved when a group member recognised the people in the more recent photos.
“I’m now in touch with the extended family. I’m talking to the granddaughter of the young fella seen in the family photos from the ’40s,” Mr Eriksson said.
“They are very grateful, nice people.
“We still don’t know how the bag ended up in my bushes but I’m hopeful we’ll figure it out.”
The photos have gained plenty of attention, even resulting in the State Library and others reaching out to the historical collector to incorporate the photos in their collections.
“This is of course the family’s decision,” Mr Eriksson said.
“It certainly took my mind off the virus for a few days.”
The photos will be returned to the family.