BIG FIND: Jimmy Harris found this memorial card belonging to William Peel Mellefont.
BIG FIND: Jimmy Harris found this memorial card belonging to William Peel Mellefont. Matt Taylor GLA090118CARD

Historic card gives glimpse into Gladstone's past

"HE IS not dead, but sleepeth.”

Those are the words adorning a memorial card found by local man Jimmy Harris, in memory of William Peel Mellefont, the man who helped revive The Observer after an eight-year hiatus in 1880.

The card is one which would have been sent back to someone who sent a sympathy card to the relatives of a person who had passed away.

In this case, that person was Mr Mellefont.

Local man Jimmy Harris found this memorial card belonging to William Peel Mellefont, who revived the Gladstone Observer in 1880.
Local man Jimmy Harris found this memorial card belonging to William Peel Mellefont, who revived the Gladstone Observer in 1880. Matt Taylor GLA090118CARD

Mr Harris, who found the card, believes it would have been returned by Mrs Mellefont, who ran The Observer for two years after her husband died.

Mr Harris explains how the card came into his possession.

"I went to a garage sale and while looking at some books, I pounced on an old dictionary dated 1750,” he said.

"When I asked the relation what they wanted for it, he realised its age and then refused to sell it to me.

"When he opened the book up the card fell to the floor.”

Local man Jimmy Harris found this memorial card belonging to William Peel Mellefont, who revived the Gladstone Observer in 1880.
Local man Jimmy Harris found this memorial card belonging to William Peel Mellefont, who revived the Gladstone Observer in 1880. Matt Taylor GLA090118CARD

The seller then offered to include the card with some of the other items Mr Harris was buying that day.

William Peel Mellefont is a significant figure in the Queensland publishing history, having founded many small regional newspapers including those in Ipswich, Bundaberg and Gladstone.

He ran the Gladstone Observer for eight years before his passing, when his widow eventually sold it to William Manning.

After 130 years, Mr Harris values the card as an item that has great historical significance to Gladstone.



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