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Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published September 18th 2015
The Glengallan Mummified Cat and Other Mysteries
Just north of Warwick and around two hours' drive from Brisbane sits Glengallan Homestead, an auspicious mansion and the financially disastrous folly of wealthy and subsequently bankrupt pastoralist John Deuchar. Commenced in 1867 this property is at the heart of more than one mystery.

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The drawing room, part of which is restored to its glory days of the late 1800's.

The Mummified Cat
In a corner of the drawing room is a mummified cat, displayed in a glass case set in the floor; interesting, although a little macabre. The cat, nicknamed 'Myrtle' was discovered during the restorations, in a sealed chamber in the foundations.

In 2005 Toowoomba's newspaper, The Chronicle, reported historian Ian Evans' thoughts that the mummified cat may have been part of an ancient ritual dating back to Britain's secretive trade guilds. Glengallan's builder, Samuel Everton was an Englishman, a tenuous link which required research.

Mummified cat, myrtle, Glengallan Homestead, Warwick attractions, Australian History, Historic Homestead, Glengallan
The Glengallan drawing room - beneath the perspex window in the floor is Myrtle, the mummified cat.

The Ghost Gate
Legend has it that in the late 1800's on a track connecting the Glengallan and Goomburra Homesteads, a gate opened and closed by itself. Dan Hartigan, a stockman reported seeing an apparition as he rode through. Many people including the local minister told the same tale. Yet others claimed to see a large white owl on the gatepost which flew away as they approached creating a breeze that opened the gate.

Legacy to the legend is 'Ghost Gate Road' which runs between Mt Marshall-Clintonvale Road and Goomburra Road. The gate's location is today marked by a David Blomfield sculpture of a great white owl.

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The grand and imposing facade of Glengallan Homestead

The Missing Toilet Bowl
The quest to locate items sold or taken from Glengallan continues as does the search for authentic 19th century household items to complete the restoration.

The upstairs bathroom housed the most modern conveniences of the time. Although the flush toilet housing and cedar toilet seat were returned to the Homestead in 2002, the toilet bowl remains lost. It was last photographed in situ in the 1960's and in a mid-1990's archaeological dig fragments of the bottom of the bowl were found.

It is believed the glazed earthenware bowl, adorned with an intricate Chariot Pattern, might be the work of Thomas Twyford of Staffordshire, the potter renowned for inventing the single piece, ceramic, flush toilet.

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The staircase at Glengallan

The Elusive Plans
The plans for Glengallan have never been found and it is thought John Deuchar may have designed it himself, intending to erect a more significant structure.

The location of the staircase obstructs a lower door and a stair window may indeed have been intended as a door to a part of the mansion never built.

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Glengallan Homestead

Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre is located at 18515 New England Highway, Warwick-Allora, approximately 13kms north of Warwick and around two hours' drive from Brisbane. It is open to visitors 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday, except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Entry fees are (September 2015) Adult $10, Child $4, Family: 2 Adults & 2 Children $25.00, 1 Adult & 2 Children $15.00, Group Admission (15 ) - Adult $8, Child $3.

The onsite cafe, Eliza's at Glengallan, offers tea and coffee, a selection of snacks and on weekends also offers lunch. Souvenirs are sold onsite. There is free parking and public toilets within the grounds.

Further information can be obtained by ringing 07 4667 3866, emailing or via their website.
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Why? To ponder the mystery and view how the social elite lived in the late 19th century Discover and marvel at the herculean efforts to restore this once ruined homestead.
When: 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Phone: 07 4667 3866
Where: 18515 New England Highway, Warwick-Allora, approximately 13kms north of Warwick
Cost: (September 2015) Adult $10, Child $4, Family: 2 Adults & 2 Children $25.00, 1 Adult & 2 Children $15.00, Group Admission (15 ) - Adult $8, Child $3
Your Comment
Congratulations winning second place.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2215 days ago
We have been to Glengallan several times and love seeing the restoration progress. Well worth the trip if you are a history buff!
by John. (score: 0|6) 2221 days ago
Interesting - I love old homes. I did not know about this one, so next time I am out that way I will try to call in and see it. Thank you for an interesting article.
by Di Hill (score: 2|579) 2221 days ago
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