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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or via their website.