Monday Musings From The Writer’s Desk


It is amazing how a small insignificant cheque book can inspire an entire post or perhaps two posts.  Appearances can be deceiving though, as the cheque book in question is everything but insignificant. It was issued by the Queensland National Bank Limited, Toogoolawah in 1908.


On the surface, it still doesn’t sound like a great find does it?  However, when my fingers went a-walking through the used butts, I learned some significant pieces of information about my Great Grandparents’ life in the year 1908.  The very first butt, for cheque No. A05461, dated 12th September 1908 was to D.C. McConnel & Sons for a sum of 100 pounds, being a deposit on a cottage.


William and Cis had lived in Roma at the start of their married life and with my his military postings they moved to Dalby, Toowoomba and then to Toogoolawah where they finally purchased their own home. What is also interesting about the cheque butt in question is that on the back is written in my Great Grandfather’s handwriting, a list of items that he most probably used to renovate the cottage.  They include timber, oil and paint, net wire and paint brushes.

Now, moving along through the butts, I came to Cheque No. A05469 which was a two pound payment for 500 palings, which I can only assume were for a house fence.  Then he wrote a cheque on 1st March 1909 for the sum of 82 pounds and 8 shillings, payable to D.C. McConnel for the balance owing on the cottage.  If only one could pay a house out in such a short time in this day and age.



I have learned some lessons during my exploration of the old cupboards.  The most important being that the smallest detail may in fact be a large piece of the puzzle.  I have also discovered that I must read and reread every card, envelope or cheque book.  What might not have seemed significant on one occasion may form a big part of my research on another.  My Great Grandfather had a habit of hiding bits of paper in pockets or pages of books. Each morsel of paper hold handwritten notes, the answers to his never-ending questions, battle plans from Gallipoli, and the list goes on.

So, I am forever thankful for the breadcrumbs of clues my Great Grandfather left for me to find.  It has been a never-ending journey, and just when I think that there is nothing left to find, more fascinating clues find there way into my life.






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