Bloomfield River Oral History Project and photographs

Series 1: Bloomfield River Oral Histories (1995)

Series number
1
Series title
Bloomfield River Oral Histories
Date
1995
Scope and content

The Bloomfield River Oral History Project consists of 39 interviews conducted by Camilla Darling with local Kuku Yalangi elders and non-Aboriginal settlers in the Bloomfield River area.

The interviews reveal the way of life of the interviewees and their families, and speak to the interactions and relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal setters on the Bloomfield in a period prior to, and during, missionary involvement. Some stories capture the knowledge, skills and beliefs of elders which have through time eroded with the change of lifestyle brought in by the influence of European people.

Other stories reflect on the tin-mining and timber-getting industries which were the two major industries on the Bloomfield, but have long since ceased. These oral histories amount to a powerful collection of memories of a community that spans from the arrival of Lieutenant James Cook and his crew in 1770.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Description
39 interviews
Additional format
Digital copies available for selected items
System of arrangement
Chronological

Items in this series:

Frank O'Rourke (21 March 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/1
Item title
Frank O'Rourke
Date
21 March 1995
Scope and content

Frank O'Rourke speaks at length from Mount Louis Pastoral Station, about the history and early European exploration of the area; Bloomfield Sugar Mill; tin mining; timber getting; Lutheran Missions and Ayton Provincial School; as well as the overland mail route.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
O'Rourke, Francis James, 1927-2011
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
29 min; 31 min; 31 min; 15 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Francis James O'Rourke; born at Port Douglas in 1927; parents Emily Morgan and Francis James O'Rourke [snr]; wife Audrey, married 1953; siblings: Cecil, Myrtle, half siblings: Emily, Fred.
Notes
The Vilele Plantation 1882-1890, was located on the northern bank of the Bloomfield River; also known as the Bloomfield River Sugar Company, it was managed by Frederick Bauer and sons. By 1884 they had planted over 200 acres with cane, and the property had its own sugar mill. Due to depressed sugar prices in 1885 the company experienced financial trouble and in 1886 was taken over by Weary Bay Sugar Company. The Vilele Plantation ceased operation in 1890.

Jean Haack (23 March 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/2
Item title
Jean Haack
Date
23 March 1995
Scope and content

Jean Haack came to Bloomfield in 1950, as a correspondence teacher for the children of those working at Johnston’s timber mill. She married Roy and for a time they lived together at Olufson’s farm before moving out to Tool-koor, a property to the north of the valley where they cleared the scrub and raised cattle. 

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Haack, Dulcie Jean, 1930-2012
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 2 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Dulcie Jean Haack nee Honeywell was born near Finch Hatton, in 1930 to Frederick and Dulcibella Honeywell (nee Vaughan). Jean married Roy Haack in 1951, they had one daughter Bronwyn June (1966-1986).
Notes
Johnston's Sawmill Steam Plant was located at Mount Molloy and was active from 1914 to 1956, from where sawn timber was despatched by railway. It employed up to 100 men at its peak, but was completely destroyed by fire in 1963 and was never reopened.

Roy Haack (23 March 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/3
Item title
Roy Haack
Date
23 March 1995
Scope and content

Roy Haack first came to the area in 1940, prospecting for tin and gold around China Camp and Gold Hill. He speaks of employment at the timber mill in Bloomfield, snigging (hauling) timber. Roy also talks of the overland routes taken out of the area, to China Camp and down to Daintree (CREB track); via Stucke’s Gap up to Cooktown and clearing of the Bloomfield - Rossville track, through the 12 Mile Scrub.

Author / Creator
Haack, Roy Gustav, 1920-1998
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 30 min; 25 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Roy Gustav Haack, born in 1920 at Cooroy; parents Otto Haack (1890-1959) and Alma Raabe (1885-1968); one of three children, his sisters were Audrey Thelma (1915-2015) and Patricia June (1919-1990). Roy married Dulcie Jean Honeywell (1930-2012) in 1951, they had one daughter Bronwyn June (1966-1986).

Sylvia Geraghty (30 March 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/4
Item title
Sylvia Geraghty
Date
30 March 1995
Scope and content

Brought up in a mining family, Sylvia Geraghty’s youth was spent in Rossville. She speaks of her life and times there, the hardships as well as happy reminiscences and the people living thereabouts. Her father had earlier worked as a miner in China Camp and had spent time scalping kangaroos (wallabies) and dingoes at Kings Plain.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Geraghty, Sylvia Daphne, 1918-
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 28 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Sylvia Daphne Geraghty (nee Parsons), born in Cooktown; parents Edward Parsons (1880-1951) and Beatrice Bowditch (1892-1989). Syliva had one brother Ernest (1911-1979) and two sisters Esther (1913-) and Joyce (1933-). Sylvia married her first husband Thomas Arthur Stirling in 1943, and she served with No 3 Aircraft Depot, RAAF; Sylvia later married James Geraghty in 1965.
Esther Parsons served with the 2/1st Convalescent Depot during the Second World War.

Royce Lee (30 March 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/5
Item title
Royce Lee
Date
30 March 1995
Scope and content

Royce Lee came down to Bloomfield droving as a lad with his uncles. He speaks of his exploits as well as of the overland packhorse mail service, which he was one of the last to run.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Lee, Royce Edward, 1925-2006
Description
1 interview (6 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 9 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Royce Edward Lee, born near Cooktown; parents Charles Martin (1891-1930) and Emily Lee (1906-1995); Royce was raised by his grandmother May Shipton; wife Alice Maude Russell.
Served during the Second World War: 23 Regiment Volunteer Defence Corps.

Claude LeRoy (6 April 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/6
Item title
Claude LeRoy
Date
6 April 1995
Scope and content

Claude Le Roy mined on the Big Tableland near Helensvale (home to the Lion's Den Hotel on Shipton's Flat Road), but his real connection to the Bloomfield area was in skippering the Merinda, Malanda and Melita – the Hayles family boats which provided a regular service between Cairns and Cooktown. 

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Le Roy, Claude George Louis, 1911-1997
Description
1 interview (5 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 8 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Claude George Louis Le Roy was born in 1911 at Cairns, his father Louise Le Roy (1885-1911) died two months prior from typhoid fever. His mother Ethel May Jane Smith (1883-1957) remarried, William Pritchard Nettle (1875–1939). Claude married Elsie May Watkin (1916-) in 1939 but later divorced in 1950.

Maureen Mason (12 November 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/7
Item title
Maureen Mason
Date
12 November 1995
Scope and content

Maureen Mason’s interview deals mainly with her husband’s family connections to the area, whilst living at Bailey’s Creek and Cape Tribulation. Maureen speaks of the cavalcade in 1968 for the initial pushing through of the track between Cape Tribulation and the protests made during its construction in the early 1980s.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Mason, Maureen Joan, 1928-2019
Description
1 interview (27 min)
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Maureen Joan Mason (nee Williams) was born in Brisbane in 1928. Her parents were Morris Frederick and May Elinore Williams. Maureen married William (Bill) David Mason (1925-1989) in 1950, they had four children Morris, Beverley, Chris and Robert.

Bill Smith (19 April 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/8
Item title
Bill Smith
Date
19 April 1995
Scope and content

Bill Smith bought several blocks of land in Ayton in 1961, and later and set up a local store. Bill speaks of the many difficulties encountered in servicing the store, in inclement weather and rough terrain. Bill Smith mentions 'Cedar Bay Bill' and Michael Formenko or Tarzan; the Aboriginal people, the Mission, Bloomfield school and the influx of hippies into Cedar Bay.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Smith, Ronald William, 1918-
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 9 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Ronald William Smith was born in London in 1918 to Albert and Maude Smith. Bill left England in 1938 for  Malaya to manage a rubber plantation, before moving to Australia, age 40 in 1958.

Leffy Buhmann (20 April 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/9
Item title
Leffy Buhmann
Date
20 April 1995
Scope and content

Leffy Buhmann talks about life at Shipton’s Flat; the timber mill, miners, local Aboriginal people and others living in the area. He worked as a benchman at the timber mill at Shipton’s Flat before venturing into mining at Jubilee, Mt Poverty and on the Big Tableland before moving to Cooktown.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Buhmann, Leffler Conrad John, 1913-2005
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Leffler Conrad John Buhmann was born in Brisbane in 1913 to Conrad Heinrick Christian Buhmann (1883-1993) and Mary Elizabeth Brown (1890-1939). Leffler married Harriet Roberts (1918-1991) in 1938. Leffy served with 23 Regiment Volunteer Defence Corps during the Second World War.

Herbert Olufson (22 April 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/10
Item title
Herbert Olufson
Date
22 April 1995
Scope and content

The Olufson family has the longest history on the Bloomfield of any European family. Their grandfather had initially come to the area to work on a boat ferrying supplies for the Bloomfield Sugar Mill during the 1880’s and was also a beche­de-mer fisherman.

Victor and Herbert’s provided food from their farm and moved supplies for miners up to China Camp. They had a series of boats, used to get supplies and produce in and out of the area.

Herbert worked as manager of the timber mill for a time while another brother Oscar ran the shop and the post office. Both Herbert and Oscar had lost their wives in childbirth, as well as a number of siblings.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Olufson, Herbert Debenham, 1913-1999
Description
1 interview (14 parts)
31 mins each parts 1-13; 17 mins part 14
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Herbert Debenham Olufson was born in Cooktown in 1913 to Erik Gustav Olfuson (1895-1958) and Bertine Olivia Osmundsen (1870-1960). Erik and Bertine had 15 children. Herbert married Mary Ellen Higgins in 1938, Mary died in childbirth in 1941.

Victor Olufson (23 Apr 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/11
Item title
Victor Olufson
Date
23 Apr 1995
Scope and content

The Olufson family developed a self-supporting farm, five miles upstream on the Bloomfield River. Over the next century they were to become a major supplier of local needs - growing coffee, corn, pineapples, citrus and making many household items. As well as setting up a general store, they offloaded supplies from passing boats and packed them up to the mining fields in China Camp.

Victor married and moved to live in Biboohra, he and his brother Herbert speak of their life of living on the river and up to China Camp.

[This item has not been digitised]

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Olufson, Victor Charles, 1907-2009
Description
1 cassette tape
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Victor Charles Olufson was born in Cooktown in 1907 to Erik Gustav Olfuson (1895-1958) and Bertine Olivia Osmundsen (1870-1960). Erik and Bertine had 15 children. Victor married Rachel Mary Vallis (1915-1989) in 1935, their son John died in infancy in 1947.

Daureen Jones (27 April 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/12
Item title
Daureen Jones
Date
27 April 1995
Scope and content

Doreen Fullagar was born to Kuku Nyungkul parents at Cedar Bay. She was raised in the Daintree by missionaries Joe and Madge Cope, who later became her foster parents. When Daureen was sixteen she returned to Bloomfield to meet her real father, travelling via the overland stock route through China Camp.

Doreen studied nursing in Melbourne before returning with her family to live at Wujal Wujal in the 1980’s. She became involved with the community, acting as a voice for the people and was elected to the Council when self-management first came in.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Jones, Daureen, 1947-
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 20 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Doreen sometimes Daureen Fullagar (nee Jones) sometimes Renie was born in 1947 at Cedar Bay, her mother was known as Clara Jones or Spider, her father Johnny Walker, her maternal grandparents were Molly Spider and Spider King; her godmother was Doris Doughboy, daughter of King George Doughboy.

Tony Coase (2 May 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/13
Item title
Tony Coase
Date
2 May 1995
Scope and content

Tony first moved to the area working in the Daintree cutting timber, then tried his luck tin scratching around China Camp. Tony speaks of packing their horses and other hardworking miners. He relates stories of characters and events of this time with clarity. He left the area in 1959, briefly scratching around Poverty first, taking up work as a Crocodile shooter further north on the Cape. He then lived in New Guinea, trading skins and became a fish inspector, moving back to the area with his family in 1990.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Coase, Ronald Harvey, 1928-
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 21 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Ronald Harvey Coase was born in 1928 at Gladstone to Herbert James Coase (1891-1972) and Emily Fairly (1895-1973). 

Bob Harlow (8 May 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/14
Item title
Bob Harlow
Date
8 May 1995
Scope and content

Bob Harlow was raised on the Daintree on the family property known as Ashley Downs and came to Bloomfield after scratching a bit of tin at China Camp. He acquired Ten Mile Station, near the Boolbuns, where he ran cattle. Bob speaks of his life, of raising a family with his wife Viv and moving between Ten Mile and Ayton where they had purchased a house block. Bob relates events and incidents with humour, especially those to do with the Lion’s Den Hotel which was run by his uncle for a time.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Harlow, Robert Alfred, 1930-
Description
1 interview (6 parts)
31 mins each part
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Robert Alfred Harlow was born in 1930 at Gordonvale to Edmund George Harlow (1904-1973) and Eileen Isabel Cummings (1907-1974) he married Vivian Grace Ross-Kelly.

Lewis and Charlie Roberts (11 May 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/15
Item title
Lewis and Charlie Roberts
Date
11 May 1995
Scope and content

Lewis Roberts OAM is the third generation of the Roberts’ family to reside at Shipton's Flat, his grandfather first coming to work in the Cooktown tin fields during the 1880’s. He relates events of his father Jack working in tin, timber and cattle; an avid naturalist, Jack also collected specimens of native animals for the Archibald Expedition in the 1950’s, which became an ongoing occupation.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Roberts, Lewis John, 1950- ;
Roberts, Charles George, 1957-
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 4 min
Biographical history
Lewis John Roberts was born in 1950 at Cairns to Jack Roberts (1912-1982) and May Holzaple (1912-1997).
Lewis is a distinguished naturalist and botanical illustrator, he and his brother, Charlie are leading experts on the flora and fauna of south-eastern part of Cape York Peninsula. Lewis has a particular interest in orchards and has exhibited many of his illustrated works. He was presented with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2005.

Harry Dick (17 May 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/16
Item title
Harry Dick
Date
17 May 1995
Scope and content

Harry Dick first came to Bloomfield as a tin scratcher, working at Grass Tree Pocket, China Camp and later in the Granites behind Cedar Bay. A true ‘bushie’ Harry absorbed a lot of information on edible local plants, contributing to the Australian Plants magazine. Much of his knowledge he passed on to Les Higgins, the bush tucker man. Harry related a few stories, assuming an alias, once told to him by a Kuku Yalanji man, Charlie Ball - in the North Australian Monthly

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Dick, Harry, 1923-
Description
1 interview (5 parts)
Parts 1-4 31 mins each; Part 5, 8 mins
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Harry Dick was born in 1924 at Malanda to John Raymond Dick and Elizabeth Helen Taffs.
Harry served with No. 7 Airfield Construction Squadron (7ACS), RAAF in the New Guinea and Bougainville Campaigns during the Second World War. His father Jack Dick served with the 41st Infantry Battalion during the First World War, and was awarded the Military Medal.

Hank and Ruth Hershberger (19 May 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/17
Item title
Hank and Ruth Hershberger
Date
19 May 1995
Scope and content

Hank and Ruth Hershberger moved to Bloomfield from the United States to undertake study into the Kuku Yalanji language, for the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Over 25 years they incorporated the language from three sub-dialects (Jalanji, Nyungul and Yalanji) into a written format. They compiled a dictionary as well as translated the bible into Kuku Yalanji, their ultimate goal.

Hank spent much time out hunting with the men and gathering traditional foods. Their Kuku Yalanji language program was taught for some time at the Bloomfield River State School. They had returned to Queensland for a brief visit – which enabled this interview to take place.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Hershberger, Henry D, 1923- ;
Hershberger, Ruth, 1934-
Description
1 interview (6 parts)
Parts 1-5 31 mins each; Part 6, 4 mins
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Henry (Hank) Hershberger was born in 1923, and was raised in an Amish community at Sugar Creek, Ohio.
Ruth Hershberger was born in 1934 in Washington State and grew up north of Seattle.
Their collaborative work Gugu-Yalanji and Wik-Munkan language studies was published in 1964 and the Kuku-Yalanji dictionary in 1982.

Lizzie Olbar and Mable Salt (31 May 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/18
Item title
Lizzie Olbar and Mable Salt
Date
31 May 1995
Scope and content

Both Mabel and Lizzie were born at Banabila on the south side of the Bloomfield. The Olbars were Jalunji (sea) people who often worked on Trochus and other boats. Their parents also worked for the Masons at Cape Tribulation. Mabel and Lizzie talk about story sites; hunting and cooking turtle and other seafood, Torres Strait pigeon and other birds; making dilly bags and ‘marra’ – food from the zamia nut and collecting bush fruits. Lizzie Olbar, Alma Carey and Ivey Carey also speak.

 

 

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Olbar, Mable, 1936- ;
Olbar, Lizzie, 1950- ;
Carey, Alma
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Mabel Olbar was born in 1936 to Topsy and Oscar Olbar (-1967) she married McGinty Salt, her son was Allan John Olbar (1965-1987) maternal grandfather Olbar [Udagurrie].

Bobby Yerry (7 June 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/19
Item title
Bobby Yerry
Date
7 June 1995
Scope and content

Restricted access: oral history without cultural clearance

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Yerry, Bob, 1939-1998
Description
1 Interview (5 parts)
Access restrictions
Restricted access.
Biographical history
Bobby Yerry (Duku - Dandi); born Thompson Creek; early years Bloomfield Valley; contact for Lutherans when mission established at Wujal Wujal early 1960s - Aboriginal Biographical Index, AIATSIS.

Ruby Friday (9 June 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/20
Item title
Ruby Friday
Date
9 June 1995
Scope and content

Ruby Friday was born in Rossville and because she was what was described as a "half-caste", her mother used to hide her from the authorities, and so took her to Shipton's Flat. As the tracker there was related to her mother she was never turned in. Ruby speaks of moving around between Helensvale, Poverty and Rossville – then of moving to Bloomfield.
She talks about how they used to live and how those days are all gone now; of the changes brought in by European people and how they have affected the ‘Bama’ (Aboriginal people) – laws, restrictions, food, money. She mentions story places and the taboos associated with them and ‘talking language’ with the Hershbergers at Jajikal.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Friday, Ruby, 1937-
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 17 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Ruby Friday (nee Stumpy) was born in Rossville to Dinah Stumpy (-1974) and Snowy [?] ; her maternal grandmother was Numbungee Ayton.

Gerry and Mary Collins (13 June 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/21
Item title
Gerry and Mary Collins
Date
13 June 1995
Scope and content

Gerry Collins' grandfather Robert (Bert) Hislop - from Wyalla – collected many artefacts from the area for Walter Roth, Protector of Aborigines in the late 1880’s-1890’s. Gerry’s mother was brought up at Banabila and was exempted from the Aboriginal Act, his grandmother was Jenny Bauer, a Kuku Yalanji woman, whose name most likely came from the family who owned the Bloomfield Sugar Mill.

Mary Collins, Gerry’s wife was related to the Jose family, who resided in the Bloomfield in earlier times, working Trochus boats. They reminisce about people living there and the goings on at the time, moving house on the Hayles boat, going fishing / camping.

 

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Collins, Gerald, 1932- ;
Collins, Mary, 1939-1997
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 17 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Gerald Collins was born in 1932 to Mabel Hislop, who later married Oliver Collins. Mabel Hislop’s mother was Jenny Bauer, and her father Robert Hislop.

Mary Elizabeth Collins nee Jose, was born in 1939 to Mary Agnes Golora [?] (1892-1969) and Phillip Antonio Jose (-1943)

Doreen Stiff (14 June 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/22
Item title
Doreen Stiff
Date
14 June 1995
Scope and content

Doreen Stiff came first to Shipton's Flat during the war when her husband, Raney, was cutting and hauling timber for Shipton's Flat mill and mining in the off-season. A few years later they moved to Bloomfield where Raney hauled for the timber mill.

Doreen speaks of their time in the area fondly, despite the hardships, focusing on the good times and experiences they had been through. Their house in Bloomfield was nicknamed ‘do drop in’ as it was open to all and sundry. Her time there seemed to be consumed with household activities and teaching her children correspondence school.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Stiff, Josephine Doreen, 1917-2008
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 21 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Doreen Josephine Stiff was born at Cairns in 1917 to Joseph Albert Stiff (1881-1929) and Cornelia Daisy Ching (1881-1969).
Doreen married Raney Oliver Stiff (1918-1980) in 1942.
Raney Stiff served during the Second World War with 23 Regiment Volunteer Defence Corps.

Dolly Yougie (29 June 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/23
Item title
Dolly Yougie
Date
29 June 1995
Scope and content

Dolly Yougie was from Degarra, her grandfather was Billy King from Thompson Creek. Dolly grew up on the Daintree and married Youngaman (now Old Man) from up Boolban way. She mentions her traditional story places and foods; the downing of a lugger in the cyclone of 1934 which her uncles were on; young children taken by snakes; bush medicine etc.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Yougie, Dolly
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 27 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Dolly Yougie (Ngalba - Yalbay); was born at Daintree River; 4th child of Nellie Yerry and Paddy Schuan; sisters Elsie and Mabel; youth spent Daintree and Bloomfield; married Youngaman Yougie; lived Thompson Creek - Aboriginal Biographical Index, AIATSIS

Jimmy Johnson (30 June 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/24
Item title
Jimmy Johnson
Date
30 June 1995
Scope and content

Jimmy Johnson’s parents worked for the Masons at Cape Tribulation. Jimmy talked about story places from around Cape Tribulation, Emmagen Creek and Mt Pieter Botte. Jimmy lived for a time at Jajikal, going to school at the mill.
Later he worked on a Trochus boat, ending up in Thursday Island. He also worked for a while with Les Higgins, the Bush Tucker man, when he was still in the army. He remembers his grandfather making the traditional canoes, spearing turtle, ‘telepathic’ talking and burning/boiling special bushes to quell the rain or sea, and traditional medicines.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Johnson, Jimmy, 1942-
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 20 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Jimmy Johnson (Jina - Babaji); born near the mouth of Myall Creek, south of Cape Tribulation (Kulki); parents John and Lena; sister Rene; grandfather Jack Solomon (Solomon Islander, died 1929, Bailey's Creek); school at Bloomfield; married Georgina at Lockhart; 6 children; lived Cape York timber cutting and mustering; returned to Bloomfield to live - Aboriginal Biographical Index, AIATSIS

Harry Shipton (4 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/25
Item title
Harry Shipton
Date
4 July 1995
Scope and content

Harry was born in Shipton’s Flat, where his father worked for a miner, Arthur Shipton. His mother who had been in the original Bloomfield Mission, ran away to Shipton's Flat to avoid being sent to Yarrabah.

Harry speaks of the ‘black tracker' Wilba Romeo, coming to take young people, sending them down to Woorabinda and Palm Island. He speaks of working up at Jubilee, hunting, story places and ‘promising’ practices, corroborees etc. He moved to Banabila when he married Ena, a Jalunji woman.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Shipton, Harry, 1922-
Description
1 interview (5 parts)
Parts 1-4 31 mins each; Part 5, 12 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Harry Shipton (Yarri - Kalbay); born Shipton's Flat (Kuna); parents Mojo and Clara [Yerry, Yarri]; moved Cooktown after Second World War; worked tin mining; wife Ena (Jalunji woman); 7 children; lived Bloomfield; helped establish first North Queensland Land Council 1970's; worked with Cape York Land Council, as Community Ranger and Elders Justice Group - Aboriginal Biographical Index, AIATSIS

Eileen Walker (5 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/26
Item title
Eileen Walker
Date
5 July 1995
Scope and content

Eileen Walker’s father was a Jalanji man who spent much of his time working on Trochus boats. She lived with her grandmother Nellie Yerry, at Degarra. She talks of going to school and staying in the dormitory at what was known as ‘Middle Mission’ and later moving up to Wujal Wujal when she married.

They lived mainly on traditional food in the camp, getting rations from the shop once a month. Eileen mentions traditional medicines, childbirth practices, beliefs and story sites. She spent time with the Hershbergers, Lynette Oates and on Kuku Yalanji language work.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Walker, Eileen, 1943-
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 12 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Eileen Walker born c1943 to Elsie Yerry and Matty (Mattie) Boatboy ; mgrandparents Nellie Yerry and Paddy Schaun; lived Degarra, Wujal Wujal; married Henry Walker [refer item 27]

Henry Walker (6 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/27
Item title
Henry Walker
Date
6 July 1995
Scope and content

Henry Walker talks about his father, growing up in Shipton's Flat, having to hide from the ‘buliman’, working for miners and others there at the time. Henry grew up in Rossville, moving down to Bloomfield to attend school. He speaks of going camping up at Shipton’s Flat; hunting Tree Kangaroos with his dad and making spears from Black Palm.

Henry also mentions taboo foods that a young fellow couldn’t eat traditionally and refers to stories he cannot tell a woman. He also talks of being reunited with his sister, Doreen, who was brought up by a European family. He also mentions being sent to Woorabinda for being a troublemaker.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Walker, Henry, 1941-
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 31 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Henry [Jalna] Walker born 1941 at Rossville; mother Clara Spider; father Johnny Walker [Kalbai] from Shipton's Flat ; married Eileen Yerry.

Lorraine Baird (11 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/28
Item title
Lorraine Baird
Date
11 July 1995
Scope and content

Lorraine Baird’s father was Kuku Yalanji from Thompson’s Creek and her mother was Kuku Yimidhir from near Oakey Creek, past Cooktown. Lorraine's father worked on Trochus boats and she lived for a time at Banabila as well as Oakey Creek. She speaks of the difference in food etc between the two cultures (Yimidhir and Yalanji).

Lorraine spent time between China Camp and Thompsons Creek when her husband Robert was tin mining. She mentions hearing family stories from Kankaji, Ngiwa and the Bat Cave - however doesn’t elaborate on them. She also mentions Robert working at Hartwig’s Mission, her girls living in the dormitory there and of them being sent away to school in Brisbane.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Baird, Lorraine, 1928-
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 22 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Lorraine Doughboy, born Oakey Creek, 1928; mother Annie Seagren [Kuku Yimidhir] (-1977); father George Doughboy [Kuku Yalanji, King Doughboy] (-1974); pgrandfather Oldman Doughboy; brother Jack Doughboy; lived Banabila, and Oakey Creek; married Robert Baird.

George Kulka (13 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/29
Item title
George Kulka
Date
13 July 1995
Scope and content

Born in China Camp, George Kulka lived most of his life in Daintree and Mossman areas, but later moved back, so the interview is mostly made up of his reminiscences of his early years there. He speaks of former mining activities; traditional story places, foods, tribal law and practices (the demise of) and Bama (Aboriginal people) living there.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Kulka, George Charlie, 1913-
Description
1 interview (5 parts)
Parts 1-4 31 mins each; part 5, 20 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
George Charlie Kulka Senior (Kwinyala); Law man; born China Camp (Buru) 1913; speaks Yalanji; collected tin for miners as well as traditional upbringing; lived Daintree then moved back to Buru 1990's; father Joe Kulka; mother Isabella; wife Annie Baird; 6 children - Aboriginal Biographical Index entry, AIATSIS

George Kulka [snr] served 17 Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps WW2

Jack Harrigan (21 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/30
Item title
Jack Harrigan
Date
21 July 1995
Scope and content

Jack Harrigan worked at the timber mill in Bloomfield, being one of the few local Indigenous men to be exempted from the Aboriginal Act, therefore able to be employed. Jack was born further north on the Cape, but married a local Aboriginal woman raising their children after she died.

Jack was also known as a ‘Rrunruji’ or medicine man and speaks of this briefly. Jack was hard of hearing and was joined by his daughter Grace Harrigan, so the interview is fairly brief.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Harrigan, Jack, 1913- ;
Harrigan, Gracie
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 22 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Born on the Normanby around 1913, Jack was taken from his Aboriginal family and raised by white people; lived at Lakefield [Station] from age 3-14; father [godfather] Billy Webb from Normanby; mother Maggie Webb; real name Jack [Webb] changed to Harrigan when he started work on a station with another Jack. Married first wife Dora, age 19 at Lakefield - children Garry, Eric, Norman, Isabel; met second wife Queenie Yarry at Daintree; children born in Bloomfield: Gracie, Rodney, Bella, Billy.

Elizabeth Lee (22 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/31
Item title
Elizabeth Lee
Date
22 July 1995
Scope and content

Elizabeth Lee was formerly known in Bloomfield as Lizzie Peirce, whose family had a long history on the Bloomfield. She speaks about growing up across the river from the site of Wujal Wujal. Her family farmed while her uncles, Arthur and Albert Peirce worked pack teams running supplies up to China Camp in the tin mining days.

Elizabeth mentions tin miners and other Europeans around at the time; Yalanji people she was in contact with; going by boat, then on foot (after an incident with a crocodile) to school in Ayton; Johnson being given land on the river after finding Mrs Watson from Lizard Island. She also spoke of others living up at Mt Poverty, and Mt Romeo way, whom she knew when she moved from Bloomfield to live at Greenhills.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Lee, Elizabeth Jane, 1914-1997
Description
1 interview (5 parts)
Parts 1-4
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Elizabeth Jane (Betty/Lizzie) Lee nee Peirce, born Cooktown in 1914; mother Violet Mitchell; father Thomas Peirce; married Charles Lee (1910-1991) in 1937.

Charles Harold Lee #Q230390 served with 23 Regiment Volunteer Defence Corps during Second World War

Billy Burchill (23 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/32
Item title
Billy Burchill
Date
23 July 1995
Scope and content

Billy Burchill was born in Bloomfield, his father was a miner from Bermuda and his mother from China Camp, so he moved a regularly between Bloomfield and the Daintree. Billy lived for a time with the Peirces, and attended school in Ayton for a short time. Billy later moved to China Camp, Main and Scrub camps, and also off-sided for a timber hauler contracting for the sawmill in Bloomfield. He mentions Bill Biddle, an early missionary type and of hiding from the police who were looking to take him away.

[Refer Image OH55-0040-0215]

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Burchill, William
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 12 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Billie / Willie / William Burchill was born at Middle Camp near Bloomfield; parents William Burchill from Bermuda, Qld and Chubby [?] from Middle Camp.

Ailsa Hooker (25 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/33
Item title
Ailsa Hooker
Date
25 July 1995
Scope and content

Ailsa Hooker’s mother was a Kuku Nyungkul woman from Shipton's Flat. She married Alisa's father, Jack Doboy, in Palm Island, he was from Thompson Creek (the Woobada), a Yalanji man. They returned to Bloomfield where Jack worked at the mill ‘blue tonguing’ for the sniggers and doing some tin mining in the wet season.

Jack was another Indigenous person exempt from the Aboriginal Act. Their family grew up in Hansen’s old house (the first sawmill manager) on the hill at the Ayton wharf (later known as Sims’ wharf). Ailsa speaks of going to Thompson Creek; the Landin’; spending time with family; traditional foods they would eat; going to school and of others living at Jajikal at the time.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Hooker, Ailsa Irene, 1953-
Description
1 interview (2 parts)
31 min; 31 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Ailsa Hooker, born Cooktown 1953; parents Doris Friday and Jacky Doboy [Doboy Jacky]; grandfather Bamboo Friday; grandmother Topsy.

Wilma & Ralph Watkin & Louise Dean (28 July 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/34
Item title
Wilma & Ralph Watkin & Louise Dean
Date
28 July 1995
Scope and content

Wilma and Louise are sisters, from a mining family at Mt Poverty and Ralph’s family owned the Lion's Den Hotel and had packhorse teams. Ralph’s mum was a school teacher at Rossville and Shipton's Flat in the early days.

The sisters talk about life at Poverty and environs, and the ‘pray that you make it’ road to get there. Ralph relates stories of his packhorse days, of miners and others living in the area. Lastly they speak of the debate over freehold and leasehold land on the Cape and the blockade held by landholders, due to lack of consultation.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Watkin, Wilma Pearl, 1939-;
Dean, Louise Ann, 1941-;
Watkin, Ralph
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 30 min
Additional format
Digital copies available
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Wilma Watkin nee Bloom, born in 1939, Cooktown; parents George Bloom and Mary McDonald (first married name); her mothers first husband died after WW2, they had 3 children: Arthur, Lucy & Mary.
Louise Ann Dean nee Bloom, born 1942, Cooktown

Donny Croft and John Stephens (4 August 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/35
Item title
Donny Croft and John Stephens
Date
4 August 1995
Scope and content

Donny (or Wandu) and Rainforest John relate events of the early ‘hippy’ days at Cedar Bay, of Cedar Bay Bill and others living there at the time. Donny and his brother bought the property adjacent to the National Park, so have many visitors who follow the track in and out via Auravale (formerly Tool-koor).

Since Bill’s passing the National Park has evicted the squatters. Donny and John talk of the alternative lifestyles of those living there, the pig hunters at the north end and vegetarians or fruitarians further to the south of the bay – and their contact, usually through transport by boat, with those living in Bloomfield.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Croft, Donald Maxwell, 1953- ;
Stephens, John Vernon, 1948-
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 11 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Donnald Maxwell Croft 'Wandu', born in Melbourne, 1953; parents William and Coral Croft.
John Vernon Stephens 'Rainforest John', born in England, 1948; parents Frederick John and Celia Grace Stephens.

Joe and Pearlie Kendrick (5 August 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/36
Item title
Joe and Pearlie Kendrick
Date
5 August 1995
Scope and content

Pearlie and Joe Kendrick came to Bloomfield with Bill Smith, settling in Ayton in the seventies. They speak of the hilarious life and times of the people around then, of Aboriginals and other locals, as well as hippies passing through. When they realised idea of setting up a caravan park were ludicrous (hard enough for cars to get in, in those days) they started up shop out of the annex of their caravan, the first to open a regular service based on a cash economy. Joe worked briefly at the sawmill before it closed down, out at Hicklings (Mt Louis Pastoral Co), then later at Wujal Wujal during the eighties. They also mention looking after the affairs of Bill Evans and Michael Formenko.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Kendrick, Pearlie May, 1923-2009 ;
Kendrick, Joseph Alfred, 1925-2010
Description
1 interview (6 parts)
Parts 1-5, 31 mins each; part 6, 28 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Pearlie May Kenderick, nee Bratfield, born 1923 at 'Lilydale' Stroud Road, NSW; parents Horace Burton Bratfield and Agnus May Lecky; mgrandmother Martha Elizabeth Greenham, mgrandfather William George Lecky; pgrandmother Bridget Callagan

Bamboo Friday (9 August 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/37
Item title
Bamboo Friday
Date
9 August 1995
Scope and content

Bamboo Friday was born at Shipton’s Flat, grandson of Bluja King, a Kuku Nyungkul ‘maja’. His family was removed to Palm Island but Bamboo ran away and returned to Shipton’s Flat. He spoke about this time and of Leffy Buhmann giving him a job up at Poverty and helping him so he wouldn’t get sent back.

Bamboo tells of how the ‘Bama’ would hunt or work for miners and of their traditions – eg. how a Nyungkul person was accepted in their own territory, story places etc. He speaks of the Shipton’s Flat and Rossville mob and mentions how in olden times they used to go down to Cedar Bay to hunt turtle. Bamboo came down to Bloomfield, staying at Jajikal, where the Nyungkul people lived then moved from Shipton’s Flat – and raised his family there.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Friday, Bamboo, 1926-
Description
1 interview (4 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 31 min; 4 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Bamboo Friday was born in 1926 at Shipton's Flat; father Young Friday / Bamboo Tree / Old Man Friday; mother Topsy Friday; grandfather Old Bluja / King Bluja; grandmother Ann Polly; grandmother Old Reddy; pgrandmother Polly King ?; wife Ruby Friday nee Stumpy.

Clarry Hartwig (12 August 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/38
Item title
Clarry Hartwig
Date
12 August 1995
Scope and content

Clarry Hartwig came to Bloomfield in 1957 and started up a Lutheran mission of sorts. An unordained man and a carpenter by trade he started what was known as Middle Camp / Mission and took charge of Aboriginal welfare in the area. His wife Olive was a school teacher. He speaks of traditional ways of the Kuku Yalanji people, of how they communicated and of totem animals they were not allowed to eat.

Clarry talks of setting up the mission, a clinic and dormitory for the girls. The dormitory, adjacent to the now Bloomfield River State School, was closed when the young started to move up to the new site of Wujal Wujal. Clarry then worked as the mill manager for a time afterwards.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Hartwig, Clarence Arthur, 1911-1998
Description
1 interview (3 parts)
31 min; 31 min; 22 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Clarence Arthur Hartwig, born in 1911 at Kingaroy, Qld; parents Wilhelm Fredrick Hartwig and Auguste Joanna Lange; one of 7 children; first wife Gladys Carl d.1946; second wife Olive Paterson

Cecil Murdoch Oral History (13 August 1995)

Unit ID
OH55/39
Item title
Cecil Murdoch Oral History
Date
13 August 1995
Scope and content

Cecil Murdoch first worked in the timber yard in Cooktown, and speaks of timber being brought in from Shipton’s Flat mill and those working in the area at that time. Cec spoke of JM Johnston’s boats moving the timber. When this mill closed down in 1945, Cec came to Bloomfield to work at the sawmill there.

Author / Creator
Darling, Camilla
Murdoch, Cecil James, 1907-1997
Description
1 interview (5 parts)
Parts 1-4 31 mins each; part 5 28 min
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
Biographical history
Cecil James Murdoch, born in Carlton, Victoria, 1907; lived Castlemaine & Mildura; father James Murdoch; mother Jessie Janet Talbot; mgrandparents John and Olive Talbot; pgrandfather Kennedy Murdoch; wife Ivy Box-Cook; son James Stanley Murdoch died in infancy 1940.
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(145 digital)

Series 2: Photographs from the Bloomfield River Oral History Project (1995)

Series number
2
Series title
Photographs from the Bloomfield River Oral History Project
Date
1995
Scope and content

Photographs digitised from negatives found in the store room at the Bloomfield Library relating to these oral histories.

The following photographs were identified with these interviewees:
Dulcie Jean Haack ; Roy Haack ; Claude LeRoy ; Maureen Mason ; Bill Smith ; Leffy Buhmann ; Herbert Olufson ; Victor Olufson ; Doreen Jones ; Tony Coase ; Robert Harlow ; Lewis Roberts ; Charlie Roberts; Bobby Yerry ; Ruby Friday ; Gerald and Mary Collins ; Doreen Stiff ; Dolly Yougie ; Jimmy Johnson ; Harry Shipton ; Eileen Walker ; Henry Walker ; Lorraine Baird ; George Kulka ; Jack Harrigan ; Elizabeth Lee ; Billy Burchill ; Ailsa Hooker ; Donny Croft ; “Rainforest” John Stephens ; Pearlie Kendrick ; Bamboo Friday ; Clarrie Hartwig ; and Cecil Murdoch.

Description
312 photographs
Access restrictions
Unrestricted access
Conditions of use
You are free to use for personal research and study. For other uses see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/understanding-copyright
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(1 digital)

Series 3: Maps (1995)

Series number
3
Series title
Maps
Date
1995
Scope and content

A map of the Bloomfield River area

Description
1 map
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(1 digital)