The gradual glory of Glenferna
His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland has accepted the Maleny Cultural & Historical Society’s invitation to visit the Pioneer Village to open the historic farmhouse Glenferna on June 15. The Society’s Heritage, Research and Publicity Officer, Desley Malone, shared with us the journey in managing the project and how the community has brought Glenferna to life.
by Angela Reedman-Polinksi
The Maleny Pioneer Village became the new permanent home on the evening of May 25, 2016, for a local farmhouse with a long patchwork history of 113 years. The Society welcomed Glenferna to the fold to become a new School and Post Office Museum.
“The farmhouse has an interesting history. It was built on the first land selection in Maleny, a 790-acre selection which was subdivided,” explained Desley.
“One portion was sold to three Thynne sisters and part of this portion is now Mary Cairncross Park. The other portion (480 acres) was where Edward Thynne built Glenferna in 1903 and farmed. Glenferna Receiving Office was registered to receive mail from 1904 to 1912.”
The house was sold to Andrew Beacom and in 1915, it became the home of Arthur and Mary Cork and their 11 children for almost 40 years.
Desley continued, “Their eldest daughter, Blanche, married Ernest E Pattemore in 1916, which links Glenferna to Fairview, Maleny’s only State Heritage House and the Pattemore family home.”
Glenferna was sold from farmer to farmer until it became an art union prize farm in 1976. The winner leased the house and farm separately for decades until the house was recently sold and donated to the Society by Brian and Leone McFarlane.
Desley has been observing the care and attention bestowed on this historic house for many years. “For three years, Glenferna has been undergoing restoration here. The outstanding support from the community through time, skills, grants, fundraising and donations is what has brought it all together.
“Grants from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund and the Sunshine Coast Council played a large role in our goals with Glenferna, we are so thankful for their support,” Desley smiled.
“The Telecommunication Museum will include the history of the mail service to Maleny, M.S. 373 which started c1890 and sharing of local stories.”
The School Museum will include memorabilia from the many small schools that closed down within the district – Blackall Range (Wootha), Witta, North Maleny, Bald Knob, Curramore, Booroobin as well as the Maleny State School, Maleny High School and the Ananda Marga River School.
“I felt we needed somewhere to help people remember these little schools as they carry a lot of history and memories,” Desley shared, wistfully.
“Glenferna arrived here needing a lot of love to reach the display stage. There were structural issues, rainbow-coloured walls and worn floors. Clive Powell almost single-handedly painted the outside and inside of the entire house. As he painted, he saw the difference and said that he just couldn’t stop until it was finished.”
This house has clearly had an effect on those who have worked on the restoration, some to a great extent. “Clive is also our hardworking gardener and landscaper and he has the gardens looking outstanding through months of hard work.
“Project Manager, Ed Lawley, has donated over 420 hours plus many hours of labour by his team of tradesmen. Murray and Preston Roberts and Ross Sinclair are descendants of Edward and Lilly Thynne and have contributed to the restoration.”
Desley continued with the grateful acknowledgments, “Site Manager, Bernie Gilbert and Clive Powell, Tom Malone, Ashley Williams and over 60 volunteers, many from the Men’s Shed have all contributed. Bernie Gilbert has been onsite almost daily for three years, truly an outstanding contribution.”
The generosity didn’t stop there. “We have been very fortunate with gifts. A Rosenstengel dining room suite that had been stored for decades in a farm shed, has found its way to the Pioneer Village.
“It is now in Glenferna where it originated and has been restored by Ashley Williams and reupholstered by Brian Watson.
“Sharon Fitzgibbon has enhanced the front door with a stained-glass window and matching transom. Ashley Williams gifted a large glass and mirror pharmacy display cabinet, c1910, and Clive Powell has gifted a beautiful 1870 Spanish chandelier for the front entrance.”
The fully insulated Glenferna has a secret modern room tucked away under the existing patio roof line. Hidden away is a climate-controlled archive room which has been purpose-built to museum standards and structurally reinforced.
“We wanted this important feature to store and preserve Maleny’s history for future generations. With a Sunshine Coast Council grant, we purchased a compactor, an air conditioner, a freezer and we are establishing the archive,” Desley shared.
“The archiving process is exciting as it is our way of connecting Maleny to the world via the internet and searchable archives through the eHive system.”
Museums, societies and private collectors worldwide use the system to catalogue and publish their collections online so they can be accessed globally.
“We are fortunate to have a Nambour Christian College student, Will Davies, electronically cataloguing the books and records in our archives.”
His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland and Mrs de Jersey will visit the Glenferna farmhouse on June 15, but the work to create the museum display will continue over the next period.
“The museum part of the restoration to tell the story of the schools and telecommunication to the district is yet to be displayed,” added Desley.
“It is a huge project that we have undertaken, we continue taking one step at a time to completion with the generous help from the community, Sunshine Coast Council, fundraising and grants.
“First, we saved and restored the house; the next step is securing funds to display the museum. We built this project with the community, by the community and for the community to preserve our history.”
You can help safeguard the future of Maleny’s history by making a donation to the Glenferna project via the Maleny Historical Society’s website at: historicalsocietymaleny.com
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