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Welcome to the Bankfoot House Collection

The Bankfoot House collection records the development of the Glass House Mountains region of the Sunshine Coast from 1868 to 2002. 

From 1868 three interrelated families – Grigor, Burgess and Ferris – resided in the house. In 2004 Sunshine Coast Council purchased Bankfoot House. All items in the Bankfoot House collection were in the possession of members of the three families.

William and Mary Grigor (nee Fenwick) married in 1863 and resided in Bankfoot House from 1868 to 1907. William Smith and Clementina Burgess (nee Grigor) married in 1902 and resided in Bankfoot House from 1902 to 1963. John Charles ‘Jack’ and Mary Ferris (nee Burgess) married 1925 and resided in Bankfoot House 1966 to 2002.

Search the Art and Heritage Collections database for items in the Bankfoot House collection. A selection of the Bankfoot House photograph collection is available for viewing on Picture Sunshine Coast. Cataloguing of these collections is an ongoing project.

If you have any enquiries about our collection please contact Cultural Heritage Services or the Friends of Bankfoot House.


Furniture and Household Items

   

 

Settee

While the origin of this piece has not been established, the scroll end settee may have been purchased in Australia or brought from Scotland with the Fenwicks (Mary Grigor’s family). The settee is in a photograph of Clementina Fenwick (Mary’s sister) at the Fenwick’s Spring Hill, Brisbane house, c. 1885.

  Settee

 

Red Cedar Table

Seating sixteen people in the dining room of the original (1868) house, this 290 x 120 cm table, joined with wooden pegs, is thought to have been made on site from timber cut in the sawpit across the road from Bankfoot House. The table accommodated Cobb & Co Coach travellers, who stopped at Bankfoot House for lunch. When half a mile (800 metres) from this staging post, coach drivers blew a bugle so meals would be on the table when the coach arrived. Cutlery was kept in the drawer at the end of the table.

  Red Cedar Table

 

Kitchen Dresser

The dresser was made for the original house from pit-sawn beech timber cut on site. The hutch held the everyday crockery, and cutlery was placed in the drawers, along with a small box of cutlery for quick removal to set the table. Foodstuffs were stored in the cupboards. An oilcloth trimmed the dresser and in Mary Ferris’s day two mosquito net curtains hung from a curtain rod to keep insects and dust off the crockery. ‘Paper lace’ was used as a decoration in the kitchen, and the lace in this image was made by Ethel Burgess, Mary’s niece.

  Kitchen Dresser

 

Corner Wardrobe

The Red Cedar triangular corner wardrobe is constructed of both pit-sawn and milled timber, and was probably made on site and located in a guest bedroom in the 1868 house. After 1930 the wardrobe was refitted in the back bedroom of the present house. Inside the wardrobe are two hooked nails in the top, with four nails on each side.

  Corner Wardrobe

 

Cane Chair

Jack Ferris, of the third family to live in Bankfoot House, enjoyed sitting in this cane chair on the front verandah. Following hip surgery Jack required a higher chair and it was placed on a wooden base.

  Cane Chair

 

Singer Sewing Machines

The 1901 Singer Treadle Sewing Machine belonged to Clementina Burgess. The second machine was a gift from Clementina and William to their daughter Mary Ferris on her wedding day in 1925. Manufactured in 1921 as a treadle, it was converted with an electric motor kit by Mary’s son Bill in the 1940s. Both sewing machines are decorated with beautiful decals.

  Singer Sewing Machines

 

Smith Premier Typewriter

The Smith Premier full-keyboard upstrike typewriter is one of the giants in typewriter history. Upstrikes were blind-writers: to read what had been typed it was necessary to flip the roller forward then return it to its operational position before resuming typing. This typewriter was manufactured in 1905, with serial number 69920. Practising on this typewriter probably assisted Kenneth Burgess, who, at age 15, obtained the position of junior shorthand writer, typist and general clerk with the Landsborough Shire Council in 1925. Kenneth gradually worked his way up within Council, and held the position of Shire Clerk until 1945.

  Smith Premier Typewriter

 

Miller Kerosene Lamp

This Miller No. 2 nickel embossed table lamp was used by Jack and Mary Ferris. Inscribed ‘The Miller Lamp Made in the U.S.A.’, it is fitted with an Aladdin Model 11 burner, mantle and chimney.

  Miller Kerosene Lamp

 

Candle Mould

The domestic task of making candles used to be as common as washing the sheets. Clementina Burgess made the candles from beeswax and animal fat melted together in a big saucepan. Before the mixture was poured into the moulds twelve long pieces of string were inserted through the twelve holes at the ‘pointy’ end of the moulds, to trail out both ends. The pieces of string were knotted together. As the mixture was poured into the mould the bunch of strings had to be held carefully to ensure each piece of string was positioned more or less in the middle of each candle. After the mixture had cooled and solidified the creamy coloured candles were eased out of the moulds using the string.

  Candle Mould

 

Pianola

The Victor W H Paling & Co Ltd pianola was purchased in the 1930s by Clementina and William Burgess after the house was extended in 1930. Previously the family had owned a piano. Clementina entertained the family with renditions of Sweet Bye and Bye and the Repasz Band March. The pianola has two piano pedals with a hatch concealing two bellows pedals for the pianola. The instrument was restored to working order in 2010.

  Pianola

 

Compton Zonophone Gramophone

Used by the Ferris family, the Compton Zonophone and its accompanying Zonophone records were purchased by William Smith Burgess. Several Zonophone models were named after castles in the United Kingdom beginning with the letter C – Compton was a basic model, named after a castle in Devon, and was available between 1909 and 1913.

  Compton Zonophone Gramophone

 

Tasma Radio

The Tasma six-valve cabinet electric radio was purchased second-hand by Jack and Mary Ferris on 20 December 1945 for their Newstead home in Brisbane, and was brought to Bankfoot House in 1965. The original receipt for the purchase of the radio from L Johnson is in the Bankfoot House collection.

  Tasma Radio

 

Bakelite Clock

Jack and Mary Ferris owned an Elco Synchronous Art Deco electric mantle clock, modelled in Bakelite, from the 1930s.

  Bakelite Clock

 

Clothing and Personal Items

   

 

The Grigor Family Bible

The Bible was a wedding gift from the McConnel family of Durundur Station (near Woodford) to William and Mary Grigor on their marriage in August 1863. Mary had worked as a governess for the McConnel children prior to marrying William. The births of William and Mary’s nine children and the deaths of three of the children are recorded in the Bible’s pages. The Bible is dated 1862 – 150 years old in 2012.

  The Grigor Family Bible

 

Gold Watch

It appears that Jack Ferris purchased this gold watch for Mary on their wedding day, 18 February 1925, as the receipt from Swift Ltd Manufacturing Jewellers & Watchmakers of 24 Queen Street in Brisbane carries the same date. There is no brand name on the watch-face, however the back is engraved with Mary’s initials, MIF. With the watch are its original box and the receipt.

  Gold Watch

 

Handmade Linen Sheet

Made by Janet Fenwick in the Fenwick’s home village of Bankfoot in Scotland, this linen sheet was one of two brought to Australia when the family emigrated in 1855. Janet Fenwick was the mother of Mary Grigor, who with her husband William established Bankfoot House in 1868. The village of Bankfoot in Perthshire was one of the hubs of the Scottish cottage linen industry during the early nineteenth century.  Many villagers grew flax and used handlooms to weave linen cloth in their own homes. It is more than likely that Janet Fenwick was a linen weaver in this industry. Considering the sheet is around 160 years old, it is in excellent condition.

  Handmade Linen Sheet

 

Miss Australia Apron, 1934

Although never embroidered, working this calico apron would probably have been a project for Clementina.

  Miss Australia Apron, 1934

 

Christening Gown

Handmade by Mary Grigor and first worn by John Grigor, born 1 October 1864, this christening robe was worn by all of the Grigor children. The white cotton gown features Swiss embroidery.

  Christening Gown

 

Bon Ton Corset

Bon Ton corsets were first made in Australia in 1932, and the label on this piece of underwear reads ‘Bon Ton Manufactured in Australia for the Royal Worchester Corset Co’. Mary Ferris wore this pink corset, expressly made for Finney, Isles & Co Ltd, a large department store in Brisbane that traded until 1955.

  Bon Ton Corset

 

Earning a Living

   

 

Post Box and Post Office Sign

Probably constructed by William Grigor, the red cedar post box was attached to the inside wall of the original house, and the Post Office sign was positioned beside the posting slot in the outside wall. Bankfoot House operated as the district Post Office from 1868 to 1907. Cobb and Co had the contract for Mail Service No 7 from 1868 to 1879. The contract then went to McCallum Coaches, who lost it to the railways after the line from Brisbane to Landsborough opened in February 1890. With the arrival of the railway William Grigor took the outgoing mail on horseback to Glass Mountains Station (changed to Glasshouse Mountains in 1935), returning to Bankfoot House with mail from the train.

  Post Box and Post Office Sign

 

Bentall CDV Chaffcutter

This hand-powered two-blade chaffcutter was manufactured by the well-known English firm E H Bentall & Co of Heybridge, Maldon in Essex. It was used by the Burgess family to cut chaff from crops grown on the property to feed the horses and bullocks using the Cobb & Co Coach route from Brisbane to the goldfields at Gympie. The gearing of the chaffcutter provides for a variable length of chaff depending on the type of animal. These CDV chaffcutters were for sale in 1898 for five pounds ten shillings. This machine was restored in 2010 by the Friends of Bankfoot House Inc.

  Bentall CDV Chaffcutter

 

Timber Jinker

The property of William Smith Burgess, the timber jinker was used to transport logs from their loading point to the nearest timber mill, and was only replaced by truck in 1935. The jinker is stored in a shed at the rear of the house.

  Bullock Wagon

 
     
     
     

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