In a recent post, I referred to Rosamond Siemon and her first book, The Mayne Inheritance. I mentioned then that she has written a second book, and that one is called The Eccentric Mr Weinholt. Like the first, this book is also a historical novel set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Queensland. Although I haven't yet finished reading the book, I can already tell that it is no less interesting and exciting than The Mayne Inheritance. Arnold Weinholt was born into a wealthy squatter family in Queensland, and although sent to England for an upper-class education at Eton, he chose to return here to become involved in the family businesses, and to partake in other adventures too. The Weinholt Estates Company owned around 300,000 acres of choice land on the Darling Downs and elsewhere, and also held interests in mills and mines, ships and shops. Like his father had before him, Arnold Weinholt stayed at the prestigious Queensland Club when he was in Brisbane on business. This is the way the club, situated opposite the Botanical Gardens on the corner of George St and Alice St, looked around 1888 - the time that Weinholt senior would have been using it as a base.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #201412)
The Queensland Club remains in the same location - beneficially close to the Queensland power bases of Parliament House and Brisbane's CBD. Although not a member (I don't have the pedigree!), I have managed to go to a couple of functions that were held there. It is how you would imagine it to be - quiet and distinguished, and, at least in the areas I have seen, wonderful colonial architecture and appointments.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)
You can see from my recent photograph (above) that the building is largely unchanged since the earlier picture some 120 years ago. A recent report in the Courier-Mail would indicate that clubs are doing it tough in the current economic climate. The reporter was unable to elicit a comment from The Queensland Club, but their longevity suggests that they have weathered such storms before. However, another sign of the times is at work too - the cause of political correctness. A piece in The Australian recently indicated that politicians in the current federal government have been noted by their reluctance to appear in any "men only" establishments, regardless of how venerable they may be. The times, they are a-changin'.
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Next: TCB - taking care of business