One million-to-one odds couldn’t stop this church minister maintaining his place in history in this metal detecting detective story that I told on West Bremer Radio this weekend.
Some time ago I was invited to metal detect around an old Methodist church in East Brisbane where I found a Rising Sun collar badge made from sterling silver.
It was from the Australian army, and being sterling silver meant it belonged to a nurse. It could have been a First or Second World War nurse, but datable items that I found with it including old coins, meant that the badge was a World War Two artefact.
History then refused to be denied as it beat the odds to bring a nineteenth story alive.
There were almost one million Australians who served in World War Two.
Five hundred and seventy-seven of them had a connection to the part of East Brisbane where the church was.
Just three of them were nurses, and only one was a Methodist.
Her name was Marjory McDonagh, she lived right around the corner, and her grandfather had actually been a minister at that church.
I’ve written about Marjory before, but now I investigated yet another connection to the Queensland city of Ipswich, which a century and half a go rivalled Brisbane to be the state capital.
The minister and Mary’s grandfather was The Reverend Thomas Thatcher who was just the second Methodist minister in Ipswich when he arrived there one hundred and forty-nine years ago in 1871.
He was the minister in charge of the circuit, which meant he preached all over the district, including at Ipswich, Bundamba, Redbank Plains, Basin Pocket, Ipswich Reserve and Rosewood. He was an Ipswich minister through and through.
Rev. Thatcher was also a minster at nearby Laidley where he was elected to the very first Laidley Council in 1888. That made him the first ever minister of religion to be elected to public office in Queensland.
His son was Thomas Thatcher Junior who was at one time the private secretary to the Governor of Queensland, Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams.
The Thatcher Memorial Library at the University of Queensland is named after him. It’s most likely that Ipswich people who go to the university and use the library don’t know the connection to the very early history of their hometown.
There’s amazing history out there everywhere you go, you just have to look and pray that you can beat the odds.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THIS STORY ON WEST BREMER RADIO
Marjory McDonaghs WW2 collar badge – my own
Majory Alice McDonagh on a trip to Koil Island 1945 – Australian War Memorial F07381
Rev Thomas Thatcher 1844-1913 – Thatcher Descendants in Australia, Isabelle Thatcher, page 30
Thomas Thatcher Jnr 1886-1948 – Thatcher Descendants in Australia, Isabelle Thatcher, page 46