Historic arrival

Historian Earle Seubert with a photo of nurse Ada Thomson and her 100-year-old trunk. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Historian Earle Seubert with a photo of nurse Ada Thomson and her 100-year-old trunk. Picture: Martin Kennealey

The trunk originally belonged to Ada Mildred Thompson, a nurse from New South Wales who volunteered for service at the quarantine station in late 1918.

She joined 19 other volunteer nurses from HMAT Wyreema who offered to care for soldiers suffering from the Spanish Flu.

In a cruel twist, Ms Thompson herself succumbed to the illness less than three weeks later.

Earle Seubert, a local historian and vice president of the renamed Friends of Woodman Point Recreation Camp, said it was a shock to have such an item in the camp’s possession.

‘To receive an historic item like this is incredible,’ he said.

‘I never expect to come across something like that, being close to 100 years old.

‘It’s a really personal piece. I wish it could talk.’

The item, which is now on display in the old nurse’s sitting room of the isolation hospital, was donated to the camp by a distant relative living in Emerald, Queensland.

It cost about $300 to get sent over but Mr Seubert said that was nothing compared to the trunk’s historic value.

‘It has slotted in to our display quite nicely,’ he said.

A plaque displaying the trunk’s history, complete with family connections, is currently being finalised.