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A Paltry Paradise - A history of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

A Paltry Paradise - A history of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

Regular price $55.00 AUD
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Written by Howard Guille

316 pages, soft cover

For 80 years Dunwich Benevolent Asylum was home to the Indigent of Queensland. It served the entire colony and was well used. In the late 19th Century, one in four of all Queensland men over 65 years ended up there. It was the states largest institution - bigger than any hospital or prison - and could hold over 21,000 inmates.

The Asylum kept the poor out of sight on an Island off Brisbane. It provided welfare on the cheap and relied on the labour of the local Aboriginal people. They fought their own battles against "protection" and for fair wages.

This book is a political, social and economic history of the institution and it's people. Inmates ranged from a Dane who was press-ganged into Nelson's Navy, a former Deputy Premier of Qld and a pacific Islander found adrift in the remote Pacific.

There were murders, suicides and lots of sly grog. The steamer that went twice a week from Brisbane to the Island was hit by practice gunfire from the U.S Navy and arguments raged in the newspapers about whether the Dunwich Asylum was a Shangri-La or hell on earth.

These are just a few of the stories to be found in this history.

Purchasing this book will directly benefit the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum.


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Starfish Studio is a little studio on beautiful Stradbroke Island, nestled between Moreton Bay and the Coral Sea.   Jess is a visual artist who trained in Fine Art and has been practising her art for 20 years.  She has been living on Stradbroke for most of her career and is raising her family there surrounded by the sand, salt and crystal clear waters.

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She creates her designs on paper with pen and ink or graphite and then has them printed onto a range of gorgeous fabrics for the homewares range.  The dramatic and beautiful landscape of the Island is evident as inspiration in her designs, which look fantastic in any home.

Her work is designed and manufactured in  Australia – which is good for everyone…Custom orders are always welcome and she can colour match and have your favourite designs printed to order on your choice of fabric.

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