Last week, I attended the launch of respected Redland’s City citizen , Arthur Rentoul’s book “Island of a Million Tears” – History of Dunwich Benevolent Asylum 1866-1946. Arty is my father-in-law and I have observed for the last 10+ years as he painstakingly collected records from the Queensland State Archives, spending hundreds if not thousands of hours pouring over the largely hand written records to develop a confronting version of the day to day happenings of the Benevolent Asylum. I have been honoured to sit with him while he has shared fascinating stories on its development over time. The story of the Asylum is essentially the story of its occupants.
Arty is a Builder and developed an interest in the Island’s history while restoring the Dunwich Hall some 15 years ago. He has had exclusive access to people close to the Asylum in Stradbroke Island elders. He has chronicled some of the more “interesting” characters, some of whom were returned veterans from various military campaign who ultimately fell on hard times.
“Island of a Million Tears” is a must have book for anyone interested in North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Bay or Queensland history. The reasonably priced book is available from the Redlands Museum, the North Stradbroke Island History or myself on 0466 975 988.