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Emily & Tom Wilkinson “Kyogle Boarding House”


The Kyogle Boarding House commenced in 1923 on South Esplanade with a Miss Petrie and Mrs Sapp as managers until Mrs Emily Wilkinson took over the role in 1926.

Emily Wilkinson, nee Palmer, was born in Brisbane in 1878 and married Tom Wilkinson in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane in 1898. They had two children, sadly both didn’t live long. Thomas died at two months and Maggie when she was four. Both children had a genetic issue. Emily wore a pendant with a photo of Maggie, all of her life.

After the death of their children they moved to Kent Street, Red Hill (1903-1905) before moving to Jimboomba where Tom worked for the railway and Emily was the gatekeeper for the railway. They lived there until 1914, leaving when they bought a dairy farm at Mooloolah.

In 1924 Tom and Emily moved to Bribie Island and managed guesthouses. The first, “Rosevilla” (Banya Street, Bongaree), owned by Charlie Barden.  After his death Emily moved to manage “Kyogle” in South Esplanade, Bongaree. (We don’t know who owned Kyogle at that time). Tom opened a butcher shop on the corner of Toorbul and Foster Streets, Bongaree in the later 1920s or early 1930s. They stayed at “Kyogle” until 1941 when, because of WW2 and the military, they were excluded from staying on the Island, they moved to Oakey staying on a property owned by the family (Schule) property.

On their return to Bribie after the war, they helped Elizabeth Stone, who inherited “Rosevilla”, to run the boarding house. The Wilkinson’s retired to a cottage in Banya Street (between Campbell & Webster Streets).

The Wilkinsons lavished their love on their nephews and nieces who stayed at Kyogle for holidays and one of the nieces, Kitty Shaw nee Carton, took many photos of Bribie in the 1920s and 30s while staying at Kyogle and her daughter, Sr Francine Shaw, presented these photos to the Historical Society.

Emily passed away on 5th November 1948 while visiting friends in Toowoomba and was buried in the Drayton Cemetery.

Tom Wilkinson later lived on the pensioner's reserve in Bongaree and his house was nicknamed "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Tom survived Emily by 10 years dying in the Brisbane hospital on 4thJune 1958.

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