HomeHistoryChilders time capsule reveals 50yo contents

Childers time capsule reveals 50yo contents

Childers capsule opening
Childers time capsule revealed. Mayor Jack Dempsey is joined by Council CEO Steve Johnston (left) and Isis High Principal Chris Gill in removing the 50-year-old capsule from the concrete cairn.

Memory lane was a delightful place to visit for many in attendance at Friday’s opening of the 50-year-old time capsule in Millennium Park, Childers.

The capsule, lodged in a solid concrete cairn, had been sealed by members of the Childers Bicentenary Committee on August 22, 1970.

A crowd of around 50 invited guests watched as the capsule, a rectangular lead box, was lifted from the cairn by Mayor Jack Dempsey, Council CEO Steve Johnston and Isis District State High School Principal Chris Gill.

The three men replicated those who placed the box in the cairn 50 years ago with then Shire Chairman Cr Alf Plath, Shire Clerk Les Watkins and High School Principal Basil Shaw performing the task.

Mayor Jack Dempsey was assigned the honour of prising open the capsule which was firmly sealed with all edges encased with lead solder.

A hammer and broad bladed screwdriver effectively, but none too neatly, managed to open the capsule and reveal its contents.

A student from each school represented on the days was given the joint honour of removing the lid. The contents, all in excellent condition, were then retrieved and displayed on tables.

Walk down memory lane

Bruce Nash and Elizabeth Bunn participated in retrieving the items as their parent, Keith Nash and Dorothy Bunn, had contributed to the contents of the capsule 50 years ago.

Elizabeth said it was a very special moment to be involved in something that was a very tangible reminder of her mother. In another coincidence Dorothy Bunn was a teacher at Childers State School 50 years ago while Elizabeth currently holds that same position.

Bruce Nash said his father Keith, who was the local chemist, fancied himself as “a bit of an amateur photographer”.

“I knew dad had placed these boxes of slides in the capsule but its pretty special to be invited here today to retrieve them.”

Keith Nash provided 53 colour transparencies, or slides, in his contribution with the images taken in July and August 1970. They cover a broad range of topics including schools, banks, students and their various uniforms, the sugar industry and extensive imagery of the local show.

To assist with identification of the images, Mr Nash included more than three pages of detailed notes with the three boxes of slides.

Dorothy Bunn provided updated information on the Isis District 1965-1970 which is appended to local historian Iris Thompson’s booklet, “The Sum of our Yesterdays”.

One item that will need technical enhancement is a reel tape containing a recording of Shire Chairman Cr Alf Plath’s message to the community of 2020. The tape recording will be professionally converted to a usable digital form.

Notes included in the capsule and supplied by the Childers Postmaster of 1970, Mr IK Long were descriptive and rather prophetic.

He wrote that the post office and automatic telephone exchange operated from a wooden building at 65 Churchill Street. In 1970 there were six post office staff and five telephonists plus two technicians.

Mr Long expressed greetings to the Childers residents of 2020. “Perhaps you now have a new modern post office building, colour television and automatic video-phones,” he wrote.

A glimpse into the past

Childers capsule opening
Enjoying a moment in local history with Mayor Jack Dempsey at the opening of the Childers Time Capsule are school representatives (from left) Alice Banting (St Joseph’s); Lachlan Rogers (Isis High); Saskia Bassett (Childers) and Atalia Knight (Cordalba).

Guests were invited to view the contents of the capsule which included, newspapers, coins, Council Budget and Planning documents, stamps, colour slides, aerial photographs, school photographs, information on the proposed district irrigation scheme and historic books.

Council communications officer Wayne Heidrich who oversaw the event, said Childers was very proud of its history and heritage and Council would ensure the contents of the capsule were documented and appropriately catalogued.

“Once Council has finalised its work with the contents, material, including the lead capsule, will be handed over to the Isis District Historical Society for its use.”

“It is Council’s intention to have all material, where practical, available for an on-line exhibition,” he said.

Guests attending the function were provided with a copy of “The Life and Times of Richie Webb”, written by local icon, the late Richie Webb.



  1. Cannot believe the Council & state Government, are spending a massive amount of money on the Rail trail venture. Mainly just for the local cyclists. Money would be far better spent, putting a Cane train back on the track for ALL tourists & locals, & not just some

  2. Hi, is there an online copy of the photographs from the Childers time capsule that I can look at? I believe there may be a photo or two of my siblings and I in there.

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