TIME CAPSULE: Tom Capewell, Elizabeth Strong and Karla White reading the message for the first time.
TIME CAPSULE: Tom Capewell, Elizabeth Strong and Karla White reading the message for the first time. Adam McCleery

Piece of history found in classroom wall

AN INTRIGUING message from the past emerged from the walls of Burnett State College a bit more than a week ago.

While working on renovations at the school, Gayndah builder Scott Clibborn discovered a bottle inside one of the walls containing a handwritten note.

It was revealed the message in a bottle had been left in the wall by a labourer named Reginald George "Butch” McIlwain, who worked on the original construction of the manual arts building in 1963.

Mr McIlwain was born in 1934 and was 29 years old at the time of writing the message.

In the letter, Mr McIlwain wrote that as well as being a labourer, he was a slaughterman and a paid rugby league player.

"Born Macksville, North Coast New South Wales, descendent from Searle, Sanders, Partridge, Moore, Kesegg. This building was constructed by K.D Morris and Sons,” the letter read.

It was dated March to August 1963 and finished with a postscript saying: "Please write.”

Burnett State College student Elizabeth Strong was stunned when she saw the letter.

"I had no idea about this,” Elizabeth said.

"I think this is pretty cool.”

Nothing else is known about the message and school staff said if anyone recognised the names or knew Mr McIlwain, they should phone Burnett State College on 4161 3888.


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