What Katy did next: Bookmark-inspired travels
People have endless reasons for choosing holiday destinations, but I think my choice is among the more unusual. I have been taking holidays inspired by places on bookmarks that I have found left in library books.
It began when I worked in the State Library of Queensland’s Public Libraries Development section, where all the Regional Libraries Queensland (RLQ) books are circulated. Books were often returned from rural libraries with bookmarks still in them, and although we tried to return these bookmarks, it was not always possible. Staff were amazed by the variety of the bookmarks, and we celebrated the most magnificent or unusual of them by pinning them on a wall hanging.
One of the bookmarks that caught my eye came from Paronella Park at Mena Creek in North Queensland. The buildings looked most unusual and were set among fabulous gardens. I kept this bookmark and told myself that one day I would visit this extraordinary and magical place.
Paronella Park castle at Mena Creek, Queensland, 1948. SLQ Negative: 110320
As well as photographs, SLQ holds a copy of The Spanish dreamer: a biography of Jose Paronella by Dena Leighton. The preface to this book sets the background:
“Jose Paronella was a Spanish migrant, who came to Australia from Catalonia in 1913. Like so many Southern Europeans, he worked in the North Queensland cane fields and by saving his money, bought his own farm. This was only the beginning of Jose’s ambitions. He went on to make a fortune by buying and selling farms and from other investments. He needed this money for a particular purpose – to build his dream, a Spanish Castle and Pleasure Grounds set in the tropical rainforest.”
Over the years, Paronella Park has survived both flood and fire, and is now heritage listed. More information about the background and buildings can be found on the Queensland Heritage Register.
So what is my next “lost bookmark” holiday destination? I have already visited Port Fairy in Victoria, and have purchased a newer version of the lost bookmark that inspired that trip. Now I am thinking of going closer to home and touring the XXXX Brewery at Milton, Brisbane, after finding a business card from there left in a book.
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