A treasure trove of history

TALES OF YESTERYEAR: One of the hundreds of photos Vaughn Becker inherited from his parents.
TALES OF YESTERYEAR: One of the hundreds of photos Vaughn Becker inherited from his parents. Contributed

WHEN Vaughn Becker's parents passed away, he was left with an inheritance valuable in ways he could never have imagined.

Mr Becker, a Taroom local, has fond memories of his father telling stories of the good old days, and now they've been brought to life after Mr Becker discovered his parents had left him a unique, and extensive, collection of photographs, some dating back as far as the late 1800s.

"I've inherited a lot of the old family photographs, a lot of the photographs from my mother's family side and also my father's family side, plus the photos that my mum and dad had, and I've literally hundreds of old photos of Taroom and the Taroom district, and that sort of thing,” Mr Becker said.

"I'm gradually going through them and sorting them out into various family groups.”

It's a labour of love that has already taken weeks, and will take several weeks more.

"It's not a small job to go through them,” Mr Becker said.

But his job has been made considerably easier by the efforts of his late mother, who scrupulously listed the names of those who appear in the pictures on the back of the photos, including nearly the entirety of Taroom State School in one photograph dating back to 1938.

And Mr Becker isn't only organising the images, he's sharing the photos too.

"As I come across them I've been putting them on Facebook, and I wasn't real sure what the reaction would be,” he said.

"But the reaction has been fantastic with people really making some nice comments about how they love seeing these old historic photos and to keep doing it, which I'm happy to do,” he said.

"I can't see the sense of me having all these old historical photos, which a heck of a lot of them are identified cause Mum... has put a lot of work into writing the names on the back, why put them in a box under my bed and nobody will ever see them?

"So I will actually put a lot of work into this, I will scan them and share them for whoever wants them so people can enjoy them.

"Gee there's some lovely old photographs there.”

But it's the image pictured in this article that has Mr Becker somewhat stumped.

The adults are Edward and Susan Kurtz (Mrs Kurtz being Mr Becker's grandfather's sister) whom Mr Becker remembers as Uncle Ted and and Aunty Susie.

Mr Becker said his father would sometimes work for Ted and Susie, who at one stage were given the contract to bring girder logs for the Chinchilla railway bridges into town, with strict instructions not to cut or shorten the logs.

"When they got there to unload them the old railway inspector decided that he couldn't handle them so he ordered them to be cut in half,” Mr Becker said.

"Dad's comment was 'you should've seen uncle Ted do the polka!”

"I just saw it (the photo), and as soon as I saw that old truck with EJ Kurtz that story came back to me.”

Mr Becker said he'd love to be able to both learn what type of truck is pictured, and identify the children in the photograph, which was likely taken in the 1930s or early 40s. If you can help, contact Mr Becker at

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