The Dollings and Argyle House

Occupation: Grocer; Storekeeper; Proprietor Boarding House
Birth: 29 March, 1874  Rosewood Scrub, Queensland
Death: 7 July, 1942  Argyle House, 16 Albert Street, Rosewood
Burial: Ipswich General Cemetery (Rev. J. H. Smith of St Luke’s Church of England)
Father: Heinrich (Harry) DÖLLING (Licensed Victualler)
Mother: Maria RAABE

Spouse: Mary Georgina NICHOLL
Occupation: Domestic Servant (1880); Proprietor Boarding House
Birth: 1871  Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Immigrated:  4 November, 1888 Famenoth arrived at Maryborough, Queensland.
Death: 25 June 1943  Argyle House 16 Albert Street, Rosewood
Burial: Ipswich General Cemetery (Rev. J. H. Smith, of St Luke’s Church of England)
Father: William NICHOLL (Gamekeeper)
Mother: Annie ELLIOTT
Marriage: 23 April, 1896 Maryborough, Queensland

Elsie Victoria Pearl Violet May (1896-1896)
Mabel Elizabeth  (1897-1992) = Charles Powers WARD
Ivy Penilla “Tup” (1900-1967)
William Henry (1902-1902)
Annie Florence “Trix” (1906-1994)

Bill Dolling, as he was locally known, was the first of seven children in his family. His parents were both German immigrants who married in Ipswich after arriving in Queensland in the 1860’s. His father had been in partnership with Henry Vesperman in the Prince of Wales Hotel in Rockhampton but the partnership was dissolved and he was running the business on his own account when he took his new wife back to Rockhampton. Bill’s parents also ran the Melbourne Hotel in Rockhampton for a short time before coming to live in the Rosewood District. Later they took on the license of the Farmers’ Inn at Tallegalla on a property owned by Michael Goos. Michael Goos was married to Bill’s grandmother Elizabeth née Raabe.

[Some early info on the Farmers’ Inn. – Elizabeth Raabe’s brother Jacob married Rosina Brecht, the daughter of the publican at the Union Hotel in Ipswich. Jacob built the Farmer’s Inn at Tallegalla and was granted a Country Publican’s License in October 1878. In April 1880 Jacob sold the hotel and the license transferred to Michael Goos.] 

Bill’s name was registered as Wilhelm at birth and anglicised to William. He was born in the Rosewood Scrub and went to school at Tallegalla. During one of his family’s visits to Rockhampton in his youth, Bill claimed to have seen a rich investor from Mount Morgan gallop through the streets on a horse shod with gold. He could relate many interesting incidents concerning life among the gold miners in early days as told to him by his father.

As a young adult he went north to Howard where he opened a store. While he was there he successfully lobbied on behalf of a number of business people to re-open the Post and Telegraph Office so they didn’t have to use the railway station instead. He met Mary in Maryborough and they married in 1896. In September 1897 he opened a grocery and drapery store, W. Dolling and Co. in the Drill Hall, Lennox Street, Maryborough replacing Mr Blackwood who had a drapery there. It was a nice shop with a splendid variety of things for sale and they did a fair business for a while. (The original Drill Hall site is now occupied by the Maryborough Services Memorial Bowls Club and the Maryborough Memorial Pool). At some stage Bill closed the business and took employment at White Bros & Co’s grocery warehouse in Adelaide Street. In May 1900 he came back to the Rosewood district and found employment at J. L. Frederich’s Rosewood store (later Ruhno’s).

Bill had been in charge of the grocery department at Rhuno’s for almost 8 years before going to work for Barry and Roberts in Brisbane in February 1910. During those years he and Mary had also established a boarding house, possibly in Albert Street, which was run by Mary while he was at work. In December 1911 the Dollings moved and went to live in a house built for Bartholomew Coveney at 12 Albert Street. Mary also ran it as a boarding house. Bill went back to work at Rhuno’s. (Later after they left this house it was to become a lying-in hospital for two years, St Florence’s run by Nurse Hines.)

In 1917 Bill bought the property a couple of doors up in Albert Street (No 16) and Mary opened a private guest house in the six bedroom home where she was able to accomodate more patrons. It was situated in a good position, close to the railway station and all amenities. Being of Scottish heritage, she named the house “Argyle House”. She ran it with assistance from her daughter Ivy aka “Tup” until she left home.

Bill started his own grocery business in John Street around 1925. His shop was located where the Council car park is now. He became the secretary of the Manchester Unity Lodge in Rosewood.

The house was built by carpenter Robert James Murphy who designed St Brigid’s Church and acted as foreman for the Rev. Father Horan on the build. The original front doorknob is made of cast iron and the maker was Archibald Kendrick, West Bromwich, UK. The moulded date inscription is May, 1911.

Argyle House accommodated many boarders over twenty nine years and numerous parties and celebrations were held there to celebrate special occasions and farewell patrons when they moved on. Guests included Clerks of Petty Session, school teachers, soldiers, police constables, bank officers, railway workers and other visitors to the district. Greenery, flowers and coloured streamers were the favourite decorations for these occasions and were used to adorn the dining room and verandah where “jazzing” was carried on.

Here are a few accounts of the many celebrations held at the Dolling’s boarding houses.

[Queensland Times Saturday 10 April, 1909 page 9]

Send off to Mr L. Steele – On Wednesday evening a send-off and presentation were tendered to Lieutenant L. Steele, of the staff of the Rosewood State School on the eve of his marriage by his fellow boarders at Mrs W. Dollings’s establishment. Lieutenant Steele has been very popular during his residence here and has participated in all sports and social amusements. A very pleasant time was spent during the evening and a presentation of a pair of field glasses was made by Mr W. Dolling on behalf of the boarders in an appreciative speech, which Mr Steele suitably acknowledged. Dainty refreshments were served by the hostess and Mr Steele departed by the down train, amid the sincere good wishes of his many friends.

[Queensland Times, Saturday 25 July, 1925 page 12]

ROSEWOOD – Mr and Mrs W. Dolling entertained a number of guests at dinner at “‘Argyle House” on Thursday evening in honour of Mr. R. J. Hart (Clerk of Petty Sessions) who leaves shortly for Innisfail, to which place he has been transferred. Miss I. Dolling assisted her parents in entertaining the guests. Vases of gerberas adorned the table and a very pretty decoration scheme was carried out in the dining room. From a dainty basket of ferns and gerberas suspended over the table golden coloured streamers were affixed to each guest place. Rev. T. H. Clark presided and proposed Mr. Hart’s health. This was musically honoured. Addresses were delivered by Rev. T. Clark, Messrs. W. Dolling, C. McDonald, J. Sillman, J. Wyatt, R. J. Walsh, T. Southwell, R. Douglas, A. B. Clark, T. Potts.

The various speakers paid tributes to Mr. Hart’s excellent qualities as a gentleman and sport, and congratulations were extended to him on his well merited promotion. Sincere regret was expressed at his departure from Rosewood, and the good wishes of those present were extended to him for his future success and happiness. Mr. C. McDonald, on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Dolling and family, and the boarders at Argyle House, presented Mr. Hart with a handsome travelling rug. Mr. Hart, in responding expressed regret at severing his association with Mr. and Mrs. Dolling and family, and his fellow boarders at Argyle House, where during his three years’ residence in Rosewood he had received the best of kindness. Other toasts honoured were “The Host and Hostess”, “The Ladies” and “The Chairman.” Jazzing was indulged in on the enclosed verandahs which were canopied with streamers of red, whilst hanging baskets of ferns added to the very pretty effect produced. Solos were rendered by Mrs. A. Imrie, Rev. T. Clark, Messrs. J. Wyatt, and J. Sillman. The accompaniments were played by Miss D. Allen, who also supplied the dance music. Supper was served shortly before midnight, and the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” terminated a delightful evening. Those who were present were Mrs A. Imrie, Mrs A. B. Clark, Misses D. Allen, R. Ogg, E. Lahey and E. Hogan, Rev. T. Clark, Messrs C. McDonald, J. Sillman, J. Wyatt, R. J. Walsh, T. Southwell, R. Douglas, A. B. Clark and T. Potts.

[Queensland Times, Thursday 27 Dec 1945, page 6]

ROSEWOOD Farewell Social Evening.- In honour of Mr. Les. Reithmuller, who recently disposed of his business at Rosewood, and who will be leaving the district, a farewell social evening was held at Miss I. Dolling’s home Argyle House on Thursday night. Solos were sung by Mrs. E. N. Gainen (Booval), recitations given by Mrs E. O’Sullivan, and community singing enjoyed, Mrs. M. J. Carmody being pianiste. Supper was served. The table had two-toned pink decorations and a centre mirror outlined with rose petals and maidenhair fern. Mr. A. Gale, a friend of Mr. Reithmuller presided. The Chairman and Messrs. N. Ruhno, J. Boden, D. Baines, E. Gainen, E. Fraser, E. O’Sullivan, and A. R. Blake spoke in appreciative terms of Mr. Reithmuller as a business man and fellow boarder of many present. Miss Dolling added a tribute of appreciation of the guest of honour. On behalf of Miss Dolling and the boarders of Argyle House, Mr. Ruhno, who proposed a toast to the guest of honour, presented Mr. Reithmuller with a writing case. Mr. Reithmuller proposed a toast to Miss Dolling and presented her with a Christmas gift from the boarders at Argyle House. His remarks were supported by Messrs. Boden, Baines, and Blake. Miss Dolling responded. Mr. M. J. Carmody proposed a toast to the ladies. He was supported by Mr. E. O’Sullilvan. The hostess, Miss Dolling, was assisted by Mesdames E. O’Sullivan. C. Donaldson, and A. Street. Mr. Reithmuller left on Saturday for Sandgate, where he is spending the Christmas holidays at his mother’s home.

Mabel Dolling married Charles Ward in June 1921. Charles was a livestock auctioneer and a stock and station agent. He served in the Great War and lost an arm from wounds he received. Prior to his enlistment in the AIF he became a member of the Rosewood Masonic Lodge. On his return from active service he aspired for office in the Lodge and was installed as its Worshipful Master in September 1921. They left Rosewood and made their home in Rockhampton where Charles founded the company Ward Geddes & Co.

Trix Dolling was a telephonist at the Rosewood exchange until her resignation in 1925. She was a Group Commandant in the Girl Guides and later she joined the W.A.A.F.. Trix moved to Brisbane where she worked as a Clerk for Messrs. Foy and Gibson Pty. Ltd. in the Valley. In her later years she moved to Rockhampton.

Tup spent some time away from Argyle House in her mid thirties. She went to live with Trix for a few years before returning home to Rosewood to assist her mother.

Bill Dolling spent two months in the Ipswich Hospital at the end of 1937 and died in 1942 aged 68 years. Mary also suffered severe illness but regained her health to a degree. She was said to be a particularly kind and hospitable woman and had grieved Bill’s death to the detriment of her own health. Mary died in 1943 aged 72 years having no relatives in Australia. Both she and Bill died at home at Argyle House.

Tup continued running the guest house until September 1946 when she sold it to Charles Harding. She went back to live with Trix for a while before she moved to Barcaldine about 1951 and bought a home she called “Lara”. In her time there she took employment as a companion and became involved in the C.W.A.. She went back to live with Trix around 1958.

The Hardings raised a large family in the house and sold it in 1980.

Argyle House is now my home. I wondered why there were so many bedrooms. I was delighted to find out its history and connection to some of the early pioneering folk of Rosewood. I have occasionally, in my imagination, travelled back in time to peek at the goings-on in my home. It was during my investigation, as I encountered many snippets of local history, that my interest and desire to know more about all things Rosewood was strongly ignited.

The property’s history dates back to 1867 when James Foote selected 78 acres 2 roods and twenty seven perches (Free Selection Seven L) in the West Moreton Agricultural Reserve in the County of Churchill, Parish of Walloon. This comprised all of the land on the left side of what is now John Street from the railway station up to Lanefield Road. He sold the land to John Vance in 1877 and after Vance’s death his wife subdivided the land. In 1884 Olivia Vance sold my half acre block to John Henry Jacobs, a Drover and Farmer, who in turn sold it to William Dolling. The Vance’s home was directly opposite on the corner of Albert St and Vance Lane (now Royal George Lane).

Originally a balustraded staircase come straight down from the front door and out towards the road but it was changed during renovations in the 1960’s to where it is now. The wooden stairs were replaced with cement treads and iron railings and the verandah railings were replaced with weatherboard cladding. The wooden railings on the staircase have been reinstated and a small porch has been built at the top of the stairs adorned with decorative corners (dated 1925) which were sourced from from an old footpath awning once attached to one of my family’s shops. I’ve also added a front fence to reflect the era of the house. I’ve uncovered some small and interesting relics of days gone by, which seem to surface and reveal themselves in the yard at times, including some predecimal currency from the 30’s and 40’s.

As an aside and an item of interest, during the Great War years Bill Dolling received a letter from William George Nichol, a stretcher bearer in the 15th Field Ambulance, who was honoured with a Military Medal for bravery in the field at Merris, France. In civilian life he was a Police Constable (later Sergeant of Police).

Mr. W. Dolling, of Rosewood, is in receipt of the following letter from Pte. W. G. Nichol, lately of the Police Force, stationed at Rosewood, who writes from France as follows:—
I am O.K., and have been keeping well since coming to this country two months ago. Egypt was very interesting, but, I think every one of us was glad to get away from there. We were in action a fortnight after we landed here. I have just come in again after another ten days in the trenches. I am a stretcher-bearer. We had a lovely six days’ trip across the Mediterranean, and then a 58 hours’ journey in the train from the South of France, and I never in all my life saw anything so beautiful. I met Arthur Adams, Bob and Ted Akes, also Mick Toohey, in Egypt, They left for France a few days before us, but I met Arthur again here in the trenches. Bob is also here, but I have not met him, and poor Mick Toohey is among the missing since the night our boys went over the parapet. One of my mates said the last he saw of Mick he was badly wounded in a German dugout in the second line of trenches. One of the Tedford boys, from Maryborough, was killed, and the other wounded. I had a look over the front parapet yesterday, where Fritz’s trench is only 78 yards across, and there are a lot of our boys still out on “No Man’s Land.” They will never be brought in now. I am glad my brother is not in the same lot with me. It is nice to be together, but some boys who have brothers that are missing tell you they think they see them out on “No Man’s Land.” I came in yesterday after being ten days in the trenches, and yesterday morning we were shelled and had our dressing station blown up with high explosives. I only heard of Asher Millard’s death yesterday. We are hoping to get over to England on leave soon. I would love to see the “old dart.” I like the French people very much, and we are getting fairly slap-up on the lingo – I don’t think. Of course, we have learned to say such things as “Bon soir madame,” and “Bonjour,” and ‘How are you mon garcon!” and that’s about the limit, but some of them speak a little English, and we soon get on. The French money was new to us, as was also the Egyptian piastre.

Researched and complied by Jane Schy


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