News State QLD News Old family portrait returns home after being rescued from the tip

Old family portrait returns home after being rescued from the tip

family portrait reunited with family
After a viral social media appeal, Leisa Carney was able to locate the grandson of the couple in the photo. Photo: ABC
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An ornately framed family photo rescued from a Queensland tip shop has finally been returned to relatives after a social media appeal.

When Leisa Carney walked into the Stanthorpe tip shop a couple of weeks ago, her eye was immediately drawn to a gold gilt-framed portrait of an elderly couple on the wall.

“I walked straight over to it. Everywhere you go they’re watching you,” Ms Carney said.

“It’s still got the original dome glass in it, which is quite rare because a lot of the time that gets broken.”

Ms Carney bought the photo and took it home with the intention of finding the family.

“I knew that somebody loved them somewhere,” she said.

Decades disappear in a day on Facebook

A couple of weeks later she posted the photo and an appeal to Facebook, which was shared and commented on thousands of times.

“Twenty four hours later a lady contacted us to say that it was her grandparents,” Lisa said.

That woman was Eleanor Torta in north Queensland, the granddaughter of Tom and Amelia Jones, pictured in the photo, thought to have been made around the early 1950s.

“I spoke to Eleanor who was very emotional and overwhelmed that her precious grandparents were found in a tip shop,” Ms Carney said.

Tom and Amelia Jones were born in the late 1800s and they were cane growers from Nambucca Heads in New South Wales.

family portrait reunited
Leisa Carney said she felt compelled to rescue the photo from the tip shop and return it to the family. Photo: ABC

“It was wonderful to actually get proof from Eleanor on that day when she sent me all of those beautiful old photos of her family and there was no doubt who these two people were,” Ms Carney said.

Photo returns to the family

This week, with original glass still intact, the photo was carefully transported from Stanthorpe to Toowoomba, and handed back to Richard Chiverrell, the grandson of Mr and Mrs Jones.

Mr Chiverrell said the photo took him back to holidays he spent as a child at his grandparents on the mid-north coast of NSW.

“When I was very young, he used to come down and watch me swim at Nambucca Beach, which is rather funny because he was part blind,” he said.

Born in 1882, Amelia Jones (nee Ellis)’s family owned one of the first saw mills on the Nambucca River.

She married Tom Jones and they moved to Jarvisfield in north Queensland to become cane growers.

“My grandmother I remember as very gentle. She was a small woman, very polite, the best cook in town,” Mr Chiverrell said.

“She spoke very quietly, but she had a wonderful control over everyone.”

Tom and Amelia had nine children, and Mr Chiverrell is one of roughly 30 cousins.

It is thought that following the death of his grandparents, the old photo ended up with one of the cousins, who lives in Stanthorpe on Queensland’s granite belt.

“We’re going to do a little bit more reconnoitring about this to find out exactly how it ended up where it did,” Mr Chiverrell said.


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