It’s no surprise when notes are passed in class, but you never expect to find one inside the building itself.
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And yet, that’s exactly what was discovered while workers made progress restoring Junction Park State School in Australia. The message, placed inside a green bottle, was found in the spire of the building, dating all the way back to October 12, 1935.
“Built this fleche for the Dept of Public Works 12 of July 1935,” the note read. “We now are looking down of [sic] you. Since removing it, if any of my children, children are living, pass this onto them. R.I.P.”
The note was handwritten in pencil by a then 16-year-old apprentice carpenter named Gordon Benson who was working alongside Douglas Heron. The two of them built the spire of the school.
Although Gordon is no longer with us, the school was able to find and contact two of his five children, Geoffrey Benson and Marilyn Blundell, just like he had hoped would happen should anyone ever find the secret message.
“Once realizing it was written by my father, it wasn’t a surprise,” Geoffrey said. “Dad always thought about his family, and his children, and the future of his children.”
Gordon worked for the public works department until he retired at 60 years old. During World War II, he briefly served in the army in New Guinea. In addition to having five children, he has 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
“I guess having come through the depression and being put in a position where he’s not very far away from joining the war, there were probably a lot of things on his mind,” Geoffrey said.
“It’s a story of hope,” Marilyn added. “He was 16 and didn’t know what was to come. He had the hope there would be children and children’s children.”
The school held a ceremony so Mark Bailey, the Transport Minister, could officially present the note to both Geoffrey and Marilyn, both of which confirmed that their dad never mentioned the note to them.
“It’s interesting that he had a love of his future family before they’d even been born and a continued love for his family after he’s passed on,” Geoffrey said. “So our legacy is to keep that love going.”
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