A historical Gatton reunion 160 years in the making

HISTORY: Greg Cook and Doug Booth met up in April of last year to peruse Joseph Cook's 1857 account book.
HISTORY: Greg Cook and Doug Booth met up in April of last year to peruse Joseph Cook's 1857 account book. Contributed

WHEN Doug Booth travelled up to Gatton from Melbourne to meet with Greg Cook last year, they reconnected two family lines who had a long, and at times, bumpy history in the area.

In April of 1857, Greg's grandfather Joseph Cook became the publican of Gatton's Rose Inn.

That same year, Mr Booth's great, great grandfather William Watson Rainbow took up duty as one of the town's first police constables.

In September, Constable Rainbow brought a charge against the publican for an apparent breach of his publican's license and accused him of serving alcohol to someone who was neither a lodger or a bona fide traveller.

Although the charges were eventually dropped, that was not the end of the interactions between them.

2017 will mark 160 years since that very first incident between the two.

In April last year, Mr Booth and Mr Cook, who now lives in Brassall, got together at the Gatton Historical Society to peruse Joseph Cook's 1857 account book.

"When I read the first article about Rainbow charging the publican with serving someone who wasn't a bona fide traveller, I was wondering if there was a bit of bad blood,” Mr Booth said.

"They had quite a lot to do with each other from that point.”

Although it seems there were no hard feelings with the two conducting regular business in the time that followed.

The book recorded many transactions between the pair, such as Cook buying cattle from Rainbow as well as the policeman buying various supplies from the publican.

"The publican effectively operated a general store as part of the hotel, providing a range of food and supplies to people around the district and bullock drivers passing through,” Mr Booth said.

"There are a lot of entries where he is buying all sorts of things.

"At one time, Rainbow sold a whole lot of his cattle to Cook... there were quite a few dealings between the two.”

Constable Rainbow would also come to Cook's aid, charging another man for breaking into his house in 1858, according to the pair's research.

But there is no bad blood that has carried over into the current generations, with Mr Cook offering Mr Booth a place to stay during his trip.

"Greg even offered me a tot of rum, considering I could be classified as a bona fide traveller,” Mr Booth said.

Topics:  gatton history

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