Reader Please Note: Doctor Elaine Brown has refused to allow me to publish her paper in its entire form and threatened me with breech of Copyright Laws should I do so: Below is an abridged version with my comments included in Bold Italics. It should also be noted that Brett Green tells me that what she has written about his family history is incorrect
Sent: Thursday, 21 September 2006 5:14 PM
To: Michael Roser
Subject: Article on Gympie Pyramid
THE GYMPIE PYRAMID HOAX
Dr Elaine Brown
This might be a concern if there really was a ‘Gympie Pyramid’. But the ‘pyramid’ is an elaborate hoax, an illusion based on nothing more than fantasy, fiction and a great deal of wishful thinking.
Gilroy’s ‘pyramidal structure’, the so-called ‘Gympie Pyramid’, is one of these stony ridges, an outcrop of ancient sandstone beside the road that leads from Gympie to Tin Can Bay. In 1868 the geologist D’Oyley Aplin described it as ‘a stratified quartz pebble drift of older date than the existing valleys … in a large pocket of the creek known as Macpherson’s Paddock’. In 1889 W.H. Rands, who methodically mapped Gympie’s geology and mines, described it as ‘a drift of large, waterworn pebbles … consisting of quartz and of hardened, jasperised sandstone’ with ‘layers of ferruginous grit and conglomerate’. Neither geologist reported any evidence of a pyramid or other unusual remains at Rocky Ridge.
The history of this area is on the public record. In the earliest days of the Gympie goldfield, John and Russell McPherson used the open forest land enclosed by the creek at the foot of Rocky Ridge as a holding paddock for horses, and the locality became known as McPherson’s Paddock.
Four Goldfields Homestead Leases at McPherson’s Paddock were taken up between 1875 and 1877 by a Swiss nurseryman, John William Cauper, who established a vineyard and supplied grafted planting material to local growers and householders. A letter Cauper wrote to the Gympie Times in 1884 about how to deal with phylloxera in grape-vines indicates that he was well-educated and skilled in horticulture.
The Gympie Pyramid Terraces are not in "McPherson's Paddock" and a search of land titles of the area shows that Cauper never owned the land on which the Terraces occur
In order to provide accessible, well-drained sites for some of his vines, Cauper terraced the lower slopes of Rocky Ridge, supporting the terraces with dry stone walls. He conducted his business on the property until at least 1890. Then, falling victim to several very wet summers, massive floods and the severe 1893 economic depression, he abandoned the land and left Gympie. He had no family in Australia, and he died at the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum in 1931, aged 96.
There is NO documentary evidence at all to prove that Cauper to suggest that Cauper ever constructed dry stone wall terracing, nor is there any existing examples of such terracing being applied to grape growing anywhere in Queensland.
Described in 1905 as ‘The Old Vineyard’, Cauper’s land was resumed and re-selected early in the twentieth century. Richard Edwards, a wood-cutter, took up sixty acres and kept pigs and poultry. His neighbour, George Preston, a Widgee Shire Councillor, established a five-acre poultry farm on the creek below Rocky Ridge. In the 1920s, ownership of these blocks passed to a succession of Gympie butchers, who used them as holding paddocks for their nearby slaughteryard. The hoofs of cattle, sheep and horses accentuated Cauper’s terraces and dislodged stones and soil, and when I first noticed Rocky Ridge in 1971, its slopes were eaten bare.
Again: Cauper's land never included the "pyramid" site.
Like wise old maps show clearly that the "Slaughter Yards" were a considerable distance from the terraced site
After the slaughteryard closed in 1973, wattles, gum trees, prickly pear and lantana began to cover the ridge, and a fringe of trees grew up along the creek. Houses have been built on the old vineyard and slaughteryard sites. The residents, whatever their opinions about the ‘Pyramid’, have all demanded that their privacy be respected and have firmly resisted the temptation to turn Rocky Ridge into a ‘Pyramid’ tourist destination.
***There are NO houses on the terraced area and only one that is in any proximity to it.
In 1980, Rex Gilroy began to follow the trail of the mythical Yowie and turned his attention to the search for a Gympie ‘Yeti’. He did not return to the subject of the ‘Pyramid’ until 1983, when his patch was suddenly invaded by a Sydney pyramid researcher, Marilyn Pye. Her startling claim that the ‘Gympie Pyramid’ was probably built by extra-terrestrials 6000 years ago shows how imagination could blow Gilroy’s ideas into even more fantastic shapes.
(It appears that Doctor Brown doesn't like Yowies either)
In the Gympie Times, Pye discounted the theory that the ‘Pyramid’ had been an ‘Aboriginal vineyard’ on the grounds that Aborigines never built in stone and grapes were not introduced until after white settlement. She then added an entirely new dimension by claiming that the dry stone wall around Gympie’s Surface Hill Uniting Church was built from stones from the ‘Pyramid’, and she compared this wall with the ruins of Machu Pichu in South America.
Not relevant to arguement
The notion that blocks from the ‘Gympie Pyramid’ had been taken away to build other structures grew from the need to explain the lack of evidence at the pyramid site and the rugged, ragged state of Rocky Ridge. But where did such blocks go? The freestone used in some old Gympie buildings is known to have come from the South Side quarries. The sandstone at Rocky Ridge is crumbly, with large and small grains, and does not make a good building material.
There are actually massive boulders of excellent fine grained sandstone abounding on the "pyramid" site. This statement seems to show that Dr. Brown has never inspected the site.
Gilroy introduced his own version of ‘ancient Aboriginal traditions from the Gympie area’ with the tale of a group of mysterious ‘culture-heroes’, who ‘sailed into Gympie to erect the pyramidal structure (among other structures) and also to dig in the mountains (i.e. open cut mining operations) even to interbreed with the tribespeople, eventually abandoning the colony and sailing away out to sea promising to return.’ He did not state the source of this legend, and he was still basing his assertions on the mistaken belief that the ‘pyramid’ was erected near one of the backwaters of a large harbour, which then extended from Tin Can Bay to Gympie.
After this controversy, two members of the Gympie and District Historical Society, bemused by the unrealistic speculation that was being focused on a simple sandstone outcrop, put pen to paper in the Society’s Journal.
Dick Gould’s article, ‘The Gympie Pyramid – Fact or Fiction?’ described the rival theories concerning the ‘pyramid’, pointed out the fallacy of an ancient harbour, and quoted local knowledge and written evidence that the terraces on Rocky Ridge had been prepared for grapevines. He also dealt with the ‘Gympie Ape’, which an examination by the Queensland Museum had shown was of no great age and had been carved with metal tools.
As far as I am aware there is NO written evidence to support the continued assertion that the terracing was for grapes. As for the "Gympie Ape" , I don't know anything about it but saying it was "of no great age" and made by metal tools does not tell any one anything and certainly is not a scientific statement.
Bill Mulholland, editor of the Journal, published two inquiries the Society had received, together with his reply: ‘I inspected [the pyramid] in detail before it became overgrown, and it contains certain interesting stones which could, in my opinion, be waterworn to their present condition. In one place, two large slabs of stone of almost identical appearance stand about twelve inches apart and are claimed to be an altar of some kind. On close examination, the slight bulges in one fit exactly into the indentations on the other, and they are apparently a stone split in half by the elements. There are terraces capable of being traced, and there is a tradition of grapes being grown in the vicinity.’
And there the matter rested until 1995, when the fiction phase of the Gympie Pyramid hoax began.
Enter Brett Green, a man so fascinated by the ‘Pyramid’ that between 1995 and 1999 he self-published five small books in a series entitled Tales of a Warrior, and in 2000 a sixth book, devoted entirely to The Gympie Pyramid Story.
These books were purportedly based on diaries written by Green’s direct ancestor, John Green (1819-1889), a pioneer of the Illawarra District in New South Wales, who is supposed to have ridden on horseback through south-east Queensland on various occasions between 1850 and the 1880s. The thread of mysterious ruins and legends runs through the stories.
I'm still waiting on details from Brett Green on these claims about his ancestor. Brett assures me the Dr. Green is completely wrong about this and her claims are false. He tells he that he is suing her as a result.
From the time the first book, The Legend of Gympie, was published, many readers suspected that something was wrong with Green’s claims. The content of the Green ‘diaries’ contradicted surviving records in three important areas: local history, the history of the Green family, and Aboriginal history. Nearly every page contained errors of historical fact, and the list of references at the end included many books that had nothing to do with the topics covered. The book was illustrated with unsourced photos of Aborigines from different parts of Australia, and with ‘enhanced reproductions’ (digitally altered photos) of ‘mystery stone sculptures’ of ‘Dhamuri’.
These questionable characteristics continued in the books that followed, and it became clear that, whoever wrote the Green ‘diaries’, they were not authentic and the Tales of a Warrior series was pure fiction.
The first problem for Brett Green is that the original ‘diaries’ are not available for examination. He claims they were destroyed in a fire at his family home on Red Hill, Gympie. There was such a fire on 19 October 1984, but records show that the Fire Brigade arrived promptly and that only the lounge room was affected.
The second problem is that other members of the Green family deny that their ancestor John Green ever came to Queensland. They say that he could not have written the ‘diaries’ because he was illiterate, and he could not have jumped into a flooded creek to rescue an Aboriginal boy because he could not swim. In addition, the signature published by Brett Green as that of John Green is quite different from the signature shown on official documents, such as John Green’s will.
Green family historians Grayeme and Lynne Bone have produced a well-researched family history, The Green Book, which tells the stories of John Green, his two wives, his sixteen surviving children, and their many thousands of descendants through six or more generations.
According to the Green family, John Green was a farm labourer from Lincolnshire, England, who migrated to Sydney in 1844 with his wife Mary Vickers and eventually settled on a farm at Tongarra, near Dapto. Mary died in 1854, leaving four children, and John then married Mary Iles, who had twelve children. John Green lived at Tongarra until his death in 1889 and is buried in the cemetery of All Saints Church of England, Albion Park. The family man and Aussie battler revealed in The Green Book is a very different person from the emotional, opinionated writer of the Green ‘diaries’.
Brett Green’s third problem concerns the Aboriginal vocabularies and legends he has published. Aboriginal words with variant spellings and remarkable pronunciations have been concocted from existing, authentic vocabularies. Aboriginal legends that reveal a cosmology quite different from that of traditional stories – involving, for example, Sun Gods and Moon Goddesses – have been created. The language of the diaries is quaint in both construction and vocabulary. Why, for example, would John Green call mangroves ‘sea trees’, and talk about Aboriginal ‘sacred sites’ a century before this term became part of the Australian way of thinking?
Then there are the ‘eye-witness’ accounts of Aboriginal customs. John Green’s accounts of supposed Aboriginal sexual practices, orgies, disembowelments and massacres may titillate some readers, but others find them distasteful, even pornographic. The sensational passages in which they occur are similar to late 20th century writing and are at odds with writings from more inhibited Victorian times.
A good read to get acquainted with the practices of south east Queensland's Aboriginal population pre-European contact can be had by reading the accounts of Pamphlet and Flanigan, two shipwrecked sailors who lived amongst them in the 1820's. I guess that Dr. Brown subscribes to the "politically correct" views of Aborigines and Aboriginal now so popular amongst our Academics. It may be that Green's stories are closer to the truth than she would like.
The maps produced by the author to show Aboriginal ‘territories’ in the Gympie District are another problem. The first general surveys of the Upper Mary River and coastal country were not carried out until the mid-1860s, and detailed maps came later. How could a roving white horseman of the mid-nineteenth century define Aboriginal boundaries on uncharted land?
Aboriginal people find it difficult enough to prove their association with particular lands using authentic, surviving records and traditions. Any claims they might make could only be confused by the fictions that appear in the Tales of a Warrior series.
Like Rex Gilroy, Brett Green believes there are government and academic conspiracies afoot, preventing his ‘truths’ from becoming accepted, and people who are inclined to believe conspiracy theories are inclined to believe him.
Well then we better only believe Dr. Brown, John Howard and George Bush then. There are no conspiracies, we didn't go to war in Iraq for the oil and John Howard loves to support the Ozzie battler.
Gilroy and Green have followers who are interested in their theories. Some are people who will swallow anything, especially if it is said with confidence and earnestness, but there are also many who do not have the means to check out what is asserted.
What can I say to that?? I must be such a dummy!
In my work as a local and family historian, I find that most people are keen to reach the truth, and are prepared to devote themselves to genuine research – a process that finds facts, challenges fictions and debunks hoaxes.
And some people have a rigid view of the world and its history and would do anything to prevent that world view from being upset or challenged