The person responsible for Mrs Fischer’s memorial and setting up the museum was Wendy Dorrington.
The collection largely was a private one owned by the postmaster of the eighties Jim Batey with his wife
Ruth who still lives on the island. Wendy obtained a grant from Redland City Council and the collection was
purchased with Redland Museum at Cleveland being the “auspicious body for SMBIM” in 2006.
Gwendoline Fischer and her husband Jay first took up land on Russell Island in 1906, purchasing 120 acres at a cost of 2 shilling and 6 pence per acre and later acquired another 80 acres. They called the farm “Rehcsif” which is Fischer spelt backwards and grew a variety of fruit and vegetables, made jams and conserves and also ran a pineapple pulping factory under there home whilst caring for 13 children. Mrs Fischers is the only recognised european grave site on Russell island. Her last wish was to be buried in her beloved fernery that was attached to the homestead which originally stood on the memorial park site.
Gwwendoline Adelaide Fischer passed on in 1942 at 60 years of age and the original headstone was made and erected by Charlie Culverhouse and placed in her fernery including her favourite broach and ashes. Over time the property was lost to developers and the headstone was bulldozed during clearing of the area. Gwendolyn’s family have remade the headstone from salvaged pieces and it has been re-erected in the park created through the Bay Island Community Services, under Mission Australia with the “Work for the Dole” system.
Mrs Fischer’s grave Cannes Avenue, No public access: unformed roads.
Jay Fischer took up land on Russell Island in 1906, beginning with 120 acres and adding another 80 acres later on. The farm was between Waikiki Beach Rd, Flinders, and Leigh Crescent on the southern end of the island. The farm was called Rehcsif – Fischer spelt backwards. Jay and his wife, Gwendolyn, grew fruit and vegetables, and they also set up a pineapple pulping factory and made jam conserve. The farm did not do well and Gwendolyn had to sell some of the land to pay off debts after Jay’s death.
When Gwendolyn died in 1943 her ashes were brought over to the island and placed in a memorial on their land near the end of Cannes Avenue. The ashes and her favourite greenstone brooch were placed in the headstone behind a glass panel. Some years later the stone mound was accidentally bulldozed. The family rebuilt the stone monument and a memorial garden with the help of Mission Australia and the Bay Islands Community Services, but the brooch and the urn with her ashes were lost. Local legend has it that the grave site is haunted.