Photo taken in May 1949 featuring white text in red cement. Photograph supplied by GW Helon.
Photo taken in May 1949 featuring white text in red cement. Photograph supplied by GW Helon.

Answering the question of the G in Bourbong

BOURBONG or Bourbon?

It's one of the mysteries that seems buried in the city's past - should the name of our main street spelled with a G, or not?

Local history researcher Merv Hopton believes he's found the answer.

"It had the G, it has to have," he said.

 

An old photo of the Cenotaph submitted by Beris Gaal.
An old photo of the Cenotaph submitted by Beris Gaal.

"I know it was always the G.

"Thank goodness the G remained, I don't think the drink bourbon was a big thing, I think it was more rum."

Mr Hopton has copies of numerous title deeds from the city's earliest days.

A copy of a title deed from 1870, describes a parcel of land in Bundaberg as "commencing on the north west side of Bourbong St".

In an1882 gazette, Mr Hopton says the street name appears without a G.

 

An old image of Bourbong St submitted by Beris Gaal.
An old image of Bourbong St submitted by Beris Gaal.

However, Mr Hopton said while the use of "Bourbon" had popped up from time-to-time, Bourbong was never totally off the map.

"It was always there in some form, it was never totally eliminated," he said, adding that there are several historical mentions with the G in relation to former mayor John Lamb.

Mr Hopton urged caution when gathering information on history from the internet or Wikipedia, saying a lot of supposed facts were not properly researched or checked.

 

Elsie Johnson does some shopping in the Bundaberg CBD. Behind her is the Carter's store on the corner of Targo and Bourbong Sts.
Elsie Johnson does some shopping in the Bundaberg CBD. Behind her is the Carter's store on the corner of Targo and Bourbong Sts. Maureen Kimber

A write-up on the Wikipedia page for Bundaberg talks about the Bourbong v Bourbon debate.

Wikipedia claims that there is no mention of Bourbon St by 1941, however, a copy of the Bundaberg Daily News-Mail from March 25, 1941, features numerous advertisements all using the spelling without the G.

 

An old postcard image of Bourbong St submitted by Beris Gaal.
An old postcard image of Bourbong St submitted by Beris Gaal.