An Unexpected Note

Let me state upfront that I'm a skeptical rationalist, boarding on nihilist and not prone to any form of superstition whatsoever. But isn't it strange how, when you put energy into a particular subject, it sometimes "boomerangs" back at you in the most unexpected ways.

A few months ago, about the time that I was researching the history of our house, I came home one day to a note on the kitchen table:

"Mac S. has an old sketch of the house. His number is 02 32xxx"

It turns out that the retired Mac S, living in Holbrook just north of Sydney, had purchased a sketch from his local Salvo store with the intent of re-using the frame for a picture for his wife. But he changed his mind when he saw a street address on the drawing, and as a frequent traveler to Brisbane he knocked on the door a few weeks later to ask if we had any interest in it.

Doesn't that bring back your faith in humanity? Mac had absolutely no reason to inconvenience himself, other than a sense of historical value and concern for the possible interests of some people 1,000 clicks away that he'd never met. A true gentleman, in other words.

A couple of months later and the sketch (and frame) were in the back of our car as we returned from a holiday down south. From my knowledge of past renovations I placed it somewhere in the early 90's, after the chimney was built but before the under croft was excavated and enclosed. The owners of the house at the time were a family that included one of Brisbane's prominent cardiologists and contact details were fairly easy to find, so I formulated a polite email asking for any further information that they may have. This was the response:

Dear M and K,

Thank you for your letter. I can fill you in on the drawing of the house. I commissioned Axel Goldammer to draw the house as a birthday present for W.  We lived at Clovelley from 1987 until 1996. I can’t remember exactly when the drawing was done but maybe 1993. Axel was, I think a draftsman by occupation (which I think shows in the detail of the drawing) and an artist. Last year we moved from our house in Toowong and I think it may have been amongst car-loads of things I took to the Salvation Army depot at Red Hill. It was a fairly stressful time, we had a lot going on in our lives and I think I was pretty brutal in “down-sizing”.

Anyway, I am absolutely delighted that the drawing has returned to its  rightful place. I wish I had thought to take it there myself! I can’t believe how it came back to you! What wonderful serendipity.
We and our four children remember our years at Clovelley with absolute joy and often reminisce about times there. There is a great story about our son, A. who was 10 when we moved from the house. He didn’t want to move and tried everything to stop the move and when it was obvious that it wasn’t going to work, he buried his bottle of pocket money under the house so that he could come back one day and buy it.

All the best for your family in your beautiful new home,


R & W S

I will tape the story to the back of the sketch and pass it on to future owners of the house.

Thanks Mac S!


  1. Brilliant story! And what a great piece to leave for the next custodians of your home.

  2. wow! that was amazing. i recently had a very humble experience a little like this - but no where near as incredible:

  3. Wonderful story. So nice to know that someone appreciated the value of something that many would have passed by as junk.