Catholic portrait mystery poses unanswered questions
WHEN Sharmaine Moyle purchased a box of gardening tools at a local garage sale she didn't expect to come across a mystery involving the Catholic church.
"I spotted a few things in a box I wanted for the garden. But the deal was take the entire box or nothing," Mrs Moyle said.
Twenty dollars later she was at home in North Mackay unboxing a trove of aged gardening implements when she found something unexpected - two framed portraits of men dressed in religious regalia.
"These two portraits were in the bottom of the box. It was obvious to me the men were somehow attached to the Catholic church," she said.
Intrigued by what she had found, but in the midst of a sizable home renovation, she packed away the portraits to be handled another day.
Mrs Moyle recently came across the portraits again as the renovations came to a close and decided it was time to get to the bottom of the riddle.
She decided to post the images on local Facebook pages, which attracted many comments but none leading to the possible identification of who the men were.
However, after contacting the Catholic Archdiocese of Australia, an archivist took up the investigation and sent copies of the portraits to every liturgy in Australia and New Zealand. It was soon discovered the men were the fifth Bishop of Rockhampton, Romuald Hayes from 1932-1945 and sixth Bishop of Rockhampton Andrew Tynan from 1946-60.
Gavin Abraham, of the Australia Catholic Bishops Conference, said it remained a mystery as to how the portraits would have ended up in a box of garden tools.
"These portraits would not have been widely printed and the church where they would have been displayed should have archived them properly - so how they came to be in Mackay is still a mystery," he said.
Mrs Moyle said she had procured the box quite a while ago and could not remember where the garage sale had been, so was unable to contact the original owner.
She hoped an appeal to the community might be able to shed some light on the puzzle.
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