Diggers Rest historians are hoping to secure a magical piece of memorabilia for their collection.
An autograph book from 1910 that includes a signed photo and message from famed American magician Harry Houdini has been in the family of Wayne Johnson’s late wife for more than a century.
The Toolern Vale resident said the autograph book had been passed down to his wife, Kay, from her great-grandmother.
“Kay’s great-grandmother used to live in a hotel and she used to collect the signatures of people who came into the hotel,” Mr Johnson told
“A lot of the other entries in there are signed, ‘a member of the Houdini company’, which also helps to verify the authenticity of Houdini himself’s signature.”
In an era when aviation technology was emerging, Houdini brought his Voisin biplane to Australia in 1910, making three successful flights at Diggers Rest.
Newspaper reports from the time detailed Houdini’s ascents.
Diggers Rest History Project members put out a call for donations to help buy the autograph book from Mr Johnson.
They’ve raised about $1500 towards the $2000 goal.
Mr Johnson said he was keen to ensure that the book stayed “close to home”.
“You can’t put a value on this,” he said. “It’s been in the family for generations and I’d like it to stay in Diggers Rest.”
The Diggers Rest History Project, which began in 2014, shares its collection of artefacts and historic documents with the community through Houdini’s Cafe and the Diggers Rest Medical Centre.
To donate and for more information: bit.ly/2NETVKj