Backward Glance: Auld Lang Syne – memories old and new
  • Friday 29 December 2017

It’s that time when we come together to celebrate and remember the past year and look forward to the future and what the New Year will bring.

Tradition calls for a party.

In Australia and many countries throughout the world, we celebrate the crossover from the old year to the new by getting together with friends and family.

This celebration does not have to be a costly affair and the festive Christmas lights are often a flashing feature of a great night’s fun.

You can opt to recycle and reuse what you have and just enjoy some relaxing time and entertainment with family and friends.

After all, it is the company that is most important.

Whether it be singing songs, playing music or visiting family and friends, simple activities can be arranged just like the old days.

It’s always popular to record this special time with your camera or smart phone as the clock counts down to the stroke of midnight.

New Year is quite a traditional time and many people get ready to link arms and sing the Scottish folk song Auld Lang Syne, made famous so long ago by Scot Robbie Burns, to usher in the year.

In recent years, Australian towns and cities have staged big community events that include fireworks, parades, music and entertainment.

Fireworks are launched as the clock strikes midnight and we farewell the old and welcome in the new.

We hug, toast to the future or kiss each other to show our joy and appreciation for all that we have.

It is a time when we give thanks for freedom and safety in our region.

Many Sunshine Coast residents celebrate at special events in parklands or on beaches and others hold parties and barbecues at their own homes.

Times have changed from the 1880s, when the North Coast railway line was completed as far as Landsborough and the first train arrived on 1 February, 1890.

The coaches of Cobb and Co began to fade from memory.

The Anglican Church at Peachester was officially opened on January 1, 1908.

Not to be deterred by floods Woodford’s Reverend Neil rode on horseback and swam the flooded Stanley River to conduct the official opening.

On New Year’s Day 1963, that little church in Peachester, which had stood for only 55 years, was demolished by the New Year’s Day tropical Cyclone Annie that came roaring through the region.

The little church at Peachester had served the pioneer families of the district well, including Inigo Jones, the long-range weather forecaster of Crohamhurst. Did Indigo predict this cyclone? We will never know.

One of the oldest established firms on the Sunshine Coast was owned by storekeeper John Tytherleigh who promoted his Universal Providers stores.

These stores, situated at Landsborough, Caloundra, Maleny and Woombye, sold everything from fancy goods to fencing wires.

Tytherleigh was involved in many new organisations and he became the first chairman of the newly formed Landsborough Shire Council in 1912.

At an early council meeting, men’s swimming costumes or trunks were a hot topic as it was the middle of summer and swimming at the beach was becoming a favourite thing to do.
Some men had been discovered bare-chested wearing bathing trunks only and one of the Landsborough Shire councillors wanted it stopped.

Cr Tytherleigh rose to his feet and insisted there was nothing wrong with the new style of bathing apparel and he believed the outdated by-law was driving people away from our beaches and waterways.

Another councillor suggested a beach inspector should check the bathers but Cr Tytherleigh was having none of that.

He gave a notice of motion to rescind the by-law making it legal for men to wear the new beach style.

The thick, shoulder strapped, one-piece suits were replaced by the new fashionable bathing apparel which could be purchased at Tytherleighs Universal stores.

Nearly 60 years ago on January 5, 1957 a special party took place before the closure of an old Caloundra favourite, the Hotel Francis, which ceased trading and closed its doors for the last time.

Around 5000 people gathered on the lawns to celebrate the closing of the old hotel.

The 1954 cyclone had caused significant damage to many buildings in Caloundra and the Hotel Francis had lost parts of its roof and veranda at that time and had white ant problems. .

The function was organised by the Metropolitan Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club and the Caloundra Ambulance, and substantial funds were raised for local organisations.

A fire broke out in the ceiling while food was being cooked for the closing ceremony function.

A Metropolitan Caloundra lifesaver carrying drinks on a tray fell through the white ant infested floor and didn’t spill a drop.

Member for Landsborough and later Premier of Queensland, Frank Nicklin officially locked the hotel for the very last time at 10pm.

The party to farewell the old building was remembered fondly by the many thousands who attended and at the stroke of midnight Auld Lang Syne was heard in the distance throughout the little town of Caloundra.

This New Year, stay safe on the roads, swim between the flags, enjoy your time with family and friends and be thankful for all that we have.

From the early pathways along old corduroy roads to the spider bridges of the hinterland, stories of people, places and later modern development all identify the amazing changes that have taken place in this region, now the Sunshine Coast.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image captions

Hero: Bathers at the Kings Beach Pavilion during the holidays, 1937.


Image 1: Beachgoers enjoying the summer holidays at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra, 1955.

Image 2: Alexandra Park sign at the Presbyterian Church's Conference Property, Alexandra Headland, January 1955. The holiday camp provided a permanent location for holiday camps and seminars.

Image 3: Swimmers on Maroochydore Beach, ca 1920.

Image 4: Tytherleigh's Landsborough store in Cribb Street, ca 1920.

Image 5:  Steam train pulling into Landsborough Railway Station, ca 1895.