Backward Glance – The Original Stories
  • Thursday 02 January 2020

For over four years now, we’ve been looking back at our early heritage through the Backward Glance stories. The Nambour Chronicle in the 1920s was following a similar practice with its column called “20 years ago”.

As a new year unfolds before us, it seems an apt time to recall some of the backward glance stories from that period in history. From the first column, “20 years ago” was compiled using the first files of the Nambour Chronicle.

On July 20, 1923, the writer begins: “As time weaves its web, and the old order gives place to the new, and progress seems to hold sway in almost every section and corner of the district, it is opportune at some particular period to make a review over a certain number of years. Perhaps only to refresh the memory of those who participated in the early struggles for the carving out of homes and the fight put up against natural conditions and the primitive methods and modes in vogue prevailing in these early times.

Is a review acceptable? It does have the effect of showing the rising generation of the trials of their forbears and pointing newcomers to the advancement made during a time extending from the early cattle stations to township areas.

This column will deal expressly with events recorded in the columns of this journal twenty years ago. In this particular issue which celebrates the 20th anniversary, we are privileged to publish, through the courtesy of old identities, a number of personal reminiscences and some historic events which are especially interesting and thrilling.”

The following stories are from the Nambour Chronicle’s “20 years ago” column in 1903. 

A Runaway: A horse attached to a vehicle bolted on Tuesday last and came to grief close to the Nambour Chronicle office. Mr Benjamin Wright of Ballrum was the owner, and while engaged in business at the sugar mill had left the cart standing outside.

Crushing Season: Crushing commenced on Wednesday last at 9.15 am. One hundred and sixty-seven tons of cane was received up to Wednesday night and the cane is being put through the rollers with all speed possible.

Sailing (by “Main Mast”): It is intended, I believe, by a number of sailing enthusiasts to draw up a programme of events for a day’s regatta on the Maroochy River. One of the intending competitors is already engaged building a craft in which he hopes to shine out prominently.

Bli Bli Notes: Large areas have been opened up for the purpose of planting cane. It is quite likely there will be an additional area of some 200 acres on both sides of the creek and it is to be hoped the government will extend the tramway to enable the farmers to speedily harvest their cane.

Mr James Clark, the lessee of the oyster beds, is about to improve them to assist an increased yield and has purchased the right to the foreshore from Mr Keil. Mr Clark intends to bring 1000 bags of oysters from Maryborough for cultivation purposes and as the Maroochy oysters are free from disease they are in demand in the southern markets thus in this work employment will be given to local men.

Proposed Butter Factory for Nambour:  Kureelpa Progress Association has in mind the erection of a butter-making plant in Nambour. The secretary, Mr A Henderson has, we are given to understand, put himself in communication with some of the American firms regarding the price of a suitable plant. It is considered that the quantity obtainable within a radius of thirty miles of Nambour would be sufficient to commence operations.

Yandina: We can now boast of a dance club of more than 20 members, a dance is held in the Excelsior Hall every Saturday night and a social is to be held in the near future.

Mr W Mathers, our very courteous and obliging stationmaster has been transferred and Mr J Woods has taken over the duties.

Nambour Half Holiday Association: On Tuesday evening a meeting of business people in Nambour took place for the formation of Half Holiday Association. The association was duly formed and it was decided to close business establishments at 1pm on Thursdays, starting from next month. To enforce the observance of this half-holiday it was mutually agreed that any members of the association causing the disposal of goods after closing hours should be liable to a fine of five pounds.

October – Robberies: On Saturday night the Royal Hotel was entered and on Wednesday a tent was entered by some thief or thieves. In the former case a sum 13 shillings was taken and from the tent were secured two pairs of trousers and a coat.

Coach Delayed: A mishap occurred to the Obi mail coach in charge of Mr W l Likefeit on Saturday last, whereby it was delayed until the following day, though the mails were despatched the same day per horse. The coach was standing outside Mr Whalleys store when the horses became restive and getting their legs over the pole soon smashed it, thus necessitating attention by the local blacksmith.

New Light for Church: For the first time, on Sunday night last the Church of England was lit with acetylene gas. There are three lamps each carrying two burners and the light thus given was most illuminating and restful to the eyes.

November 20: Mr Thomas Sankey, one of the survivors of the Maroochy Heads disaster, has been awarded a certificate of merit by the Royal Humane Society of Australia for his bravery and humane conduct on that occasion.

The writer remembers the publishing of the first Nambour Chronicle in 1903 in a small four roomed dwelling with the machinery, all hand powered, being assisted in its erection by
Mr D H Mitchell and often time when a “stick-up” occurred his services were secured.

On publishing days (Thursdays) many of the local boys came in and lent a hand to pull the cylinder round and one of the old identities, Sandy, was engaged for this express purpose.  The staff comprised a couple of boys, a young journeyman, a foreman and the editor-proprietor, Mr L W Wilkinson.

The writer continues “it seems rather amusing to look back to the picture which presented itself then. The old compositor’s stool, the various sizes of type which featured on the printed page and the “comp” standing at the case or balancing on the one-legged stool, working with a rhythmic click, click, as each type was picked up and placed carefully and skilfully into the stick. The rush for the mail was always a worry as it still is in the best of regulated offices. The packages for each place in the district were made up and transferred to the station where the post office was located and in those days the stationmaster fulfilled also the duties of postmaster.”

In twenty years’ time, there may be another column looking back and reflecting on the olden days of now and reading the present day backward glances. Time passes but it is hoped that interest in the history of our community will endure.

Thanks to the Heritage Library staff for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.