Interview with: Grace Janet MacBride (nee Tripcony)
Date of interview: 25 August 1987
Interviewer: Joanne Clarke
Transcriber: Tapuitea Hartogh
Grace Janet Tripcony was born on 9 September, 1900 at Nundah. Her parents were Margaret Tripcony nee Cochrane and Andrew Tripcony. Grace married Thomas Southern a painter/decorator/signwriter at Auchenflower, Brisbane in November 1922.
Image: Grace Janet MacBride.
Tape 1/Side A
JC Now, the name of your Grandfather was?
Thomas Martin Tripcony
JC And he married?
Cathrine Abercrombie Buchanan
JC Right, and you said they were married down in Melbourne?
I believe they were married there.
JC Now, where did they live when they first came up to Caloundra?
Oh they didn’t come to Caloundra.
JC Where did they live?
My Grandparents lived at Cowie Bank, and that is on the Passage, on the Pumistone Channel. About eight miles from Beerburrum, I’d say.
JC One thousand one hundred acres?
About eleven hundred acres.
JC Who were Thomas’s children?
Three sons, Constantine and Andrew, my Father and Thomas, the baby.
JC Now, your uncles, did they live at Cowie Bank when they were children?
JC All the time?
Yes, right until they were grown up, three of them.
JC And they moved away?
Yes. One Uncle went to Brisbane, Uncle Con and the other two lived at Cowie Bank and looked after the oyster banks, two of them.
JC What actually went on at Cowie Bank, was it a farm or..?
No, really an oyster selection.
JC Do you know much about the oystering at that time?
Oh yes. A fair bit, we had men working for us and that.
JC And the name of your Grandfather’s boat. Can you remember if he had a boat at that stage?
Just small boats. I don’t think they were named even, because there were no motorboats in the Passage. Just sailing boats and little row boats.
JC And where did he sell most of his oysters to?
Oh, he had a good market, He sent quite a lot to Melbourne and they were considered about among the best on the market, the oysters.
JC And how would they get them down to Brisbane to send them off to Melbourne?
Well, they’d go through the Passage to the steamer, meet a steamer at Bribie Island end, ands then they’d be sent on to Melbourne from Brisbane, packed in ice, I suppose.
JC Do you remember the name of the steamer that used to come and collect them?
Well, the Beaver was one. There were several steamers, but I think the Sunrise and Sunset, steamers like that about that time, would come and collect them. They’d be sent to Melbourne and were considered very good oysters.
JC Was it very profitable?
I think it would be quite good at that time. Quite Good.
JC Did your Grandfather know James Clark? He was known as the Pearl King?
Oh yes, he probably would.
JC Yes, do you remember any stories about him at all?
No, not really.
JC And do you remember anything about the area that they actually used to look for oysters in. I can remember hearing once that they thought there was a lot of erosion at Bribie and that sea actually broke through. Can you remember anything like that?
No. Well, see, we weren’t at the end of Bribie, we were further back and we had no trouble like that. And had two big banks, you know. Had a couple of acres you know, with really big banks with rocks on them and little trees, little mangrove trees growing in the middle.
JC And so your father was Andrew, and you lived at Cowie Bank until you were ten years old. Is that right?
JC And what did you do when you were a young girl at Cowie Bank? Did you help with the farm or the area around?
JC Did you have lots of people to play with or were there other children around the area?
No, no. Our nearest neighbours were about three miles. Three by water and about two by land, and that was just a couple of bachelors.
JC So, it was a fairly isolated area?
Oh very, very.
JC What happened if you got into medical trouble?
Oh, no. The nearest doctor would be about Caboolture, from Cowie Bank.
JC That must have been hard, if somebody was sick, to get from one place to the other?
Oh, we had horses, plenty of horses.
JC And that was your main transport?
Yes, the horses and carts and sulkies and the like.
JC What about supplies. Where did you get your supplies from?
From Brisbane by boat. We had a good supply, plenty of groceries. See we had a spare house of our Grandparents, later in life and put all the goods in there. So, we had a good supply.
JC I have heard people say, that it was much more expensive to buy things in Caloundra and Landsborough in those days, than buying from Brisbane. So, it must have been helpful. Did you Grandfather and your uncles have much of a business transporting goods?
Not really. No, the oysters were just sent to Brisbane and then to Melbourne and that was all.
JC Did your uncles ever transport goods to the shops and things like that, flour and those sorts of tings?
Oh, No. We just had those for our own private use, we had a big stock.
JC Because I thought that you used to deliver flour to George Hawkins?
Oh, but that was in Caloundra. That was later on from Caloundra, not from Cowie Bank.
JC Right. And so who else was living with you at Cowie Bank?
No one really. No strangers, just two uncles, my Mother’s brother and my Father’s brother. And they had their own little house to live in and they’d come for the
main meal everyday, midday. That was the main meal, yes, cooked by my Mother.
JC A cooked meal?
Yes, cooked, my Mother cooked. So, they came everyday and had the main meal, otherwise looked after themselves.
JC And what sort of work were they involved in?
Well, the uncle liked after the oysters and that kind of thing, one uncle, my Father’s brother broke in horses. And the other one, the Scotch uncle, was more for the cattle and the horses.
JC So, you did run cattle and horses on Cowie Bank as well?
Oh yes, we had them there. Yes, cows for milk and plenty of fowls for eggs. Lived well, and plenty of fish, the fish were fat and good, you know. It was a really good life.
JC And so, when you were ten you moved to Caloundra?
Yes, well I think it was really 1911, early in 1911 I said to Mary, we were talking and I said I’m sure it was early in1911, see.
JC And whereabouts in Caloundra did you move to?
Caloundra end of Golden Beach I’d say. We had a cottage all ready for us to go into, little cottage and started school at that age.
JC And which school did you go to?
The first school in Caloundra. I think it’s still up there.
JC The Toorbul Point School, have you ever heard of that?
JC And where was that?
Oh, that was right at the other end of the mainland, opposite Bribie I think. You know, before you cross the bay?
JC And you didn’t go there, you just went to the Caloundra school?
Oh, no, we’d never been to school before.
JC And how many teachers at school?
One. It was a Provisional School here for a start, and they were flat out to have twelve pupils. You had to have twelve to start a school, so the Government would pay for it, you see. So, there were about a dozen.
JC And what about your teachers, can you remember anything about your teachers?
Oh yes. The first teacher was a Miss Tottie Costello and she was a very strict teacher, but a good teacher. She was convent educated.
JC And your next one, a Mrs King.
Yes, Mrs King. She was a Muriel James, she became Mrs King after. Then there was a Miss Mabel Carson, who married a soldier and became Mrs Cavendish, then a Miss Mirriam Costello, who married William A Westaway, of Merridan Plains.
JC And did you enjoy school?
Yes, I rather liked it. Yes, I enjoyed it.
JC It must have been a change coming from an area where there was nobody, to suddenly come into Caloundra?
To the school, yes.
JC Were there many people around Caloundra at that time?
Very small population.
JC Can you remember any of the people who were around then?
I remember them all I think, in Caloundra, yes. We knew everyone.
JC And what about shopping, what sort of shops were there in those days?
There were no shops in Caloundra. We started the first shop. My Father, Andrew Tripcony, we started it from the Cottage. A surplus supply of goods and then later on, we built a little shop.
JC And where was that?
JC And what sort of goods did you sell?
Everything, from a needle to an anchor. Groceries, everything you could think of, that you needed for everyday life.
JC And you were the first ones?
We were the first, yes, Tripcony’s.
JC And what sort of customers did you have, did everybody buy everyday things or did they bulk order things?
Well, mostly groceries. They just came when they felt like they wanted some tea, sugar or anything, you know, just as we do today. We had most things the people needed for everyday, yes.
JC And so all of your supplies came up from Brisbane on the boat?
Yes, by boat...
JC What did you do for entertainment in those days when you were first starting out?
Well, we had an odd dance, like at Christmas time. Plenty of dances every night for about ten nights running. But through the year we just went to school then came home and sent for a swim straight away in the saltwater. Had a good swim.
JC How did you get to school, did you have to walk?
Walk, and that was, I’d say about a mile and a half from where we lived first of all, in the cottage.
JC Did you have any form of communications or anything like that?
No, we had to go to the Post Office, which was in the cottage at the Lighthouse and if we wanted to ring Brisbane or anywhere. But I think at first it was only Morse code.
JC Morse code?
Yes, that goes back a fair bit.
JC Can you remember who was running the Lighthouse then?
Yes, a Mr Edlundh, a German name, and he was the Lighthouse Keeper. And the Post Office, was in the Lighthouse cottage, which was called Valhalla.
JC And that’s getting near to World War One, isn’t it? Do you have any memories of World War One?
World War One, yes, Mr Edlundh was here before that. Yes, just having a busy time. A little busier with the shop, and more people about and then those that used to come or called up for the war.
JC Can you remember any of the men who were called up? What about your uncles, were they called up to the war?
No, not uncles. No I can remember a few, like there was one, a Mr Brandenberg and one of the Westerway’s and one of the King’s. Yes, that was three and, I’m just trying to think. There’d be about three of them from around here, plus my own brother, Thomas Martin Tripcony.
JC And did they all come back in one piece?
They came back, fortunately, yes.
JC Can you remember their returning ceremony?
Oh yes, they had a bit of a party, a welcome home.
JC Do you remember where that was held?
Down on Tricony Park, there was, like a pavilion we called it there and they held dances in that pavilion and they had a bit of a welcome home there.
JC Was it a big do?
No, no. Not very, you know, a few people gathered and sort of welcomed them home to the lace.
JC What about formal entertainment, did you go to friends’ places very often for birthday parties or things like that?
Not really. No, we seemed to find that life would go along quite nicely without entertainment. We didn’t worry about that.
JC And who was the next person to get a store in Caloundra, to give you competition for your store?
I think Robert Hauptman, that’s a German name too, isn’t it? And he started a store a few miles further up, near Bulcock Beach, you know where they swim there, he started a shop there. But that was a good many years later. It burnt down later, when owned by Manthey’s.
JC Do you have any idea, roughly when it would have been, post-war or pre-war?
Yes, it was post First World War when that started. We were here well ahead of that shop, yes. And then I think another one started up near the lighthouse, but I don’t think they did very well, because they sold the last of their stock to us, so they must have tried it out.
JC And id you play tennis or sports, was there anything like that going on?
No, there was mostly just trips in the boats and swimming and that kind of thing, and an odd dance. That’s all I could say. And then perhaps a walk round the beach and look for shells and different things like that.
JC And what about church, did you go to church at all?
No, I think I’d gone to the Methodist Church about six times, but not often. But then you see, a Minister had to come to Caloundra. Visit Caloundra and held church in the first school.
JC Where would he come from?
Landsborough or Nambour, yes. They would go around the railway towns and districts.
JC How often would they come, if they had travel all that way?
I think they’d ride down, oh that would be just about once in a couple of months. Not very often though Joanne, no. Didn’t have much religion.
JC You were living down at Golden Beach, now how many brothers and sisters did you have?
Well, there were eight in the family, but at Caloundra, there were my two sisters and a brother, and myself.
JC Where were the rest?
They were still at Cowie Bank. My parents came later and joined us. So, we just stayed here, so that we could go to school. And the oldest sister in the family looked after us. She was our housekeeper and she just did everything for us. Sent us to school.
JC So, who ran the shop?
Oh well, we did from the house, the sister and ourselves, we looked after it. And then we moved across the creek and built a little shop much later. A little building.
JC Can you tell me the names of your brothers and sisters in order of age?
Yes, the first one was Cathrine Eva, but she was called Eva. And then there was Andrew, and then Thomas, and then Agnes, and then Alice, and then myself, Grace, and Jean and Douglas, the family.
JC And so with the rest of the family back at Cowie Bank, what did they do there? Did they just help on the farm?
Oh, they just looked after the oysters and had the cattle to look after.
JC So, it was really very much a family concern?
Oh yes. The two Uncles still lived there.
JC Did they marry?
One did, Uncle Con, he married an Annie Greneltch, but his wife was at Kangaroo Point, he was away most of the time. He just seemed to come to Cowie Bank to look after everything and had the boat and went backwards and forwards of course, pretty often I suppose. He was a manager of the Moreton Bay Oyster Company for a while.
JC And your other uncle didn’t marry?
No, he was the Scotch one, the bachelor.
JC So, when you were living at Cowie Bank, it must have been very difficult, for just the children on their own?
Yes, well, earlier in the piece, the first part of the family had a Governess, and she taught the first three, or four, I’d say. Yes, four of them.
JC Where did she come from?
From Brisbane, Kate Interfield, her name was.
JC I believe on Bribie, there was an Aboriginal Mission. Do you remember the name of it or did you have anything to do with it?
No, not really. I don’t remember whether it was Church of England or a Catholic Mission. But I think it was the Church of England. (Possibly called Myora Reserve, or Big Hill.)
JC Were there many Aboriginals around at that stage, at Cowie Bank or at Caloundra?
Not many. Just in small lots. (Additional information told by Mrs MacBride, after interview.) A local man, George Eaton, who was the Caloundra butcher for many years, told me a story over thirty years ago, he was about seventy years old at the time, of how he helped to clear way the bodies of Aboriginals who were poisoned at Kilcoy, by eating poisoned flour. Mr Eaton lived at Woodford then and as he had a horse and cart, he was asked to assist.
JC Did you have anything to do with aboriginals?
Oh, they called at Cowie Bank and, they were friendly always.
JC Did they ever work for your uncle or grandfather?
Yes, I think they did in the early times, on they oysters. Before my time. But the Mission was a failure?
I don’t know really. I don’t think the Aboriginals took a liking to it. They sort of, “that’s white man’s religion”, after seeing the convicts in chains, they said, “We don’t want it”.
JC Would they have seen many convicts in chains up here?
They must have seen some, I suppose round the bush, perhaps Caboolture, out from Caboolture.
JC And can you remember Goat Island? I believe Goat Island has some family connection?
Oh yes. We owned an island about a hundreds and sixty acre, it was called Goat Island. And we had about, three hundred goats, for our meat supply. About three hundred at the most I suppose on the island.
JC Did you ever use their milk rather than the meat?
No, not really. Just the meat. And we had at the same time about half a dozen head of cattle.
JC And were they out on the same island as the goats?
JC It must have been a very lush island to sustain that many animals.
Yes, there was half a dozen there most of the time and they had a trough, for water for the cattle, but the goats looked after themselves.
JC Who looked after them?
They didn’t need any looking after, but the men would go over in a little boat once in a while, and see if they were alright. And then perhaps reduced the cattle to about two or three.
JC And do you remember Rat Island, near Southport?
No, but my sister used to speak about Rat Island. I think an Uncle and my Father lived on it and looked after the oysters, did oystering for a while and then I don’t know how they’d go to school, the children, I think they’d have to miss school. I don’t know much about Rat Island, but I heard my sister speak about it.
JC And can you remember about Black Flat, is that where your house and shop was?
Yes, it’s called Tricony Park now.
JC And why was it called Black Flat then?
I think it was just flat and very black soil. That’s what I’d say. That’s probably why it was named Black Flat.
JC Now, you were saying that your father ran a pleasure boat. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Well, my Father ran a boat from the Flat Jetty, from Tripcony Park Jetty, to meet the Koopa. And he’d start from here, in Caloundra, at about half past seven in the morning, and always tried to get back at about five o’clock in the evening. He ran that for a few years.
JC Can you remember the year, when he started doing this?
Well, he started before World War One. And my brother went to the war and when he came back, in 1918, he was still running the boat. So, he ran for a few yeas.
Tape 1/Side B
He had a boat called The Grace.
JC What else did they do on the boat? Was it for pleasure, did they take cruises around the place?
Oh yes. They had fishing trips up towards the lighthouse jetty as they called it, those lighthouses on Bribie, they pulled in at the jetty and had a bit of a picnic, either in the boat or on the land and fished all day. Came home before dark. That was the order of the day.
JC Were there a lot of people who were interested doing that sort of thing.
Visitors, from Maleny and Landsborough and round about the place, Mooloolah. They would like to have a trip out in the boat. Sometimes go right to the other end.
JC Can you remember the Moonlight Cruises?
No, we never did that. Our first married home was owned by my brother, Thomas. We lived in the little hut, it was twenty four by twelve (feet), I suppose, for abut five years and it was very pleasant, because we didn’t have any water rates at the time. The general rates were very low, so we didn’t have to worry about that.
JC Was this on Black Flat?
No, that was along the river bank, just a bit further along. I forget the number now of the allotment. So, we had quite a nice life there, while we saved up to buy allotments to build a house. And that land belonged to my brother. So, we just paid him the rates and that was finished.
JC And Andrew bought it for the fisherman’s wives?
Yes, that’s right. That was before we went into it. Yes, they’d finished. They’d gone, they went back to Maryborough or somewhere, cleared out. And we, instead of renting a home, when we came back to Caloundra we thought that was better.
JC And the timber was from Maleny?
From Maleny. I think they called them face cuts. They were from a log and they’d build it, you know, it was like a cheap way of building a house. It was alright, very, very comfortable.
JC And a big curtain was dividing the rooms?
That’s right. Yes, a cretonne curtain on a wire. You know, that divided it, made two rooms and then we had a little veranda facing the water, and we built that in, so we had a bit more room. We lived there for about five years and we ended up buying seven allotments, when we didn’t pay rent. That’s what it amounted to.
JC And that was Tripcony Park, what they called Tripcony’s allotments?
No, that was our old home. No, we bought allotments in Bulcock Street.
JC Now, so, when we were talking about World War One, did you brother actually go?
Yes, he went to the war.
JC Can you remember whether he was called up or did he volunteer?
I think he volunteered.
JC And did he do that in Caloundra or did he have to go to Brisbane?
Oh, he had to go either to Caboolture or Brisbane
JC And can you remember what regiment he was in or if he was in the army, navy?
No, he was in the army. But I can’t remember off hand what regiment he was in.
JC And he came back safe and sound?
Yes, was wounded a couple of times. Shrapnel in the hip and lost the use of his fingers, had a shrapnel in the arm and then the fingers became still. Of course, he was a dairy farmer so, that knocked him back a bit, for milking the cows.
JC And can you remember when he came back again. Did he get treatment here?
Oh, no. He would have to go to either to Brisbane or to Caboolture to a doctor. There was no doctor here.
JC Even still then, there was no doctor here?
Not settled here, I don’t think. They’d come and go, but I can’t remember any doctor being settled here that he could be under, really.
JC Well, seeing that you didn’t have a doctor around the place, did you have any home remedies or anything like that, you used to use?
Oh, yes. We used our own, yes.
JC Can you remember any of the old things that you used to use?
Oh, I think everyone used the same. Old remedies, castor oil and Epsom salts and the like. Yes, and ointments and washing soda to wash your fee in, if you had any trouble with them, you know, like perhaps you walked on a nail or something. You’d wash your feet and get the washing soda and of course there was salt water too.
JC Now, can you tell me the story about your Christmas holidays at the pavilion on Black Flat. I’d say every night running for about eight or ten nights while, the campers were all round. And not only the campers but we would have about seven pleasure boats anchored out in front of the jetty.
JC And this is all at Tripcony Park?
Yes, at Tripcony Park. And the boys would come ashore and we’d have as many as about eighty in the old pavilion.
JC That must have been a high time?
Oh, it was. It was very good! There’d be singers, sometimes and odd singer from a boat and sometimes somebody would call out, “What about a box on?” And they’d get up and have a sparring match. And it was very pleasant. Had the accordion playing, we had a chap called Charlie Shaw, shod do the accordion playing and the hurricane lanterns were hung up to the beams.
JC Was this every year at Christmas?
Every year at Christmas. That was good while campers were around. Yes, it was very enjoyable. And you would never know who you’d meet in those days.
JC Were there many campers here in Caloundra at that time?
Oh, there were a lot of campers at Christmas, yes. Well, when we say many, oh, I suppose there would be anything up to a hundred camps at the most, a hundred, yes.
JC Where would they buy their supplies from?
Well, we had the shop.
JC You must have done a roaring trade at Christmas time?
Oh, Christmas time, yes. We’d just about sell out.
JC Were there many travelling shows that used to come in those days?
Occasionally, yes. Circus or different other little shows but mostly a circus I think, we’d look forward to once a year.
JC And were there any other entertainments at Tripcony Park?
Oh, sometimes there’d be a little bit of a picnic and a race, with the children and young people, in aid of something. In aid of the ambulance, perhaps.
JC Was the ambulance a big business then?
No, not really. No, you see they were really further away, but they’d visit Caloundra.
JC What about when you were at school. Did you have breakup picnics and things like that?
Yes, every year we’d have a picnic.
JC And was that at Tripcony Park?
NO, if I remember rightly, it was at the school.
JC And can you remember anything about those picnic what you used to eat or drink?
Well, there’d be homemade cakes. All the parents, I suppose, would get to work and that, and then we’d have races and perhaps a bit of fun that way. And enjoyed the lollies and the cakes and the like. It was the old idea.
JC And can you remember any other stories of your school years when you were going to school at Caloundra?
No, not really. I can’t remember anything exciting.
JC Were there many children who used to ride to school?
No, I think we pretty well all walked at that time.
JC They were mainly just locals?
Yes, later on I had a pony and had to ride to school, but that was much later. But most of the children walked. Perhaps some of them were about a mile I suppose. We had a mile.
JC Now, after you left school, what did you do with yourself?
Instead of going out to work, we looked after our little shop in turn. Perhaps one would go away for a holiday and the other one would be home. See, there were three of us home for a good while, looking after the shop. Then the other older sister got married and there were still two of us, for quite a while.
JC Did your sister marry and live in Caloundra?
No, she lived in Woodford when she got married, Woodford is a bit further away.
JC And who did she marry?
Oh, she married a Norman Bleakley. And the other sister, we had just previous to that, was living with us, she married a Cannon. She became Mrs Cannon.
JC Now, what about you, when did you marry and how did you meet your husband?
Oh, he came down here on holidays from Landsborough.
JC And what was his name?
JC And what was he doing down here, was he on holiday?
Oh, he just popped down with friends from Landsborough, say for the weekend. He came a few times and we met, and then of course they came with horses and then we’d have to serve them with corn or chaff or something for the horses, and we met like that a few times, And then when Mrs Westaway would go to the shop in Landsborough, he would hold the horses for her until she came out. And when she came to Caloundra, I’d look after the horses and we’d never met each other, that was strange, wasn’t it? That we both took cate of Mrs Westaway’s horse and we had never met each other, so then gradually we met and came to the understanding that we might live together some day. So, that’s how it started.
JC Can you remember what year this was, that you met?
Oh, about, getting on to 1920, about 1918 I’d say.
JC And did you go out much socially together?
No, well we just went perhaps around the beach for a walk or called into friends and that kind of thing. Not really anything very important in other people’s way of thinking, but we enjoyed our lives together.
JC And when were married?
Oh, I think it was in November, in about 1922, I’d say.
JC And where were married? In Caloundra?
No, in Brisbane, at Auchenflower.
JC And did all the family travel down?
No, just my sister and I think one or two of the family. I think a sister came and my future sister-in-law, we had about four extras. But we were really married at the home of the Congregational Minister. So, it wasn’t a big affair. And then of course we went in and had a nice little tea, I don’t know what you called it, we went into Rowes Arcade, it was a very nice cate and all enjoyed a cup of tea and something nice.
JC Did you get down to Brisbane very often?
No, not very often. Seemed to be a world away really. Yes, see we had to get to Landsborough first, to get the train down or go by boat offcourse. Of course the store boats ran right from Brisbane. We could go by store boat or even my Father’s boat, he used to go to Brisbane sometimes when he wasn’t running to the Koopa.
JC So, when you got married, where did you live?
We lived in Caloundra for a start. Moved backwards and forwards for awhile, but then we lived in the hut, instead of renting another house and it was better too. Nice yard with plenty of big trees, big oak trees. It was a nice place.
JC And what did your husband do for a living?
Oh, he started painting. He was a Painter and Decorator, a Sign Writer, did everything.
JC Were there many signs for him to paint in those days?
Well, all that had to be done, he did. Yes, around the town.
JC Can you remember the Rinaldi’s shop?
Well, of course they were relations. When we gave our shop up, they bought the last of our goods.
JC And when did you give your shop up?
I think it was about 1925 that they would start with the last of our goods. So, we gradually gave it up. And afterwards, I was married and the other sister as married, and of course it just fizzled out gradually.
JC And did you have children?
JC And their names?
First one is Jean Armour, after Robbie Burns’ “Bonnie Jean Armour,” and the next one is Heather Dell, just favourite names.
JC And was it difficult bringing up children in those days?
No, not really. It was really better than what it is today, I think. Not all the trouble that we heart about today. Oh no, it was very good.
JC And what school did your children go to?
To the Caloundra School, the same school, yes. They were seven years apart, the two. So, when one was finished, the other one was ready to start.
JC You must have noticed the difference around that time with Caloundra. Was it getting bigger, more people coming?
Yes, it was growing gradually but still we seemed to know everyone. It was only these last few years that it seems to have grown so much and we don’t know anyone now, hardly. Go up the street and you see a lot of strangers.
JC With regards to transportation, did you have a car at that stage when you were at the hut?
No, no. Walked everywhere, until later on, when my husband bought a little truck, a little Ford truck or something and for his painting business of course, he had to get around. And then later on he built the boat that took the Governor out. See, he built that and took parties out and between the two, kept him going, made his own work.
JC Do you remember the name of the boat was?
The La Perouse, the boat. The La Perouse, we called that one.
JC And who was the Governor?
Sir Leslie Olm Wilson. He lived here, offcourse, he had a holiday home at Dickey Beach.
JC And was that just a joy trip that they went on?
Just a fishing trip and picnic. They’d go ashore and picnic, or have a picnic in the boat or something, he’d ring up first, of course. But we were out of the hut I think then. Yes, we were living in Bulcock Street and we got a phone message.
JC What happened to those seven allotments that you bought in Bulcock Street?
We built a home on three, picked three of the nice front ones. And sold the two back ones first, I think, and then we sold the other two at the side, in Bulcock Street later on.
JC Can you remember who bought the allotments, what sort of development were they used for?
I think they were just snapped up on spec. And the back ones were sold to a Mrs MacDonald of MacDonald’s Cake Shop. I think the chap called Les Herne bought the other two. I think he bought the two later on. But they were sold to two other people first. I know Frank Cannon bought one and Ellen Sneddon, I think bought the other. And then Les Herne bought them. We heard that. So, we still had the home on three.
JC And your husband ran a boat for pleasure and you were busy raising the children. What was happening at Cowie Bank at this time?
Oh well, I think the oysters, they had just about stopped oystering at that time. And they were just living there, the two Uncles, in the old home.
JC Did they still look after their cattle?
The cattle was gradually sold.
JC And what about the goats on Goat Island?
Yes, I suppose they fizzled out gradually too.
JC Now, that must have been around the start of the Depression. Can you remember much about the Depression?
Well, the Depression was a very lean time for everyone. But of course, my husband making his own work and own jobs, we managed alright, because he took the parties out. And apart from the Governor, he took lots of parties out, fishing and picnicking. It was a nice little boat. It was about twenty five feet long I suppose and I’d say about ten feet wide. Oh, yes, he didn’t have any trouble in getting a party to go out. And then of course the painting and a bit of signwriting and everything, he did all kinds of things.
JC Can you remember how the Depression affected the area?
Was there still al lot of socialising going on, and shopping and things like that?
No, very quiet. And odd swaggies would come to Caloundra. Just dead-enders, I suppose you’d call them, they’d come to Caloundra and you’d give them a hand out if they called. And then there were others getting around selling all kinds of things. Little things like needles and thread and then they’d sell oh, vermin killer of all kinds of things.
JC Did they come door to door?
Door to door salesmen. Even selling knives and bread saws and egg slices and all those kind of things.
JC So, the population really was on the move, especially the men?
Oh, yes. Trying to make a few bob, as they called it at that time.
JC And was the school still going at this stage? Were the children still going to school?
Oh yes, there were a dew more children, than when we started, yes.
JC And then World War Two came along. What affect did that have on your life?
Oh, I didn’t like it. All the different life we had, like boys coming from Mooloolah on motorbikes and girls riding in on the horses and all that, a lot of that seemed to stop. It dropped off for a while, no, it wasn’t as good.
JC And can you remember if there were any soldiers who camped around the area?
Oh yes, while the war was on, they were camped everywhere. Well, in different places, the back of the lighthouse hill, and you wouldn’t really know. You’d know they were about somewhere, you’d see the soldiers now and again. Didn’t know really where they stayed.
JC Were they mainly Australian soldiers or did you have many Americans coming in here?
A few Americans, but more Australian soldiers here. And they had dances here then during that time. And they were quite good, popular.
JC Where were they held?
School of Arts, they called it. I don’t think it’s here now. They had this big building, and they had dances every night I think, in the School of Arts. Dances were held every Friday night and were known as “bob hops”, one shilling to get in.
JC And did they have a picture theatre at that stage?
Yes, they had a picture theatre a good way back. Yes, I remember the pictures quite a long time back. It was one place to go at night.
JC Was it very expensive?
No, not really. But I suppose money was hard to get then.
JC Yes, that’s right.
I think it was about 2/6 to go in. Two shillings and sixpence.
Tape 1/Side A
Now speaking about this Paul, who became a friend of my Father. Well, he used to come say about once a month or once in a blue moon and bring some pawpaws or bananas, for my Father. And he thought very highly of Paul for that, because there wasn’t too much fresh fruit and vegetables in Caloundra at that time. You would have to get it from further away.
JC I thought that fruit was plentiful around here.
We didn’t seem to be able to get good vegetables, not too many. Well, these were special, these bananas and pawpaws. So, my Father said, “Well, I think” he said, “I’ll try and catch a fish for Paul, because he’s always so good bringing the fruit.” And my Mother said ‘Do you think you’ll have any luck?” And he said ‘Oh I’ll give it a go.” So, he went away and he caught, fortunately a big codfish and it was quite a heavy one too. So, he said, “But I’ll have to keep it. I don’t know when Paul will be down.” So, he got an Apple Dump, they called them. It was a case sith spaces, you know, so that the water would get through, and he put a chain on it and put the fish in the case and put it over the jetty, in the waster and kept the fish there alive. And in less than a week Paul was down with the fruit, pawpaws and bananas. “Oh” he said, “Paul I’ve got something for you.” See, in those days, nobody pinched anything. Everyone was honest. And Paul was delighted, and when Paul was ready to go, he brought the fish up alive and well and it lived there quite happily, I suppose. It was a good idea, wasn’t it? To keep it alive.
JC If we can get back to the war, can you remember in World War Two, did you do much travelling down to Brisbane at that stage? Was transport a little bit more frequent?
No, we didn’t go down very often, just now and again for some special reason. Because we had to take the car to Landsborough and then take the train to Brisbane of course, and that didn’t happen very often.
JC One of the royals, the Prince of Wales came to Landsborough. Can you remember that?
Oh yes, I remember him passing through Landsborough, but I didn’t see him. I don’t know much about it, no.
JC Did you have a radio at this stage?
No, not early in the piece but later on of course. Most people had one, didn’t they, a little wireless.
JC Did you hear much of what was happening in the war on your radio? Did you keep much up with the news?
No, but we got the newspapers. It would be mostly from reading the paper that we found out what was going on.
JC Was it a local paper?
No, it would be, I suppose, the Courier Mail from Brisbane. Yes, that would be the paper.
JC And do you know many of the people who went off to war? Was your husband called up for services?
No, well he didn’t pass, I don’t know why. But no, he didn’t go. He was examined and all that by the Doctor. And my brother too, the young brother, but the young brother didn’t go. Must have been some reason.
JC And can you remember when the war ended. Were there any celebrations or how did you hear about the war ending?
Oh, I think the good news soon gets round, doesn’t it? In Caloundra, well, if there were great celebrations, I didn’t put in an appearance. But I was pleased to hear the war had finished.
JC Can you tell me more about the Mission on Bribie Island?
On Bribie Island, the lady that was there, Mrs Kaird, my Grandmother always called her Mrs Kaird, but Kath McArthur called her Mrs Kerr. But I suppose, my Grandmother being Scotch, she pronounced it Kaird. Well, she had a family, two lovely girls and I believe something happened to both of them. One died perhaps of heart failure and the other one perhaps of kidney trouble or something. They fizzled out, and the son went away to look for work. She had a son, never mentioned any husband and he didn’t return. The Mission closed, it was a failure and she left there, deserted. And some of my people, my Grandmother sent the men folk over to get her, brought her to Cowie Bank and established her in a little hut of her own. They rang a bell everyday and she came for dinner to the house, for the main meal, but she had her own little place to live in. And she stayed there until the end of her life.
JC And she ran the Aboriginal Mission?
Over on Bribie, yes. And one day I think she didn’t turn up for dinner and they went over to see what had happened and she’d just gone to sleep. Died in that place. So, she was buried in Cowie Bank. You didn’t read Kath McArthur’s book, did you? The Passage. Well, they had to send a Policeman and possibly send for a Doctor, before she was buried, but she was buried where the wild goose plums grow at Cowie Bank. Yes, there were wild goose plums that grew way up the back. We called it The Point, and that’s where she was buried. They’d made a coffin on the spot, you know, out of some waste timber. And she was buried where the wild goose plums grow.
JC Do you remember what year that would be roughly, when the Mission failed?
No, I can’t remember. Well, that all happened before I was born.
JC So, what happened to Cowie Bank? Is it still in the family?
No, it’s been sold a couple of times. Very sorry to know that, though Father did offer it to us, all the family, but nobody seemed to be interested, but we weren’t able to afford to take it because, it would have had to had so much of it surveyed off and everything at that time. We felt we couldn’t afford it, so we missed out on it. But I would like to think that one of the family had it. Some day one of the Tripcony’s might get a block. I hope so.
JC What about the Park down at Caloundra, the Tripcony Park. Who does that belong to now?
Oh, that must belong to the Council. The Council has taken it over, I suppose. When the old pavilion was built there, it was collected for privately, but the funds were short by about ten pounds. And then the Caboolture Shire took it over. That was the last I heard. Well then, later on it must have been passed onto the Landsborough Shire. I would take it that that happened. So, it’s not even there now. And we lived right next to it on number one allotment of the Bulcock Estate. That’s where our house was.
JC So, does that make it where the Hibiscus Park is today?
No, Hibiscus Park is just over the creek on the western side. We were over the other side. Tripcony Park’s over the other side. The shop was on number one allotment, Joanne and it was on the dividing line, and you could come and sit on the seat right on the line and then we put a big shutter up and that was our counter, you would be served on the right, on number one allotment. We linked the Tripcony Park to the camping ground. So, at Christmas time it was really good.
JC Yes, it must have been a busy time of the year?
Yes, people liked to come along just sit on the seat and then they’d end up buying something, you know. Oh yes, it was really good.
JC Were there tea rooms around or things like that for them to go to?
No, not really. So, if a policeman rode to Caloundra, he’d be lucky if he was invited in for a cup of tea or the minister, of course, then, there would be somebody, who would offer him a cup of tea. The more religious they were, I suppose the quicker they’d ask him. But it was mostly a Methodist Minister who came to Caloundra. I can never remember a Catholic Priest coming.
JC I believe that down near Bulcock Beach, there used to be a tent set up and a man used to play the violin and sell music.
No, he didn’t sell music but I think that would be the owner of that shop, Robert Hauptman. He played the violin and he was very good too. But only for pleasure and entertaining friends, you know. But he had the grocery shop. Yes, and he had a housekeeper, Mrs. Pincott. Yes, I remember that well. And I think they ran a boat to meed to Koopa too, for a while to get their goods, from Brisbane, which was half a crown a trip.
JC The Koopa seems to come up such a lot in conversation, can you remember where it used to run from?
It ran from Brisbane, North Quay, near Customs House, I think it was, but you’d have to check up on that, and it went to the other end of Bribie from here. The big wharf was near the southern tip of Bribie Island there, past Redcliffe.
JC And do you know who ran that?
There was a Captain Johnson, he was one of the captains, I forget who the other one was. But we knew them.
JC With your family so much involved in oystering and shipping and things like that, did you get to know the people at the lighthouse at all?
Oh, yes. We knew all the lighthouse keepers very well. Yes, the two on Bribie, in our time, Robert’s were in the inside light and Gosling’s on the outside light, and then here of course was Mr Edlundh. He was first officer in charge of the Caloundra Lighthouse and the first lighthouse keeper. And my people brought him to Caloundra, with his family.
JC Oh, when was that?
I don’t remember it, so it must have been a long time ago. I don’t know whether I was a baby, or not, but my Father brought them to Caloundra and my Mother went for company because of the women fold and the children. She said, “I never travel much in the boats but I’ll go for Mrs Edlundh’s sake.” And they had about five children with them at the time. And that was the first lighthouse keeper. The Edlundh children who came to Caloundra on my Father’s boat were: William, Signa, Cecel, Margaret and Florence. The others, Charles, Dora, she was Dora Caloundra and I think Ireene and Eric, were all born at Caloundra. My Father would meet the steamer or some of the Tripcony family would meet the steamer, bring them to Cowie Bank. I suppose give them a cup of tea and a little rest and then come on to Caloundra, in a little sailing boat. There were no motorboats in the Passage.
JC Did it take very long to travel the Passage?
It didn’t seem to be a terribly long time, a couple of hours, I suppose from Cowie Bank to here, it would be because it’s fifteen miles.
JC Have you been around to Golden Beach lately and see all the sand build up?
No, I haven’t been lately.
JC There’s a lot of sand built up in the Passage?
Is it changing, is it?
JC Yes, I was just wondering if you can remember in the olden days if they used to have problems with the sand?
No, it seemed to be alright. But when I first came to Caloundra I always fancied that, that was once the ocean beach. You know, when you were a kid, you seem to look at all these things and take more notice. And I thought, Gee! I think this must have been the ocean beach once but I don’t know if there ever was years and years ago because Bribie is a big island, isn’t it? It has changed a lot. There were steep sandhills at Augy Olsen’s and many seashells.
JC Definitely, yes. It’s quite strange now looking across the Passage and see all the four wheel drives sitting on the end of it.
Yes, and that’s not good, is it? Not good for the sand and that. If you start cutting the sand, I think that’s what happened along this Bulcock shore, I think they’ve cut all the trees down and then they tried to stop the bank from falling in. We had to stone our bank when we lived on number one allotment.
JC Would it be part of the stonewall that is still there?
Well, we only put ordinary stones, but then it’s been cemented up since, hasn’t it? But we just put points out and plenty of stones, logs and stones and that stopped our bank eroding, but we lost it a good bit then. You know, every Big Blow as they say, we would lose some.
JC You were just as wise. Can you remember anybody else, backing their beach entry?
Oh, yes. All the people who lived on the riverbank if they could afford it or could manage to do it, they built a retaining wall. Well, I had three allotments on the riverbank and I sold them for a song, Council valuation. Because my Father had given them to me and I’d paid the gift tax, I think it was, I paid that. And time went on and then the riverbanks started to fall in. and I had a dream, another dream! I was in Landsborough, at the time my husband’s people’s place and I dreamt that there was an old water-hole, a Bulcock’s water-hole. And I dreamt that a cyclone came, washed the riverbank away and the water-hole joined and I lost a lot of property. And I said to my husband, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I’ll try and seel those allotments.” I said, “Are you interested?” and he said, “No, well it’s pretty exposed,” he said, “I don’t think we’d ever want to build there unless you wanted to.” And I said, “No, get to work. Sell it.” So, that dream started me off. So, anyhow I advertised the fact that I wanted to sell it and this chap came along, I know he told a few lies and I said, “Look Bert, don’t think you can’t sell this again.” I said, “You’ve got someone in mind” I said, “I know that, but the people you’re going to sell it to, won’t deal with me for some reason or other.” He said, “Oh, I think they blame your husband for trying to close the Passage for the fishing.” You know how people get things mixed up; one tells the other that he (Tom) took the petition around, for people to sign, with regards to the Passage. And he wasn’t interested, you know, he wasn’t a fisherman and I mean he wasn’t like that. He didn’t care. They’d have to sort it out themselves. So, anyway, this chap said, “Yes.) He said, “Look, you’ve got plenty of time, plenty of time to shift your shed.”, we had a great big shed about I suppose twenty feet by fourteen, a big corrugated iron shed and I think that was through my Father, because he said, “have the shed there” because if the store boat came in, it would be easy to load and unload from there and they could put goods in it, you see. So, Ernie Rinaldi, who was my brother-in-law, he had about sixty pounds worth of petrol stored in it. This is what I did. First of all, my cousin who had the store boat, I said to him “Tom”, Tom Tripcony, “What about buying these allotments? You bring in the boat, in here and, if you’re interested?” He said, “Look, to tell you the truth, I haven’t got two bob to buy anything.” I said, “Finished.” I went up to Ernie Rinaldi, I said, “Ernie, what about buying those three allotments? I want to get rid of them. I want some money.” And he said, he was in a bad mood, “No, I’ve got enough damn allotments now without buying those.” I said, “Thanks, good!” I said, “I know now.” And then this other chap came along so I though nothing is stopping me, I’ll sell to him. Although I knew my Father would be disappointed, because he like to stay on riverbanks. So, it was sold off and I got these few pounds and then the next thing, these people started stoning up the bank, after him saying “Look you’ve got plenty of time to shift your shed and goods, I won’t try to sell it.” He had the sale right on. But I smelled a rat, you know, I had an idea that he would do that. So, I said to my husband, “Come on, come and pull our shed down or we’ll lose it.” And not only all the petrol and everything, so, of course, Ernie Rinaldi heard about it and he was in a tear. He had to get the big truck out and raced down backwards and forwards getting all the petrol out. But see, it served him right, really. And so, anyhow, it all went and then we got all our iron. We took it back then to my Father’s property, because I don’t think we had anywhere to put it. No, we were still living in the old hut, that’s right. And so, at any rate, that went off alright and these people stoned it up and we found that they’d bought and they sold one of the allotments to someone else not long after. We’ll buy some more land.” So, I went to Landsborough then. Oh, you don’t want this story though.
JC Which story?
I went to Landsborough. I took Jeannie, my girl to get her teeth done. See, you had to go to Landsborough to get a dentist then and this was a visiting dentist. Came down to the pub. He’d had a few good drinks too! And so I got in there and I said to him “Would you happen to have anyone by the name of Ernie Pattemore as a patient?” And he said, “Yes, I have.” I said, “Would you oblige me by telling him that I want to buy his Caloundra allotments?” And I think he had two in Bulcock Street. And he said, “I’ll do that.” I never thought he’d remember and having a few boozes too and he did the girl’s teeth. I paid for that. But we didn’t even have the phone. The ting-a-ling came to Rinaldi’s shop, see, my sister was there. So, she came down with the message. “Ernie Pattemore. The dentist rang him and he wants you to go straight to Nambour if you’re interested in the allotments”. So, anyway, my husband said, “I suppose I’ve got to go.” I said, “Yes, you’ll have to go.” So, he went up, met Ernie Pattemore, and they made a deal. Do you know that was the first sale of the Bulcock Estate allotments and the deeds had never been lifted. And there were back rates, interest on back rates and that didn’t worry me and I knew the Bulcocks and I knew their solicitor, Mr Green, like they were old friends. And as soon as they heard, they said “We’ll help you get those allotments.” And my hubby said, “Oh, I think”, he said “We’ll have to pay the deed, like the exchange, because the poor dear will have nothing left.” That’s what he said. Believe it or not I had ten pounds left out of what I got for my Father’s allotments. I have ten pounds out of that deal; I think the back rates, fourteen pounds with interest added on to the price of the land. So, we did pay that seven pounds for the deed or something and then I still had ten pounds left. So, it was a good deal, wasn’t it! And that’s how we came to own, gradually, two at the back and then we had to buy the five at the front. Oh, yes. He had three, well; he had one at the front and two at the back. See, that was not frontage to build on, not enough. And we had to get five more. So, that’s how we came to have five.
JC How big were these allotments?
Oh, they were skinny allotments. Yes, they were narrow. You’d really have to buy two to have one, as Paddy would say. You know, they weren’t surveyed wide enough when Bulcock estate was cut off. Very, very narrow, they should have been better shaped. This old Russian or German fellow, Mr Rauchenback, from Mooloolah we dealt with and got the five from him, four frontages in Bulcock Street. And that was another good deal, we wrote to him.
JC Can you remember anything about the ice-house?
JC Was there an ice factory or something up here?
No, I think they must have just bought a quantity of ice and kept for the fish, to try and keep the fish fresh. Clark’s had the first ice-works in Caloundra.
JC And can you tell me anything about the Bulcocks. You mentioned that they were friends of yours?
Oh, the Bulcocks. They’d lived here and it was their property and all. No, not really. Not intimate friends, but yet friendly, you know, just people we knew.
JC Did they live up at Caloundra for a long time?
Some of the family, yes. Robert Bulcock and his wife. I think he was the Council, a councillor at the time. And Emily Bulcock wrote poems, you know, Book of Poems. I don’t know if you ever heard any of them or not?
JC No, I haven’t heard much abut the Bulcocks at all. Seeing that the Beach’s got their name.
Yes, that’s right. Oh, they were the big property owners.
JC Where did they have their big property?
All this estate.
JC All, the whole of Caloundra belonged to them?
Yes, most of Caloundra.
Tape 2/Side B
JC Did you have any problems with insects?
Well, I sprayed about the place and kept all grass short in the old days. No, mowers, no noise! The Westaway’s cattle, the Herefords, a lot of them were free. They just ran in the bush around Caloundra and ate the grass and then they’d come back home to their paddock at night, I suppose. Yes, so that kept all the grass short. It was very good for that reason.
JC They must have had quite a few cattle?
Oh, yes. Westaway’s had a good few cattle. And that would be just certain ones they’d let out.
JC Was there much traffic around in the old days?
JC Can you remember who got the first car?
Yes, I’d say that the Rooke’s got the first car, and they had the Hotel Francis. They had the first car and I think King’s had the second. That would have been a Ford.
JC Did you ever go away for holidays?
Not very often. Perhaps to Woodford or perhaps to Brisbane for a while. Just when we felt like it.
JC Was there much at Woodford?
Oh, it was really a dairying district and there were lots of bullock teams, you know, for timer getting, timber mills and that kind of thing.
JC Were there any timber mills around Caloundra at all?
Not in Caloundra, no. Mooloolah would be the nearest to here. Mooloolah would be pretty good for timber.
JC Did you travel much around the area?
I’d have the horse and I’d just ride out, like perhaps as far as Westaway’s or the Little Mountain, not very far.
JC How did you get to Woodford when you’d go to Woodford?
Well, some of the family had cars, later on, but before that, we depended on horses. Perhaps the horse and sulky and ride. I used to ride mostly. Always liked to ride a horse, it was good.
JC What would you wear when you were riding?
Well, I wore a frock and it was a peculiar kind of turn out. It just cut out of the skirt a little bit like that and then it formed two, like tow legs of the skirt. And when you’re on the
horse, it was right, you know. (similar to a pair of culottes, but mid calf length, with a panel which sent over the front and one covering the back split between the pant legs.)
JC So, did you ride side-saddle?
No, I hated side-saddle. I tried it once, on someone else’s saddle, but no, I would have a side-saddle, oh no!
JC And was it a full length frock you wore?
Oh, no. That would only be like, just over your knees, you know, about half way down your legs. Some of the girls had this ideas, just cut a little bit out and then it just fitted on nicely.
JV And what about hats and things like that. Did you wear a lot of hats?
Yes, everyone wore a hat in those days, straw hats and panamas in the summer time, they would be of straw. And I think everyone wore a hat, men and women. You wouldn’t see anyone without a hat.
JC Was that for fashion reasons?
Oh, that was the order of the day, apart from the sun. Of course, sea-side was always sunny, you wanted a hat, beachy hats, you know.
JC Did you sell many at the shop?
No, we didn’t sell hats. Later on the Chemist went in for a few of those kinds of things. But that was much later, because we didn’t have a Chemist in the beginning.
JC Didn’t sound like you had much in the beginning?
No, we didn’t. Well, that’s why you had to depend on just going out fishing or swimming or going round the surf and having a surf. Perhaps on an odd night, there would be a dance or something, but very rarely. It was mostly holiday times you had to wait for that. No, I wasn’t a great one for socialising, not really.
JC You were so isolated for you first ten years, do you think that made a difference?
It might have. I think that we didn’t seem to want to be amused or entertained in any way.
JC Did you get many visitors at Cowie Bank, as you were very isolated there?
If we were ever going to get a visitor, we didn’t have to worry with the telescope; we could see them coming about a mile away or more in the little boat. And you could pick who they were too! Yes, we had a very good telescope, at Cowie Bank and you would just look down and say, “Oh, that’s so and so, coming.”
JC It must have been a very old telescope?
Yes, it was good. They’d just have a way of putting it and extending it and they’d say, “Oh, that’s so and so.” I’m sure about a mile away, you’d be able to see enough, at any rate, to tip who it was.
JC Your grandfather, I believe that he used to make lime out of the clam shells?
Oyster shells, Yes, well that was before my time, but I believe he did.
JC Do you know who he would have sold it to?
No, I have no idea Joanne, sorry. Yes, it must have been a big Brisbane firm, mustn’t it, lime people. That was will back. In my time, I didn’t see any of that, but I heard about it.
JC Did they have a pub up in Caloundra at all?
In Caloundra? Oh yes, that was Rooke’s, Hotel Francis. That was the hotel here.
JC Did the men go to the hotel, like they do these days, pretty regularly, every Friday
Oh well, if they got a chance they might go Saturday night. Any men fold I think. But I don’t think they were great drinkers, but there’d be a few visitors come and their friends and then they’d go.
JC Was it the done thing for the ladies to go to the hotel?
No, I don’t think the ladies went in drinking, no. Not at that time, No, they’d have to have it in the lounge room or parlour.
JC What about clothes. Where would you get your clothes from?
Oh, we had to go to a bigger town, to Brisbane, I suppose or Caboolture. Well, depending on your transport, but I suppose evening places like Maleny there’d be big drapery shops. But not in Caloundra, of course, you had to go elsewhere.
JC Did you sew by hand or did you have a treadle machine?
Oh, my Mother had the old Wertheim Machine and she did all out sewing, for a start and then one sister became a dressmaker. And of course, she would make for all the family then, gradually, and then my Mother would just do the plain sewing.
JC Which sister was that?
That was Mrs Cannon. She was the one who had ten children later on! And she was a redhead. A bit taller than I am. But she died at forty eight with TB, of all things. Not, known in the family, but my Mother said that while she was learning dress making, she thinks that while boarding with strangers, that she might have kept her wet clothes on, got bronchitis and that led on. And all the children turned out all healthy and everything. Nothing wrong with them. But she must have got perhaps a bad cold and then perhaps bronchitis and then never as strong as she should have been. And yet her children, she reared them up, and everything was all right. And then at forty eight, that really broke my Mother’s heart, I think it helped to kill her. She had sugar diabetes and I think she took a stroke then. She couldn’t believe that she’d died. My sister’s oldest child was just over twenty and the youngest one was just about seven, when she died. So, the girl was able to care for the other children. She never married at all, but not for that reason. She wasn’t tied to the home, but she looked after all the family then.
JC So, the oldest child was a girl?
Jean. So, did you do a lot of sewing, when you were making for your own children, was it a lot of hand sewing?
Oh, I think most people have an ordinary sewing machine, but I was never a sewer. So, somebody else did it. It amuses Heather, my daughter, I’m used to her saying, “You’d send to TC Bernie’s, Mum, and you would say suitable for a girl of twelve, and I was only eight or nine, but it gradually fitted me.” But I always believe in having children’s clothes made a little larger, than smaller, because they’re always growing.
JC And you sent down to TC Bernie?
JC And they’d send up dresses or patterns?
Yes. They’d even send things on approval. But mostly, you’d buy the things straight out, but you could get them on approval.
JC Did you have a catalogue?
Yes, we had a lovely catalogue. They sent out a very good catalogue. You just picked the things for the two girls and then my oldest girl, Jeannie, she became a dressmaker later on. And she used to make, even when she was only about fourteen or fifteen and she’d make these little beachy rigouts, for the other one, little play suits with little bows on the pockets and all that kind of thing. So, she turned out a very good dress maker.
JC Oh, and your husband with his paintings?
Oh, that’s was one daughter’s, Heather’s. And the one behind is old Caloundra, that’s Heather’s. And that’s Jeanie’s, that’s the other daughter.
JC I love that, it’s great!
Yes, they’re good, aren’t they, those horses. And this one is Heather’s of her father, she snapped him with the camera then she did her painting and I said, “Heather, well, you better do one for me, because people that you see, I don’t see and Caloundra people will see what you did.” So, there he is standing looking at the water and he didn’t know. And she painted that and then the other one is Jeannie’s.
JC Did he always paint?
Oh, I think he’d just about born with a paint brush in his mouth or somewhere. Loved it, always loved it and always read all about the great artists and everything.
JC Was it hard getting supplies?
Well, I suppose they bought them in the city or you know, bigger town. And then he’d always have a supply then. He was very fond of painting.
JC What did he paint on, did he paint on calico?
Canvas is not very good, you know, it perishes. He did a few of them, but these were on Masonite the rough side I think he did them. He came to that conclusion that they were safe and there was no need for glass on the oil paintings. Only on the water colour, you must have the glass. So, gradually he did that, he liked doing it. And then the girls of course, Jeannie, the older girl, she’s got a diploma for Commercial Art, She did the painting of the horses, corresponded by post, to Melbourne and did the course and then she got a very nice letter and her congratulations on a diploma. So, she could really teach I’m sure, how to prepare the board and everything. Oh, she did a lot of work. She didn’t do it in a hurry, because she was already married and she had a son, her husband was still alive at the time. She just said, “Oh well, I’ll do an odd painting and paint privately. If they want it, then they could pay me for it.”
JC Did your husband ever sell any of his paintings?
Oh, sold a few, but never tried. He wasn’t a money grabber. I don’t think he was very money conscious. And then if they wanted one, if they saw one on the wall, and he’d copy it and do one for then specially. Never hawked them, but perhaps when he was younger, when he needed money so badly he would have been prepared them, to try and sell them.
JC What about you, did you have any hobbies. Anything you liked to do?
Well, I would have liked to have learnt more about music and be able to play or something and that kind of thing. That would have appealed to me, I could never draw, but I could criticise the painting and say, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think that’s as good as”… and then I’d wait a while and then… but otherwise I’d say “Yes, that would be just right.” Well, one of those sold but it was just a chance. Somebody asked the daughter to put it in the show and it sold.
JC Did you get much in the arty line up here, were there ever any shows or anything like that? Did any artists ever come up here?
No, it was too remote and too small a place Joanne, for anything like that. And then another thing, you’d go around the beach, in those days, you could find more shells. You wouldn’t find them now. Lovely shells at times, cowries and that. But no, you could only live your life. You had to make your own fun with anything and you did. You’d go into the bush and go picking wildflowers; you might go and say “Oh, what about if you come out for a while?” “Oh yes, we’re in that.” Put your old boots on, an old dress or something or other. See, the jeans weren’t worn then, and out you’d go and underneath the trees, find the ground orchids and find something else and some Boronia and bring it home. Well, all those kid of little things.. Or perhaps you’d get crabs, somebody would get some crabs, then you’d have to cook those. They might have to be cooked outside because of all the mess with the salt water, and then you’d get what you’d call a quimpies.
JC What on earth are quimpies?
Well, that’s a pearl shell. And have like an oyster in it, but they weren’t oysters. And then we’d say, “What about a feed of quimpies, a feed of mussels or whatever we can find?
JC I’ve never heard of quimpies.
At Cowie Bank, we could get them.
JC Well, are they in a big shell or?
Yes, nearly as big as this saucer.
JC There are some in the creek down here next to Tripcony Park. I’ve always wondered what they were. There’s only a few of them there.
I didn’t think there were any quimpies there. Are you sure they’re quimpies? Are they very hard shell and pearl inside?
JC They don’t look hard shell. They look like they’re very thin, about that size of a plate.
Well, at Cowie Bank amount the oysters, we had plenty. But here, I don’t know whether we got them here. Whether we got them up Bribie way or on our river bank. And then we cooked them in the salt water, but when the shell opened, you knew they were cooked. And then we’d have a feed of quimpies.
JC Well, what do they taste like?
Oh good, like oysters. You don’t like oysters?
Well, if you don’t like oysters, you wouldn’t like these. But otherwise, you would like them. They’re lovely roasted or you could fry them you with a little bit of butter if you liked. They’re tougher than oysters. I wouldn’t say everyone would like them but we did. We liked them.
JC Did they contain pearls or was that…?
Well, that’s possible but very rarely. Very rarely I think. Well, we never got any pearls in them. I think Billy, the brother, I think he fished around and I think he got a few pearls but I don’t know whether he got them in the oysters. He got small pearls. He had a bottle with a few in, but they were pretty rare, you know, pretty rare. We never seemed to get them. Well, my sister and I never seemed to get them. No it wouldn’t be my luck.
JC Well, how did James Clark get his title as being the Pearl King then?
Pearl King, yes they called him the Pearl King. I don’t know how. See, that was just about before my time, but talked about. They say that he worked for someone for half-a-crown a week one time. But you know, you hear these stories but you’re not sure Joanne.
JC Yes, that’s right. You tend to forget them after a while.
Yes, after a time. Well, you’re only pretty young when you hear about it. If you don’t write it out and keep it. Yes, the tapes are a good record, aren’t they?
JC You said you used to go out and collect wildflowers. Have you noticed much change in the area with the flowers?
I think the population have taken a lot of the land over, haven’t they? Yes, I think you’d have to go further out now to get the Boronia and towards Sugar Bag Road, you know, right across the bush, I think, now. I haven’t been out for years though Joanne.
JC Do you remember near the Westaway’s, apparently that was very good area for Christmas Bells.
Yes, Christmas Bells. Yes, I remember the Christmas Bells, they were beautiful and you could go out in the Melon-hole Country where the black snakes were, and get Christmas Bells. That’s what you had to be careful of, you know. There were snakes around that part.
JC Where was that part?
Well, you know, towards the Little Mountains, that would be, say, on the left hand side, go across the plain, in among the trees.
JC What was that called?
Well, I had to call it Melon-hole Country, you know. Yes, where the old melon-holes and where all the old bracken and Boronia and then of course the Christmas Bells, certain parts, you’d look for the Christmas Bells. The Christmas Bells grew around where the racecourse is now and the Boronia was all around where the airport now is.
JC I’ve never heard of Melon-holes.
Melon-hole Country, well, not these days. I think it’s a bit rough, the ground, you know. Up and down, you just go down and all of a sudden, Melon-holes, they called them. See, the bullock drivers could tell us where the snakes were. They said always watch out for snakes. But of course that’s would be pretty rare too, I suppose.
JC Did you ever come across any?
No, we never did. But after he told us, we were careful, looking for flowers, well that was another pastime.
JC Yes, there seem to have been a few flowers that we don’t have around today?
No. The Christmas Bells, well they’re hard to find now. Oh, I don’t know why. You wouldn’t think they’d be gone though, would you?
JC Well, I heard that a lot of people used to come and pick them then take them back to Brisbane to sell.
They still wouldn’t do away with the root of the plant, unless they rooted them up? Well, you’d have to take the root, wouldn’t you, to really spoil the plant.
JC Unless they cut it down so far that they just couldn’t shoot up again.
I don’t think that is why. I think there must be some other reason Joanne, really.
JC Did you ever see much wild life around the place. Did you ever have many kangaroos?
Oh no. You’d have to go out. You’d really have to make it your business to go into the bush. You wouldn’t see them otherwise. Only when Caloundra was very young, you might see an odd, kangaroo hop past, up Golden Beach or somewhere. And an odd dingo or something, but dingoes were very rare.
JC Because I noticed that when they started building a little bit more down on Golden Beach, they had sacred the animals away.
They came at the back, didn’t they? Oh yes, and I think some of them were feeding them and encouraged them a bit, along there.
JC Now, we’ve got these notes here. We’ll just go through them and I’ll read them out and you can tell me what they all mean. “Your mother wearing an apron.”
Yes, well when I think of my Mother, I hardly ever saw her without an apron on, because she was always ready to make a cup of tea or make damper or something or other, do some cooking, you know.
JC And was it a full length apron, a big one?
No, I think it was just a white apron.
JC “Putting letters at the lighthouse.”
Oh, we’d occasionally go to the lighthouse cottage, and the Post Office was in the lighthouse cottage, to post our letters.
JC “The boys on the boat Sylvia dropping stones in the water.”
Well, we’d throw stones in the water, my sister and myself, and let them know when we were ready to go and post the letters. And they’d come ashore, out of the boat and walk up with us. And we didn’t want anyone to know. It was just a secret.
JC So, you’d throw the… the stones in the water, and when it splashed, they’d know when we were ready to take off.
JC “Jean and Grace Tripcony and Everlyn Godwin putting on their best black stockings, taking the hurricane lamps.” To walk to the lighthouse cottage to post the letters.
JC And you’d put on your best black stockings to go and post the letters?
Well, we wore our black stockings in those days, yes. I think we nearly always had stockings on but, not going to school, but perhaps when we went out in the evening. See, it would be in the evening when we would post the letters. And we’d light the hurricane lantern and have our stockings on and off to the lighthouse to post the letters.
TAPE THREE – SIDE A
JC One of the boys, Vernon Castledine, was drowned on the outside of Bribie Beach.
Yes, outside of Bribie Beach. He was drowned out there. He was one of the boys from the Sylvia that went up with us to the Post Offie. They drowned at Easter time.
JC Andrew Tripcony was running his boat, the Grace up the Bribie Passage to meet Koppa.
JC And the boy that drowned, were there many drownings around here?
No, there were three drowned from the Sylvia. They went out to do some fishing, they used to catch worms on the beach and have a bit of bait and they must have decided to go for a swim. And see, the other few on the boat, were still inside the island and they were on the outside, and they never returned, .And there was never a trace found of them, never a trace. And one of those boys was the one who used to go out up with us.
JC Did you have a lot of trouble with sharks?
Oh, you had to be careful. You wouldn’t go in if you thought there was any sign of a shark.
JC So, did you have anyone on lookout or anything like that?
No, when we went in swimming, as my Father used to say, “As long as the water was clear and we did a lot of splashing about, there’d be no shark. But if you cut your foot and there was a trail of blood, get out, or the water was clouded, get out, don’t stay.” So, he always warned us and we’d never have any trouble. We had to watch out.
JC “Andrew Tripcony brought the officer in charge of the Caloundra Lighthouse.”
Oh yes, that was the first Caloundra Lighthouse Keeper and he was officer in charge. And he was brought to Caloundra by my Father.
JC That’s the one we talked about before?
Yes. Mary was just trying to be a reminder or asked me a few questions. She scribbled it down while I was talking with her.
JC “Bill and Cecyl and Martin?”
Oh, that was the Edlundh family, their names, yes.
JC On this note, which Mary Schulz wrote, it mentions Cowie Bank when the Tripcony’s with their damper, oysters opening them when they were kids, goats kept on Goat Island, about 300 goats. Wild goose plums, grew at the Point?
Well, the wild goose plums were where that Matron of the Mission was buried, near the wild goose plum trees.
JC Can you remember anything about Hercules? I don’t imagine the hero of old, but I think it might be about the Hercules.
No, I can’t remember about it, no.
JC The Shadow?
Oh, that was when the Passage was beaconed by the crew of the Shadow, a sailing boat.
JC Oh, in 1879.
Yes, in September 1879, by the crew of the Shadow. That was surveyed and printed especially for Thomas Martin Tripcony, my Grandfather, and that would be the first survey of the Passage, I would think. Those things are more important than a lot of other things I think. The old map of the Passage that was printed especially for Grandfather Tripcony, it is in the Newstead House, I think. It used to be on the wall at Cowie Bank.
JC Because your grandfather died down in Newstead House, didn’t he?
No, I think he went from Cowie Bank to Brisbane, because he was not well, but he lived at Cowie. I think he died in Brisbane.
JC The Comet.
Oh, that’s the name of the boat that brought us to Caloundra.
JC And what about the Cannon’s. They were your relatives and they had a Boarding House.
Yes, they had a Boarding House. See, there was Grand Central, which was King’s Boarding House, Cannon’s Boarding House, which had no name, and Hotel Francis, which was owned by Rooke’s. Caloundra had Rooke’s and King’s and Cannon’s.
JC And Cannon’s was run by who?
Cannon’s, well, that was the name of the people who ran it and it was just a boarding house. But I don’t know if it had a name.
JC Were they relations of yours?
Yes, they are, a sister married a Cannon at Woodford.
JC That’s the connection, right. Right next door to the Grand Central were Oxenhams and they were Mrs King’s parents.
They were Oxenham, yes. They were Mrs King’s parents. But those things don’t matter.
JC And they reported you for speeding on your pony?
I believe the old lady did have something to say. But Rose, my son-in-law, always makes a joke of that.
JC How fast were you going?
I can’t remember. But I don’t remember anything about it, but I wouldn’t have worried about it, anyway. Oh well, I’d be on the main road. And she’d been perhaps at the front door, looking out just at the critical moment, I suppose.
JC Did they have any rules or regulations about riding a horse or anything in those days?
No, no rules. That was a good pastime having a horse to ride.
JC Did you have police up here at Caloundra?
No, I think Landsborough was the nearest for many years. It was much later we had a policeman here.
JC Can you remember who he was?
JC No, the one here or both, if you can remember.
Well, Burke was at Landsborough. Wardrop I think was here at Caloundra, I wouldn’t be certain but I think that was Wardrop at Caloundra. But that was much later, Joanne.
JC Now, when I was a kid, I used to come up here for holidays. Down where the big Gemini buildings are now on Golden Beach, there used to be an old boat hull and a man used to live in that. Do you know who that man was?
His name was Fraser, yes.
JC Can you tell me anything about him?
Well, I think years ago, we knew the family, but yet I never met him here. I don’t know what happened to him, no. I just heard that he was living in that old boat on Golden Beach. That was interesting, wasn’t it?
JC We used to sneak past there as kids, in case he saw us.
Yes, it’s a wonder he didn’t, he must have been a bit queer not to come out and talk a bit, Joanne.
JC Sam Leach lived on black flat. Dickinson’s….
Oh yes, the people that lived near us when we lived on Tripcony Park, were Dickinsons and Leachs. Leachs lived right n Black Flat, yes, before we were there. Before we really took up residence there.
JC And Jimmy Wright?
Jimmy Wright, he was a boilermaker from Scotland, he was right on the edge of the creek. He was an old resident. Mary’s just putting the names of the people when we first arrived in Caloundra.
JC And he was an old sailor?
Oh, August Olsen was the sailor.
JC Did he do much business with your father or did he have his own set up?
No, he had his own set up. He had a little boat called the Spray, which he took fishing parties and picnickers out in. Poor old Augy Olsen, he’d had an accident at sea, had blood poisoning and they’d cut his face about a bit. So, he lived quite alone as much as he could, I suppose. But as people got to know him, he got to make them understand him and he did business then. But it was very sad to think that he was just cut off from his own people. He was a Swede or Norwegian or something. He’d been a sailor all his life I think. And he was alright, but you’d have trouble to understand him.
JC And Percy Sutton?
He lived a way out Sugar Bag Road, as we called it. He lived a way out in the bush.
JC Did he do anything wildly exciting?
No, I think that he’d just lived his own life and he’d eat, he’d get a kangaroo and he’d get bandicoots and that, and eat them, anything he could catch. And had a bit of a garden and perhaps a few fowls. And he had his wardrobe in a big black stump. We have to be careful here, won’t we?
JC Did he have an old tin shack?
Yes, a bit of a shack. But I’d never seen it, but I believe he had a few fowls and then he had this big stump that had been cut out, burnt and cut out and he had a few things hanging there.
JC Did you ever eat kangaroo or anything like that?
No, I had kangaroo tail soup at Cowie Bank, very good. But that cut like, like I suppose sheep neck, you know, a cutlet. Cut and soaked in strong salt water all night, then taken out, then finished up with parsley, onion and carrot or what ever you had. It was lovely soup, but we didn’t have it very often and that must have been somebody shot a kangaroo and decided we’d have it.
JC “Bob Maltman, lived at Little Mountain, came in for their supplies at Tripcony’s shop.”
That’s right for their supplies. Bob Maltman built a hall, where dances were held, in the late1920’s.
JC Parents of Ruby and Clare Maltman?
Yes, Ruby became Mrs Sutherland and Clare became Mrs Burnham.
JC And the Dingles had two lovely girls?
Oh, the Dingles. Their girls were school mates of ours.
JC And you had a cyclone in February of 1954?
That’s right. We were right on the river bank then, on number one allotment of the Bulcock Estate
JC Was it very scary?
Oh, it was the worst we ever had! My parents never experienced it. But we lived in a good, big strong house right on the river bank and we didn’t attempt to leave, we stuck it out. The daughters were away. It came from the south, dead south of the Passage like, and then in July, it came the other way, so we got it both ways, and a bit of the iron came off the roof in the second one.
There was a lot of rubbish up the fence, but although the veranda was all wet, like where the rain beat in but we were still alright. And even in our bedroom, water came to the end of the bed n the floor, you know, had a good mat there and I soaked it up, but it didn’t wet our bed or it didn’t wet the duchess or anything. So, we seemed to be lucky enough. But the house was solid, it still stood.
JC And what about any other storms. Do you remember any other big storms or cyclones?
Well yes. We had what you’d call a blow, you know a strong blow, but nothing like that cyclone that was really the worst. We had a bad flood in 1931. Thewy shifted the front light (lighthouse) on Bribie during that flood. My husband helped to move it.
JC In 1954?
Yes, that was the worst we ever had Joanne.
JC February came from the south and in July it came from north.
Yes, the very opposite.
JC Was anyone hurt or killed?
No, no one. I don’t think there was anyone hurt in Caloundra. So a few people suffered a bit of damage, but no, noone was hurt Joanne.
JC And birds, Mary’s written one word – birds?
Oh yes, I know. They were the seagulls that came, the time of the cyclone and there was a pool formed on Tripcony Park on the flat ground and these birds were paddling in it, in their red legs. Well, as a rule they have yellow legs, don’t they? But I’m sure these had red legs, seagulls with red legs. That was a rare thing to happen I thought, ‘gee there must be something doing’, so strange and so different to ordinary times. Usually there are only seagulls on the beach, but not there. They were fight in the middle of the land, on the flat, because of this forming into a big pool of water. Yes, they flew in from the ocean. Yes, just a strange occurence.
End of Interview
Name: Grace Janet MacBRIDE
Maiden Name: TRIPCONY
Date of Birth: 9th September 1900
Place of Birth: Nundah
Mother’s Name: Margaret Cochrane
Mother’s Date of Birth: 3rd December 1862
Birthplace: Saltcoats, Scotland.
Father’s Name: Andrew Tripcony
Father’s Date of Birth: 13th April 1864
Mother’s occupation: Home Duties
Father’s occupation: Oyster Farmer/Store Keeper
Date of Marriage: November 1922
Place of Marriage: Auchenflower, Brisbane
Name of Spouse: Thomas Southern MacBride
Occupation of Spouse: Painter/Decorator/Signwriter
Names and birth dates of children:
1. Jean Armour 15/5/1924
2. Heather Dell 29/04/1931
Locality(ies) in which interviewee grew up: Cowie Bank, Pumicestone Passage, Caloundra
Names of educational institutions attended: Caloundra State School
Interviewer: Joanne Clark
Date of interview: 25 August 1987
Number of tapes recorded: 3 x 46 min