Interview with: Monica Guy
Date of Interview: 18 February 1985
Interviewer: Susan Brinnand
Transcriber: Colwyn Boulton
Mrs Monica Guy was born in New Zealand and moved with her family to a farm on the Darling Downs before the family moved to Buderim in 1919. Monica married the youngest of the Guy's sons Harold. She was awarded life memberships of many Buderim institutions including the CWA, Buderim Garden Club, War Widows Guild, Buderim Historical Society and Sunshine Coast Art Group. Monica Guy was 108 years old when she passed away in 2015.
Image: Homestead originally built by William Henry Guy ca 1891, Guy Avenue, Buderim, ca 1935.
Images and documents of the Guy family in the Sunshine Coast Libraries catalogue.
SB: Tell me first about William Henry Guy?
MG: William Henry guy was really Captain William Henry Guy. He was an Englishman. His ancestors came over with William the Conqueror in 1066 to England. I have records and etchings of his great grandfather who was interested in the shipping industry in Hull. His son Edward Guy, being the youngest did not inherit so much of the estate of course, that was the way in England in those days and so he was set up as a coach building businessman with his partner Molineux. It was known as Molineux and Guy in London town, with the Bow Bells.
William Henry Guy was one of the younger sons and his father and mother, they died rather early unfortunately and William Henry through his grandfather who was a very wealthy man, had the right to enter the Bluecoat school, which was for wealthy orphans. He, like a lot of other young men, did not take a great interest in that kind of thing, although he had a fairly sound education, but he was full of adventure.
As soon as possible he went out to see the world. Garabaldi then was fighting a war and this young Englishman, this William Henry Guy was interested – the adventure of it all – he joined the army, and marched on Rome. And from that he was given a Captaincy – he never used that Captaincy, he wasn’t that type of man.
But eventually the lure of gold in Australia and also in Tasmania, and being full of adventure he decided first he would go to Van Dieman’s Land but he changed his mind and he ended up in Australia. With varying success he eventually joined the Surveyor General Fryer of Queensland and became of his party in the surveying team. And that he did for some time. I understand that he is recorded in the Mitchell Library too.
But during some of their surveying trips he was at Calrossie Station in the upper Burnett and there he saw a charming young woman and he fell in love with her. In the meantime of course, Fryer came to Buderim and William Henry Guy saw Buderim and he was just enthralled with its beauty because at that time it was covered with birds and forestry, red cedar. In fact you could just see glimpses of the sea in between. It was really paradise and he saw the lovely volcanic soil and he loved it.
So he decided to leave the surveying lot and he went back to Calrossie Station and married Susan Hamilton. They were married at the Station, she had never seen Buderim – you must remember that there were no towns, no railways and Toowoomba was the only way that they Hamilton’s could get through in the back country. Susan was educated at home with a Governess, yes they had a Governess. Anyway she starts off with her husband, I think it took them quite a few days to do the three hundred miles from Calrossie Station to Buderim and they came by packhorse.
Can you imagine that – a nice young couple in the bush as a honeymoon? Well when she arrived on Buderim she was bitterly disappointed because she thought although it was beautiful it was wild. As far as I can understand she was the only woman there, because he was one of the first settlers. There may have been someone at the other end of Buderim. William Henry Guy was a week behind the first settler but in between the western and the eastern end of Buderim but would be nothing but forest. Here this woman who had come out of a very comfortable situation, Calrossie Station, had to live in a little log cabin.
SB: What year was that?
MG: Well I just can’t say off-hand but it must have been a long time ago because it’s probably one hundred and thirty odd years ago.
SB: About the 1870’s?
MG: Yes it would be about that. Course most of this data I received from the Guy family, from my husband, because I married the youngest son. But anyway to get back to Susan she had what a woman should have, a pioneer woman, and she settled down and she reared six children, a girl and five boys. My husband was the baby one. In those days of course other settlers came and they helped one another. They were really marvellous in those days, they had to care for one another. There would be times – you must remember no trains, no country towns or anything – it was very difficult so Susan’s father used to send down a roll of serge because he used to buy it in quantity. Susan Guy not only would make clothes for her own children but she’d give material for the other children around too. That’s they way the women helped one another. Of course when they gave childbirth they helped one another. They had to depend on one another.
SB: What did William Guy grow in Buderim?
MG: Well as far as I can see he tried small crops and sugar cane too and fodder for Cobb & Co. Cobb & Co had started, it was the only way of travelling then so he used to take this food out by German Wagon I expect to Woombye. Then of course they went into bananas. There were other farmers there by this time and they started experimenting and the wonderful soil helped them but they had to prove themselves, you see what could grow there. Then they started planting orange trees – oh the orange grew beautifully and there was a time when Buderim was mainly orange orchards and the perfume was almost divine. It was so beautiful. But eventually they again tried sugar cane and failed. Because they were trying sugar cane they had two mills here. First one in Mill Road which was run by I think they Fieldings and others. It progressed in time and then the second mill was put up on Buderim where the timber mill is. So they got involved there because sugar cane was failing somewhat. They all had shares in it, the Guys had shares in it. But they had to wind that up – it was not a success. They were exploring you see, they had to find out what would do and then they started small crops and that seemed to be the best thing they could do. Beans and strawberries in between their orange orchards and their banana plantations. Of course, at the time, the only way off Buderim was down Mons way to the railway line which had come as far as Woombye. They sent all their fruit that way. Previous to that, there were no roads so they had to go down to Mooloolaba and all their produce was sent by a little ship to Brisbane. They had a big shed there and they’d pile up their fruit and if the weather was not right, of course it all became rotten.
SB: Let’s go to when your parents came to Buderim?
MG: Well, my dad – he had a property on the Darling Downs and he was doing quite well there. Actually Mum and Dad are Victorians and when they married first, for a few years they went to New Zealand where I was born. So then they came as I said to Queensland, took up properties in the Darling Downs and Dad coming up this way saw the beauty of Buderim and he just could not resist it. So he sold out his interests up there and he came up to Buderim.
He brought ten acres of top soil and a bit down the side from the Guy estate. He went into mostly pineapples for that time and small crops, some bananas and there were a few orange trees too. That was the situation there for some time – people growing fruit and so on. Of course then the world Depression which hit a good many of them, unfortunately.
SB: What did you used to do with the pineapples?
MG: They went to the factory in Brisbane. That is those that were not the first quality but the very best quality would go to Melbourne and Sydney. The Melbourne market was very good and I can remember seeing my Dad when I was quite young with probably a handful of telegrams from the fruit market people saying the price is so on, the price is so on. They were in a big way all the farmers at that time.
SB: This was in the 20’s – before the Depression?
MG: Before the Depression, they were doing well.
SB: Tell me a little about the social life on Buderim in the 20’s.
MG: Could I speak a little bit before my time there because I have a certain amount of knowledge of the Guy family. Well as far as I can see at first there were no churches there on Buderim. But in time the Methodist Church came and the very early days in Queensland and I think all over Australia, the Methodists were great evangelists, they got in first. Right along the coast of Queensland you’ll see that the Methodist Church was formed before others. So it was so, on Buderim, the Methodist Church was there. Those that were not born into the Methodist Church became Methodist because it was the only religion. I think the Guys were Presbyterian – Anglican because one was born in England and the other in Scotland. But the Methodist Church was there and so they accepted it. And that applied to a good many.
Well the whole social life was around the structure of that Church. They became very good people. In fact Buderim became so good it was known by those surrounding parts of Buderim as the ‘Holy Hill’ (LAUGHS). They had concerts, they had all sorts of things for young people.
They played tennis, never on Sunday – they respected Sunday very much, and Church three times a day. My husband said he was grounded on it. Almost too much – you can get too much. Mr Guy was the first man – this William Henry Guy that had a conveyance other than a dray. I think he had the first cart on Buderim and he used to give the children rides to Sunday school. They loved it, of course.
SB: What about the tennis on Buderim?
MG: Yes, Guys had one of the first courts, a lawn tennis court and the social life was held there quite a bit. Some were called ‘The Silver Tails’ and the others were called ‘The Goats” I suppose, the Sheep and the Goats. Even in those days there was a certain amount of – shall I say select little cliques – I think you can’t escape it in life, such a pit but it was there. But they were very fine sports and good tennis players, cricket too, they did well in cricket and horse riding. The young people, the young girls and boys, what they loved to do, they all had horses and they’d go on moonlight rides to Mooloolaba and they’d get on the rocks there just beneath the hotel and they’d have singing concerts there. Singing to the waves in the moonlight and they loved it. Good bit of romancing went on too. (LAUGHS)
SB: Would that be before World War One?
MG: Yes, not my time. That’d be more my husbands older brothers and sisters. But that’s what they did and I understand it’s very beautiful. Now most people had pianos. The Guy’s I think had the first musical instrument – an organ – which is really an antique. I had possession of it for a time. They were really good singers, they had beautiful voices, tenor voices, and baritone. On a still night you could hear them almost down to the Post Office. Cause their home was up on the hill.
So they had a lot of that kind of thing. Harold’s cousins the Harry Burnetts, that’s the one of the sons of that house, that’s Arnold and Oscar. They two and their sisters, there was one that became Mrs Hughie Foot. Lottie became Mr Mitchell’s wife and so on. They were very musical. They’d visit one another homes and they relied on one another for entertainment, they had to. There were no nightclubs and all that kind of thing, no hotels or anything like that to go to.
SB: You were saying that Jessie Guy taught the piano?
MG: Well Jessie Guy, she being the eldest in the Guy family and the only girl, she was the first white female child born on Buderim. I think a Kanaka boy was the first born, I’m not too sure about that but she was the second child. Her family were able to get this lovely organ, it was an exquisite little thing, I think it was brought out from Scotland for her. She played – who taught her I don’t know but she was the first one to teach Ivy Chadwick, who was Ivy Bell and Ivy Bell became a very fine pianist and was the teacher of Buderim. So the first person who taught her for a time was Jessie Guy. Jessie also was a good water colourist and she used to have little classes to teach people. She helped in forming the culture of Buderim in those very early days. Later on of course she went out to her cousins on Calrossie Station and Rockybar and she was their Governess for a time. So she used to have a life between Buderim and up on the Stations.
SB: What was William Guy like?
MG: Well this surprises me because he was not very tall. He was rather a small man and so was his wife and yet they had these fine strapping sons. Now whether it was because of the marvellous climate and the beautiful fruit that they could have in abundance and plenty of milk because they had a jersey cow. The mother was a good cook. In those days women were proud of their cooking, so I thin it might have been the very fine climate and the extra good food. The healthy life.
SB: He was a community leader too was he?
MG: Yes he took his part with others. He was a Sunday school teacher. As I say, the whole of the social set was around the Church. That remained so for a long long time, then the Anglican Church came, and they did their part.
SB: Did they used to have dances in Buderim in those days?
MG: Yes, the present War Memorial Hall is the second, the first hall was much smaller and that was one of the main things that the young people did apart from Church Social. They danced and they had a lovely time and people used to come to their concerts from Mapleton and Montville. I know that some of them had to walk. Just imagine that – they had to walk all that way.
SB: Did the Jitterbug and those modern type dance ever come to Buderim?
MG: Yes, the Jazz section came in very much and the Charleston. Oh yes, in country places like that because it was definitely was ‘countrified’ dancing really became very important. I could do all those things. They dressed up. For the very most ordinary occasion they put on their very best because that was their life, they might as well. Did you know that one time Buderim had a show?
SB: I had heard that yes, a country show.
MG: A very successful country show, vegetables and fruit and a little bit of art too. It was very very successful indeed and I think that’s the first prize I ever won, in the watercolour painting.
SB: So you were painting?
MG: Yes, I was painting a long time. My father was a steward, one of the stewards and for some reason or other he was sick and he asked would I take his place. His daughter, his little daughter went in and I don’t know what the other stewards thought but anyway I did it.
SB: Can you tell me about some to the neighbours that you had?
MG: At my time?
SB: Yes, around Somerset.
MG: Well, Tomgali was my first home, Somerset was the second. I lived in Tomgali. Well the Sargood family lived down the hill and Grace was the main daughter in the house. She was the eldest there. She had a beautiful singing voice, now had it been modern times that girl I’m sure would have been known certainly all over Australia and perhaps further. She had a glorious voice but you see no one to help her. Well her youngest brother Bobby married Ivy Bell’s daughter, Peg. Peg was the secretary later into the years of the ginger factory. So I knew her and then there was Elsie Burnett and Jessie Burnett. Jessie Burnett I was friendly with. One of the Burnetts, of course nine brothers of the Burnetts, mostly came up to Buderim, and she was the granddaughter of one of them. She was a good tennis player. And that’s what I was – that was my main feature as a young person, I was a very good tennis player. I joined two courts and I used to play during the week either one court or the other. One court on Sunday at Birdwood and the other court down near the school, different to what it is today. Of course I was frowned upon playing Sunday because that wasn’t done I can tell you. The Methodists are very strict, very strict at that time. But I still played. (LAUGHS) But mostly it was men on Sunday and of course I got marvellous practice. I became a good player. I played in tournaments too.
SB: Did you know the Lindsays?
MG: Yes, I did not know the first pioneer Lindsays, they were very personal friends of the Guys, Susan Guy – that’s William Henry’s wife and Mrs Lindsay were very close friends. Both wonderful cooks.
SB: Can you remember something that Mrs Guy used to cook?
MG: Yes, it may not have been uncommon but I loved it – she used to make some kind of apple rolly-polly. She’d put apples in the bottom of a stewing pan and then she’d do a very nice pastry and put on top and then she’d have some kind of sauce with butter and sugar she used to pt on the top of that and bake it. I thought it was delicious. I really did. Kids liked it you know. Another thing she did – they used to dry the bananas on the roof and eat dry bananas, were beautiful. Also she would cook them as a vegetable before they were ripe, you know they were still green. She had the most wonderful fowls and the loveliest tasting eggs I have ever tasted. They were fed on boiled bananas, green one in their skins and then mashed. Oh, the fowls loved it.
SB: Do you remember them using any traditional type medicines or any remedies?
MG: I think I should know that. Some little things I’ve forgotten but I think they did. But I did notice this and I felt so strange, you see as the Guys progressed they got this beautiful home, and even though in those days there was no electricity on Buderim but they had I suppose it was carbide light system. They had a lighting system right through the whole house, so that was quite good for the time. But Mrs Guy who by this time was a very old lady when she retired at night she would have a flat lamp, she preferred it because that’s what they had on the Stations in the very early days, an oil lamp.
SB: And what would they use – animal fat or something would be used?
MG: Yes, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen one. She did not have to use it, it was just her childhood I suppose coming back to her and privately in her own room she had it. One day I said to Old Gentleman Guy, I said, “You took up eighty acres of land you were practically the first person here, you could have taken much more, why didn’t you?”
“Well,” he said, “It was like this – I wanted neighbours and friends. I didn’t believe in being greedy.” And he said, “You see, some day this will be a beautiful place, it’s going to be a city.” You know he had a vision because at that time there were only about fifty homes and mostly orange orchards. Beautiful views of the sea surrounding, oh glorious place, and two rivers here, one each side you know that was the view. But that was his thought, he was a kind man and very pleasant man, very pleasant indeed. But of course he could get cross sometimes.
SB: Like everyone.
Buderim boarding houses
SB: When were the Boarding Houses operating?
MG: Well that would be somewhere in the 20’s I would think, then Birdwood was built and I understand one of the Guy boys built it, Bert Guy. I understand that he built it and ran it for a time and then it was sold to various people and when I came to Buderim it was going pretty strong. And it became the centre of the social life too and Miss McIntyre’s owned it, two sisters and they lived in France for a long time. They were refined kind of people and they had a tennis court and I belonged to that particular tennis court and I could see that the social setting was around them quite a bit.
One time the Governor came up, the scouts they put on a function, that’s a long time ago of course and Ben Heap, an English boy, he was only young, he ran the scouts and his brother Dick Heap, their father was an English Banker. And they lived just off Buderim on the Mooloolaba – Buderim Road. Young Ben, he was very community minded and he worked on the scouts and made them quite something. And they all had horses and they rode horses and they got the Governor of the day to see what they could put on. That was quite a function.
SB: Did he ever stay at Birdwood House?
MG: I think he did. His photo was taken there, entering Birdwood House. Then the Lord Mayor came up one time and Nonmuses were in the Returned Soliders and they were running it, I think he must have been President, and that was a big function. I can’t remember who the Lord Mayor was at the time but everyone turned out in their best, all the young girls – their dresses were to the ankle you know, glorious frocks, big summer hats. It might have been a bushy place but they did dress well.
SB: And would they get their clothes from Brisbane?
MG: Some of them did yes, but others were fairly good dress makers too. There were some pretty girls on Buderim, beautiful place, pretty girls.
SB: I guess that’s why there are a lot of tourists in Buderim?
MG: Oh the tourists used to come up on the old tram. When I came first to Buderim I came by tram from Brisbane, the Buderim tram. I come from the plain country, my Dad’s property was on the plains and coming up this precarious, as I thought, little tramway looking down at the gorge and all the farms, it was beautiful. It was almost scary. They used to run tourist trips and have had twenty of them I couldn’t say for sure, and everyone was filled with tourists from Brisbane. They’d go up and stay at Birdwood and so on. The Guys were pretty well known and before my time you know, all the sons growing up and that, and they had plenty of girls and their home was just filled with young people. They used to have parties and the mother kept help, she had a maid always in those days to help her – she’d have to. It was quite something to come up to Buderim. I guess all the other homes of the Buderim residents did the same. I’m speaking from the Guy angle you see. It was a social setting. Old Mr Guy, that’s William Henry Guy was very well known in Brisbane Town, it was only a small place then in comparison. He was pretty well known, he was called Squire Guy. He used to go down there quite a lot. He was very friendly with the head of the Botanical Gardens. Being friends he was given some rather exotic plants for his home you see, he planted them around Buderim House – in the early days, the Guys home. They were some beautiful trees, I don’t know what they were – unusual palms and things but some of them have been lost unfortunately.
SB: Let’s go back to the tourists on Buderim. When did the Boarding Houses stop working because they’re not there anymore?
MG: No, well I think the Depression, the first Depression settled things. I just can’t remember the last people, the young couple that owned it but they tried their hardest to make a success of it, and in the end they sold the home for removal. I think three homes were built out of Birdwood. Then of course it became privately owned and homes were built on it.
SB: How did the Depression affect Buderim?
MG: It affected some people badly, very badly, the poor things, they were working so well on their farms, they were producing but they couldn’t sell – that was the trouble, it wasn’t their fault they were working just as hard, but in fact it hit the whole of Queensland.
SB: So is that when they stopped growing oranges?
MG: Yes, gradually that all petered out and small crops was what they seemed to favour then.
SB: And what about the ginger, did they ever grow much ginger at Buderim?
MG: Not a great deal, I think the first person to bring ginger onto Buderim was one of the Burnett brothers. His home was off Buderim really towards Mons.
MG: And he was just trying it out at that time but he was the first one and then there were a family by the name of Bard and Percy Board lived high up on Buderim proper and he started growing it. I think really that he may have been one of those that really got people interested in ginger.
SB: But even so they didn’t grow a great deal?
MG: Not a great deal. That is why I suppose realizing that the Ginger factory’s moved. Because not that many people grew ginger, not on Buderim, maybe around Buderim. Coffee was tried too, some of the best coffee I think in Australia was grown on Buderim and they sent it over to a Belgium Show, a very big one, I don’t suppose it’s called a show – some Royal Affair – and Buderim coffee won the prize.
SB: Did people go down to Mooloolaba a lot in those days?
MG: Well, this is rather amusing really – Mooloolaba and Buderim seem to go together and the Buderim people felt they owned Mooloolaba, it was their seaside place and Nambour they took over Maroochydore, and never and twain shall meet. That’s how it was, and of course I was like everyone else as a young person, I wasn’t interested in Maroochydore, Mooloolaba was where I went. We had a little house down there, we’d holiday there. Mrs Guy used to take her young family down to Alexandra Headlands, right on the top and I think there was a home there, one old home called ‘Golgotha’. There was no other building anywhere and they either took ‘Golgotha’ or they’d have great big tents. For a time her sister Mrs Burnett, with Arnold and all the children would come down and have their tent there with them. So it was the two Hamilton girls and the husbands and children and they used to bathe just under the headland where the rocks are. Apparently there used to be then a very large rock scooped out like a basin and the kiddies used to swim in there. Mrs Guy was a fine swimmer and as for Mr Guy you couldn’t sink him, it didn’t matter how you pushed him under up he’d come again. He had that something in him that kept him floating. That was their lives that was their holiday time. Otherwise they’d go to Brisbane and stay at a boarding house there, have holidays.
SB: Was there much boating?
MG: Yes, I think there would be a fair bit. I’m talking before my time now.
SB: You were telling me about one of the Guy sons, one of the Guy sons who had a motor-boat?
MG: Yes, that’s James Guy, he was the second son, Robert was the eldest son and he followed the cattle industry and went up to his grandfather and remained there in the cattle world. But James he kept to the farm and he managed the farm as his father got older. He was the manager. He was a very good tennis player and had a fine tenor voice and also he was an enthusiast with boats. If you wanted to be in things in those days, because he had one and of course the girls’d like it and they’d go to picnics and they’d go down Eudlo Creek and up Maroochy River and out to sea.
SB: Is this after the First World War or before?
MG: It might have been before, I’m inclined to think it would be, before my time. This particular time he and his friend, man friend went out around Old Woman’s Island. I think they were about seven miles out when the engine failed and wind came up and they were wrecked. Well his mate couldn’t swim. So he (James Guy) swam – I think it was six or seven miles to the beach and he got help and they went back and rescued his mate because he was hanging to the upturned boat. But I think that sort of took the enthusiasm out of Jim Guy. He didn’t bother anymore with boats.
SB: He gave up boating?
MG: Yes, that’s outside. Then the third son, that’s Cyril, well he followed his father in the interest of surveying. He went to Brisbane and eventually graduated and he rose to be Deputy Surveyor General. See the Guys still have quite a bit of land on Buderim. The great grandson is young Kenny of the Real Estate team and it was he and his wife Sandra, and their two little children, Alex and Jessica that lived in the old family home, the fifth generation.
SB: So the Guys have been at Buderim since the beginning?
MG: From the beginning. Others came afterwards and one family before, most of them have gone, but the Guys remain. William Henry Guy, he was ninety-five and a half when he died. I think that was it. He’s buried down in Buderim Cemetery. In the very very early days he was the man that chose that plot for the cemetery he told me. Also he was the secretary I don’t know if he bothered to do it very thoroughly or not. But he chose that land and I remember one day, he was a very old man then, and he said, “Oh I must go down and pick my plot.” And he did and he’s buried there, him and his wife, and quite a number of the family are buried there. I’ve always thought there should be some recognition to the Guys because of so much they have done for the place and they’re still there you know. I think something should be put on his tomb. I’ve always thought that. You know, it’s a long time ago that they arrived. I’m just trying to count how many Guys are down there – there’s the father and the mother, and the daughter is down there, and James the second is there, and Cyril is there and my husband’s there and some of the grandchildren are there. Quite a few of them.
SB: So the Burnetts and the Guys would have been the main families on Buderim?
MG: They were, yes. One section of the Burnetts are related to the Guys. But the other brothers, I think there’s four. John Kerle Burnett you know, he was the head of the Burnett family, they came from England. I think he was a butcher and grocer on Buderim. It was he that built that nice home where we have Pioneer Cottage today. That had a tremendously big detached kitchen running away out. Well that’s gone. I went there one time with J.K.’s son, his youngest son I suppose, and his wife were living in it. But he was not a farmer in my opinion, not so much. He had two daughters and one became a school teacher and the other became a matron and she made a name for herself during this last war. But before she became a nurse she used to deliver milk and she had a little fat pony and she was a plump little girl herself and she used to ride it bare back. You’d d see this pony galloping along and she’d be on balancing. A nice family.
SB: She used to deliver milk around Buderim?
MG: Yes, one time for a while. Oh it was probably just a few years.
SB: When you were there did Middleton’s have the store?
MG: Yes, not this store that was recently pulled down you know in this new Victorian building but the first Middleton store that I knew of (there could have been one before) but it would be nearer to – you know where Ballinger Road goes up? Practically on the corner there. Not quite on the corner but very near the corner and it was a very big place for those days. It was just massed with things, to find anything was like looking for a needle in a haystack. On the same system that the son Glen followed on the Middy’s that you would know. However the father died and he started again before he died in a smaller shop, he also had expanded to Palmwoods because the depression came which upset him quite a bit. So when he died, Glen who was a pretty good position in the taxation, accountancy and so on, he came back to run the business. He made a replica of what his father had in the first one, like a needle in a haystack, you know, same idea. But that gave it character I think that was done on purpose.
SB: And what were some of the treats that Middy’s would see that the children would buy?
MG: I think that he had almost everything I really think that he had toys and dolls. You name it, pretty near everything.
SB: What about chocolate? Was there much chocolate in say the 20’s or the 30’s?
MG: Middy owned nearly all that street on that side and where Middy’s as you know it was that was his restaurant, old café and he had that let, I know you could get ice creams in those days and that was a treat. People would wait for the ice cream to come up from Brisbane; they’d be outside waiting to get a taste of the ice cream. (LAUGHS) Yes all sorts of lollies and things and ice cream.
SB: What type of ice cream, can you remember?
MG: Just vanilla flavoured.
SB: Of course there was no refrigeration?
MG: No, no there wouldn’t be. My mother was the first I think to get an electrical stove on Buderim.
SB: Did people come to see it?
MG: No only our friends I suppose. I remember Dad was a bit interested in honey mead, because Dad had a few bees you know, it was his hobby to have bees, and so he enticed Mum to make some honey mead and she did, he produced a cask of it and all of the rest of it, it tasted pretty good. We didn’t know anything about honey mead, Dad might have but mum didn’t. She made it, it was a success. She asked quite a number of her church friends to afternoon tea and she gave them honey mead and it knocked us all out. It was potent, it was really potent. It was amusing; one sprawled on the couch and another somewhere else. I wondered why at the time but some of the farmers round about would come in you know and say it was hot, or something and they’d get a drink of honey mead. (LAUGHS)
SB: Frank Wise had bees, did you have anything much to do with them?
MG: No I don’t know much about the Wises but I know that they’re pretty famous now aren’t they? No I couldn’t say that I knew them really, I knew of them. I didn’t know his father was called Major Wise but now I don’t think he was a Major, I think that must have been either a nickname of his Christian name, and he was a very big man, plump man I can just remember that.
SB: Can you tell me a little bit about your father being in the Masons?
MG: Yes well, as I say Dad was born in Victoria from pioneer people, in fact the property is on the maps down there still, and his brother, a big exporter and grower of fruit especially pears. Parker’s famous Pears in Mildura and Shepparton, that’s where they came from. Well Dad went to New Zealand – he was young and wanted to see the world, of course he married Mum and he used to read about Queensland, this wonderful Queensland they had. Used to have wonderful advertisements about it you know, publicity. Because Dad wanted to get to Queensland where everything was flowing milk and honey. So he did just that, he came to Queensland and he took up property at Pittsworth. It was mixing farming – wheat and all that – he was quite successful but one time he happened to come up here and he saw Buderim in it’s beauty and it reminded him of the Goulburn River where he was brought up in Shepparton, how he used to swim and fish and so on. Absolutely took him by storm this beauty. So he bought a portion of the Guy Estate and that’s how we came here. Therefore I got to know the Guys quite early because we bought some of their land and eventually I married their youngest son.
SB: Can I ask you what courtship was like in those days?
MG: Oh yes, I can talk about that. It was quite interesting you know. Courtship – well the picture show was started and the little hall on Buderim had a picture show, we used to go to that. Also there was one down here at Maroochydore and we’d come to that occasionally. At this time my husband – he wasn’t my husband then but he was my friend – he had a Lincoln car. Now you’ve probably heard of the Lincoln car, it’s a beautiful car. There’s not many of them about. If only we had, it’d be antique. Only a few ever came to Australia, it was an American car, beautiful car. So he used to take me out in that. We’d go to balls, there’d be a ball in Palmwoods and we’d go down fairly early and we’d have dinner in the hotel there and I’d redress myself and go to the ball. Sometimes we’d go to Nambour and there’d be big balls on there and go to that. Occasionally Buderim would have a ball but they had lots of dances you see. But it was tennis, we were tennis mad. Tennis, tennis, tennis, and my husband was in the lifesavers and of course Sunday we’d go down there. There was a lot of romancing – as I mentioned before, little parties at night time on the rocks and so on. A great number of Brisbane people would come up, and they were rather beautiful – and the trees they grew with a great deal more growth and beauty in their natural state than they do now. But underneath nearly every tree you’d see a couple, yes you know. You’d see their feet sticking out, the moonlight hitting them, it was romance alright. The moon shining you know.
SB: What was the fashion like on the beach in those days?
MG: Well, I had a very smart outfit. My father was very generous to me and he bought me this beautiful swim outfit. It was brown, it was a one-piece, it had a big low v-neck, orange stipes across it holding, orange bands and it came to my knees – or near to my knees. It had an orange sash and tassels at the sides. And it was most elaborate and most beautiful but there wasn’t any of these little wee patches that you see today. (LAUGHS)
SB: What did the men wear?
MG: Well, one pieces and pretty long, practically to the knee, very thin material you know. And the lifesavers, they formed up and I remember my husband was in the lifesavers. They were arguing what they’d call themselves and they said we’d call it Mooloolaba and we’ll have Mooloolaba embroided on our pockets with a bar, with a white bar underneath and it was red, the suit was red and on the pocket there was Mooloolaba and a bar all done in white embroidery. That was the first one. At that time the Neptune’s were lady lifesavers in Brisbane and they used to come up you know smart as paint and they would romance with the Mooloolaba boys. I remember Percy Jackman, he was the Captain of the Mooloolaba’s at this particular time, Percy was a very handsome man, a small man, but very handsome. He married a friend of the Guys, a station girl, Lexie Carr. I showed you the picture of her, the very long dress, that’s long before I’m talking of now cause she married fairly late in life to Percy. Well Percy wasn’t married at this time and the Neptune ladies would come up and of course he’d flirt with them all so they attacked him and of course they were too much for him. They’d put him down in the sand and they’d rub the sand all over him. They told him. He couldn’t do a thing (LAUGHS), they took the stuffing out of him you see.
SB: Did the Neptune team come up and compete?
MG: They used to give displays, Royal displays and holidays, I can’t remember any other teams. Ivy Chadwick’s father, Billy Bell, he was very much in it too. They really were the beginnings of it around these parts. Very keen.
SB: So it was lifesaving, tennis and dancing?
MG: Yes, and concerts. As for cards and things – well bridge didn’t come in for quite a time after as far as I know.
SB: What did the Kanakas do on Buderim for a social life?
MG: Well the poor Kanakas, of course they were imported you know, more or less like slaves I suppose, until that was altered by the Government, most of them went back. But a few stayed, I remember seeing one with a hole right through his nose where he’d had that stick through and he had been a cannibal, one of them had been a cannibal. But they became very good living people and they used to work for the farmers round about and I know in latter years my father employed one and built him a little hut at the side of the property and down near the springs. He was a very good man and we treated him well. Some of them I think they’re descendants are round about. They used to speak Pigeon- English and I think it was good, that order of Government was put into practice, they should be sent back, I think so.
SB: Did they mix much with the residents of Buderim?
MG: I don’t think they mixed on an equal footing. I don’t think so. They kept together, they were liked and treated well but they were servants. That’s how it appeared to me. The Salvation Army stuck to them though, they banded them together and a white Salvation Army Captain used to come up from Nambour and in the front of Birdwood they’d give a service and these Kanakas would be singing and they were most musical people. He stuck by them.
SB: There are a few left now.
MG: Yes, oh they’re highly respected now. But I suppose class distinction was there a little bit in the earlier days. I’m not saying that it was so, but it appeared so.
Social life and fashion
SB: Were there any concerts, like beauty contests or queen contests on Buderim?
MG: No nothing like that. I think it had just about started in Queensland. I think Miss Kelly was the first Miss Queensland; she became Miss Australia I do believe, yes. One of my neighbours suggested that I do it, she thought I was nice. Mum threw up her hands in horror at the idea. My mother was very conservative. No it didn’t get as far as Buderim. But there were so many pretty girls there though, they were quite nice.
SB: They were dress conscious?
MG: They were very dress conscious yes, and surprising what exquisite outfits they had. They used to wear a lot of soft floral and pink sashes with a bow in front and these lovely big picture hats. I had one, it was white crinoline and it had green velvet with cherries on the top, and a cherry hanging down underneath. I thought that was pretty nice.
SB: And did the men wear suits and ties?
MG: They dressed up more than the men do around here when they went to something, but the lifesavers seemed to love to wear their beautiful red flannel coats a lot with the white trousers. That was worn quite a bit too for just semi official things, they looked well too.
SB: Did they wear bow ties, ties and suits?
MG: I think they were more dress conscious than they are today. Although the functions were only small and so on, they were very important to them at that time and therefore they dressed. Their good clothes they wore you see.
SB: Did they used to get any magazines, any women’s magazines?
MG: Yes, I think there was an English woman’s magazine, and Weldon’s Fashion Journal. They used to get that too. I don’t think there was a Queensland woman’s book, you know the Woman’s Weekly. I don’t think that was going then. But Weldon’s was very very fashionable.
SB: Was it glossy?
MG: It was glossy. And it had nice pictures in it and the church was the main avenue for social life. We had an organist there. Winnie Dyble was her name. She had French blood in her. She used to play the organ for the Methodist Church and she dressed most beautifully. Oh they did dress very well to go to church – beautifully. Quite compared with the best today. Crepe de Chine, Fuji Silk, oh everything was were one or two good dressmakers about. One lady from Rockhampton came to live there. She was a very good dressmaker by the name of Mrs Hamilton. She was all glamour you know, and that gave an uplift to things.
SB: And what about make up?
MG: Well yes make up was used, sparingly, but it was used. And powder, mostly powder I think. Not too much lipstick or rouge, but it was used. But in my mother’s time you were thought to be bad if you used that kind of thing. Naughty woman.
SB: And did they have silk stockings?
MG: Oh yes, weren’t they proud of their silk stockings. First of all they were Lyle Stockings. Very fine Lyle and they had a sheen about them. They were white too and they had a kind of rich look about them. The girls looked ok. Later of course, the silk stockings came in, and to own silk stockings was quite something. It was important.
SB: And you could buy all these things in Buderim or would you have to go elsewhere?
MG: To get special things they went to Brisbane. Most folk went to Brisbane occasionally. They’d go down on the tram and then by train. And then of course, as time went on there was a kind of service went by road. It was only a truck for start, but they would go that way. Then gradually they would start to get cars. But there was not a decent road to Brisbane for many many years. I think the first decent road would be about 40 years ago, that’s all. You couldn’t go by car until about then.
SB: So it was train right till then?
MG: Right. Just a quaint thing when the Ninety Nine round trip opened up. It was to go from Buderim to Mapleton right along the range and the Razorback there and right down to Caloundra and back. That was the Ninety Nine Miles trip. If you had a nice young man and a good car, well that’s what you did. (LAUGHS) That was something.
SB: So it was the tour?
MG: Yes, it was the tour. Yes, and of course, nowadays on top of Mapleton Range is a decent road but in those days, it was a very rough road and just inches each side on the Razorback. Down the gorge it was scary. It was really scary.
SB: Was there any accidents?
MG: I can’t remember any. Maybe they were more careful. Course, the cars weren’t so speedy.
SB: And did people used to have debuts?
MG: Yes, that was done. That was really quite something, and they had beautiful dresses. Sometimes it was held in Nambour, sometimes on Buderim.
SB: And would the girls wear white?
MG: Yes, mostly white and a lot of frills.
SB: Did you go to any?
MG: I didn’t make my debut. It didn’t appeal to me, I suppose. I went to a lot of parties and enjoyed them. We used to go to parties at Buderim House. We had a lot of parties there.
SB: And what did you drink at the parties? Was there any alcohol?
MG: I can’t remember any. No.
SB: What would you drink?
MG: It would be fruit drinks and things like that?
SB: Fruit punches?
MG: Yes, all that kind of thing. Of course, as I say Buderim was a very very religious place and I’m going back further than my time when I say this. If you did take drink, you were just a cast out. It just wasn’t done.
SB: Even today, there’s no big hotel in Buderim.
MG: No. There isn’t any. They’ve been battling for years to get one. But if a boy was known to go to the Maroochydore Hotel and drink he was just thought of, just a little bit beneath the salt or the pail, which ever way you like to take it.