Dora Gooding

Dora was born in Nambour and went to Mapleton State School. She talks about the Mapleton/Nambour tram, working in Strongarra Boarding House and life during World War II

Dora Gooding

Interview with: Dora Gooding (nee Johnson)

Date of Interview: 16 July 1985

Interviewer: Valerie Poole

Transcriber: Colwyn Boulton

Dora was born in Nambour and went to Mapleton State School. She talks about the Mapleton/Nambour tram, working in Strongarra Boarding House and life during World War II.

Image: Johnson family at Maroochydore Beach, 1925. Pictured: Dora, Eric, Myrtle, Pearl.

Images and documents of Dora Gooding and the Johnson Family in the Sunshine Coast Libraries catalogue.


Dora Gooding oral history - part one [MP3 31MB]

Dora Gooding oral history - part two [MP3 22MB]


Family background

VP: I’ll start off asking you about your grandfather. He came with your great grandfather to Mapleton as one of the first pioneers, and he must have been about twenty years old then. What did he do for a living then?

GOODING: Well, I think he helped his father on the farm to start off with, with the strawberries and fruit. Then they started the mail run.

VP: The mail run. This is to Nambour?

GOODING: From Mapleton to Nambour, yes. Well I think they used to cart their goods up by horse in the first place, horseback. Then they started the horse and coaches.

VP: And that was just the mail or was he bringing other things as well?

GOODING: Mail and everything else that was sent up to Mapleton.

VP: Like a whole bus service. Did he bring passengers as well?

GOODING: That's right, they did have passengers.

VP: And meat and fruit and anything that was needed?

Strongarra Boarding House

GOODING: Yes. He had a boarding house built, and grandad and grandma ran it for a while.

VP: What was the name of the boarding house?

GOODING: Strongarra Boarding House. Then my dad and mother took over. Dad was taking over the coach run then. They'd started to get motor cars and had the bus then from Mapleton to Nambour. Mum used to work in the boarding house. I was still at school when they took over the boarding house. I left school at fourteen and worked in the boarding house with my mother.

VP: And where were you born?

GOODING: In Nambour, at Bungalow Private Hospital in the Blackall Terrace.

VP: Where did you live first?

GOODING: We lived at Kureelpa until I was five. My father had a dairy farm there. All the cattle were wiped out with some disease, so that's when they went to Mapleton after that. He helped his father then with the coaches before he went into the boarding house.

Mapleton State School

VP: And how old were you when you went off to school?

GOODING: I was five when I started school. I went to the Mapleton School, just walked across the road.

VP: Just straight across the road. It wasn't far to go?

GOODING: No, no.

VP: Did you like school?

GOODING: Oh yes, I liked school but I used to be very shy. One day I was told that the inspector was coming and I didn't know what an inspector was and I got really frightened. Anyway they said, the inspector’ll be here today. I'd gone to school. I blew through. I cleared off down the back of the school paddock and hid behind a clump of lantana. They had to send out a search party to look for me.

VP: Did the inspector come?

GOODING: Yes, I found out he was only a man; he was no different to our teacher. But I didn't know what an inspector was. I was really scared.

VP: Did you win any prizes at school?

GOODING: We were all given books at the end of the year, all given books.

VP: There was a great emphasis on your reading?

GOODING: That's right. And we always had school races at the end of the year - Fun Day - and all given a bag of boiled lollies.

VP: This is like a break-up picnic?

GOODING: Yes, like a break-up. All took lunch and we had a wonderful time.

VP: Did you get up to any pranks at school?

GOODING: No, I was never game to do anything like that.

VP: What about any of the teachers? Do you remember any of them?

GOODING: Not so far back. There was Mr Watt and I think there was a Jessie Morris. I think she taught Sunday School too. When we had the school plays - we used to put on a school play every year - and she used to be one of the organisers for that.

VP: Were you ever in the school plays?

GOODING: Oh yes, I think a lot of us were. I used to love it, I always wanted to be an actress - never ever got to that stage.

VP: Did you ever take the leading role?

GOODING: Yes, I was Snow White in "The Seven Dwarfs". Oh, there's a few others. I just can't remember what they were, but we used to have the school plays nearly every year. We learnt dancing at school too.

VP: Old-time dances?

GOODING: Old-time dancing. All the old-time dances.

VP: That would have been almost the "Roaring 20s" type dances, was it? The Charlestonand that?

GOODING: Oh, we weren't taught the Charleston at school. I picked that up when I got older, when I was in my teens. But there was the schottische, the mazurka, the pride of Erin and all those, and the lancers.

VP: Do you remember any games that you used to play at school?

GOODING: No, not really, just the usual ones they play - "drop the hanky" and "tig" as they call it.

Home life

VP: What about your home life? Did you have to do chores when you were going to school?

GOODING: Oh yes, we all helped. I had two sisters and a brother and we all had to tuck in and help. The older one minded the younger ones.

VP: What about manners and that side of things in the home life?

GOODING: Oh yes, we all had to have good manners. You didn't speak at the meal table. That was taboo.

VP: What about music? Did you learn any music when you were younger?

GOODING: When I was twelve I had twelve months tuition with Elsie Skene who lived at Montville. She used to ride over on horseback top Mapleton, give me a lesson. There was other children had lessons too.

VP: This was for the piano?

GOODING: Yes, for the piano. It'd be an hour lesson. My parents couldn't afford to keep it going any longer. I only had twelve months. I was very disappointed. But it's one of those things, that they just couldn't manage it.

VP: You enjoyed it?

GOODING: Oh yes, I loved it.

VP: Did you go to Sunday School?

GOODING: Yes, there was a Methodist Church there, next to the house where we lived at one time. We always went to Sunday School. Jessie Morris, I think, was one of the teachers there too. As I got older, I used to teach the younger ones, and being able to play the piano a little, I used to play the organ for the hymns.

VP: For the children to sing at Sunday School?


VP: How far did you go on at school?

GOODING: Until I was fourteen.

VP: You did your Scholarship, did you?

GOODING: That was the Scholarship, up to the Scholarship grade. Yes I came to Nambour and sat for Scholarship.

VP: Did you do a years school in Nambour or did you just come down and sit for the exams?

GOODING: No, just came down for the exams. By that time my parents had moved into the boarding house and my grandparents had come to live at Nambour, in Blackall Terrace.

VP: They retired?

GOODING: They retired, yes. My dad drove the bus and my mother and I and the rest of the family worked in the boarding house.

VP: What sort of people used to stay at the boarding house?

GOODING: Well, people used to come from Brisbane for a holiday, for a fortnight or so. We also had men who worked on the new roads that were being built; a couple of forestry workers; and there used to be fruit packing, and two of the men were running it, boarded with us.

VP: They were running the fruit packing?

GOODING: The fruit packing, yes. The oranges were brought in, oranges and mandarins were brought into the shed, and they employed other packers. I used to pack there. I'd get thruppence a case for packing oranges, fourpence a case for packing mandarins.

VP: How many cases would you pack a day?

GOODING: Oh, until the fruit ran out. Depended on how much fruit was brought in. Well, that was loaded onto the tram then to come to Nambour.

VP: I see. Mapleton was mainly citrus then, wasn't it?

GOODING: Yes, yes, all citrus.

VP: Do you remember any travelling salesmen that used to come to the boarding house?

GOODING: Rawleighs used to come there, with all their ointments and so forth.

VP: Do you remember anything your mother used to buy off the Rawleigh’s man?

GOODING: Oh, she used to buy quite a lot, spices and mustards and Rawleigh’s Ointment. Oh yes, all of those. Rawleigh’s Ointment. And then we used to have a travelling chappie from Gympie, from Cusacks.

VP: What were they?

GOODING: Cusacks, it was a drapery store.

VP: Did you buy much off him?

GOODING: Oh, Mum used to always find something to buy when we needed it.

VP: Could you buy manchester off him for the boarding house?

GOODING: Yes, definitely.

Working in the boarding house

VP: And what sort of work did you used to do at the house?

GOODING: The main housework: making the beds, sweeping, waiting on the tables. I used to help Mum sometimes with the cooking. You’d help her prepare the meals, you know, the vegetables.

VP: It was like a motel? You went and made everyone’s beds in the morning type of thing?

GOODING: Oh yes.

VP: You must have had a lot of washing?

GOODING: Oh yes, we only had the old copper. Had to boil the clothes up in that. Plenty of starched tablecloths and serviettes to do.

VP: What did you iron those with?

GOODING: We had a petrol iron for that.

VP: Must have been a tedious job?

GOODING: Yes, there was plenty of that to do.

VP: What about the cutlery? Did you have silver service?

GOODING: Yes that had to be polished every so often. You kept busy all the time. My dad used to take some of the boarders on bus trips, perhaps up to the Mapleton Falls or out to Kondalilla Falls, take a picnic lunch.

VP: These were holidaymakers?


VP: And you could get down to see the Kondalilla Falls then?

GOODING: Yes, but through the scrub. We had to find our way through the scrub.

VP: What about lights? Did you have electric light?

GOODING: Well, he had his own generator there for the electric light.

VP: And did you have the phone on then?

GOODING: Yes, we did have the phone on. An old wooden box one on the wall.

VP: Oh, you’d wind the handle?


VP: Were you on a party line?

GOODING: Yes. We had an exchange there connected to the Mapleton Store.

VP: What about in the Depression? You would have been about fifteen by the time the Depression came along. Just started work.

GOODING: Yes, I didn’t realise at the time, but I did find out that my parents couldn’t afford to give me anything for working. They’d provide my food and clothing and perhaps if I needed something they’d get that. But I never had any money that I could save.

VP: Did it ever pick up? Did you ever feel there was a time when your parents got on top of the struggle?

GOODING: No, I don’t think so, not by the time I left up there. I was married when I was twenty. I’d left the boarding house and was living in another house up there. And you’re not mixed up then with the work at the boarding house.

VP: How did you get the food for the boarding house?

GOODING: Well, by that time the Mapleton Store was there. We used to get a lot of items from there. Occasionally we’d get half a sheep. That’d be sent up from Brisbane by rail. My father would pick it up at the Nambour Railway Station and take it up to Mapleton. We had an enormous big ice-chest.

VP: And did you have to buy ice?

GOODING: Yes we had to buy ice. It was brought from Nambour and carried up to Mapleton.

VP: Was there an ice-works in Nambour?

GOODING: Yes, there was at that time. Course there was always plenty of fruit at Mapleton, fruit and vegetables, that you could buy up there. We used to grow a few vegetables of our own at the boarding house.

VP: What sort of vegetables?

GOODING: Oh, carrots and cabbages.

VP: What about bread? Did your mother make the bread?

GOODING: Well she has made bread yes. There was a bakehouse up there, eventually, but I can remember my mother baking bread. I had a go at it myself too.

VP: How did you do?

GOODING: All right not too bad, I’ve made some since I come down here, because we had the old cast iron stove. That’s the only cooker, I reckon. Everything was lovely that was cooked on a wood stove.

VP: Did you have to have an extra big stove for the boarding house, or did your mother just have a normal stove?

GOODING: No she had a big range, a big one, had two ovens. The fireplace was in the middle. Firebox was in the middle and the two ovens were on the outside. You had to heat the water in the copper if you wanted a hot bath.

VP: What about for the guests?

GOODING: The same yes. Carry it up. Never had hot water laid on. We had the bathroom up inside and there was a shower downstairs, but that was a cold shower.

VP: And you had your jug and basin in the rooms?

GOODING: Yes. The jugs and the basin and the chamber underneath; it was in the pedestal too there. They had to be emptied every day. That was my job.

VP: For all the guests?

GOODING: Yes. The toilet was outside you see.

VP: And what other furniture did they have? A wardrobe?

GOODING: Well there was a small wardrobe, duchess.

VP: What about desserts? Did your mother cook desserts every night for the guests?

GOODING: Oh yes, there was a three-course meal. That’s whoever wanted three courses. There was soup. It could be roast beef and vegetables. She'd do steak or rissoles, shepherds pie or potato pie, some people call it. Sometimes she'd make steam puddings, bread and butter custards. All those old-time recipes.

VP: Sago?

GOODING: Yes, sago, rice, stewed fruits - it's the old plain cooking.

VP: Was there any emphasis on drinking orange juice and that sort of thing in those


GOODING: We’d squeeze our own juice. We'd have our own pure juice.

VP: Did you have juice with your breakfast like they do nowadays?

GOODING: Yes, some did. Some had it yes.

VP: It was available at the house?

GOODING: Yes, we could have that. Dad had a small property, a few miles west of Mapleton. He ran half a dozen cows. We used to milk the cows in the morning before the breakfast and separate the milk. So we'd bring in the milk and the cream. We'd make butter too out of the cream.

VP: And what sort of breakfasts would the guests have?

GOODING: Oh, porridge, bacon and eggs. Any sort of eggs, boiled, poached, whatever. We used to find out what they wanted first. We never had a menu, but we’d check with them. Some of them would like their own meals that they used to have at home. We’d try to give them that. I remember a couple of old people, every night for tea - we’d have a hot midday meal, not at night - every night for tea, we'd have to toast bread, put it in a soup plate, pour hot milk over the top of it and they'd sprinkle sugar on it, and that’s all they wanted for tea.

VP: So in those days you had your big hot meal at lunchtime and just have a light tea?

GOODING: That’s right yes. The main meal at midday.

VP: That’s gone out hasn’t it? I suppose you had big Sunday dinners?

GOODING: Oh, always a big Sunday dinner, yes, definitely. I carried that on for years, until the boys grew up. During the summer, the boys would say, "Oh no Mum, not another hot dinner". So that stopped from then on.

VP: Is the boarding house still there?

GOODING: Only half of it. The part with the bedrooms in it was taken down. I believe Teddy Thomas, old Mr Thomas, the undertaker, he bought that. And I don’t know whether he owned the hospital store, but it was added onto that shop. The end of the boarding house was added onto that shop. They still had the verandah around it for some years, but now I believe they’ve got it covered in.

Social life

VP: When you were working in the boarding house, do you remember going to any of the dances? Was there much social life up there?

GOODING: That was the only social life we had really, the dances. Yes, I enjoyed going to the dances. I started going with Bill when he was sixteen - when we were sixteen - and we used to go to the dances together. But he wasn't so keen on dancing. We'd only ever have the waltz and the spot waltz as they called it. They had a special spot and when the music stopped, if you were at that spot you were the one that won the prize. I just forget now what the prize was, a box of chocolates or something like that. And we always had the last dance together.

VP: Did you dance with other people?

GOODING: Oh yes, yes, used to love to dance.

VP: And were they very sedate or did they let their hair down and have a good time?

GOODING: We did have a good time, yes. And some of the dances, when they had the lancers the boys used to try and swing the girls off their feet.

VP: And you’d end up on the floor?

GOODING: On no, they were hanging on to you. But they’d swing that fast that your legs came out.

VP: Did they have any special balls? Did they have any debutante balls then?

GOODING: No, not while I was up there. See I left Mapleton when I was twenty-two and whether they had any after that, I don’t know. The time that I was there, I don’t remember any.

VP: Do you remember what sort of dresses you would wear to the dances?

GOODING: No, we'd wear just ordinary clothes to the dances, but when they had the bigger balls, we'd have long frocks. Definitely long frocks.

VP: Do you remember any of the styles or colours?

GOODING: Well I can remember one that I had. It had three or four frills all the way down the skirt. My mother made that. It was made out of voile.

VP: You told me before that you had a mannequin parade for Bayards.

GOODING: Yes. There was a big hall in Howard Street, used to be a picture theatre. That’s where they held it. There was quite a lot of us. Showed some of Bayard’s clothes.

VP: Did they do this very often?

GOODING: I only did it once. It was to be twice, but there was a misunderstanding in the date that I was to go down cause I was living at Mapleton at the time. And there was a misunderstanding over the first one, but I went to the second one and showed dresses, overcoats, hats.

VP: Gloves?


VP: And what sort of sport, was there any sport being played around Mapleton then?

GOODING: Well the only sport I ever played was tennis. My parents had a tennis court built at the back of the boarding house. It sloped, very steep slope down the back of the boarding house and they had to dig it out with other helpers. Dug it out and they carried anthills, ant-beds we called them, and they put that all over the court and rammed it all down till it was hard.

VP: How would they ram it down?

GOODING: Oh they'd have a stick with a board underneath it and ram it down like that. And then a roller, they'd roll it.

VP: Did you have to go far to get the anthill?

GOODING: No, not far, out into the bush. But we had a tennis club there. The boarding house across the road, "Elanora", they had a tennis club; they had a tennis court in front of their building. And there were tennis clubs at Flaxton and we used to play matches all through the year. I had a lady partner. A couple of years we won the ladies doubles, but I could never win the singles. One girl, Ali Dixon her name was, Ali Blair I think she is now, she could beat me every time. She was just too good, but we had a lot of fun. Nambour Clubs used to come up and compete against us at Mapleton. But they were far better than what we ever were. I think if you’re playing against stronger players, you do improve.

VP: Did anyone teach you to play tennis?

GOODING: No, that was a big failing really. Because you taught yourself. Nowadays the ones that are taught, they’re pretty good.

Mapleton Bus Service

VP: Yes they are. And you mentioned your father had the mail run. Did you ever go on that with him, when you were a child?

GOODING: Yes when I was old enough to help him. Then I got my drivers licence at seventeen for the car. My grandfather came to Nambour with me. I drove up to the police Station and we went in and asked for a licence. And the Sergeant there said, "Can she drive?" And he said, "Well, she drove me down here today." And he said, "Well, that’s fair enough." So they gave me a licence. I’ve never had a driver’s test.

VP: They just wrote it out for you?

GOODING: (laughs) Just wrote it out for me.

VP: And what was the road like? Was it much different to what it is now?

GOODING: Oh definitely. No bitumen. In the wet weather, I know when my dad was driving the bus we used to have to put chains on in different places, to get it through the mud.

VP: Does it follow the same route still?

GOODING: Yes, practically. They may have cut a little bit off the hills, especially there at Kureelpa; they’ve got a big cutting through there. We used to have to go over the top of that when the dirt road was there. Well the Range is still a little bit steep, but it’s not as steep now as what it used to be. They’ve cut a lot away.

VP: The buses weren’t four wheel drive were they?

GOODING: No, never.

VP: And did you have to get out to put the chains on?

GOODING: I helped my dad yes, yes.

VP: What does it mean, "putting the chains on"?

GOODING: Well it stops the vehicle from becoming bogged. You can go through the mud with those chains on.

VP: But where do you put the chains?

GOODING: On the back wheels.

VP: Did you ever do the mail run by yourself, the coach run?

GOODING: Yes, I did it for a week. Dad went away for a bit of a break.

VP: What sort of things did you have to pick up? And where did you pick them up from?

GOODING: Well we used to usually park at the Nambour Railway Station and there could be goods fromanywhere. People would send orders down and we would pick them up from the drapery stores and....

VP: Any of the goods that come off the train?

GOODING: Yes, some stuff come off the train.

VP: And did you just take Mapleton stuff, or did you deliver anywhere else up the range?

GOODING: We’d take it up to Mapleton and we always picked up the mail and dropped it off at the store, the Mapleton Post Office. It would be delivered. By the time that was delivered, my father would take his bus up to the boarding house, transfer what goods had to taken to Flaxton into a utility. Then we’d go down to the Post Office, pick up the mail to be delivered out Flaxton way.

VP: Did you deliver the mail yourselves to people’s mailboxes?

GOODING: That’s right.

Mapleton tram

VP: Do you remember the old tram?

GOODING: Oh yes!

VP: Did you ever go on the tram?

GOODING: Yes, often used to be on it.

VP: And, what would you come down to Nambour on the tram for?

GOODING: More or less excursions. Perhaps a trip to Nambour on the tram, a family trip.

VP: Do you remember any of the stops or any of the farms on the way from Mapleton down?

GOODING: No, not really. It went through a lot of the farms out the back of Kureelpa. It came down the Highworth - that was a winding road, winding road down through Highworth.

VP: Did it go through Dulong?

GOODING: Dulong, yes.

VP: And where was the tram stop in Nambour?

GOODING: It used to come into the back of the Railway Station, I think, somewhere there.

VP: And what about Mapleton?

GOODING: It stopped in front of the store at Mapleton. It was a dead end.

VP: Your husband Bill, he was a driver on the tram?

GOODING: He was for a few years. I think he turned eighteen when he started on the tram. I believe the first day that he drove it, at Kureelpa it capsized. The rails were very wet and slippery and they couldn’t get the sandbox to work. They used to regulate the sand onto the lines to stop the wheels from slipping. The sandbox didn’t work and it got out of control and it capsized. My uncle was driving. As it capsized, it caught his ankle and broke it.

VP: Who was he?

GOODING: My uncle, Bill English.

VP: Was this the Shay locomotive?

GOODING: I’m not sure about that.

VP: When you married, where did you live?

GOODING: We lived at Mapleton, in the part of the boarding house that was left. We lived there for a while.

VP: And the boarding house was finished by the time you got married? It wasn’t a boarding house any more?

GOODING: Oh no, it was still there when we moved in there. My parents had gone onto a farm in the Obi and we moved in there. The boarding house had been sold, but we lived there for a while. We were there at the time that the bedroom part had been taken away.

VP: Did you work then or were you a housewife once you got married?

GOODING: Oh no, I’ve never gone out to work.

VP: You must have enjoyed the relaxation, once the boarding house finished?

GOODING: Oh yes, to a certain extent, yes. Then the babies started coming. Finished up I had seven sons. That kept me busy. No time to go out to work then.

VP: Did you have any of those up at Mapleton?

GOODING: Yes I had two, the eldest two, they were born in Nambour, Dale and Mervyn. Yes I came to Nambour for their birth.

VP: They were born at the General Hospital?

GOODING: Yes, at the General Hospital. And we moved to Nambour when Mervyn was a baby, because Bill was asked to drive the cane locos down here, the cane trams.

VP: What did he do when the cane season was over?

GOODING: There was still work to do, on the lines and the trams.

VP: There must have been maintenance on the trams, I suppose?

World War II

GOODING: Yes. By the time we had our fourth son, well War had been declared and he wanted to enlist.

VP: Did you want him to go?

GOODING: No, I didn’t want him to go. But he still thought he should do his bit.

VP: And was it hard with four sons at home?

GOODING: It was in a way, yes.

VP: How long was he away?

GOODING: Four and a half years, all told. But he’d get leave. I think the longest he was away was just on two years.

VP: And where was he stationed?

GOODING: He went to Darwin to start off with. He wasn’t there for the original bombing; he went there just after it. Then he went to the Netherlands, East Indies, Borneo, New Guinea. He finished up in the Docks Operating Company in the Engineers Unit. He was in New Guinea when the War finished. When he came home of course the Mapleton Tram was no more, so he was given a job - see the Council owned the tram - he was given a job on the road, doing roadworks, grading the roads for the Council.

VP: And how did your sons feel when he came home? They wouldn’t have known him.

GOODING: No, a couple of them didn’t, anyway. In fact, Dennis, he was the youngest when he came home, he didn’t know him at all. He didn’t like him either. He was not used to having a man in the house.

VP: And were you here with the children by yourself?

GOODING: Yes, that’s right. Oh, for a few years I had my sister, younger sister staying with me. She was working on the milk runs, doing that sort of job here, mainly on the milk runs. She was living with me. It was a little bit of company.

VP: It must have been hard for you even when he came home, after learning to be so independent for so long?

GOODING: That’s right. I'll tell you something. He thought it was funny, but I didn’t. I was saving up tinned fruit, for when he came home, because it was so hard for us to buy tinned fruit. Now when he come home I had this half a dozen or so tins of peaches and pears. "Oh no Mum," he said. "No. Up in New Guinea we used to punch holes in the tins, drink the juice out and throw the tin of fruit into the river." I thought I was doing the right thing. He was sick of it.

VP: You were saving a luxury for him?

GOODING: "Don’t give me any rice either for a while." All those sort of things that we couldn’t get, they were getting. Course I didn’t realise that.

VP: And what were the wages like? What sort of money did he earn in the Army?

GOODING: In the Army, well he was getting 2/6d a day. I think I was getting a little bit more because of the children.

VP: Was that good money for those times?

GOODING: It wasn’t bad money. I'd saved up a little bit before he came home.

VP: But you had nothing to spend it on with all your ration cards.

GOODING: That’s right. No, if we needed a new dress we’d buy some curtain material. There were no rations for that. We’d make dresses out of curtain material.

VP: What about clothes for the children?

GOODING: Well, I used to make their shirts out of cast-off men’s shirts; their trousers out of the best part of the trouser legs, the serge trousers, with braces on, little material braces. Course I had to buy their shoes and socks. But we were brought up to be very careful with everything we had, because we never had much. And it’s stuck with me all my life. I still try to be careful.

The move to Nambour

VP: Where did you live when you first came to Nambour?

GOODING: At the top of Reilly Road. There was a house there at the end of Palms Corner, right at the corner of Reilly Road and Currie Street. The rent was a little too high for us, so we moved into a cheaper place in Elizabeth Street.

VP: You were renting this? And who did you rent that from, the one in Elizabeth Street?

GOODING: Oh, I can’t think of it. She was a nurse anyway. I can’t remember, but she wanted to move into it. She sold the house she was in and she wanted to move back into this one of hers. So we had to get out. So we asked, as I call him, ‘Old Daddy Lanham’ if he had a house to rent. "Well," he said, "the only one I’ve got at the moment is in Currie Street." It was somewhere there near the Salvation Army Hall. He said, "I’m having one built in Reilly Road, but this house has to be demolished (the one in Currie Street). So if you’d like to stay there till this house is built..." We could move in here then. Well our third one was a baby when we moved in here.

VP: How long were you in Currie Street?

GOODING: Only a month. And we moved down here about forty-five years ago.

VP: Oh, this is Mr Lanham's house?

GOODING: This belonged to 'Old Daddy Lanham', yes. His son built it, Arthur Lanham built it.

VP: And you brought the house off him did you?

GOODING: Well, when Old Daddy Lanham died, this place was left to a daughter of his and she lived in Brisbane. She wrote and asked us would we be interested in buying it. If not we’d have to find somewhere else to rent. So we wrote and asked her if she would sell it on a small deposit. She said she would. Well, how much were we willing to pay, or how much could we pay? So we totalled up the child endowment that we had, and the income tax rebate, and we found that we could raise fifty-pound. So we wrote and asked her would she take fifty-pound deposit? She said yes. So we paid off the house fifty- pound deposit and two pound a week.

VP: Was that a struggle to pay two pound a week?

GOODING: No, not really. Bill was always in work; he always had good work. We always managed to find the money for it.

VP: And do you remember when that was, how long ago?

GOODING: I'd have to go and look it up. It actually cost us eight hundred and fifty pound by the time we paid interest. That’s what we paid for this place.

VP: Was that considered expensive? Is that an expensive price for a house or do you think that’s quite reasonable for that time.

GOODING: Well, we think it was. We could have bought it for four hundred pound when we first moved in, but we never had that sort of money. And actually it was six hundred and fifty pound I think it was they wanted for it. By the time we paid it off it worked into the eight hundred.

Home remedies

VP: Do you remember any of the old remedies and diseases and things you used to have, say back in your childhood days?

GOODING: Well I can remember, to ward off a lot of sicknesses about, my mum used to put a cake of camphor into a piece of lemon, piece of lemon around the camphor, sew it onto a piece of tape and hang it around our necks. We wore that till the camphor all melted.

VP: Did you wear that all year or just in the winter months?

GOODING: Oh, just when there were a lot of sicknesses about. But we went through the usual, the measles, the mumps and the chicken pox.

VP: And what did your mother do when you had the usual things like the measles, mumps and chicken pox?

GOODING: Well, if we had any chest troubles, she’d melt a cake of camphor in olive oil, warm the olive oil up and melt the camphor in it - oh wouldn’t be a whole block, just part of it - and she used to rub our chests and our backs with that. Used to gargle our throats with salty water, things like that. If we had a head cold, she’d put drops of Friar’s Balsam into hot water into a basin and we used to inhale that, breathe it up our nose.

VP: Do you remember any of the doctors that were around?

GOODING: Yes, I remember a Dr Short, Dr Malaher, Dr Penny. If we needed a doctor at Mapleton, they’d have to drive up with a horse and sulky.

VP: Was there ever a Doctor at Mapleton while you were still there?

GOODING: A doctor at Mapleton? No, not to my knowledge.

VP: And did the doctors come to the hospital when you were having your children?


VP: You didn’t have any trouble having any of your children?


VP: You breast-fed them all?

GOODING: Yes, every one of them. But they had all the usual illnesses, plenty of accidents, minor accidents.

VP: Did you have any accidents that you remember when you were a child?

GOODING: When my brother Eric and I were little, we got into Mum’s medicine cabinet. I can’t remember where that was, but I know there was this bottle of little white lollies. They looked tempting, so we ate them between us and they were aconite pills.

VP: What are aconite pills?

GOODING: They were to stop fever. From what I remember, I think if you had a high fever, Mum would give us half of one to keep the fever down. And she found out. She panicked. Anyway she rang a doctor and he said, "Make them bring it up. Give them salty water, put your fingers down their throat, anything to make them vomit up." And I can remember she had the tub in the middle of the floor and here we were down on our knees. And she’s trying to make us bring all these aconite tablets up, which she did. They said it would have killed us.

VP: They’d be something like nowadays Panadol type tablets?

GOODING: I don’t know what they were. I know they were little tiny white tablets, like lollies. A lot of young children now get into the medicine cabinet and take things.

VP: Did they taste like lollies?

GOODING: Oh yes, lovely to eat. Lovely to eat.

VP: Do you remember any old cough medicines or did your mother make any?

GOODING: Oh, I know for sore throat we used to have sulphur and honey. I don’t know about cough medicines.

VP: What about general ointments for scratches and burns, what would you do for burns?

GOODING: I don’t know, Mum always seemed to have some ointments there to put on. What it was I don’t know. I know we used to get Rawleigh’s ointment, that was a good old standby.

VP: I think they used that for almost everything.

GOODING: I think so yes.

End of Interview

Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Sunshine Coast Country, home of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples, the Traditional Custodians, whose lands and waters we all now share.
We commit to working in partnership with the Traditional Custodians and the broader First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) community to support self-determination through economic and community development.
Site help & accessibility
Sign-up for our newsletter
© Sunshine Coast Regional Council 2008 - 2023