Interview with: Dorothy Davison
Date of interview: 9 April 1985
Interviewer: Caroline Foxon
Transcriber: Valerie Poole
Dorothy remembers her school days at Buderim Mountain School and how she had to deliver milk before going home and getting ready for school. Dorothy met her husband at North Arm and after they were married settled down on a banana farm. When her brother-in-law and sister-in-law went to war, they took over the dairy farm as well as still growing bananas. Dorothy tells the story of her husband sending the bananas down the hill on a flying fox and she would down at the bottom to stop and pack them. Dorothy recalls times of travelling on the Buderim Tramway and also her and her husband's involvement in the rifle range across the road from their property.
Image: Dorothy Davison from the Full Steam Ahead: Stories of Nambour-Mapleton Heritage Tramway film, 2016.
Dorothy Davison oral history [MP3 58MB]
Childhood on Buderim
CF: Tell me about when your father’s family, the Jones’s first came to Buderim.
DD: There was only two (children) when they first came from Wales. Then the others were born after that. I do believe my grandmother lost a couple of babies. There was one I think born on the boat, but Father was three years old when he came to Buderim. I don’t know a great lot, you know, when they were growing up and that. He built a lot of things. Very well educated I think he was.
CF: So your father actually grew up in Buderim?
DD: That’s right, yes.
CF: And was your mother from Buderim as well?
DD: No. Mother came from England, and she came out on just a trip with her sister and brother in law. She was only coming to stay for a couple of months, but she met my father and they got married. She was twenty one at that time and father was… I think he might have been fifteen years older.
CF: Where actually did you live in Buderim?
DD: Down the bottom of Jones Road, at the bottom of the hill coming up from Maroochydore.
CF: Was the road named after the family?
DD: Yes, it was Jones Road there.
CF: Tell me, how many brothers and sisters did you have?
DD: Six brothers and there was three girls besides me. Ten of us.
CF: What sort of age did they range from?
DD: There was sort of two years between each one. Like I had an older sister and then I came next, which seemed to be hard, because we got a lot of work to do and that, you know.
CF: There was a lot expected of you?
DD: Yes, that’s right.
CF: How was it when your mother was having all these babies. Was there a doctor nearby that she could go to?
DD: Yes, well in them days you didn’t sort of have a doctor. Everything happened. Yes, that’s right. Well, you didn’t seem to need a doctor. There were no complications much or anything.
CF: So would she have the children at home?
DD; No, she never had any babies at home. We had a doctor very close, Doctor Shaw. There was a bit of a nursing home up on Buderim. That’s where my mother had a couple of babies. Then for the others she went into Nambour. And staying in the nursing home there.
CF: Which nursing home would that have been?
DD: That was old Nurse Bade’s. I think she might have had five children there.
Buderim Mountain School
CF: So tell me, how old would you have been when you started school then?
DD: Well I had to start school when I was four because my older sister, she didn’t like to go to school on her own. So I went to School with her till she got used to it, which was about three to four months, I’m led to believe. Then I stayed home and started back again when I was about five and a half.
CF: Which school would this have been?
DD: This is Buderim.
CF: Was that called Buderim School or Buderim Mountain School?
DD: Buderim Mountain School, yes.
CF: And how big was the school?
DD: Oh, it was fairly big, yes. Most times I think there would have been the Headmaster and I remember two teachers. That was Miss (Winifred) Steggall and Mr Arthur Parkin. I believe he lives at Mooloolaba now.
CF: About how many pupils?
DD: I wouldn’t know really. There was quite a few.
CF: Would you all have been in one big room or was it divided up?
DD: No, there were a couple of verandahs I think, and then the main school.
CF: So would you have had lessons out on the verandahs.
DD: Yes, yes, there was as I say the three teachers. I think they would have one front and one back, if I can remember rightly. It’s a long time.
CF: And you remember Miss Steggall you say particularly. Was she a very favourite teacher?
DD: She was very nice, Miss Steggall. Yes.
CF: What sort of lessons would she have taken you for?
DD: Just the main ones in them days; the spellings and the sums and things like that, you know.
CF: Did you have any particular favourite subjects then?
DD: Not really. I didn’t like school. (LAUGHS)
CF: Did you like other things about school? The games or things like that?
DD: Oh yes, I loved the games and that.
CF: What sort of games would you have played?
DD: Oh, there was tennis and rounders and all that sort of games.
CF: Did the school have a tennis court?
CF: That’s very advanced.
DD: Yes, in them days. That’s right.
CF: Would this be during your lunch break?
CF: Do you remember any other games you used to play? The sort of things that mightn’t be played nowadays?
DD: No, I think it would have just been rounders and I don’t know whether we played cricket much, specially us girls. But the basketball used to be fairly good up at Buderim too.
CF: Oh, did you play that yourself?
DD: Yes, when I got older and I was in a team and that, you know.
CF: Would you play against other schools?
DD: Yes, I can remember when we played Woombye and that.
CF: And you travelled down to Woombye for those games?
DD: No. I think they mostly came up to Buderim.
CF: Was that because you had better facilities?
DD: I think we might have. But I remember some of the girls and that from Woombye. They were tall. It was the Pringle girls and that. They were very tall.
CF: That helps in basketball.
DD: That’s right, yes.
CF: What other sort of activities would you have done outside. Did you have to do things like gardening that sort of thing?
DD: No, we didn’t do a lot of gardening. Right from where I was about, I suppose twelve or something like that, I was in a church sort of a guild – the Girls Friendly Societies – and we used to do things. And I was in Sunday School, up on Buderim.
CF: Tell me about the Friendly Societies. How were they organised. Were they like a Masonic Lodge?
DD: NO, it was more like a Sunday School. Only like there were more of us and it was girls, you know, the Girls Friendly Societies, like a Young Guild. They would go from the Friendly Societies into the older Guild.
CF: So what sort of thing would you do?
DD: Oh we did fancy work and all that knitting and everything. Just learning.
CF: Lots of craft work?
DD: Yes, well it wasn’t actually craft in them days. It was more crochet and knitting and fancy work.
CF: Did you enjoy that?
DD: Oh yes. I did really.
CF: Preferred it more than the sort of things you did at school?
DD: Oh yes!
CF: When you were at school then, did the school used to organise a lot of outside activities, like picnics or things like that?
DD: No, I can’t remember whether we had many picnics. We probably had the same break ups and that. But I forget a lot of things really.
CF: How about things like Arbor Day. Do you remember celebrating that?
DD: Well, yes I suppose, because we had a lot of trees around Buderim. So they must have been planted there for years gone by, before my time.
CF: Do you remember planting any of them yourself?
DD: I have a bit of a recollection that we might have had a tree or so each, but I wouldn’t be sure. I think I can remember Arbor Day and the trees going on, you know, being planted.
CF: What other things did you do at school, apart from things like maths and so on. Did you learn music?
DD: No. NO. Don’t even remember any of the singing or anything.
CF: Just the three R’s, “Reading, Riting and Rithmetic!”
DD: LAUGHS) I think so, yes.
CF: And how did you used to get to school?
DD: Well, walk.
CF: How far away were you?
DD: Well we must have been, from down the bottom of the hill, oh I think it would have been a mile and a half or something like that.
CF: How long would that take you to walk?
DD: Well, it didn’t take very long I don’t think. Sometimes we rode a horse. But the worst part, we had to take milk. My father and mother had a little milk run, and we had to go nearly right up to Buderim with this milk on our arms before school. We did that and then went home and got ready and then went to school.
CF: What time did you get up in the morning?
DD: It was pretty early.
CF: And you’d walk to school at the same time?
DD: That’s right. Because there was about four of us going together.
CF: When you would ride in, what would you do with the horse during the day?
DD: Oh well, they had a horse paddock, where they used to put the horses, yes. But it wasn’t often that we rode because as I say, there was too many of us.
CF: Oh just the one horse was it?
DD: Well we only had the one horse you see, and then if there had to be something got quickly, well then the horse went.
CF: What was it like when you got really heavy rain that we’ve had recently? Did you go into school in that?
DD: Oh yes, yes. We still had to keep going.
CF: What sort of clothes did you wear to school? Was there a school uniform?
DD: No, I don’t think so, but I think that we used to have skirts and little white blouses, mainly.
CF: And what would your brothers wear?
DD: They would have just wore, would have been pants in them days, nearly came down to the knees, sort of.
CF: Knicker bockers?
DD: I just don’t know what they would have been called, and just a little shirt.
CF: And did you pack the lunches?
DD: Yes, oh yes.
CF: What sort of thing would you take for lunch?
DD: Well, whatever we had, you know. But I can always remember some of us girls used to change our lunches. Because one’d have rosella jam or something like that, which we liked and we’d swap, you see.
CF: For something more interesting?
DD: That’s right. But I can remember when Mother was short of bread, and we had nothing, she used to give us one shilling and we’d get two packets of biscuits, arrowroot biscuits for sixpence a packet, and we’d have half a packet each.
CF: That would be lunch?
DD: Yes, and I always loved arrowroot biscuits.
CF: That was good.
DD: Yes, because right up until a few years ago, I used to have my two arrowroot biscuits with my cup of tea, and I left it off because I thought it was flattening.
CF: Probably quite healthy. Now tell me how was it at home, now there were the ten children. What was your father actually doing? What sort of work was he engaged in?
DD: Well he was a bullock driver. He had his own team that happened for quite a while.
CF: How did he get into bullock driving? Was it something he had started when he was a young man?
DD: Yes, I think so. I think he had the bullocks when I started school. He used to have them up at Buderim and he’d take logs to the Maroochydore Mill. And often times he had to cart these little logs just for the case mill, you know. Of course me being the second oldest – but one that loved to go places – used to go with him and help him saw these logs and sort of go behind the wagon and that, and I loved it.
CF: So you would actually saw logs with him?
DD: Yes, yes, on the cross cut saw.
CF: How old were you then?
DD: Oh, I wouldn’t have been very old. I suppose I could have been say eleven or twelve.
CF: It would be very hard work, wouldn’t it?
DD: Oh yes, but we were sort of used to that you know.
CF: And did he have to do very long trips? Was he ever away from home for days?
DD: No, no. He just went down from Buderim Mountain towards Maroochydore. Like you’d go through the bush; he had a beaten track.
CF: So most of them were trips he could do in a day?
DD: Oh yes, not very long at all. The worst part was getting across the Maroochydore Road.
CF: Why was that?
DD: Well we came from this side of Buderim. To have to go across the road to start into Maroochydore would have been very difficult those days, with a team of about I think it was twelve or fourteen bullocks to get across.
CF: Were they very difficult to manage?
DD: No, no. Very, very good.
CF: He spent a lot of time training them?
DD: Yes, that’s right.
CF: Would they have all had different names?
DD: Yes, they all had different names.
CF: Do you remember some of their names?
DD: Oh, I can’t really. No it’s just too far.
CF: How many bullocks would you have had? I mean you say you had fourteen in a team, but how many would you have had altogether? Would you have had more?
DD: Oh, yes, they would spell a few, you see, and different ones would come in for different jobs, you know.
CF: So they were trained in different ways?
DD: Yes, Well if it was a heavy load like, they’d have to get down and really get into their job.
CF: What sort of other different jobs would they do, where you’d need a different bullock?
DD: Well for snigging out logs.
CF: Tell me about snigging. What was that?
DD: Well that would only take about four bullocks, see two together, that’s two and two. And then he would just hook onto this log and they would have to snig it out from in the bush, so as to bring it into places where he could load it onto the wagon.
CF: Was that very heavy work?
DD: Well yes, but I suppose bullocks, you know, they’re pretty strong.
CF: I meant was it very heavy work for your father?
DD: Oh no, no. Not at all really, because the bullocks did all the work. When he loaded the wagon, well he’d have the same four bullocks on the other side of the wagon and they would pull it up the skids onto the wagon, and that’s how he loaded it.
CF: Very well organised.
DD: All he had to do was just stand and wave his whips about and say these different words like to the bullocks, ‘gee up’ and ‘round there’ and this, that and the other.
CF: Instructions, yes. And who did he work for up on Buderim?
DD: Well mostly himself. He just sort of carted the logs to the Mill.
CF: You mentioned there was another mill there, a case mill. Was that on Buderim?
DD: No. That would be at Maroochydore too.
CF: What sort of thing did they do there? Was that a smaller sort of an operation?
DD: Yes, I think so, but instead of cutting the timber for houses and things, they just cut it for cases, for packing. There used to be a lot of bananas around in them days too. In fact my father got rid of his bullock team. I don’t remember whether he sold it or just whatever. I suppose sold it. And then he took on growing bananas.
CF: So you had a fairly big property?
DD: Yes, well it was. I wouldn’t know how many acres, but we used to have to carry the bananas up the hill and that, you know.
CF: How old would you have been when he got rid of the bullocks?
DD: Well, I think perhaps say thirteen or something, yes.
Life during the Depression
CF: That was round about when you left school was it?
DD: Yes, yes.
CF: Did you leave because it was time to leave or because they needed up at home?
DD: Because they needed me to help with a bit of money and that, you know. Not that that’d go very far, but in those days it did.
CF: So how many of the children were working on the farm?
DD: Well I suppose we all did our share. The next two boys to me, they helped. We had to go chipping bananas and everything.
CF: What is chipping bananas?
DD: Well that was chipping the weeds out. Like when father was away – he must have been doing something else – so we had to do the cleaning up.
CF: So you really looked after the place. All the family did?
DD: Yes, that’s right.
CF: And were times very difficult then? Was this during the Depression?
DD: I’d say it would have been. Yes, I can remember my father too, cutting cane, and I think they told me he got two shillings a ton or something like that. And used to have to cut it in the green. There was no fires then.
CF: Oh, so it was very hard?
DD: Very hard, Yes.
CF: And did he have to go away from home to do that?
DD: No. That was very close to our house.
CF: So whose place was that that he would have been cutting the cane on?
DD: I think it was people by the name of Sommerville.
CF: Would your mother be out working in the bananas as well?
DD: No. Mother had enough to do really at home.
CF: And did you have to help in the home as well?
CF: What sort of things did you have to do?
DD: Helping with the washing and ironing and all that; cleaning the floors, you know, we didn’t have lino or anything on the floor in them times. It was all scrub.
CF: Wooden floors?
DD: Yes, plain wood. They didn’t make too much lino in them days. Some of the places had polished floors. But ours was just plain.
CF: So you would have to do a lot of sweeping?
DD: A lot of sweeping and a lot of scrubbing.
CF: Would you scrub them every day?
DD: No, every…. Oh I suppose once a week or something like that.
CF: You would have to really get down to it.
DD: Down, yes, on our hands and knees.
CF: Was it a very big house you had?
DD: Would have been, I suppose, a kitchen and three, four other rooms, and the verandah.
CF: How did you manage for sleeping? Was it very crowded with then children?
DD: Well there wouldn’t have been ten when we were on Buderim, because one was born after we left Buderim. But there would have been, you know, say three girls in the one room, and two or three boys in the other room. And then perhaps, two on the verandah or something like that.
CF: They wee sort of scattered around the place.
CF: How was it doing things like washing and ironing? Was it very different from how it is today?
DD: Oh yes. We had to light the boiler – you know the old copper boiler – and get the wood for it first, you know, and just wash and wash. And have the copper stick and poke it down.
CF: What did you use for washing? You wouldn’t have ahd detergents then, would you?
DD: No, we used to cut up Velvet Soap.
CF: The old Velvet Soap.
DD: Yes, and washing soda. That was what we used. A little handful of washing soda and cut up the Velvet Soap. That’s actually the only soap I remember that Mother used to use.
CF: So you had to soak the washing in the copper for a long time?
DD: Well, you’d put it in fairly cool water and bring it to the boil. Then boil it for a while and then just get the copper stick and take it out onto a draining board and let it drain there. Put more water in the boiler and then put some more clothes in. Then see that’d come to the boil again. Yes, and then we’d rinse these other clothes twice, like just plain water and then in the blue water.
CF: What was the blue water?
DD: Well you have Blue today. See you didn’t have other ‘Cuddly’ and ‘Softly’ and all that, you know. You’d have just Blue, plain Blue. And you’d blue the water and just rinse and then blue and then wring them out by hand. Some people had mangles, you know. Yes, the old mangle. But we never had anything like that. By hand, and then out on the line.
CF: Did you starch the clothes at all?
DD: Oh my word, yes. Silver Star Starch we always used, you know. The petticoats and all were starched.
CF: And how was it with the ironing. How did you do the ironing?
DD: Well, the old Potts’ Irons. Ones you put on the stove.
CF: You’d warm them first.
DD: Yes, on the stove. You’d have to give them a good clean before you started off. You had about three Potts’ Irons.
CF: Were they very heavy?
DD: They were fairly heavy but not too bad.
CF: Did you have much trouble ironing?
DD: Oh no they slipped along good. Yes, we had a little bit of soap on a cloth that we used to rub it on, you know, before we started.
CF: You rubbed that on the iron?
DD: Yes, to make it slip along nicely.
CF: You say everything was starched. Did people really dress up that much in those days?
DD: Well, yes. See there was a lot of, with the elderly people, longer dresses, and fairly full. But I think we just had plain little dresses and that, you know.
CF: Was it very important that everything looked good?
DD: Oh yes. It was very clean, my mother was very very clean person.
CF: Was it difficult to keep everything that good during the Depression times?
DD: Oh I don’t think so. I can remember my father after the bananas sort of give up, I think he was on Relief work for a while.
CF: So would he have to travel around a bit?
DD: Yes, and then it didn’t last very long. But it was still at Buderim.
CF: What sort of things would he have had to do?
DD: Well, sort of like on the Council business, and just do roads and things like that, but mainly not anything real hard, you know. Like of course, they had no graders and things in them days. It was all mostly done by hand, you know, and shovel and that, pick.
CF: You say the bananas gave out. What, the crop failed?
DD: I suppose it just… we didn’t have much more room to plant anymore up, you see, and once they give up, well the bananas finished.
CF: Do you remember at the time how it was around the town. Was everybody having a really hard time as well?
DD: I think so. I think it was fairly hard. People grew different crops like beans and things like that. Everybody would go and help pick these beans and do things.
CF: So there was a sort of community spirit, was there? People would help other people?
DD: Oh yes.
CF: Did you grow your own vegetables and that sort of thing?
DD: Yes, I can remember Mother and Father growing sweet potatoes and chokos. Yes, and a few other things to keep us eating, you know.
CF: And you would have had your own cow and so on?
DD: Oh yes, we had our own cows and made our own butter.
CF: So to some extent, you were self sufficient?
DD: That’s right, yes. And we would have used a fair bit of milk and butter too.
CF: With that many children?
DD: That’s right.
CF: Was there very much entertainment, say in the house itself? Were you a musical family at all?
CF: Were you big readers?
DD: Not really. We hadn’t got much time. You know there was always something to do, outside. And then, you know, we used to play. I used to play with my brothers and that. No, we didn’t seem to get much time for anything.
CF: Say when things got dark at night…
DD: We just go off to bed, you see, with no lights or anything, just hurricanes and a little light, you know, little flame.
CF: Oh of course, there was no electricity.
DD: No electricity, see. No. And in them days we actually didn’t have candles much because they were a bit dangerous, you know. It was the little light with a globe on it, or a hurricane lantern.
CF: Right. So naturally if it got hard you went off to bed.
DD: That’s right, yes, just go off to bed. And I suppose we were tired too from a long day at school or whatever.
CF: Without electricity and so on, how did you cope with cooking?
DD: Well we had the wood stove. Yes, and it made lovely things too.
CF: Would your mother have made bread and that sort of thing?
DD: Yes, yes. We used to make bread. And my mother used to have bad migraines and when she didn’t make the break, I had to do it. And I can always remember a show at Buderim – they used to have a show- and of course Mother had entered that she was making the bread, and she was sick. So of course, I had to make the bread. And I can always remember someone saying, “Well she’s only a child you know.”
CF: So your mother had taught you to make bread?
DD: Yes. And we used to make buns, lovely, yes. But oh yes, this bread was beautiful. We used to make it in the big loaf, you know, the big tin loaf. We had our own tins and that.
CF: And how would you have made it? What sort of flour and what sort of things would you have used?
DD: Oh plain flour and I think she used to use her own yeast. She made it out of potato peelings.
CF: Really. How would you do that?
DD: Let it go into sour and then it would go into the yeast.
CF: So you would let the potato peels stand? And it would develop into a yeast?
DD: That’s right. And then as time went by, I think the compressed yeast became available. And that was very much easier. So it wasn’t so hard then to make it.
CF: Did you make your own jam and that sort of thing?
DD: Oh yes, yes. We made a terrible lot of jam. There was Melon and Ginger, and Melon and Pineapple, and Melon and Orange and you know, everything.
CF: And these were all things you grew yourself?
DD: Yes, I sort of got sick of making jam, (LAUGHS) but we liked it, you know. There was nothing else to do, you see, so we had to do it.
CF: So it was really an alternative to entertainment or something?
DD: That’s right, yes.
CF: You must have occasionally gone out. Was there much to do in the town itself? Movies, dances?
DD: Yes, yes there was dances, I suppose. And pictures as we used to call them in them days. And different things used to come around such as horse people with buckjumping and things like that. And of course, my father had to go, you see with two boys, and I had to go along also.
CF: You were a bit of a tomboy?
DD: Yes, I was a tomboy. Yes, that’s right. But otherwise there was only as I say, there was the Church and the Guild and things like that. But the dances – we didn’t go to the dances until I was about fifteen, sixteen.
CF: Do you remember them much at all? What sort of dances would you have done at them?
DD: Oh there was just the old waltzes and different things like that. But I was just starting to enjoy myself when I left Buderim.
CF: Oh, right. You were just starting to bloom. Do you remember who used to provide the music at those dances? Were they locals?
DD: No, I just don’t remember. But I think there was somebody who used to play the piano yes. There was too.
CF: So it was mainly dances and the pictures. Do you remember what sort of pictures they were?
DD: No, not much. We didn’t get to them much, you see. Not having very much money. But I think it was going two shillings or something like that to go.
CF: And what other sort of things were there? Were there church activities that you would be involved in?
DD: Oh yes, yes.
CF: Would you have gone to Sunday School?
DD: Yes, I went to Sunday School and I also went to the Band of Hope at the Methodist Church.
CF: What was the Band of Hope?
DD: I don’t know whether I just know now, but it was just sort of instructions, and some of my friends and that, you see, got me into it. And that didn’t last very long, but I suppose just something to go to.
CF: What sort of activities would you have had at the Sunday School? Did you have picnics and things like that?
DD: Oh yes, there was picnics to the beach.
CF: Down to Maroochydore?
DD: Down to Mooloolaba, I think. Picnics down there.
CF: And how would you all get down there?
DD: Well I think must have been carts and sulkies and things.
CF: And the Church would organise this all for you?
DD: Yes or we would all go in our own sulky or something like that.
CF: And what sort of things would you have done when you were down at the beach?
DD: Oh well, we just played on the beach and had a swim. Then had our picnic and probably we had to set off for home being so far.
CF: Did people swim a lot in those days? Did everyone know how to swim?
DD: Well I didn’t and I never learnt!
CF: Really. Did any of your brothers and sisters?
DD: Not much, because of my father – he was frightened of the water – and he would say, “Now you don’t go too far.” He just didn’t encourage us to go into the water much.
CF: So while going to the beach was probably fun, swimming wasn’t a big thing?
DD: No. Oh no. Otherwise we never got there. I think we only had one holiday in our life and my uncle had this house and we went down for a week.
CF: That was down to Mooloolaba?
DD: Down to Mooloolaba, yes. And that was about one of the only holidays I ever remember us having.
CF: Did you feel that you had missed anything that way?
DD: Well it was very nice, you know. I just don’t know how we got away, but I can still see us going, in this wagon, you know like, in this sort of a wagon with all our goods and everything.
CF: When people would go to the beach, how would they dress in those days?
DD: Oh just the same dresses that we wore to school or play or anything like that. There were no shorts or slacks or anything like that.
CF: Oh, it was quite formal?
DD: Just plain, just dresses. Yes.
CF: How about for going into the water? What were the swimming costumes like?
DD: Neck to knee, I think. (Laughs) Yes, I think we were fairly well covered.
CF: And you’d have a picnic lunch and that sort of thing as well? And who’d provide that? Would the parents provide the food?
DD: Yes, the parents all brought the food, yes.
CF: So it was quite pleasant. Tell me, how was it with the large family and so on? Did you have much illness in the family?
DD: Not really, no. Not really at all. As I say, we had the doctor up there on Buderim, but I don’t think we had to go to him very much at all. I had a cut mouth once. My aunty had taken us out for the night and I was just so excited to get home that next morning to tell Mother all about it, and I run into a fence that he had strung across for cows, you know. And I got that cut across my lip there and just sort of…. And that wasn’t even stitched. It was sort of done up, you know.
CF: Your mother just look after it?
DD: No, the nurse. She took me to a nurse and she just strapped it up and it wasn’t too bad, you know. But it wasn’t too goo when I done it either.
CF: Do you remember having any home remedies?
DD: Oh yes.
CF: What sort of things?
DD: Oh, I don’t know. I just think there was some good old fashioned ointment and that used to be able to be got, you know.
CF: Was that one that your mother would have made or something that she bought?
DD: No, I think she might have bought it from a sort of shop. I just don’t know what it would have been.
CF: So there wasn’t anything in particular in the home cures?
DD: No, not that I remember. But just something easy, I suppose. And I think probably the good old salt and water was as good as anything, you know.
CF: That was for when you were feeling sick?
DD: Yes or just to bathe any sore foots or anything in.
CF: And what did you do on the farm after the bananas had gone and your father was on Relief for a while. What sort of work did he turn to after that?
DD: Well, I think that was the last that he done, until we sort of left there, but when I used to have to go out and help, that’s when I done so many washings a week, see.
CF: So you’d left school then?
DD: Yes, I’d left school.
Going out to work
CF: You went out to work. What sort of thing did you do?
DD: Oh well, I used to go and wash for three or four ladies a week. Just for half a day and it was all different. Some people had different kind of clothes and I had to be very careful. Some of them had fleecy lined long johns, you know. And it was washing by hand. Oh dear, oh dear, and I got two and six a morning for that.
CF: Two and six?
DD: And if I finished the washing in time before lunch, I used to have to perhaps wash a floor or do some ironing or something like that. And the rest of the week, I used to go picking strawberries and beans.
CF: Where would you pick these?
DD: Up on Buderim.
CF: Do you remember any of the properties you used to pick them on?
DD: Oh, Fieldings, They were one of the main ones, where the bean and that were grown.
CF: Was that very hard work?
DD: Oh it was, but we didn’t mind.
CF: It was outside.
DD: That’s right, yes.
CF: Do you remember what you would have got paid for doing that?
DD: Well I think it was sixpence a tin, a kerosene tin, yes. I can’t tell you how many tins. We would have probably done ten or something like that for the day. And the beans were beautiful.
CF: Were you allowed to take food home with you?
DD: Well I think they used to give us a handful of beans to go home with, yes.
CF: So you really worked fairly hard all week?
DD: Yes, that’s right.
CF: How would you get the washing jobs you mentioned? Were they people that you knew?
DD: Yes, people that we knew and seemed to ask us to come or me specially. I just don’t know what my sister… I think she had a few different jobs. Oh, she was working, that’s right. This doctor, and she worked for him for quite a while and then she went off to Brisbane to work eventually. But I seemed to get enough.
CF: What was the town like in those days? Was it very different to what it is now?
DD: Well yes, there was the Post Office and there was the baker shop. I think the Fieldings had the baker shop. And Middleton’s – you’ve probably heard of “Middy’s Store” – well they had the store. Well then the Neills had the Post Office. Before my time, you know. There wasn’t a great many more.
CF: Really. Was the Ginger factory there then?
DD: Oh no.
CF: That was much later?
DD: Oh yes. I don’t think that was there in my time.
CF: Was there a lot of ginger being grown around the area?
DD: Not really, no. It was only much, much later.
CF: Talking about stores – you mentioned Middy’s store – what sort of thing would they have stocked?
DD: Everything, yes. If you wanted anything at all, you would have got it at Middy’s.
CF: Is that where your mother would have done her shopping?
DD: Well, no. my mother used to send to Brisbane to the QPS, Queensland Pastoral Supplies. She used to get it by a big box. It used to come by the train.
CF: So she’d write up an order?
DD: Yes, write an order, that’s right, and send it to Brisbane. And it would come by the train to Palmwoods and then up on the Old Buderim Tram to Buderim.
CF: What sort of things would she buy that way?
CF: And was that cheaper than shopping at Buderim?
DD: It must have been really, because she’d get enough say for a month.
CF: These would all be non perishable things?
DD: Yes, there would be tins of this and bars of soap and everything like that.
CF: Do you remember how she would have paid for it?
DD: I suppose she had a cheque, a cheque book.
CF: So this would all come up from Brisbane?
DD: From Brisbane, yes.
CF: How about things like your meat? Where would you get the meat from?
DD: Oh, we had a butcher shop. That’s right. We had a butcher shop.
CF: And you mentioned these things coming up on the old Buderim Tramway. Did you ever travel on that yourself?
DD: Oh yes, we used to travel.
CF: When was it actually first built?
DD: I don’t know.
CF: So it was there before you remember?
DD: Yes, that’s right. It was the old Buderim Tram. And when my father was on this Relief Work, as I said, we used to have to go to Palmwoods to collect his pay and I was the main one that did that.
CF: And what route did the tramway take?
DD: It left Buderim and it went through – would it be Eudlo? Eudlo and Palmwoods – to Palmwoods. Mooloolah, would it be Mooloolah too? I just don’t know. Anyway it went to Palmwoods and then it would come back again.
CF: Would you consider that rather fun?
DD: Oh that was good. That was very good.
CF: What sort of ride was it? Was it a bumpy ride?
DD: Well I think it was… not too bad, you know. I think it was alright.
CF: What were the carriages like in it? Was it more like a train?
DD: Yes, it was like a train. Yes. Oh, they would have been pretty old in them days, you know.
CF: Do you remember what you would have to pay to go to Palmwoods and back?
DD: Oh, I think it wasn’t very much. Might have been a shilling or something like that.
CF: That’s was quite an excitement?
DD: Oh very. Yes, once in a fortnight or something like that.
CF: Do you remember any other things about the area that were there then but aren’t there now? Buildings or anything?
DD: Not really. There was a lot of fruit, citrus fruit, grown up on Buderim when we were children, which is not there now. It is all houses. I don’t know many places at all now. It was just nothing but just citrus and just paddocks and that.
CF: Were there a lot of people living up on the mountain those days?
DD: Yes, yes there was. One of my jobs was I used to make tea at the Golf Course of a Saturday afternoon.
CF: Was that a very popular spot?
DD: Yes. They used to come from different places, from Palmwoods and everywhere to play golf. It was very good.
CF: Could everybody afford to play golf in those days, or was it just particular families?
DD: Oh I think it was just particular families. I can remember on, the Bank Manager, coming from Palmwoods. Yes, I don’t think there was too many Buderim people. It was just from away, you know.
CF: Were there any different classes of people in Buderim or was everyone very much on the same income?
DD: Oh no, no there was different classes. Like I don’t know whether you’ve heard of Buderim House. That’s just up the top of the hill there. They were people from South Africa, the Murphy’s. And I was sort of a friend of the girl. I was taken away with them a fair bit down to their Mooloolaba home and that. And it was very very nice, you know. I don’t know who’s in Buderim House now, but it was beautiful the surroundings there. The gardens were lovely.
CF: They were very much like the aristocracy were they?
DD: Oh yes, yes. And then the Doctor Shaw and his wife and that. They were nice people too.
CF: Were there any big landowners up there?
DD: Yes, the Fieldings I think were as big landowners as any of them. And the Lindsay’s. They were big farmers.
CF: Tell me. How old were you then when you actually left Buderim?
DD: When I left Buderim, I think I was nearly sixteen.
CF: Why did the family decide to leave?
DD: Well there wasn’t very much work and we thought we might go to a dairy as a sort of a share farm or something to work. But the first place we went to was Eumundi where it wasn’t very good. We didn’t go so well there.
CF: Where were you in Eumundi?
DD: Near the cemetery up there. Do you know the cemetery? Just there. And we didn’t do so well there.
CF: And you were dairying?
DD: Yes, dairying, or trying to dairy at sixpence a pound of butter, or something like that.
CF: How long did you stay there for?
DD: Not very long. I think it was only a year or so, and then we heard of someone wanting a share farmer. So we went to that at Pomona and we were there quite a few years.
CF: And was that more successful?
DD: Yes, yes, it was very nice.
CF: How did you do share farming?
DD: Well we done the milking and we sort of half shares. They would have the farm and that and whatever we milked and sent away, the cheque would be halved.
CF: Did your father have to put money into that or just labour?
DD: No, it was just the labour. He would have to work, you see, and there was me and say two brothers that did the milking.
CF: So you were working very hard again up there?
DD: Yes. Milking cows.
CF: And were you just working on the farm or did you work in the town?
DD: No, I didn’t do a lot on the farm. I did take the cream into the butter factory by sulky.
CF: Where was that to?
DD: To Pomona. Yes, I used to do that. And we sort of had to leave there then because the farmer took it over himself again. So we had to shift again and this time we went out to Cole’s Creek, out on the way to Gympie, and that was a fairly big farm.
CF: How long would you have been there for?
DD: Well, I was there until I got married. But there, it was very big. It was a big farm and I used to milk twenty seven cows night and morning. And as I say I got married from there and I came down here to North Arm and I started milking cows again.
CF: So you have always been milking cows. About what date would it have been when you came here?
DD: 1939 we got married.
CF: Just when War was starting?
DD: That’s right.
CF: And where did you meet your husband?
DD: Well, while I was Eumundi, I used to work around here a bit, North Arm. I met him there. That was when I was about eighteen towards nineteen. And we sort of kept going. But then as I say, when we got married we settled down here, and we had bananas for a while. Then my husband’s brother and sister went off to the War, we had to take the dairy on. So we had to sort of let the bananas go, which was a very good price in them days, you know. And we still used to go up and cut the bananas and do the dairying besides.
CF: Where were you growing the bananas?
DD: Way up the hill. And we used to send them down on a sort of a “flying fox”. My husband would put them on the line and I’d be down the bottom to stop them.
CF: Would they come down very fast?
DD: Very fast, yes.
CF: Did you ever have any accidents?
DD: Well I lost a couple of bunches, you know. And in them days they were big too. But it was a good life.
CF: Was it very different here? Did you feel the effects of war time out here in the country then?
DD: No, not really. We still had the same lights and no fridges or anything like that.
CF: How did you cope without a fridge?
DD: Oh well we just had to. We had a make shift sort of an ice cooler. You know, a cooler like with… we sort of made it and it had bags hanging down the side, and we used to keep the water in the top, so as to keep the butter and milk and things cool.
CF: What about things like your meat? Was it difficult to keep it?
DD: Yes, well I think in most days, you just got enough meat and you had mostly corn meat and that.
CF: Would you have corned it yourself or bought it?
DD: Oh no, we bought it. You know, it wasn’t very dear in them days, like a piece of corn meat went a long way.
CF: Is this the house you were living in?
DD: No, I lived down the bottom. Oh when we were first married I was over at North Arm for a while renting a place. And then they built the house for us down there. It was built out of a couple of old shops at North Arm. It still stands down there. It’s not old but it’s pretty dilapidated you know. But it was built about forty five years ago. But the bananas and the dairying, you know, we had pigs and different things like that. And then as we went on, we sort of give the dairy away for the cane. And to this day we still have the cane.
CF: Your husband’s family had a fair bit of land around here?
DD: Yes, my father in law came here in 1907.
CF: What was his name?
DD: Davison. They had three boys and two girls. This is the house they built for them. I think it was when they had this, I was working over at North Arm, and they had a house warming here before they put the linings and everything in, and I think this is actually where I met Jim. And it just went on from there.
CF: So when you were living in Eumundi, you were working down at North Arm?
DD: Working at North Arm, yes.
CF: What sort of thing were you doing down there?
DD: Oh just looking after houses, you know. Well the one specially, (the mother) went away for an operation, and I had to look after the father, and the children, and there were two houses down here, where I worked at.
CF: How would you have travelled down here from Eumundi?
DD: Well I stayed. Yes I stayed and it went on for a couple of months or something like that.
CF: When did you actually start the Rifle Range across the road?
DD: Oh, that was 1914 I think they say they started the Rifle Range.
CF: Was that set up by the Davison family?
DD: Mostly yes, yes. Oh there was quite a few that was in it, but it was the Davison’s that started it, yes. My husband used to shoot. The father in law used to shoot and the brother in law. They all shot. But I never started. I didn’t take too much notice of the Rifle Range until my youngest daughter was a baby, and we came up to this house, because the other brother in law was getting married. We let them have the house down there and we came up here and lived with my husband’s mother and father till they got their house built over near the railway line. And I had the three children. So once the youngest girl was about twelve months or something like that, I used to leave her with Grandma and the Aunty and I used to go marking at the Rifle Range.
CF: So you and your husband actually looked after the Range, did you?
DD: Oh no, no. He might have been a President or something now and again, but I just marked there. But I’ve always had a great liking for it, you know, even still. I’m sort of the Vice President there, like, you know.
CF: I understand it is one of the few rifle ranges still going?
DD: This is right. There was a range at Coolum. There was a range at Pomona, also Nambour. But now there’s North Arm shoot and there’s Nambour shoot and beside that they’ve got the lever action shooting, the Shot Gun, and now they started a pistol club. It is not off the ground yet.
World War II
CF: Was it used by the Military at all during the war time period?
DD: Yes, oh yes. We used to have the Army around a lot. They used to camp down around our pigsties and things like that.
CF: This is during the Second World War?
DD: Yes, yes, and they were all Victorians. Oh yes, there was quite a lot around and they used to shoot even seven hundred yards and that, but we’ve only got six hundred here and they used to be way down there shooting these big cannons, I think they called them – or something like that. Yes, big ones.
CF: Did it have a big impact on the area at the time, having all the troops here?
DD: Oh, my word, yes, we had anti tank guns and everything going up the road. You know it was really good!
CF: It must be quite different from the normal country area?
DD: For sure, that’s right! Because there wasn’t very many cars around, you know. Not very many at all. But you’d hear this anti tank gun coming up the road. Oh we often had a ride in them too.
CF: So people didn’t find this stocking?
DD: Oh no! And they used to all come about to shoot and sort of fire these big cannons and that.
CF: Did people used to worry about things in War time here, being close to the coast line?
DD: I don’t think so.
End of interview