Interview with: Tom Brockhurst
Date of Interview: 10 October 1984
Interviewer: Alison Lambert
Transcriber: Colwyn Boulton
Tom was born in Nambour on 5 September 1896 and married Edrith Krosch on 8 September 1923. Edrith was a forewoman in a shirt factory in Brisbane but after they were married she moved to Woombye where Tom was managing a butcher shop.
Images and documents about the Wimmers Cordial Factory in the Sunshine Coast Libraries Catalogue.
Image: Employees handwashing bottles at Frank Wimmers' Cordial Factory, Nambour, ca 1925.
AudioTom Brockhurst oral history - part one [MP3 88MB]
Tom Brockhurst oral history - part two [MP3 44MB]
AL: Did you see horses and carts and sulkies going through the main street of Nambour?
TB: Yes, well my father had a horse team. Matter of fact he was a teamster all his life. Before he came up here to live in his single days he used to draw timber along Coronation Drive in Brisbane from Toowong way. And I think my brother Bill’s got a photo of him up here. I’ve got a brother Bill, the youngest bloke in the family, he lives up here just over from the hospital, Coronation Avenue.
AL: How many horses?
TB: There’d be about seven or eight horses.
AL: So when did your father come to this area?
TB: That I couldn’t tell you because there was nine in the family. I’m one of nine people, there was ten but one died when it was a baby.
AL: You were born in this area then?
TB: Yes, I was born in this area. We were all born here.
AL: Did you have a farm in the area?
TB: Yes, we had a farm there.
AL: That’s up on National Park Road is that where you mean?
TB: I don’t know what road you call it because I’ve been out in Brisbane for sixty years.
AL: The one that goes past Selangor Hospital and goes down…..
TB: Yes, goes straight down, over the bridge and straight up.
AL: Past the milk factory?
TB: Yes, past the milk factory. You go over the railway bridge and when you get over the railway bridge where all those houses are that’s on the left as you’re going up the road.
AL: And that’s where your farm was? And you grew up there?
TB: Twenty nine acres.
AL: And what did you have there? You were a kid there were you?
TB: I wasn’t born there. I was born in Nambour over here near the Salvation Army, in a little house there.
AL: It wasn’t a hospital was it?
TB: No it wasn’t a hospital.
AL: Did your mother go there to have you all?
TB: My grandmother, she was partly a nurse for babies and Tucker was her name, old Granny Tucker and Henry Tucker, that was the old chaps name, my grandfather.
AL: Your grandmother would go out to the women would she?
TB: She never went out to too many as far as I can remember, course this was many years ago.
AL: What year were you born, if you don’t mind me asking?
TB: 1896, on the 5th September.
AL: Were you married in Nambour?
TB: No, she was a Brisbane girl. She was a forewoman in a shirt factory. I’ve got a wonderful memory you know. She had a good job in a shirt factory and she could have kept on working there had we been living there but at the present time I was running a butcher shop at Woombye.
Delivering meat in the Nambour area
TB: I worked at Woombye. I learnt my trade here as butcher. Fifty five years I was at it, I learnt my trade in Nambour. I used to deliver all round Woombye and I delivered all round here that’s why I’ve got a bad knee.
AL: Riding a bike?
TB: No, carrying a butchers basket. I used to carry it right up underneath that range, the first range out at Perwillowen.
AL: You walked?
TB: No, on a horse. You see I had a short stirrup iron on the right hand and it took two men to carry the basket out from the shop and put it on my knee.
AL: How many years were you doing that delivering?
TB: I delivered around here for years and around Woombye too and then I finished up going down to Palmwoods. We were there for sixteen years. Then we came back, shifted back to Nambour. We didn’t shift the furniture. We had a place where we could store the furniture in the house there. It used to be the Palmwoods Hospital there one time. Anyhow the hospital fell to pieces, you know the inside fell out of it and then they let this place. Well I knew the chap that was going to live there, he started to live there, and then he’d store my furniture until we got a place in Nambour. Then the war started.
AL: That was the Second World War was it?
TB: That’s the Second World War, that’s right. We were there nine months, I was working for a bloke named Simpson, course I learnt to slaughter.
AL: So you didn’t have your own business at that stage?
TB: No never, I always worked on wages. Then I left him and we went to Brisbane in ’43 when the war was on.
AL: Could we go back to your father and the team. Did he have the team of horses in Nambour?
TB: Yes, he had them there. We were pulling Bunya Pine logs, trees, out down the gorges. From Mapleton, halfway between where the hotel is there and the Falls, the Mapleton Falls. I was thirteen and I never stopped with him (Father) very long because I couldn’t get any money out of him. He’d give me a penny for a week’s work. You couldn’t buy anything in those days. Anyway there was a chap named Billy Major, he said “Hey Brock”, (they called us ‘Brock’ you see for the Brockhurst is the name, they called us ‘Brock’) and he said, “Do you want a job?” I said, “Yes” “Well,” he said, “if you go in and see the boss” he said, “you’ll get this job carrying the butcher’s basket.” So I went in and I thought I was made when I was getting fifteen shillings a week.
AL: You were still living at home?
TB: Yes, I lived at home all the time in my single days.
AL: And you would have paid a bit of board, would you?
TB: I used to give my mother about twenty five shillings a fortnight and kept about five you see, to buy clothes. It was hard times. I was slaughtering 1914 and 1918 and all through the World War One out here.
AL: You were still quite young then?
TB: I wasn’t old enough to go to the war. I wanted to enlist. A chap named Page, his father got married the second time, and he cleared out. He came down on a horse, he had two chaff bags full of clothes, you ought to have seen. I can see him now, and an old chestnut horse. He pulled up at my mother’s place, at our place and she said, “Where the devil do you reckon your going?” He said, “I’m going to make a home here.” He said, “Now my father’s married a second time. I’m not living up there”. So he made his home there and I don’t know how long he boarded with us but then he went to the war. The war started and he enlisted.
AL: Did a lot of Nambour boys enlist?
TB: Oh yes, a terrible lot. I could name a terrible lot at the time, Kronks, Perrens. I’ve got a photo here of where I used to play football in 1915 and ’16 but anyhow I thought I was made when I was getting fifteen bob a week. In those days we used to get paid in gold sovereigns and half sovereigns. We had to go back after tea, we wouldn’t get our pay until then. The shop used to be open in Nambour in those days – Whalleys the grocers and all the butcher shops, well there was two butcher shops there for a long time, Gomersalls and Whalleys.
AL: Whalleys sold meat and groceries and everything?
TB: No, this was another Whalley. He came up from Brisbane with Ulhmanns. Ulhmanns, they leased the business of a J.T. Lowe. J.T Lowe lived in Nambour nearly all his life, he was a bit of a rogue too, you know. Anyhow this chap came up with the Ulhmanns, didn’t stay long. He leased the business off them and I worked for him. This is what I got carrying beef in the basket.
AL: How far did you actually deliver, you said to Woombye?
TB: No, we didn’t deliver to Woombye. We had to take the body down, the carcass down from here down to Woombye by cart.
AL: So where did you actually slaughter them?
TB: Just out on this road that we were talking about.
AL: National Park Road?
TB: Yes, and where the electricity place, that used to be where the slaughter-yard where I slaughtered. You go back a bit see and that’s where we used to put the cattle.
AL: You would just keep them there and slaughter as necessary?
AL: Then you’d have to carry the carcass to the shop was that it?
TB: Yes, in a cart.
AL: Where was the shop?
TB: Right where the street was broken down near Mathers. Well Mathers are not there now, Jensens, the shoe shop.
AL: Near the pub?
AL: So you had to slaughter, how was it done in those days?
TB: Well I used to get up a sort of a ladder up the wall and on a plank and to protect myself from falling over in, there was a rail you see, in front of me and I just speared them here in the back of the neck. If you’d get him in one hit, you’d break the spinal cord and that was the end of him. He couldn’t get up again you see, once you broke the spinal cord.
AL: With a spear?
TB: With a spear, it was made something after the style, well it was only a piece of iron and it was sharpened at one, you know to about that wide it was.
AL: An inch or so.
TB: Yes about two inches. And put on a handle you see and this is how we used to kill them. Course now it’s different, I think they just hit them with an electric shock.
AL: Tell me about what home was like when you were growing up?
TB: We used to grow pineapples. We could grow all our own vegetables, we always had a cow and we grew cane when we first went out there. We used to have to chip in the morning and go and chip before we went to school. We never had no bus or anything to take us to school, it’s about a mile from Currie Street, Nambour you see.
AL: The school was in the same place, much smaller then I guess.
TB: That’s right and we had to come home and chip cane in the evening, see we had no time to go to high school or anything.
Carting logs from Mapleton
AL: How old were you when you left school?
TB: Thirteen I went turn on the brakes for my father on the horses.
AL: So that was on the team of horses, so I’d like to know more about that team and just what they did. You said they carried the Bunya logs down from the range.
TB: Yes well, we used to load them up on the wagon after we’d sneak them up from the gorges. We used to put three logs on the wagon, two on what you call the bolsters, the main body of it you see, and then we’d put one on the top.
AL: How would you get it on there?
TB: Well, you’d have a piece of timber and you’d cut it out there to fit on the tyres and it’d be about seven feet long. You’d put that on the two wheels on the one side where the logs were. Then you’d put a chain around them, a single chain just for the pull but you’d make it a double chain around the log, you see, when the log starts to roll. You’d have the horses on this side and they’d pull up and you just knew exactly when to stop the horses.
AL: The logs then would just roll into the body?
TB: That’s right. And then the top one, you’d have to have an extra long piece of timber for to put the top one on, you see, but it used to rest in between the two bottom ones you see, it was on the bolster of the wagon.
AL: And you had to hold the brake? That would be going down the steep hills, that sounds like a dangerous business.
TB: Yes, well if an axle had of broken we’d have got killed. You know, steps and stairs, it wasn’t a good road. They wouldn’t allow us down what they called the private road up at Kureelpa. We had to go down the pinches.
AL: Is that the same road now?
TB: Yes well, where we used to come down with the timber, that road’s all broken up now. There’s somebody living there at the present time, and they’ve made a road.
AL: Changed the road a bit?
AL: And what did holdings the brake mean you had to do? Just what was the brake like?
TB: Well, when you screw the brake up you see, it’d tighten. Well we used to cut honey suckle for the brakes, put them on each tyre. There’s a frame made you see, and as you screwed the brake up this frame worked into the wheels and it stopped from running down onto the horses. But later on Dad, he sold his horse then he bought a bullock team and he sold one bullock team and he bought another one.
AL: Where did he buy the bullock team?
TB: He bought one in Laidley. The smallest bullocks he bought in Laidley, the smallest team.
AL: How many were in that one?
TB: There was about eighteen bullocks.
AL: Do you remember their names?
TB: Oh yes, a few names anyhow.
AL: Can you tell me?
TB: Bonney was the leader, the near side leader. He (father) was offered fifty pounds in those days for him.
AL: That was a lot of money.
TB: Yes, on the right hand side his name was Spot, and Billy, Tiger, it’s that long ago. You might notice that range over here. We used to call them Huddleybar Ridges.
AL: Huddleybar, and it’s over near the Golf Links?
TB: Yes, where the Golf Links are now, the top end of the Golf Links, when you go along to the main road, the highway you branched off the second hill they used to call that the White Hill. Just over from the Golf Links.
AL: Why the White Hill I wonder?
TB: Well because the soil was always whitish when it rained.
AL: And you said there were five teams working there?
TB: There were five bullock teams hauling from there. It was that steep coming down we always had what you’d call a ring chain, a big chain around the log then hooked onto the slide in front where the strain of the bullocks are pulling. Otherwise if you didn’t do that, the logs would shoot down onto the bullocks.
AL: I suppose there was chance of nasty accidents too?
TB: Oh cripes yes, only for what you call the big ring chain you’d kill your bullocks. Break their legs and all that.
AL: So do you remember the horses names in your father’s horse team?
TB: yes, I remember a horse named Jerry, we used to work in the shafts. You see a wagon’s got a pair of shafts in the front and you’ve got to have a horse in the shafts to steer the wagon properly, you see in different places.
AL: They’re the long wooden poles along the side are they?
TB: Yes, course you’ve got to be a tradesman to make a pair of shafts for the horse to fit in.
AL: Were any of them mares?
TB: No, they were all horses. We had different horses there breaking them in for a bloke named Andy Taber, he was boarding at the Old Royal Hotel in Nambour and he used to buy a lot of horses and get my father to put them in the team, learn them how to pull.
AL: How long would it take them to learn?
TB: It wouldn’t take them very long, about a couple of weeks.
AL: I suppose some horses would take to it better than others too? Even get any rogues that just didn’t want to do it?
TB: No, of course my father used to be a bit cruel to them to make them pull. You had to be cruel to get them to work.
AL: You know bullockies are supposed to have a bit of language, was he like that?
AL: I don’t suppose you’d care to give us a sample?
TB: I wouldn’t like to – no – to say what they used to call them. (LAUGHS) Well, there were five bullock teams pulling off that ridge there and they all came down this way. We took a little bit that way, on the Bli Bli Road. But not so much as what we bought down on this side.
AL: What was the timber?
AL: All Blackbutt?
TB: Mostly Blackbutt, a little bit of Ironbark.
AL: And that would go to the mill or what?
TB: Yes, the bullockies’d load it up this side of the Rifle Range on their wagons and they used to come out there onto the Bli Bli Road and bring it into the sawmills.
AL: Where was the sawmill then?
TB: The Morton Mill had a sawmill one time, joined onto the sugar mill.
AL: In the same place as the mill is now?
TB: Yes, and there was another one down near where you go under the railway there. Harry Lowe, he had a big sawmill there for years and years.
AL: Near the creek?
TB: Down this way. You go into Carter Road and get up onto the Gympie Road before it, you’d cross under the railway. Well he had a big sawmill there for years, right on the left hand side of Nambour.
AL: That’s where Colless is now?
TB: That’s right. Well Colless went over this side of the line and Harry Lowe’s the other.
AL: And what would the mill mainly use that timber for?
TB: Yes, all building. A lot of timber used to come up from Coolum too, when there was a tramline down there. We used to go down and cut timber down on the Coolum tramline and bring it up on the trucks.
AL: On the cane-truck?
TB: Yes, but they were made different you see, they were made for logs instead of cane. They’d be pretty long some of them, the logs would be about twenty-five – thirty feet long.
AL: Where about would you cut those logs? Cause I grew up in Coolum, so I know it fairly well.
TB: Down between when you get on top of the hill from Bli Bli Road, Andersons used to be there – well about four or five miles on from there, before you got to Coolum.
AL: Round Coolum Creek area?
TB: it was sort of a swamp where we used to cut the timber down, red stringy and that.
The family home
AL: Back to where you lived when you were a little boy, what was the house like?
TB: We had a nice four room house…
AL: How many kids, nine kids – and a four room house?
TB: Nine. We didn’t have a kitchen for a long time, we had a little bark gallery. You cut a log off say three fee, four feet, five feet just to get down for steps at that time. We later got a bloke named Carter.
AL: Carter Road?
TB: Carters road. Fred Carter where they named it after him, Carters Road just over here.
AL: Is that the Fred Carter out at Hunchy?
TB: Yes, he built a big kitchen there.
AL: He was a carpenter?
TB: Yes he was a carpenter.
AL: So tell me more about the house – you know you had four rooms and a little bark kitchen was added on?
TB: We eventually got old Fred Carter to build this nice big kitchen.
AL: What did it have in it?
TB: Just the safe and the table, a couple of tables. The main table was about as long as this bed. We’d a cedar safe.
AL: A cedar safe, with the fly wire?
TB: We had no refrigeration or no ice or anything like that. Some mornings you’d get up and the butter would just be running.
AL: So you’d keep all the meat and the butter in the safe would you?
TB: Yes, my mother used to make yeast, she used to make bread too for thirteen. Bake bread for thirteen.
AL: What sort of stove?
TB: Oh, we had a nice little wood stove, fuel stove.
AL: That’s the one with the fairly small fire box is it?
TB: Yes that’s right.
AL: Not a slow combustion?
TB; That’s all.
AL: And they got hot don’t they?
TB: Oh they do. She tied the blooming yeast bottle up, tie the cork on you see and some mornings it’d blow the cork and the yeast’d be on the ceiling – part of it, not all of it.
AL: How did she make the yeast?
TB: You could buy the yeast in those days and she used to mix it up you see, I don’t know how she mixed it up, couldn’t explain it to you. She used to make blooming good bread. The bread you buy now is no good. There’s no taste in it, it’s all milk bread now. But you could eat every crust and everything on her bread. She used to start work on washing in the morning. We just had to go and light the fire for her. She used to start at six o’clock sometimes half past six and she wouldn’t finish until about half past six at night, washing all the time.
AL: That was with a copper?
TB: With a copper outside. She used to buy a board with ribs in them for rubbing the clothes on you see.
AL: Were there concrete tubs? Was there a seat of tubs or just a round basin?
TB: That’s all it was.
AL: And where did the water come from?
TB: We had plenty of water. We had a tank you know, a couple of good tanks then we had good drinking water down in the paddock there. When the tanks were dry we used to go down and get this drinking water. It was a beautiful water. It’s just the same where the old slaughter-yard was here – the first slaughter yard, it’s down just on Donaldson’s – you know Donaldson’s Road? There’s a little shop along the Gympie Road there opposite the State School there. You’d go up that hill. Well there used to be the slaughter yard between there and the roadway. It was beautiful water. They put pipes down, two long pipes, down into the ground and you would go and get a lovely drop of drinking water anytime, it wasn’t hard either, it was good drinking water.
AL: How would you carry it back to the house?
TB: We used to go down and carry the tubs down and build a bit of a bench you know for her to wash, that’s when the water was not in the tank. We used to go down there and she used to do her washing and we’d cart the washing back up and put it on the clothesline up at the house.
AL: So she washed down where the creek was?
TB: She washed down where the spring was you see.
AL: What was your mother’s name?
TB: Well her maiden name was Tucker.
AL: And her first name?
TB: Alice. Tuckers came to Nambour many many years ago before we were born and they all had their families here.
AL: That’s Tucker’s Creek of course.
TB: That’s Tuckers Creek down there below the cemetery.
Tape 1 Side B.
AL: So the Tuckers would have been pioneers of this area?
TB: Oh yes, they came out on a sailing ship years ago.
AL: From England?
TB: England, they come from England. My mother was born in England. There was my mother, Mrs Perren, Mrs Cox and there was Walter, Tommy and Butcher. Butcher was his nickname, Almer was his proper name, they called him Butcher. There was a big family of them too you see.
AL: Did she tell you stories about the early days?
TB: Oh no, she didn’t say too much. It took about eight weeks I think to come out on the old sailing boat.
AL: What sort of shops were there when you were a boy in Nambour?
TB: Just little bits of shops, not like the shops are now. And just opposite where the Royal George is there it used to be a bridge there, you had to come over a bridge there years ago.
The Nambour Cordial Factory
AL: Between the two hotels, the Club and the George?
TB: No, the other side where the Royal George is. Where the Royal George is there used to be a bridge there, it used to be all swamp around towards the old school. Just a bit of a swamp and there was a cordial factory there. A bloke named Pickman had when we used to go to school and we used to take a couple of days off and clean bottles for him. Just have a brush to go into the bottle.
AL: This was when you were at school? What did your teacher think?
TB: Oh well they couldn’t say anything, we were just after a few more shillings.
AL: How much would you get paid?
TB: Oh, you wouldn’t get very much about three or four shillings a day that’s all.
AL: How many kids would do that?
TB: I can only remember my two brothers and myself doing it.
AL: What would you spend your money on then?
TB: Well whatever we fancied.
AL: And what did you fancy?
TB: Oh there’s lots of things, there’s a bit of fruit – there wasn’t much to choose from in those days.
AL: Was there a lolly shop?
TB: Oh yes, Mrs Cox, she had a fruit shop there for many years.
AL: Where was that?
TB: Near where the Town Hall just near the Station there. There was only little bits of shops you know.
AL: So what sort of things did you like to do when you were a boy?
TB: Oh well, whatever we could afford to do. We used to play football and cricket just like other kids you know, make it as much fun as we could.
AL: Would there be get togethers much in the town – dances or anything like that?
TB: Oh yes, where the garage is there now that used to be the Royal Hotel.
AL: Which garage?
TB: Just up from the Station on the left own there. There used to be a big wooden hotel there.
AL: It burnt down didn’t it?
TB: Yes, and joining that you didn’t have to go out on the footpath or anything – there was a veranda leading to what they used to call the Alamba Hall in Nambour. That’s where they used to have all the dances. There used to be a saleyard where all those shops are on the left hand side as you’re walking down over from the Commercial Hotel. It used to be a saleyard and a man named Wilkinson – he’d sell all the horses every Saturday there was a horse sale there but of course there’s all shops built there.
AL: So there was a few dances – was there a dance every week?
TB: Oh yes, every Saturday night there was dances. All the girls that worked in the Royal Hotel they used to go into the hall and they’d dance there til midnight.
AL: What sort of dances?
TB: Oh, swinging round you know, oh lances. I couldn’t tell you all the names of the dances but they were doing the lances and plenty of swinging round. The waltzing. But I wasn’t a dancer myself, but I used to sit down and watch. I used to love it you know, go and watch them cause we were only kids at the time. (A lance is a square dance like a quadrille)
AL: How did you meet your wife?
TB: Well, she came up here to her aunties, Mrs Cross, was her name and of course she was one of the Tuckers, and she brought her out when the wife was only young. She (her aunt) bought her out to our place I was pressing a pair of pants I think. Of course that started things off.
AL: What did she think, she could do a better job or something?
TB: No, but we seemed to fall for one another and then I had a few trips to Brisbane before we got married, cause she was a forewoman there in Edward Street, I think it was Edward Street. She had a good job, a good boss too. She enjoyed her work. I never heard her complain about housework, she used to love housework. She used to love cooking and everything else.
AL: She didn’t mind giving up the job?
TB: No not at all. She loved giving it up for the sake of having me. When you’ve been sixty years together you know it’s a long time.
AL: Tell me about how your mother had to work, nine children – what sort of meals did she cook and things like that?
TB: Well, she used to do all the baking, make her own bread and scones and pancakes and so forth.
AL: how often would she have to make bread? You said for thirteen people?
TB: About twice a week. She had old bread tins there and us kids used to do a lot. Well mater of fact if a button come off we used to sew it back on.
AL: It’s those early days that we’re most interested in anyway. So if you’ve got any stories – there must have been funny things happen I guess.
TB: We used to go and get on the old team horses, we used to let them out on the road and we used to jump on them bareback and ride them home. Sometimes they’d go as hard as they could go through the bushes and everything else but we never got hurt. We’d be real bushrangers. No, no reins, nothing, no bridle, just jump on, hang onto their mane. Yes, we were real bushrangers. When the floods used to flood the bridge down here where Coles are now we used to go across the paddock that belonged to the Royal Hotel paddock you see – and it always used to flood, a big flood it used to always flood. We used to go across there and swim out to the logs and come round the corner and then before it went underneath the bridge, it used to swirl around about four or five times, but we’d jump off just when they’d get to go down the floodwater. Well it’s a wonder we’re alive now you know. But we did all that sort of thing.
AL: Even when you were very young?
TB: Yes, when we could swim you see and there was scorpions. They’ve got a pair of claws like it was a crab too. And by gees he can bite.
AL: Was that the black ones or brown ones?
TB; The black ones they were. They used to come down on the old logs, you know, get on top of the logs for shelter, you know. It’s a wonder, I’m here today. If I hadn’t have knocked off smoking I wouldn’t have lived so long.
AL: How old were you when you started smoking?
TB: We used to smoke tealeaves and pinch a bit of my father’s tobacco off the cake. We used to cut a bit of the cake as we could you know and used to make a cigarette out of that. Talk about laugh. Certain little twigs off what you’d call a box tree, they used to have little holes in them, we’d break them off and light them up. Well that’s what we were always up to. Sometimes we’d get enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes. A pack of Capstans was only sixpence then and we’d go down into the toilet, it was as far as here to the end of the building away from the house, and we never thought about the smoke coming out of the top. My mother used to say, “Come out of that you kids, you’re smoking.”
AL: So you had an outside dumpty of course. Was there a night cart in those days or did you have to empty your own?
TB: Yes, there was always a night cart, a bloke named Weldon, Tom Weldon. Old Tom Weldon he used to live just on this of the line just down from the station. He run the night cart for years.
AL: Where would he take it all to?
TB: They had a certain place out here, near the old cemetery somewhere. They used to bury it you see. Then there was a bloke after he give it up, a bloke named Pegg, he had the night run.
AL: And that was once a week was it?
TB: Once a week, yes.
AL: I guess with nine, what thirteen people it must have got pretty full.
TB: We used to have to empty our own. He never called on use. We used to go and dig a hole and empty that.
AL: You had a cow on your farm there?
TB: Yes, always had our own milk.
AL: What sort of cow was it?
TB: Just an ordinary cow, milking cow you know.
TB: No, she was more of a shorthorn.
AL: Give good milk?
TB: Yes, my niece up there at Kenilworth, they got a Jersey stud. We always kept a cow as long as she gave us milk. That’s all we wanted, never had to buy any milk in those days.
AL: Did your mother used to make the butter or someone make the butter?
TB: Yes, some us used to make the butter in the wintertime. You couldn’t make it in the summer you couldn’t get the butter milk out of it you see. We had no ice chest or anything in those days.
AL: What sort of meals did your mother cook you?
TB: She used to buy corn meat, road and mutton for the weekend. She never finished working – for thirteen. Well this chap that went to war, he was a timber getter, he used t cut sleepers. My uncle had a part of this ground here where the home is now, his name is Walter Tucker and Jim Page, that’s the chap that used to board with my people, they used to go out cutting sleepers for the railway.
AL: It was a different life, wasn’t it? Would your father go out to work everyday or would he have to camp sometimes over night?
TB: No, he never had any camps, he always come home and worked. Of course the ridges out here, where he had a bullock team, he used to always come home and bring the bullocks home, unyolk them there.
AL: Did you have a big shed or somewhere to keep them or they just lived in a paddock did they?
TB: No we just had a barn and we had the roof of the barn was turpentine bark. It never leaked, never leaked. And the floor we had for the barn was slabs as wide as one of those little doors there, for our floor.
AL: About a foot wide.
TB: Just the same when before we got this kitchen put up, we had just a gallery built just down from the house and we had that for years before we could manage to get a kitchen up you know. We managed to get enough money to pay Fred Carter. My father wasn’t a bad old carpenter either. He used to make most of his bullocks yolks and all that stuff.
AL: You were saying he bought the Bunya Pines down, did they go to the mill here too?
AL: And what would they be used for?
TB: They’d be used for pine ceilings and pine walls.
AL: It’s the soft wood?
TB: Those days it was all pine. Pine ceilings and pine walls, you see. Beautiful timber it was. Logs on straight as a die.
AL: I suppose a lot of the houses around Nambour have got those?
TB: Yes, well there was nothing else, that’s all we had to build it with, pine. Up in Montville there, they’ve got pine weatherboards up there. Yes, up in Montville a bloke named Smith had pine for his shop and his residence. He had a shop there and he used to repair watches and everything there but of course he’s gone, passed on.
AL: The houses weren’t painted in those days were they?
TB: No, they never had such a great lot of paint on them but they used to last. I don’t know how they used to last without the paint. They were wide boards, not just the little narrow boards you know, not like they build now.
AL: You were saying before how you used to sew your own buttons on, your mother taught you to sew?
TB: Yes, we used to wear the back out of our trousers too, you know, and we used to get on the machine and she showed us how to put a new piece in.
John and Fanny Buttle
AL: Is that the one that they called Jack?
TB: No, they never called him Jack. That was Jack’s father.
AL: Hold on while I get this straight. Jack’s father was John and you think Jack might have been a brother of Walter Buttle perhaps or a cousin?
TB: They lived right up opposite where I think the ambulance is in the building there now, that’s where their house was. Opposite the Catholic Church up on the hill.
AL: Oh that’s the fire station.
TB: Yes, fire station that’s right not the ambulance. They had their own house there, allotment there with a house on it. She used to do a bit of nursing.
AL: What was her name do you know? This is John Buttle’s wife?
TB: It was Fanny Buttle.
AL: So what did John Buttle do?
TB: Well he was a wheelwright, used to make wheels.
AL: For the coaches and things?
AL: Was that the big wooden wheels?
TB: Yes, just the wooden wheels. He was a pretty good tradesman.
AL: Was his business up there, where he lived?
TB: Well he only had a little bit of a workshop there that’s all I can remember. As far as I can remember.
AL: And that was his living?
TB: Later he used to help her with the women you see when they had their babies, she used to take women in there. She did that for years.
Yes well, when I started butchering there was no refrigeration then and they used to hang the beef up in the shop there and the brine tubs, now they put the brine tubs in the room to keep the meat. We never done that. We never had no bad meat.
AL: How long would you keep a carcass?
TB: Oh you’d keep it for a long time in brine. As long as you keep the brine clean you see.
AL: You’ve seen a big change in the price of meat I guess. What did a pound of sausage cost then?
TB: Well about sixpence. I don’t know what they are now. Well you could buy a packet of cigarettes for sixpence. There was ten in a pack, Capstan cigarettes.
AL: Your father rolled his own did he?
TB: No, he smoked a pipe, cause we used to try to make a cigarette out of the caked tobacco and we had to cut it very fine. It used to burn our tongue and I don’t know what it didn’t do. We tried everything for smoking. I know some lads they started smoking the horse manure. Dried horse manure, we never come at that though. They did though, they did, some of them. Fancy them doing that.
AL: Did you go fishing in Petrie Creek?
AL: What did you catch?
TB: We used to catch all sorts of fish, Flathead, Flathead’d come up the old Petrie Creek and Whiting, Bream.
AL: Were there plenty of fish around in those days?
TB: Oh cripes, yes, you could catch anything on a cord line.
AL: What would you use for bait.
TB: We used to get those soldier crabs. When we were kids, I remember we used to go down to the north beach, that’s on this side, the other side of the river and we used to spend our Christmas holidays there.
End of interview