Mary Ferris oral history

Mary recalls growing up at Bankfoot House, Glass House Mountains

Mary Ferris oral history

Interview with: Mary Isabella Ferris nee: Burgess

Date of Interview: 14 May 1987

Interviewer: Amanda Wilson

Transcriber: Denise Hall

Tapes: Four

Born: 1902 at Bankfoot House, Glass House Mountains

Married: 19 February 1925 at Red Hill, Brisbane

Children: Five

Mary recalls memories of growing up at Bankfoot House, Glass House Mountains, William Grigor's arrival in Australia and working for William Pettigrew, First Settler in Glass House Mountains District. Mary also talks about Cobb & Co Coaches travelling from Gympie to Brisbane and back - the timetable and accommodation and meal fees at Bankfoot House. Mary remembers the arrival of Halley’s Comet in 1910.

Recollections of Landsborough township and Henry Dyer and John Tytherleigh, the moving of the Mellum Club Hotel Landsborough, the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1920 and the opening of the Landsborough Shire Council Chambers by Uncle, John Grigor in 1924.


Mary Ferris oral history - part one [MP3 44MB]

Mary Ferris oral history - part two [MP3 44MB]

Mary Ferris oral history - part three [MP3 44MB]

Mary Ferris oral history - part four [MP3 25MB]

Images and documents of the Ferris Family in the Sunshine Coast Libraries Catalogue.



AW What is your full name?

Mary Isabella Ferris.

AW And what was your maiden name?


AW When were you born?

25th December, 1902.

AW So, you were born on Christmas Day, and whereabouts were you born?

Here, at Bankfoot House. (Glass House Mountains.)

AW So, your parents lived at Bankfoot House?


AW You were telling me your mother’s father built Bankfoot House, is that right?

Yes, my grandmother named it. My mother’s mother was born at Bankfoot, a little village in Perthshire, In Scotland. They were Scotch.

AW How did Bankfoot House, here in the Glass House Mountains, come about to being?

She Named it. My grandmother brought the name with her.

AW Who built it?

A man by the name of William Muwett, from Caboolture.

AW And who did he build it for?

For William Grigor, my grandfather.

AW So, that’s your mother’s father?

Yes, William Grigor was my grandfather. They were the first settlers ever here, Grandmother and Grandfather Grigor.

AW When did they first come to the Glass House Mountains?

In 1868.

AW So they were early settlers?

They were the first settlers here, the first people ever to live here.

AW Who told you that, your mother?

My mother.

AW You were telling me also, that your grandfather, Issac Hudson Burgess worked…..

That was my father’s father.

AW That he worked for William Pettigrew?

No, my Grandfather, William Grigor worked for Pettigrew.

AW Do you want to tell me a little bit about that, from what you’ve been told?

I don’t know much about that bit at all, but Grandmother and Grandfather came out on the William Miles. They arrived in Moreton Bay in January 1855 and he picked up with James Low and they went to Moggill, timber getting, and from there they bought a block of land in Brisbane. The house was right on the divide and it still stands today, 19 Gloucester Street, Spring Hill. My mother left it to my sister and I, and I could see that I could never get on with my sister. She would not spend anything on the house. And we were tennants in common, till I sold my half to her.

AW When did you sell the house in Spring Hill?

It’s still there.

AW No, but when did you sell your share back to your sister?

Oh, years ago. It’s a long, long time ago.

AW So, this is the Grigor family we are now talking about, having had Spring Hill?

Yes, and it still stands today.

AW So, how did the Grigor’s come about coming up to Glass House Mountains? Did your mother ever tell you why?

Well, they were at Mooloolah, they were timber getting with Pettigrew. They heard the coach was coming, so he came down here and his mate went to Yandina. It was then called Maroochy. He had a hotel there.

AW Who was your grandfather’s mate?

He was James Low.

AW So, James Low built the hotel at Maroochy.

Which is now Yandina. And old Grigor came here, and squatted.

AW So what coach was that?

Cobb and Co.

AW So this is the Cobb and Co. coach that went to Gympie?

Yes, they left Brisbane at five o’clock in the morning and they were here at twelve o’clock sharp, for dinner.

AW These are the coaches?


And Mother said, “Twelve o’clock you could lift the dinner, they were blowing the bugle coming up the hill”. They were right on time.

AW Were the coaches still running when you were a child?


AW Do you know when they stopped?

My mother was thirteen.

AW So that would have been in 1891. So, your mother had told you all these stories?


AW What else did she tell you about the Cobb and Co. coaches?

I have read the stories too, from the books.

AW What other stories did your mother tell you?

Well, she said the coach never came on a Monday. There used to stay at home and tend to all the harness, all the gear.

AW This is in Brisbane?

Yes. They were down Mary Street. They came up Tuesday, back Wednesday, up Thursday, back Friday. And they took two days to go to Gympie.

AW So, where else did they stop on their way to Gympie?

They changed horses every twelve or thirteen miles. And there was a change of horses here.

AW So, there would have had to have been horse paddocks here?

Yes, he (William Grigor) had the paddocks and the coachmen, they had their own stables. They had a man here looking after the horses and the stables, which were beyond the old people’s stables. Their stables were further on, beyond that. (Indicates to B/W photo of Bankfoot House in lounge room.)

AW That photograph up on the wall. So do you know roughly when that photo was taken?


AW So, when you say the old people’s stables, whose stables were they?

They had their own stables, Cobb and Co., which were beyond Grigor’s stables and they kept a coach man here to look after the horses and feed them and everything else. Grigor had nothing to do with them in that line.

AW Do you remember your grandmother Grigor?

No, she died in 1900.

AW So that was just two years before you were born?

1st June, 1900.

AW Did your mother tell you any other stories of when the coach was running?

Did she tell you about what sort of food the passengers were fed, or how much it

cost, for food, for the passengers?

William Grigor grew all the feed, all the vegetables. He grew everything. They had their fowls, they had everything. They were self sufficient.

AW No, I meant for the passengers on the coach. How much would it cost for

somebody arriving on the coach to come into Bankfoot House and buy some


A shilling a meal, ten cents.

AW Did your mother tell you anything else, about how much it cost, say, to have your horse stabled for the night?

A shilling.

AW A shilling again.

A shilling for the feed for the horse.

AW So, that is three shillings, isn’t it?

If you were riding through, and you stayed the night with a horse, you had your tea, bed and breakfast, and two feeds for the horse, it would cost five shillings.

AW So, your grandparents got that money?


AW Did your mother ever show you any photographs of the coaches, what they

looked like?

They are here in the book.

AW So Bankfoot House is very important to the development of the Glass House

Mountains, and Landsborough area, because that’s the very reason why

people stopped here, was just to spell on their way to Gympie?

Yes, it used to take two days to get to Gympie. The men and horses returned every thirteen miles, the horses did. But in Woombye, they did not trans-ship.

AW What does that mean?

Well, the coaches just came through, they didn’t trans-ship anything, and the coaches came right through. So, when one left Brisbane, one headed for Gympie. They passed at what was called Cobbs Camp, which is now Woombye.

AW Was it called Cobbs Camp when you were a child?

Yes, in those days. I’ve got a photo of Cobbs Camp here.

AW So, the only road between Bankfoot House and Brisbane was the old Gympie

Road, which is where you are still on today?

That’s right, still on today.

AW And why was the road built?

Well, it was the only road and it was built for the Cobb and Co.’s coaches.

AW So they could get prospectors to the gold fields?

Yes, that’s right.

AW That would have been in the late 1800s. So, on the 12th November, 1868, the

first Cobb and Co. coach was on its way to Gympie, via Bankfoot House and

Cobbs Camp.

That is Woombye now, and they used to stop overnight there.

AW So, they wouldn’t stop here over night, they would just change horses here?

They would just keep on going.

AW Right, so they stopped here for lunch?

Midday, twelve o’clock, you could lift the dinner.

AW You remember that very well, so your mother must have really told you a lot about it.

AW Now, who was Fenwick?

That’s my grandmother, Mary Fenwick.

AW Did she meet William Grigor on the ship out to Australia?

Yes. They always said it was a ship-board romance. They came out on the same ship. He was twenty-one and she was nineteen. She worked at Newstead House, as a maid governess, for Captain Wickham, and he went home to England, thinking he would come back as Governor General, and he didn’t, so she left him. She didn’t stop there with him; she came back and worked her way back again. She landed in Western Australia and worked her way all the way back here and met up with Grigor again. And they were married in 1863.

AW Do you remember how many children they had? Your mother was one of them.

Mother was the youngest. She was a twin. (John, Janet, William, James, Kenneth and Clementina).

AW The Grigor family, of course, is very well known in the timber industry, in the Peachester area.

Yes, that’s right, they are relations.

AW William A. Grigor was your uncle, your mother’s brother. Now, he opened the first mill there, didn’t he, on the Stanley River, was it?


AW Do you know what year that would have been?

No, I just can’t remember.

AW Can you remember the mill running as a child?


AW Whereabouts was it exactly?

You know where the park is, beside the river?

AW So, it was just near the park in Peach ester?

Near the park there now, well, that was the mill there, there used to be a big saw dust heap there.

AW So, in 1899, William Grigor built a steam driven mill at Peachester and it continued until 1916.

I suppose it would have been in 1916.

AW Now, what are your earliest memories, Mary, of living here in the Glass House area? Can you remember any glimpses of when you were really a little girl playing in the bush or anything like that?

Well I remember the pit down the front.

AW The pit saw.

Yes, the pit. The whole pit was there and my sister and I used to play in it.

AW Did you ever see it being used?


AW So, it was probably the pit that they used to make Bankfoot House?

All the timber was pit sawn timber. All this bit, (indicates to walls in Bankfoot House) it’s all pit sawn.

AW And it’s beech?

It’s all beech, but the old place was a mixture of cedar and beech.

AW Now, that was the first house?

No. the table was cedar, that’s right, but the rest of the house was all beech. And the old place was beech too.

AW When you say the old place, what happened to it?

Well, it was built of logs, in a hurry, they put it on logs.

AW Instead of putting it on stumps.

Yes, and the logs rotted and went this way and that way, and they had to pull the house down in 1930.

AW 1930. So, as a child you grew up with two Bankfoot Houses? One at the front, right on the road and this one here, that we’re in today.

Yes. There never was a fence, the edge of the verandah was on the edge of the road. Right on the road. The verandah just went out to the edge.

AW Going back to your early memories, you can remember the pit saw, what else comes back to you?

I first went to school in Landsborough.

AW When was that, or how old were you?

I didn’t start till I was seven.

AW So, that would have been in 1909?

That’s right.

AW So, in 1909, you went to school in Landsborough? Wasn’t there a school at Glass House Mountains?

There was.

AW Did you ever go there?

When I came back from Landsborough I did. There was one man that worked on the railroads and he was transferred and when he transferred, half the school went.

AW Most of the students were his children?

It was closed.

AW Do you know when it was closed?

It would have been 1906, in 1910 it was opened again. Yes, in 1910, it opened. We had Miss O’Gorman.

AW Let’s get back to Landsborough. While you were at Landsborough School how did you get to school at Landsborough?

We went up by train.

AW So you just walked down to the Glass House Mountains Railway Station?

No, Mother drove us down in the buckboard. She would only go within half a mile of the station.

AW Why was that?

There were big slip-rails and we could open the slip-rails alright, going down, but coming back when she went to open it, the horse wouldn’t wait for her. He’d clear out. So she only ever took us that far and we would walk the other three quarters of a mile, down to the train.

AW When you say, slip-rails, was it a big fence for the railway yard or something?

No, it was the paddock. The paddock there, and there were rails across, and after you cross the creek, you came up to this, what they called slip-rails.

AW And you would just slip them out and go through.

Yes, but it was alright going down, the horse would wait, but when she was coming back, she wouldn’t wait.

AW So who harnessed up the horse for the buckboard when you were going to school?

Grandfather Grigor. He was still with us. He didn’t pass on till 1907. I remember him well.

AW So, you’d go off to school; would you take your lunch with you?

Oh yes.

AW What sort of food would you take for lunch?

Sandwiches, bananas, apples.

AW Very similar to today.

Because you couldn’t buy anything at school, we always had to take our lunch. No shops at school, nothing else like that, no fear.

AW So, at Landsborough School, can you remember the names of any of the other students?

There was Gertie Jenkinson and Aileen Jenkinson.

AW So, they were the same age age as you?

Gertie was older than I, but Aileen and I were the same age. And there was the Drells, my father’s sister’s girls.

AW So, you really only went to Landsborough School for a year?

Yes, about that and we came back here.

AW So, in 1910 you say, the school reopened. Did they use the same, actual school rooms as they had built in 1906?

It was only one room.

AW Was it off the ground?

Oh yes, it was up, off the ground a few feet. I’ve got a photo of the old school.

AW Was it in what we know today, as Glass House Mountains area proper?

The old school is still there, but it has been risen, they raised it up. But the little old school that we had was only a small room, as big as this, and one little verandah in the front.

AW How many children went to that school when you went back in 1910? Were there many?

Only twelve.

AW So, who were the families that lived in Glass House that had children going to school?

Robertsons, Reeds and Kings. I’ve got a photo of the school here when there were only twelve on the roll.

AW That’s a long time ago. You were telling me just before, that you are the oldest resident here.

Mary Ferris, born here, and living here in the Glass House Mountains. There’s plenty of older ones that are now here, but they’re imported.

AW Because you were actually born here in Bankfoot House.

I was born in this house in that room in there.

AW That’s amazing to be able to say, “I was born in that room there”.Very few people would be able to say that.

Well, that’s where I was born. And this house is ten years behind the old house.

AW So did your parents live in this house and your grandparents lived in the other house?

My Grandfather did.

AW I was just wondering who lived in the old Bankfoot House at the front, after this new one was built?

Well, it was pulled down.

AW But you said it wasn’t pulled down till 1930 or something.

And had it been built on stumps, it would have been there today. It was built on logs and it perished, and they pulled it down to save it falling down.

AW Well, let’s get back to 1910. You were eight years old. Did anything exciting happen in 1910 that you can remember?

We used to go up in the train from Landsborough. We were always late for school because the train was late. I think Mr. Dooley was the school master.

AW What about in February 1910? The other day you were telling me about Halley’s Comet.

That’s right. Most emphatically. Halley’s Comet at that time in 1910, was the closest it was to Earth and now the Comet this time is the furtherest away from Earth.

AW Well, tell me a little bit about what it was like.

Well, it was just a big bright star with a long bright tail.

AW How bright?

You could read a paper with it on the back verandah. Father dragged us out to see it that was in 1910. That was when my youngest brother was born, in 1910. People said to mother, “Why didn’t you call him Kenneth Halley?” She said, “No, it would date too much”. So he’s just plain Kenneth. She wouldn’t have it.

AW So, did you know Halley’s Comet was coming?

Father said it was here, so, we got out on the back verandah and had a look at it and, here was this great big star with a long bright tail, like a big fire in the sky.

AW Were you scared of it?


AW Did you know what it was?

It was away over the paddock. He said it was Halley’s Comet.

AW Did you understand what it was?

He told us what it was.

AW What about all the other children was it exciting?

My sister and I were brought out to have a look at it.

AW What was your sister’s name?

Janet Elsie.

AW Was she older or younger than you?

Eighteen months younger than me. She lives way down town.

AW She’s still alive? That’s good.

Although she makes out she’s older than me. And she looks it too. She lives in the big brick house, nearly opposite the school.

AW I was reading in the old Nambour Chronicle about Halley’s Comet and the farmer up at Witta, near Maleny, he didn’t know it was coming and he wrote a letter to the newspaper and he said he had no idea. He thought the heavens were opening and God was coming. Were there many reactions like that in those days when it happened?

No. Not in my time. Father just dragged us out onto the back verandah and we had a look at it, my sister and I.

AW Were you a bit too young to listen to all the adults talking about it?

Yes, but I remember it well. It was just straight across the paddock there. But it was very bright. You could have read the paper with it, it was that bright.

AW How many nights was it like that for?

Quite a while, before it disappeared.

AW Would it be bright all night?

Yes, very, very bright, but it gradually went away and faded away. As the world turned around, it went too. Because the world turns around. Well, the world turns round and just now, there’s a group of stars. I sleep on the verandah, I see them there, and by morning they’re gone, of course. You see, the world goes around. We are all on the move all the time, although we don’t know it, but we are.

AW Did they teach you those things in school, or did you just work that out?

Yes, I’ve read that in books that the world goes around.

AW Well, in 1910, you also mentioned the other day that you can remember when King Edward, Queen Victoria’s son, when he died.

Remember all the trams and everything was draped with purple and black. They had a big memorial service in Brisbane.

AW Did you go to that?

We didn’t go to it, but Father told us about it and all the trams and everything was draped and the horses and everything else.

AW What about up here in the Glass House Mountains, did people up here wear black are bands or anything?

Yes. There’s one photo here of Grandfather Grigor now, but he’s got it on the right arm, but it should be on the left.

AW Why should it be on the left?

Well, they reckon that’s where it should be, and they would wear black frocks, and go to nothing. They’d always let a Sunday pass between, before they would go out to anything.

AW Why was that?

I don’t know why.

AW It was just tradition?

Just tradition.

AW That was the tradition of mourning. Was that just for special people?

For everybody.

AW For everybody.

Everybody did it.

AW So, if somebody from down at Woombye died that you knew, you would wear a black arm band.

Oh no, we weren’t related to that lot.


AW You only wore an armband if you were related?

Only relations and families. But I never wore any arm bands, but Grandfather Grigor did. I’ve got a photo of him here now with it on.

AW Was he wearing that when the King died?

When his wife died.


AW When did his wife die?

In 1900.

AW What about other world events? You were telling me that you can remember when the Yongala, the ship went down.

In North Queensland?

AW Yes.

That’s when Miss O’Gorman was our teacher here.

AW You spoke about that at school, did you?

It was in our school papers.

AW So, did you used to do current affairs at school?

Yes, all that, history.

AW Do you remember the Titanic going down?

That was way up in the north.

AW But did you read about that in the newspapers here?


AW So Glass House Mountains was right up to date with world events?

That’s right, because we used to get school papers. It was always in that, what they called School Papers, They don’t have them now.

AW Did the Education Department put those out?

Yes, we had to pay a penny each for them.

AW And you’d read them?

Yes, well, that was our lessons.

AW What other sort of lessons did you do, did you do arithmetic? Did you have a blackboard or did you have slates?

Yes, we had a blackboard and slates and pencils, and big desks and you put the slates in front of you, the ink wells and pens and, you put the slates in front of you, the ink wells and pens. Now they use biros.

AW Can you remember when you were at school, how long you would actually be at school for, during the day. What time you started and what time you finished?

We used to go in at half past nine and come out at half past three in the afternoon.

AW Did most of the children that went to school with you, did they come from farming families?


AW Did they have to do any chores, before they went to school?


AW What sort of chores would they have to do?

Well, some of them were milking cows and that sort of thing. My class mate, Marion Gilvear did, of course, they used to milk cows. And they lived as far down the other side of the line as what we were up this side of the line, and she was my class mate.

AW Her parents had a dairy?

Yes, they had a dairy.

AW What about the farmers growing crops?

Well, they had to all grow their own crops, because they never could buy anything, you had to grow your own crops.

AW What about crops for sale?

See, Grandfather grew all the feed here for the cows and all that. When the horses finished, then they had to milk cows. Mother used to mild the cows, Grandfather used to bail them up so Mother could milk them, because he couldn’t milk.

AW Why was that?

I don’t know why, but she used to do the milking and I was the only babe at the time and I was taken over to the cow bails in a high chair and there were big boulders there. I must have got fidgety, Mum said, and I fell out and cracked my head and I had headaches and vomited for days.

AW Do you remember that, or you’ve been told.

Mum said. So, they took me to the doctor. I had to go right to Brisbane and he said the impact was too far forward to hurt anything there and too backward to hurt any other organ but it would mean always headaches, and by gee, it does.

AW And you still get it?


AW So you are lucky that you didn’t sustain some sort of brain damage when you fell out of your high chair?

My head is not round, it’s flat.

AW Well, you must have been very young then?

Before my sister was born, it was only me. I must have been only about twelve months old.

AW So, what would you do in the old days, when you were really young if you had an accident and you needed a doctor?

They had to go to Brisbane. There were no doctors here.

AW But you were fortunate that you were on the railway line.

Yes, well, I don’t know that the railroads had gone down there. They used to just drive down to Caboolture.

AW In what?

In the old spring cart. And then you’d get a boat from Caboolture down.

AW So they would drive down the Old Gympie Road. Did it go through Caboolture?

Yes. Cobb & Co. had a change of horses there, at Morayfield.

AW So, do you remember when the trains came through? Was that in your time?

Yes. That was in my time. I remember the trains coming through.

AW The first train?

I wasn’t born, but it came through in February,1890.

AW So, rail transport had only been in for a few years, when you were born?

Yes, and Grandmother died on the 12th June, 1900. I didn’t know Grandmother.

AW I was just trying to work out what the early settlers would do if they had an accident. So, they’d drive all that way in the middle of the night if necessary?

Oh! Even in the winter.

AW And how would they know their way, how come they wouldn’t get lost riding along with a horse and buggy in the bush?

With a lantern, they knew the roads.

AW They must have been a hardy lot.

They must have been, to come out in the raw bush and put up with what they did here. They must have been, they needed gold crowns.

AW Did your grandfather ever tell you any stories about what the actual scrub was like around here at Glass House?

There wasn’t any scrub, the paddocks were all clear.

AW But, who cleared them?

He used to pay the aboriginals when they were going down to get their blankets and everything. They’d do so much on the way down and they’d finish it when they’d come back. And these paddocks were all cleared.

AW And, you were saying they were going to get their blankets?

They would go and get their blankets and their rations for winter.

AW From where?

From Brisbane, from the Government. And they had a hat full of money, threepences and sixpences and everything that they owned. (The money was paid by Grigor, for land clearing.)

AW So, they were chopping trees down?

Yes, they kept them all cleared and grubbed out.

AW But what about when your grandfather first came here and he was one of the first settlers?

There wasn’t any trees here. It was all cleared. It was clear when he came here.

AW And the aboriginals had cleared it.

It had all been cleared beforehand, I think. I don’t know who would have done it. But the paddocks were cleared. All this paddock here was cleared. It is possible that the Aboriginals had burnt the area, yearly.

AW This is from what you can remember?

Yes, I remember seeing the paddocks all cleared. We get people here, coming from the South and they want to know where the Glass House Mountain is. But, we tell them it’s a group of Glass House Mountains. There’s twelve of them.

AWE You were telling me the other day you know the aboriginal names to some of the mountains.

Beerwah, they pronounce it Beerwah, It’s Beraway, (bear-a-way) from the coast, that’s what it means. Canowrin, or Crookneck as they call it.

AW And the aboriginals used to call it Canowrin.

Or Crookneck, yes. There’s a story in it. There’s Tibbrogargen, Tibbras Going or Tibbras Walk. That’s this one at the back. And there’s the twin mountains, Tunbuboodla. Two and two boodla brothers. That’s the twins down there. You would have seen them when you were at the lookout. Big brothers, that’s what the blacks said it was. Ngungun over here, I don’t know how it came by, Ngungun. They called it Nungumnungum, but it’s Ngungun.

AW And who told you this?

My parents told me.

AW And the aboriginals may have told your parents?

Yes, I’ve got photos of all the mountains, the photos are all here. And they call this one here now, the call it Granny. It’s Ewen. The Forestry calls it Tibrowacum and I’m going to write to the Forestry and make them change it I think, because it should have its proper name. It’s Ewen.

AW And how do you know that?

It’s in all the photos that are here.

AW In the old books.

In all the photos of the Queensland Railways and everything. Stacks of them there, a whole bundle of them.

AW And they always called if Ewen instead of Tibrowacum?

They called it Granny for short, for Ewen. But Tibrogargen, the blacks said it was Tibra Walk, Tibbra’s Going or Tibbra’s Walking.

AW Talking about aboriginals, do you ever remember any aboriginals living in this area?

No. That was before my time. They did have a small ring over here. They were an in between tribe. He had a little ring over there. I remember that ring.

AW Whereabouts was that?

Straight across the front of the paddock underneath the big tree, the bunya.

AW Was it over near the pit saw?

No, a bit up the hill from the pit saw, straight across the front here.

AW Was there a creek near it?

The creek is way down. Just straight across the paddock here, straight across the road.

AW So your mother said something?

Mother said that they used to dress up and have their corroborree, and the men would dance and put their feathers on and the women would sit all around and chant.

AW So, your mother can remember the aboriginals having a corroboree? Did she ever tell you anything that would happen?

They were living here. They were never molested by them. And if they went out and didn’t get a kangaroo or anything, Grandfather would go out and shoot one for them if it was too wet. Well, then he used to kill his own meat. They had their own meat room and feed room here. They had to kill their own meat, they could not get it anywhere else. And he would always say to them, ”if you come up in the morning, I’ll give you some meat”. And he never disappointed them.

AW So, Grandfather Grigor took care of the aboriginals that lived on his property?


AW Did your grandfather ever tell you any stories about the aboriginals?

Mother told us. Grandfather didn’t die until 1907.

AW That’s what I was going to say, did he ever tell you any stories.

Oh! Yes, he did for a while, you know, but he never disappointed them. But, one thing they did say, they always called him King Billy.

AW Your grandfather?

Yes, he was King Billy, they thought he was the King. But, “Mr. Grigor, never walk in front of aboriginals. The hatchet is too handy”.

AW What did you understand from that?

Well, they would kill him.

AW Why, if they thought he was so nice?

Yes, if he was walking in front of them. He always had to walk behind them.

AW But why would they kill him? If they called him King Billy and they thought he was a really nice man, why would they kill him?

I don’t know why, but that’s what they told him. Never to walk in front of them, always go behind them, because the hatchet was too handy, strike him on the head. That’s what Grandfather told me.

AW So, you don’t know the names of the tribes?


AW They weren’t the Kabi Kabi or the Undanbi?

There were two sorts of tribes here. There were two tribes, one was from Woodford and another one from Kilcoy.

AW They used to come here on their way to the coast or something?

Well, they used to go to Brisbane to get their blankets and their rations.

AW So, there was a Bora Ring just over the road?

Straight across there, only a small one.

AW And you remember that yourself?

I can remember the ring, but I can’t remember the blacks here.

AW That’s interesting. Well, let’s move along a bit. Do you remember in 1914, the First World War breaking out?

I was twelve.

AW You were twelve and do you remember reading about it in the newspapers?

Mostly in our little school papers. Teachers used to teach us at school.

AW And, what did they teach you. Did they teach you anything about why there was a war?

Because they were wanting to get more ground. They just wanted to get more ground and rule over everybody.

AW So, did current affairs play a big role in your lives as far as that was what the newspapers wrote all about?

Father used to get what we called the “Weekly”. That’s all we used to get. And we used to talk about it at school.

AW Do you remember when the War broke out, if any soldiers went from the Landsborough or the Glass House Mountains area?

It’s a big area, a lot went from here. There was a father and six sons went from here.

AW What family was that?

The Gilvears

AW Did they all come back?

No, three.

AW So, they lost three. Was the father killed?

No, it was Kenny, Alec and Bob. They paid the supreme sacrifice. There was a father and six sons, the Gilvears.

AW Whereabouts did they live?

Way down the side of the line.

AW So, they were still regarded as Glass House?

Oh, they were in Glass House.

AW Do you remember if there were any send off celebrations, did they all go off to the Railway Station and you all waved?

They had the send offs in the School of Arts.

AW What happened there, were they in their uniforms?

Yes, My Father used to be Master of Ceremonies. He was the MC.

AW So you remember all that?



AW You were just telling me a minute ago a story, about when your father was a boy, he was fourteen. What did he used to do?

Well, he worked for Dyer, the butcher.

AW What was Mr. Dyer’s first name?

Henry Dyer, of Landsborough. And he worked for him in the butcher’s shop.

Slaughtering the meat and that sort of thing. Then when the Dicky came on shore, and they couldn’t get it off.

AW That was in 1893?

Yes, he used to ride down on the horse and take the meat down to the men on the Dicky.

AW At Caloundra?


AW Did your father tell you if he can remember any people living in Caloundra then?

Yes, I remember people in Caloundra, the Bulcocks.

AW No, when the Dicky was first there, in 1893?

Well, he used to work for Dyer and he took the meat down, he used to ride down with it.

AW So, did your father ever tell you what the Dicky looked like? Stories about the ship being up on the beach?

Yes, we saw it, we were taken on it. The whole ship was there, the whole lot was there.

AW When did you first go to Caloundra?

We used to have a week away. We would leave here on Boxing Day and we’d have a week at Caloundra and camp down there.

AW How old were you when you first started going away on holidays?

Before 1910 because Ken wasn’t born and Bill was only a baby.

AW You were telling me about the Dicky. What did that look like?

Well, the whole boat was there. Every bit of it. Father took us onto it.

AW What was it like actually on the boat, were there cabins?

Yes, everything was there, the Captain’s cabin and everything was all there.

AW All the furniture?

Yes, everything that was on it was still there. Father took us on to it, my sister and I. Bill was too young.

AW And it was stuck in the sand?

Yes, in the sand, and they tried to turn it and they couldn’t manage it, the ropes used to keep breaking.

AW So the ship was too heavy?

Yes, and the tides, the waters and the waves would bring it back again.

AW So, when you first went down to Caloundra, can you remember how many people lived in Caloundra?

Very few.

AW Did you know anybody who lived down there?

We knew the Bulcocks. Mother did, she used to often go and have afternoon tea with Mrs Bulcock, old Mrs. Bulcock.

AW Do you remember the name of the Bulcock’s house?

Wait a minute now. He never smoked and never drank and or anything else. He was a very religious man, old Mr.Bulcock. There was the Rookes, who had the hotel.

AW Hotel Francis?

That’s right, that’s all that was there.

AW What about the lighthouse?

It was there.

AW Any shops?

The Tripconys had a shop.

AW So you remember Mr Tripcony? That would have been Andrew Tripcony?

That’s right. And there was Agnes Tripcony. She married a Cannon. They lived over at Woodford. I think, Grace she’s MacBride she’s a bit older than I am. Jean Tripcony and I were the same age. Tom MacBride Grace’s husband and I were school mates. We went to school together in Landsborough.

AW So where did the MacBrides come from?


AW Where did the Tripconys come from?

They lived down at Cowie Bank. They shifted up into Caloundra and then went to school, but Tom MacBride and I went to school together. Tom was a fair bit older than I was.

AW Can you remember in Glass House when the first shop came to the Glass House Mountains?


AW And who had the shop?

George Jones.

AW What sort of things did Mr Jones sell?

All groceries. Fruit, vegetables.

AW Lollies?

Lollies and everything.

AW Did he have a drapery?

No. No drapery.

AW So, the local store, did he sell bread?

No. There was a baker next door. (Not in 1916 though; bread was delivered by train, from Caboolture).

AW There was a baker?


So, really, he wasn’t the first store?

He was the first store, for the groceries.

AW What else was there before him then?

He was the first, George Jones. It was in the School of Arts, a little shop in front of the School of Arts.

AW But there was a baker next door? Can you remember his name?

Snow Spencer, and he used to bring the bread all out around here.

AW You didn’t even have to go and get it?

No, he used to bring it out.

AW He’d deliver it. Can you remember how he would deliver it, did he have a horse and cart?

No, I think he had a bit of a truck or something, but he used to bring it right out here, because when the War was on, I had to get all the children out of Brisbane, and they came up here to their Grandmother’s.

AW This is the Second World War?

Yes, and I had to get them all out of Brisbane. There was Clem and Bill and Ruby, Edith and Kevin.

AW Your children?


AW There was a baker, Mr. Snowy Spencer, in Glass House Mountains, and there was a shop, and what else was there?

That was all.

AW What happened if you wanted to get some horse shoes or something for your horse saddle or something like that, where would you go?

My father did it himself.

AW He would make it all himself?

Yes, and he would shoe the horses too.

AW Did he have an anvil here that he used to make the shoes on?

Yes, an anvil here.

AW He had his own?


AW Do you ever remember him making anything like that?


AW What would he do?

Well, he would heat it up, and you would see him belt it till he got it to the shape of the shoe he wanted. Then he would put it on the horse.

AW Did he have a set of the big bellows to blow the coals?


AW So, did you have a special barn of shed where he used to do all the blacksmithing?

He had it in the big stables over here, and the saddle room, alongside it. (Indicates out living room window.)

AW And is that where you put all the bridles?


AW And would everybody in the family have a horse?

Not all. We used to go double bank.

AW Who with?

My sister and I would go double bank.

AW Who rode at the front?


AW Because you were the oldest.

Yes, and my sister would sit on the cushion behind me.

AW So, it was just assumed that everybody would eventually learn to ride.

Yes, then I got that I could drive.

AW When did the first car come?

Oh, I don’t know when the first cars came. It was late in life. Grandfather never saw a car. Father never had a car, no.

AW When did your father die?

Oh! I have to think when Mum and Dad died. He would have died in 1946. My grandfather died in 1907. Dad died a young man. He was thirty-three and a half years in the service of the Landsborough Shire.

AW I was going to get on to that. You said before your father was a Shire Councillor in 1918, the end of World War 1.

I was sixteen.

AW You were sixteen years old, so you were in the right age to be going to dances and parties.

They used to take us too. Father and Mother.

AW Where were the dances then?

In the olden days, it was in the old school. And then in 1916, the hall came.

AW The Hall was built in 1916? Who built the hall?

Mr.Round from down Wynnum way, somewhere.

AW Mr. Round he was a builder. So, did all the local residents pay for it?


AW So, you’d go to dances?

They used to take us. Father and Mother used to take us and they taught us to dance, because that’s all there was in those days. Waltz dancing.

AW And what would you have for music?


AW Who’d play the accordion, would you get musicians in?


AW Would they be local people?

Yes. At times, Dad used to play the accordion too. Jack used to play it.

AW Jack who?

My husband.

AW Was there a piano in the School of Arts?


AW Do you remember who used to play the piano at the dances at Glass House Mountains?

Jacobs from Mooloolah played the violin.

AW What I was trying to get at, in the end of World War 1, all the soldiers started coming home around 1919. There would have been big dances.

There was a big welcome here.

AW Can you remember that?

There would be send offs and then they would welcome them home.

AW What would happen at the welcome home?

They would give them a medal, or whatever they had to give them.

AW Did everyone get a medal?

Everyone did.

AW And who paid for the medals?

The Government, I think. I don’t know just how that came about

AW And did you get all dressed up for the dances?


AW What would you wear?

Blouse and skirt.

AW Did you make them?


AW By hand?

On a machine.

AW On a treadle.


AW Was it a big experience to go out to dances?

Yes, there was nothing else. There was nothing else here, no enjoyment otherwise.

AW What were some of your favourite dances?

I knew them all. The prima waltz, I used to like. Yes, I remember later on, I think it was Stoney Creek or somewhere, Mr Maroske was playing and he said to Jack, “Play a waltz, will you? I want to dance with your wife. She’s the only decent dancer there is.”

AW So you really enjoyed to waltz?


AW Did most people in those days like to dance?

Well, there was nothing else, you just had to like it.

AW What about the timber getters, and the railway workers. Would they go to the dances?

No! It was never allowed.

AW Why was that?

It was never allowed in those days and the policeman would see to it that it was never there. They could get way out in the paddock, somewhere, oh, well away, but never near the dance.

AW So, alcohol was not socially acceptable.

It was abolished altogether at dances.

AW This is sort of round the era of the Temperance League. Was there a Temperance League in Glass House Mountains?

No, Grandfather, Father’s father, had the Temperance League. On the right, across Mellum Creek, they had a Temperance Hotel.

AW In Landsborough, when was that?

It would be a long time ago.

Aw` So, this is your grandfather Issac Hudson Burgess, who had the Temperance Hotel at Landsborough.

On Mellum Creek, up on the right before you cross Mellum Creek, on the hill there. There’s a photo of it in there.

AW On the Old Gympie Road. And he didn’t sell alcohol?

No, it was a Temperance Hotel.

AW I don’t understand why they had a hotel that was a temperance hotel that would allow no alcohol. What would he sell?

Only soft drinks and things like that.

AW And would people still go there?


Aw Do you remember the Temperance Hotel?


AW Was that before you were born?

You can see a photo of it in the Historical Museum. See, there is, like a big book there. Have you seen it there?

AW No, but I’ll go and have a look

Well, it’s there, the photo of the Hotel.

AW This is in the Landsborough Museum?


AW About the end of World War 1, the celebrations. Can you remember when the soldiers actually came home and got off the train? Did they have a big welcoming home?

Yes, they welcomed them home. First they gave them send offs.

AW Can you remember any of the actual soldiers that did come back?

Well, the Gilvears.

AW That’s the man who lost three sons?

Yes, he lost three sons. Then there was the Avenells and Archie King. (Arthur and Charlie King went to the 1914-1918 War and Archie King and Ham went to the Boer War).

AW So, what was it like living in those days, because you had no electricity? Did you have a telephone?

Yes. (1920,s)

What was your phone number?


AW Number seven. So you were probably the seventh house to have the phone on?


AW Was that through the Landsborough Exchange or the Caboolture Exchange?

It must have come through the Caboolture. Father had it put in, because he said “it was an expensive necessity” and it was number seven.

AW So, your father was a man of foresight?

Yes, my sister was six when it was put on. Then the phone number changed to 207 then it went to 989207. Now it’s 969207.

AW So, you’ve kept the seven all along?

All along!

AW In the old days, can you remember making a phone call when you were a child? What did you have to do?

We used to wind the handle.

AW Wind the handle and talk to the operator and tell the operator what number you wanted. That’s very sophisticated, having a telephone out here.

Oh, he had it. He said it was an “expensive necessity”. But oh dear, they are raising it up.

AW What, Telecom, today?

Yes. We couldn’t do without the phone, we need the phone.

AW I’m sure Bankfoot House, being one of the only houses in the area that had a telephone for a long way, people must have come here and used the telephone?


AW For emergencies?


AW So, you would know how important phones are?

Yes. There used to be one man who would come and he would come out from town, where he could have rung up, and he would come here and ring. He would call Mother, Granny, Granny Burgess. And he’d use the phone. She would never mind, and he’d only put down a local call, but he was ringing Brisbane and all over the place. You know he used to catch up on her,

AW This was when your mother lived here, up until the sixties.

Yes, he took advantage of her

AW So, what about light, you didn’t have electricity. What did you have?

Kerosene Lights. It’s sitting out there on the table.

AW The old alladin lamps with the mantle?

Yes, the old kerosene lamps there, the glass ones there. We had them on the farm and we brought them down here.

AW What about the gas lights, the Gloria Lights?

We didn’t have those. We had Carbide lights.

AW Weren’t Carbide lights dangerous?

Well, you had to just watch them. If they started to boil, you’d put them out. Ours has gone up to the Museum, in Landsborough.

AW How would you buy the kerosene, for your lights?

They were in a big case, there were two tins of kerosene in the case.

AW Was it a wooden case?

Wooden pine case. And there were two tins of kerosene and petrol was sold the same way. And you bought your petrol like that.

AW And you would just puncture the top of the tin.

And put a pump in it, and pumped it out. I think the pump is up there also, at the museum.

AW And would you clean the glasses on the lamps every day?

Yes, most days, you’d watch and see they didn’t turn it up too high, so they smoked.

AW Where would you get the mantles from when they broke?

They didn’t have mantles, they had wicks.

AW What about the old Aladdin lamps though. They have got mantles?

They had mantles, yes. But they had wicks. (kerosene lamps)

AW And where would you buy all your spare parts from?

From down in Brisbane, usually.

AW You’d go to Brisbane to do your shopping?

No, Mother used to write down to Evans.

AW Was that a small order shop?

Yes, and they’d send up three months supply at a time.

AW So, they’d send up all your lamp glasses as well.

Oh, we bought them here, and make the wicks.

AW So, how many lamps would you have in, say, this is the lounge room. How many lamps would you have in this room while the family was in here playing the piano?


AW Only one. Would that light up a whole room?

I would put one at each end of the piano.

AW So possibly two lamps, to fill a room.

The lamps are still out in the patio there.

AW Would you be able to see though, would you read by those lamps?

We had to, you could sew by them and everything. And the lantern. I used to do most of our sewing.

AW Did you ever have any accidents where you dropped the lamp, and things caught fire?

No, we had to be careful.

AW Do you know when the power came here?


AW So, that’s a long time, isn’t it?

1952 my mother got the power in.

AW Your mother lived here by herself till then, didn’t she?

She had the power guaranteed. Five hundred I think it was for so many years.

AW Your mother died in 1963.

21st December 1963.

AW So, she only had nine years of electric power, and she had the rest of her life using kerosene lamps? She must have thought power was wonderful.


AW Can you remember, when you first lived somewhere that had power, what did you think of it?

It was wonderful, we went blind.

AW Why was that?

It was too strong for my eyes.

Kerosene was in a big case of two four gallon drums, and petrol was the same.

AW I understand. A lot of the early settlers and pioneers used to use those kerosene drums for as many purposes as you can think of. Did your family use them for anything?

I did.

AW What did you use them for?

We would put three boxes together and the eldest child had the bottom one and the next child had the next one. They were their cupboards for their clothes.

AW So you would use them for shelves?

Yes, there’s one down the laundry there now.

AW Has it still got its label on it?

I don’t know whether it’s got its label on it now.

AW Did you use the tins for anything else?

For washing clothes.

AW So you didn’t have a copper?

I had a copper. Most homes did. You see, when my family were young, I used to put the tin on the stove and boil the clothes in it.

AW And how would you get the kerosene smell and taste out of the tins?

You’d just wash it out with cold water and then hot water and rinse it out, and kept at it.

AW What about milking into the tins?

Oh, they didn’t milk in tins. Mother always used a bucket. They wouldn’t have the tins around the cows.

AW Why not?

No, all that it did was taint the milk. Always just had a bucket.

AW You mean the kerosene would taint the milk?

Yes, we used to have Ashley & Dawson’s. They used to deliver tea.

AW Where were they from, Brisbane?

Down in Brisbane.

AW So, you had travelling salesmen that used to drop in when you were a child?

Yes, and you could but either a square bucket or round tin.

AW What type of tea did you buy?

Oh English tea. It was called Ensign.

AW Do you ever remember people drinking coffee in the early days?

Mother had her coffee beans here and ground her own coffee.

AW So, she grew her own coffee? Tell me, when you pick the coffee beans, they are a deep red colour. Now I understand you have to let the flesh rot off.

And they belt it. Beat it till they got the powder.

AW Didn’t they roast them first?

I don’t know about that.

AW What did your mother used to do?

Well, she used to beat it.

AW Did she boil the coffee beans or anything like that?

I can’t remember anything about that.

AW So, your mother drank coffee, you can remember that.

I can remember them drinking coffee. But they mostly drank tea.

AW Was it a tradition in your household to have Morning and Afternoon Tea?

We’ve always had Morning Tea here and Afternoon Tea, then Dinner, and then to bed.

AW What time would you rise in the morning?

Five or six o’clock. All depends on what work there was to do.

AW What time did you usually stay up until?

About nine.

AW What would you do for home entertainment, when the family was all here at home, sitting in the lounge room like we are now? What would you do?

My mother used to play the piano and we would all sing.

AW You would sing. What sort of songs would you sing?

All sorts of songs. “Take You Home Kathleen”; “Old Bull and Bush, Bush, Bush.”

AW Did you have a wireless?


AW When did the first wireless come out, that you can remember?

We didn’t have a wireless till very late in life.

AW So, you just had each other for company, and the occasional visitor.

That’s all you had. You’d go from one another’s place to another and they would visit one another.

AW Did you have any favourite games that you used to play, when all the family would be together?

We always played races and one thing and another like that.

AW You were telling me, your father became a Landsborough Shire Councillor?


AW What year was that?


AW 1913. So, in 1912, that’s when Landsborough Shire was formed? Is that right?


AW So, what Shire were you in before that, can you remember?

It was in Caboolture.

AW This was regarded as Caboolture Shire?

Yes, Caboolture Board.

AW So, you had a Divisional Board.

Yes, Caboolture Divisional Board. And they had six divisions and division six went to Caboolture. And they only had five here and we were in division four.

AW When your father was nominated to go as a councillor, why did he think he would be a good councillor?

Because old Mr Cahil, of Peachester, came down here one wet day, and he begged father to nominate. Father said, “I’m not educated enough”. He said, “Willy, you will”. And he joined in 1913.

AW In 1913, he was elected.

He did thirty three and a half years, he was opposed and unopposed, and he was re-elected every year.

AW So, Mr. William Smith Burgess was one of the first councillors on the Landsborough Shire Council, and he was in for thirty three years. That’s amazing.

Without a break. Dave Hankinson was in longer, but Dave never had any opponents. Dad did.

AW Dave Hankinson was from Division Two?

Yes, well Dave never had any opponents. Never once, but Dad did. And old Mr Cahil came here and he said to him, “You’ll do alright”.

AW Your father must have been very highly regarded in the community.


AW Do you remember that as a child?

He was very strict. Very strict man. When he sat at the table, you could have heard a pin drop. It would all be quiet. He was very very strict. My mother was too, but not as strict as Dad.

AW Do you think maybe their strictness is what helped all you children to survive?

Yes, it never hurt us. It did us good and I’m the eldest of four.

AW And you have a sister, Janet Elsie.

She’s a Fullerton. Then William Isaac, then Kenneth.

AW So, William Isaac, he was named after his grandfather and then there was Kenneth, the youngest.

Born in 1910.

AW That’s a fine family photograph on the wall there.

That’s me up this end. And Ellie the other end. When she was five she had diptheria, and they always said she was delicate.

AW So, when was Ellie born, how much younger than you?

She was eighteen months younger than me. Her birthday’s the 17th of July.

AW Diptheria was going around the Sunshine Coast in 1907 until 1911. So your sister got diphtheria. How did they treat diphtheria?

Oh well, they took her to Brisbane to the hospital and she was put in the general hospital.

AW Did they ever put any poultices on their chests or anything?

I don’t know what they did.

AW What about here at home, when she started coughing?

Oh, we just got straight away with her. They didn’t loiter.

AW So, you think when was spoilt because she pretended she was delicate.

My mother always said she was delicate.

AW So she didn’t have to do as much work?

Oh! No, she just sat there inside, and just played the piano and I had to go out and help Father.

AW Did you get taught to play the piano?

Well, I had a while at it, but I had to work. I never had time to practise.

AW So you were more manually inclined.

Yes, see, I was the eldest and I had to go out in the bush with my father with the bullocks.

AW So, your father had a bullock team? Do you want to tell me a little bit about that?

I would have to muster the bullocks. And I would go on the end of the cross cut saw, a bit. And I would go before school too, I tell you! I worked before school.

AW How many bullocks would you usually have in a bullock team?

Oh, he had twelve in his, but Jack had about twenty six.

AW So your father must not have been pulling very big logs? If he only had twelve bullocks?

Oh, they were big logs.

AW When you were saying you were on the other end of the cross cut saw with your father, is that while you were cutting a tree down?

Yes, when I wasn’t there, he would put a stick underneath to hold the saw, but I used to go out with him, always of a Saturday.

AW How would you work out which way the tree was going to fall?

You’d put it here and then you’d cut it underneath there?

AW You’d cut a wedge?

Well, you’d cut it here and then you’d cut it below on the other side, halfway.

AW And then it would fall on the side that you cut lower?

You often cut a scaf in, what they call a scaf.

AW What’s that, like a wedge?

No. A slip in the tree.

AW And what would your father do with the timber that he was hauling?

He sent it to Patterson’s, at Toowong. He’d load it on the trucks down the Glass House.

AW The railway trucks?

Yes, they would be in what they called an S wagon. There were some long logs too. And he used to bring the big log in, and over at the Peach Tree corner there, he had a big tin fly and he used to split palings. And I would go and help him load them onto the wagon.

AW How did you get them on to the wagon? The big logs.

They had skids.

AW What’s a skid?

A piece like this. A piece of wood. (Indicates to a piece of wood which was lent against the wagon on to the ground.)

AW What, about four foot long?

About eight feet long, about eight to nine foot long.

AW And how many skids would you need?

Two. And then you put the the chain under the log and pull it over the wagon and all the bullocks would pull from there, and pull it up.

AW And you’d put the skids against the side of the wagon so it rolled up on to the top?

Yes, and you’d put up what they called “policemen”

AW To stop the log rolling off the other side?

Yes, “policemen”. Oh, big stakes.

AW How did you tie the logs on to the wagon?

With the chains.

AW Just with the chains. And did you ever use any chocks or wedges to stop them from moving round?

Yes, you would use a wedge.

AW A wedge. That’s what it was called.

A triangular sort of thing, put in against it.

AW And you helped your father do that?


AW Did many women help their fathers in getting timber?

I don’t know, but I know I did. I had to go out, because I was the oldest. There was nobody else to help him. Then my sister, and of course she didn’t go. Then my brother got old enough when he got to seven or ten, he helped. And then I finished up, and then I went to work.

AW What did you do when you first went to work?

I went from house to house to house.

AW Doing what?

Minding babies, while their mothers were laid up. That’s all I did.

AW Did they pay you?

Oh yes, they paid my way.

AW You were what you could call a Nanny?


AW Was that just in this area or did you go?

Oh, I used to go to Landsborough, and I went to Beerwah.

AW Who were some of the families you worked for?

Dave Mawhinney in Beerwah. John was eighteen months old, John Mawhinney. I went up there in 1923. I would have been twenty-one, and I looked after him while his mother was laid up. She was Blanche Rich. (Rich’s Shoe Factory in Brisbane.) She was in hospital there and I looked after John for eighteen months. Old Mrs Mawhinney was a Parry, Elizabeth Parry, and she had the grandchildren living with her. Their mother had died. And there was one that was up David’s place, minding John when I got up there, and then she went off to school. And apparently, before I went there, David used to come home from Mooloolah, Merridan Plains, right home to her every night, because she wouldn’t stay alone. And I said to Dave “Look here boy, I’m not getting up here at three o’clock for you to go to work. You stop down at the camp.” “Oh!” he said, “I’m glad for that”. So, he stopped at the camp.

AW So, who was he working for at Merridan Plains?

He and his brother were down at Merridan Plains. Jim, David and, I think, Vike. There were three boys.

AW Were they working for the Westaway’s?

They were working for themselves, for the mill at Beerwah.

AW They were just clearing trees off Merridan Plains?

Bringing logs into the mill for the mill to cut up.

AW So that was your first job?

Oh no, I had other jobs before that. I’d been going round, looking after homes. I remember going to David Mawhinney’s to look after John.

AW You were telling me that you would have liked to have been a school teacher


AW But your father didn’t let you. Why not?

He said you didn’t know where you were going to be sent to.

AW And he wanted you to stay within the area.

Stop at home.

AW Do you resent that?

Yes, I did. I did resent it.

AW It would have been hard for a woman to get an education in those days, wouldn’t it?

It was hard.

AW Do you know any women that went on to do more education than just the primary school? Did anybody from Glass House Mountains do any further education, going to Art School or University or anything?

None that I knew of. I don’t think the University was going then.

AW So, it was really hard to get a good education?

Yes, we had Mr. Shapcatt here.

AW Who was he? A school teacher?

School Master here.

AW Did he take over from Miss O’Gorman? Because you said she was one of the teachers you had at Glass House when it started up again.

That’s right. Miss O’Gorman got sick and then Shapcott came. He came from Peachester to here. And he had thirty seven in the class.

AW That was a big class. All one age group?

All classes.

AW And he’d teach you all at once.

He taught scholarship and everything at that time.

AW What was scholarship? Is that like today’s high school, end of primary school?


AW Did you go to scholarship?


I started on the scholarship, but then father said I had to come home and work.

AW That’s a pity.

And Mother’s sister in Yandina, took my sister away.

AW What was her name?

Janet Frazer. She was Janet Grigor. Mum’s eldest sister. Mum’s the youngest

AW We were mentioning before about your father being a councillor. I’d like to get back to the Landsborough Shire Council. Whereabouts in Landsborough were the first Council meetings held?

The Council Chambers then were at the foot of the hill, in the junction of the Landsborough/Maleny. It was a way up on the hill there.

AW The other day you described it to me as the house on the Landsborough side of De Maine Pottery.

That’s right.

AW So, was that, the Landsborough Shire Council Chambers?

Yes, Mr. Hooper was the Shire Clerk.

AW Did he live there?


AW So, it was the Shire Clerk’s residence and the meetings were held there?


AW Can you remember what your father was paid, as a Councillor?

A shilling a mile, one way. And got their dinner.

AW So, how many miles was it from here to Landsborough?

Well, he made a whole eleven shillings.

AW So, it was eleven miles?

Well, it’s past eleven miles. A shilling a mile one way and their dinner.

AW How often would they meet?

Once a month, I think it was.

AW So, in the early days, they were responsible for the building of the roads and what was spent on community things?


AW Was there a community cattle dip in this area. I know there was one near Peachester.

One in Beerwah, the Mawhinney’s had one.

AW Was that their private one or was that a Council Dip?

No, it was a private one. And you had to pay a shilling or one and three pence per head, to dip the cattle.

AW And would everyone rally in and help you dip your cattle, or would you just go up.

Take them up there, and make an appointment of a day when no one else was there.

AW Did tick fever bother the cattle?

Red Water. We never had it here. No, they had it in Maleny, I believe.

AW Well, why did they bother dipping their cattle?

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.
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