Ted farmed pineapples and strawberries
Interview with: Edmund (Ted) Hungerford
Date of interview: 7 February 1985
Interviewer: Susan Brinnand
Transcribers: Valarie Poole and Colwyn Boulton
Ted's family fist came to the area in 1890. Ted was born in 1906 and he married Mildred Whelan in February, 1939. In 1976 Dir Douglas Fraser, the State President of the QATB, visited the Nambour Ambulance Centre and presented Ted with his 40 years Service Medal. Ted passed away in 2002.
Images and documents about Ted Hungerford in the Sunshine Coast Libraries Catalogue.
Image: Edmund Hungerford ploughing sugarcane on his farm at Eudlo Flats, near Diddillibah,1950s.
Ted Hungerford oral history - part one [MP3 58MB]
Ted Hungerford oral history - part two [MP3 28MB]
SB: Can you tell me about your school days at Diddillibah School?
HUNGERFORD: That was in 1914 when the First World War was started. I remember as a kid.
SB: How long would it take you to go to the school?
HUNGERFORD: OH, just depend on whether the bull was in the paddock. We used to take about half an hour, you know. We used to pick up other kiddies and go with them, along the way. Used to take about, I suppose, three quarters of an hour to an hour.
SB: And would you go through the bush?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, it was all bush all the way. just a small bullock track through the scrub.
SB: What was the school building like?
HUNGERFORD: It was a fairly long building, but there was only, I suppose, about thirty children altogether that went to it. Mrs Ken Garret was one of the pupils. They live out Bli Bli. She could tell you a lot about Diddillibah School, because they lived just above the school, on the hill at Brooks. She was one of the Brookes family. Another was Mrs Jack Boley in Woombye. She was one of the old school children.
SB: Can you remember who your teacher was at Diddillibah School?
HUNGERFORD: Laura Headon. They lived on Diddillibah Road, just further along from the school. Where the Cane Growers Hall is was a Methodist Church, a little church there.
SB: What games did you used to play at school?
HUNGERFORD: Mainly bushranging , hunting through the bush, and Red Rover and all those sorts of games, you know. Mainly we`d go off through the countryside, hunt through the bush. There`s bush right up to the school practically. There`s a little old cemetery just at the back of the school where some of our old ancestors were buried - Diddillibah Cemetery.
SB: Did you ever get in to trouble at school?
HUNGERFORD: Yes I got the cane one day for punching a boy in the stomach for taking me sister`s hat. He got "cuts" and so did I.
SB: Can you remember breaking up days?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, there were two chaps had horses and they were always trying to find out which horse was the best. They used to have races up and down the road there. Then we used to have our school picnic, the races and general sports. All the families used to get together.
SB: And can you remember the food that you were given on breaking up days?
HUNGERFORD: Generally sandwiches, things like that. There was a few boiled lollies and that sort of thing.
SB: Did you get much fruit?
HUNGERFORD: No, there was very little fruit, only what we collected ourselves.
SB: What would you take for school lunches?
HUNGERFORD: Usually sandwiches.
SB: What would you have on your sandwiches?
HUNGERFORD: Bread and dripping sometimes, but mostly, you know,good meat sandwiches. Quite a good lunch.
SB: When did you change over to Mons School?
HUNGERFORD: Well I went to Diddillibah for about three years while they were working on getting a school together up here at Mons. Old Mr Vise was one of the main instigators in working for this school up here. My father did quite a bit in it too. They gradually had meetings and got the Department people together up there and they decided to build it either there or at Forest Glen. Eventually they built it up here because there was more children to go to it.
SB: Was it very far to walk from Mons from here?
HUNGERFORD: Wasn`t that far, but it was all up-hill. Yes, just up the back here. The road`s partly bitumen now, but it used to wander up through the scrub.
SB: Did you used to see much wildlife when you were going up through the bush?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, I remember one time we were going up the road and my younger brother - only a little fellow at the time - and I sung out, "There`s a hedgehog!" And he didn`t know what a hedgehog was and he really panicked. But we went up to school and a couple of us came back and we arrested this poor old hedgehog and took him back to show all the children, this old hedgehog. Teacher was even fascinated with it.
SB: Who was your teacher at Mons?
HUNGERFORD: Miss Coustin. She was a very good teacher; she was loved by all the kids too. We were very hostile when the old inspector came to see the school that day and of course he was one of those old fellows - informing her of how to work the school - and we didn`t like the idea of he putting his arm around her and taking her,talking to her, and we were a bit up in arms about that. Our favourite teacher.
SB: What was the Mons school building like?
HUNGERFORD: It was just a square building with canvas blinds they used to pull down to close it up. Had no windows in it, just blinds, these blinds we`d let up and down. Eventually they changed it, shifted a more modern building onto the site.
SB: And the school grounds in those days?
HUNGERFORD: Oh they were all timber then. They were all felled and we kids used to play in the heads of the trees and that sort of thing. until one time we...a bit of a squabble amongst the children and they formed sides, you know, in playing, playing wars and that,and one lot kicked us out of it. So one of our blokes up and put a match in it. And of course there was a fierce fire.
SB: A match in the grass?
HUNGERFORD: In the building. We`d built a cubby house. Fort, we called it. The kids thought they`d shift them out of it, put a match in it! There were kids going everywhere! (laughs)
SB: How did you put the fire out?
HUNGERFORD: It had to burn out. We had a tank, but it wasn`t any good. It helped to clear the bit of ground anyway.
SB: Did you get punishment for that?
HUNGERFORD: Oh, we got pulled over the coals a bit, but we didn`t get the cane or anything. Silly thing to do.
SB: Did you know Mr Vise?
HUNGERFORD: Oh yes, he was a grand old fellow; real bombastic man, but a good fellow. He was a father to us children. Anyone was injured, he`d get his horse and slide and take them home, go for miles with them, ship them home. You never went near his place but you came away with a bag of passionfruit and bananas. He was one of those sort of people. His wife was a real old gentle lady too. Bessie was her name. She was a nice old lady.
SB: How did the slide work?
HUNGERFORD: Oh, it was two pieces of timber with the boarding across it. We used them a lot in the olden days, with the horse and sledge.
SB: What sort of chores did you have to do at home before you went to school?
HUNGERFORD: Pick strawberries in the blooming frost.
SB: You can remember the cold, can you?
HUNGERFORD: Oh, my word! Yes, you used to have to pick till it was time to go to school and we`d have to get cleaned up, and away we`d go hard as we could go to get to school.
SB: Were you growing any strawberries here?
HUNGERFORD: Well that was our entire living then. We used to get pretty near twelve thousand or something like that, you know. And of course they grew then. We didn`t have red spider and all those diseases, insect vermin, that we got now.
SB: You did have any of that then?
HUNGERFORD: No, Like passionfruit, they used to grow wild, hanging over the lantana. We used to pick them up in the basket.
SB: What pests would attack the strawberries? Would there be any?
HUNGERFORD: Nothing then, only birds.
SB: How would you keep the birds off?
SB: So you didn`t have to spray the strawberries with anything?
SB: And how would you pack the strawberries for market?
HUNGERFORD: My mother was an expert at packing strawberries and she used to do all the packing. Those ones we sent to market. But we used to send a lot to the Bico company in Brisbane. The company went broke after one year. Wed` been sending them all the year through to them and they went broke.
SB: Nowadays they use cartons for packing. Did you used to use them?
HUNGERFORD: All different methods now.
SB: What did you use to pack them in?
HUNGERFORD: In strawberry trays. They had a tray and a partition in the middle. They`d be about that length. They`d have a partition in the middle of them to divide them all.
SB: Would you put anything in the trays to stop them bruising?
HUNGERFORD: Strawberry ferns. Used to get those soft ferns out of the bush which were numerous in those days. put a bedding. Pack them on that. Cover them over with the fronds and then they`d put the lids on the trays.
SB: So you`d do that in the morning. Would you have chores to do when you came home from school?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, same thing again. Milk the cows, milked a lot of cows in those days.
SB: Did you used to make your own butter?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, for sure. Everything was home-made then. There was a dairy farm over the road here too and I used to have to go and milk them, help them milk them. They used to give me a pound a fortnight. Didn`t used to last a long time.
SB: Were you doing that at the same time as you were going to school?
HUNGERFORD: No,it was later on.
SB: Did you have to do any work in the house to help your mother?
HUNGERFORD: The girls seemed to do most of that work. Cecilia - she`s still living in Nambour now - she used to look after us when mother was called away.
SB: When did you leave school?
HUNGERFORD: When I was thirteen years of age, I left to school to chop the scrub down here.
SB: What did you use?
HUNGERFORD: Axe and spring-board. Used to cut the nicks from the tree. Course those days you`d cut it off where it was thinnest to chop through. The easiest chopping. Used to go up on the spring-boards.
SB: How high would you go up on the boards?
HUNGERFORD: Oh sometimes we`d be up about nine or ten feet. Sometimes where you had to get over a big thick-butted tree you`d go up more. Course nowadays it`s all bulldozed.
SB: And how would you get the stumps out?
HUNGERFORD: Left the stump there. Used to plant cane round them, round through the log. We used to have to chop all the limbs up, stack them and burn them. And you`d try and axe logs off, cut tracks through the cane patches. I was falling scrub at the time and I suddenly had a splinter in me foot and of course we put up with it for a while and eventually got it out. And I went on falling scrub and milking cows and I felt a aching in the shoulders.Went to the doctor and he looked at me all over. He said, "I think you`re..." He said, "If there`s any further symptoms develop, come up." Said my mother bring me up straight away. Anyway I came back home and the spasms developed and I had tetnus.
SB: Would have been very frightening.
HUNGERFORD: It wasn`t good.
SB: What work did you do after felling the scrub?
HUNGERFORD: Oh, we used to work the cane here. A little bit of cane all the time we had, and the cattle here. But before that I went on working on the Main Roads. Mr Blank was the foreman at the time. We built the road from the railway bridge at Yandina to the township. It was cleared. We had to clear it and metal it.
SB: There was no bitumen then, was there?
HUNGERFORD: No, metalled the roads and then we worked on the road to Coolum.
SB: How much were you getting for that work?
HUNGERFORD: That time we used to get nine pounds five shillings a fortnight. We were paid over the award wage. The boss gave us about nine shillings over the award wage then.
SB: When was this?
HUNGERFORD: Oh goodness me. I was seventeen when I worked for the roads.
SB: 1923 that would be, wouldn`t it?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. Because I was going through for the Ambulance Exams then. I`d passed two of them, two years exams, and I used to go down home at night and we used to come home at the weekend then. But I used to go down to Woombye at night to get me instructions, lessons. Then I joined the Lifesaving at Maroochy and I used to go and train with the Sousaari boys and the Prentices, up at Bli Bli and then I became their honorary bearer for the club.
SB: When was that?
HUNGERFORD: That would be 1929 when they put me on the Nambour here, but it was about 3 years before I was qualified on me bearer.
Then Mr Beech came to me, wanted me to carry on because we were that close on to being on to the end of the lifesaving building. Then they made me honorary bearer to Nambour. Then I did that for about twenty -five years on and off, Easter and Christmas times, all holiday times, weekends.
SB: What sort of casualties would you get down at Maroochydore?
HUNGERFORD: Every type possible. There wasn`t so many car accidents as you get today, but scaldings and that were some of the most prevalent. Kiddies swallowing kerosene and falling off the cliffs, drownings, discloated shoulders, injuries to backs, noses skinned.
SB: How would people contact you if there had been some casualty or some accident?
HUNGERFORD: Oh well, they`d generally ring the Ambulance Centre - they eventually got a phone in - but they`d come and get you. Somebody`d come in an old car, or truck or something and get you.
SB: So you never had to walk?
HUNGERFORD: Oh yes, in the early days, the early part of it. Doctors`d call in to send me back. That was the days of hot fomentations and compresses you used to have to use for pneumonia and pleurisy. They`d call in and sometimes I`d come home early, a little bit early, and they`d get me to go back to dress people.
SB: So before you got the telephone in down there, people would come and take you out.
HUNGERFORD: Either that or if you took anyone to the pictures or the dance, you`d get a call off the stage. it`d come up on the screen - it was all writing then. Used to end my romantic life. If you`d take somebody to the pictures or the dance, you`d be called away and you wouldn`t get back. That`s why I lived such a quiet life.
SB: Before the hospital was built, where would you take people that needed serious treatment?
HUNGERFORD: Well the hospital was there. It was built in the early days and before that we used to attend to them as best we could. Father was an old bush doctor, you know, veterinary.Animals were his main but he used to have to go and help people or animals too. But mostly the hospital was there in the early days.
SB: What vehicles did you have in the Ambulance Brigade?
HUNGERFORD: The first vehicle we had was an A-Model Ford that you see in that journal there [shows journal] and a Mr Lowe [or Low] gave us a house from Nambour. They brought it down and put it on their block at Maroochydore, a block that was given to us. And we set it up there and we had a phone and all that. It was more modern then. We had a beautiful, lovely big table somebody had given us and we`d put caneite on it. Used to keep it beautiful and clean. We didn`t allow smoking or anything in there, the rooms and that. the boss was a very hygienic type of man, very fussy. He wouldn`t have a smoker in the casualty room at all. So he kept it that way. But after I left....during the War, we were away and I never went back to do that sort of work down there. Mr Beech wanted me to go to Brisbane to work, but I didn`t. i thought I`d cause more accidents down there.
SB: How would you treat drownings?
HUNGERFORD: With resuscitation. There was no mouth-to-mouth those days. But the safest method, mostly with drowning, was the safest method.
SB: How would you do that?
HUNGERFORD: By the arms on the chest, pressing with the elbows on the chest. Sort of create expansion in the lungs to draw in the air. We had a little oxygen bottle, home-made. Oxygen used to run through in bubble form. That`s how you`d regulate it. We never lost any patients, although some have got drowned that we didn`t like, you know, they probably drowned before we got to them - underwater for three of four hours or something; got washed away; drunk and like swimming and that.
SB: And with the oxygen bottles, did you have a mask?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. Put the mask over their nose. Now the mouth-to -mouth is more successful.
SB: How would you treat snake- bites?
HUNGERFORD: Well those days it was different to what it is now. Now you bind it up tight to stop the circulation getting out of that area.But we used to put a ligature on and bleed it if we could. But they found that the bleeding wasn`t successful, wasn`t as good as the antivenene. See, bleeding it opened the wound to let more in. But you always carefully washed the bitten area because the fangs when they go in - human flesh is fairly tight - and there`s more left in the outside than there is on the inside because with a snake`s fangs, there`s a groove down the fang. Like a Death Adder, he has a hollow fang, just direct in. With a snake bite there`s a certain amount left on the outside. So you cleaned that off thoroughly and put a ligature above the wound to stop it getting to the heart. got them to hospital as quick as possible.
SB: Were there many snake-bites?
HUNGERFORD: Oh we used to get a few now and again, not a lot. Used to get a lot of animals with snake-bite. We used to lose the lot. In our treatment we had to give a table-spoonful of brandy to a patient bitten by a snake to stimulate the heart. They cut that out in modern treatments. But I had a brother-in -law that was chipping pines with me and he had a little dog, Foxy dog. And he was barking at a row of pines we were chipping and he dived in and he dragged out a great big black snake and of course he went silly then and the poison started to work. It bit him on the face and Alan ran after him and caught him. I said to him, "Well we can`t put a ligature around his neck, but we can try the brandy.
So I got an egg-cup full of Brandy, half an egg-cup and filled it with water, diluted it with water, poured that down his neck. And then I gave him another little dose later on and it looked as though he was going to die. So I put him on a bale of wool and his boss went home in tears without him. It`s all the companion he had. So next morning I thought I`d get up early and I`ll bury him. He said, "Will you bury him for me?" So I thought I`d get up before Mother got up - she liked this little dog. I looked out the window - I used to get up and light the fire, get Mum a cup of tea - and I looked out and a bit of moon up on this bale of wool where I`d covered him up and next thing I see an ear come up. I said, "Hello Tim." He jumped off the bale of wool and run around, staggered a bit and after that I treated nineteen dogs with brandy only and I saved every one of them.
I said to the doctor in Brisbane one time, I said about this and he said that was quite fessible too. "You often hear the rumour where a drunk has been bitten", he said. "He`s swallowed the bottle of brandy or something and he`s recovered. I quite believe your story."
But this man in the district here now can prove what I said. I wouldn`t hesitate but give brandy with a serious snake-bite.
SB: What other type of accidents would happen? Where there many poisonings?
HUNGERFORD: You had to be very careful about poisons. Also insensibility was another thing - so many different types of insensibility and unconsciousness. And you`ve got to find out what it is before you can do anything with it. One treatment might be disaster to another. We had a lot of epilepsy. Had a lot of cases of that. You had them going on a little bit of a night out and they`d drink a bit and the one that`s subject to it.... we had quite a bit of schemes with them. But you`re supposed to grab their clothing not forcibly because they lash out with everything they`ve got at you - so you can grab their clothing till you can get them down, to give them injections to calm them down.
We were holidaying at Noosa. We`re talking around our boats - that`s about three or four of us - and all of a sudden we heard what I thought was a child playing, you know. Then we heard "Help!" on the end of the sentence. So I hopped onto this chap`s boat and off we went down the river. the chap had taken an epileptic fit in the boat. His wife was trying to hold him and she got him in under the seat so he wouldn`t fall overboard and I got him out of that and we said to her, "Can you drive?" and she said,"Yes". So she got this little "putt-putt" motor boat and off we went back up to the landing strip. A doctor was there waiting for him, and ambulance. And the doctor gave him a needle straight away, as soon as we got him there and he abused the old doctor for being so cruel.
SB: Were there any other diseases around then?
HUNGERFORD: Various ones. Protein poisoning was one that we had. We had a few of them, protein poisoning. the doctor`s diagnosed it as protein poisoning.
SB: What is that?
HUNGERFORD: They break out - swelling and rash. We had quite a few ladies with that.
SB: How is that caused?
HUNGERFORD: Excessive protein in the system. They had to neutralise it with needles. Put the needle in to counter, neutralise the excess proteins. Mainly from crab meats and prawns and oysters, things like that.
SB: Was there any typhoid then?
HUNGERFORD: We only had one case of typhoid and my mate attended to him, the chap that was with me. And he left it a bit late. There was a lot of gastro-enteritis going around the Coast - always is at Christmas time in the camping areas - and this fellow was badly affected and of course my mate thought there was so many that had it. Anyway it turned out it was typhoid fever. He died eventually.
SB: Was there no treatment for it then?
HUNGERFORD: Oh yes. Hospital, straight away. Any bad cases of gastro too I sent them to hospital. You can never take risk with human life.
SB: And was there Dengue fever?
HUNGERFORD: Dengue? Oh yes we had that too.
SB: What would cause that?
HUNGERFORD: It was the liver. It affects the liver more than anything else. It seems to be carried by mosquitoes mainly, bite by insect. Same with this scrub typhus caused by a tick. mosquitoes carry a lot of diseases.
SB: How would you treat a tick- bite?
HUNGERFORD: Rip him out. yes, I used to cut them off.
SB: You don`t worry about leaving the head in?
HUNGERFORD: Oh, pull it out. If you pull the tick off, you generally get most of it out. Then you use hot forments to ease the...brings the blood into the area to utilise the...
SB: What`s a hot foment?
HUNGERFORD: A hot foment? It`s a compress. You wind up a towel or some backing material and you heat it up in hot water, as hot as you can bear. Put it on the injured parts. It draws the blood to that area which neutralises the poison in the blood. For blood poisoning and that sort of thing. With pneumonia and that we used to have to cut a mask and put them over their chest and back and Antiphlogistine poultices we used to use. Make them up ourselves, when we could. To get the ingredients, we`d all have trouble to get it.
SB: To get the ingredients?
HUNGERFORD: Sometimes we wouldn`t have it. Get a case and we`d have to get the mustard and the other ingredients for it.
SB: What would be the ingredients for the poultice?
HUNGERFORD: You`d get mustard and put it in flour and make a sort of dough of it and put it on the chest.
SB: And would it be like a mask?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. It was a little bit awkward with a female patient. You`d just have to cut the breast piece out and put them on.
SB: How did you raise funds for the Ambulance?
HUNGERFORD: Send a girl around with box of chocolates. But a lot of people used to come and donate.
SB: Who would take the chocolates round?
HUNGERFORD: Well tell me some bright young souls. We used to get a couple of girls. We had a little Russian girl. She was a White Russian girl. Her brothers joined the lifesavers there and she could extract money out of anybody. She had such a cute little way of getting around those tight pocketed yokels. Oh yes. The money they used to donate used to pay for all our expenses. For the meals - see they used to give me meals at the boarding house - and that used to clear all those expenses, even a little bit extra.
SB: Where was the boarding house?
HUNGERFORD: It used to be at Cotton Tree, just over from where as you go out to the beach from Cotton Tree, straight out. The boarding house was on the corner there. Great big units there now. Mrs Cadden owned it then. She used to look after us.
SB: Were their any woman ambulance bearers?
HUNGERFORD: No, not then. We used to get plenty of help from different ones that were in the nursing staff. You`d often find them holidaying at the coast. They used to help us quite a bit.
SB: And you were saying you were in the lifesaving. Can you tell me a bit about the Sousaari`s?
HUNGERFORD: Well. Axel was the greatest swimmer. Up here in the freestyle he held records, in the Olympic Games and that. He was the one we had most to do with. Vic was our skipper. That`s the one that married Dorrie Thompson. Then we knew Sandy. He was a wrestler. Joe was a breaststroke swimmer and I think Joe`s still alive, so I understand. So`s Vic, but he had a stroke and he`s paralysed to a certain extent.
But Axel spent his last days with us and he used to come in the Ambulance Room where he was suffering with TB. I used to let him lie in the couch and talk to him. He used to be in great stress because his girlfriend had thrown him over. She was going with the Peterson boy. She married him eventually. But poor old Axel. Before he died, one thing he like to have been able to do. to have been strong enough to beat Jack in the belt.His last swim was - he was sitting in the room talking to me and we were called for help. Went down to the beach and he dived into that belt and swam out and brought her in. Then we had to help him up to the Ambulance room and it wasn't long after that he died.
SB: Was it common for people to have TB then?
HUNGERFORD: No. No. There were very few cases of it that I've heard of. That girl that I was telling you about - her father taught her accountancy - and Axe was another.
SB: Why would the Finns get TB more then other people?
HUNGERFORD: Well they came from a very cold country. They were used to the cold and they came out to a hot country.And it`s really the breaking down of resistance of them.We naturally have a resistance. You`ll find nurses and that`ll go through an infectious disease and not get any effect from the TB or anything like that because they`ve got a natural resistance.
SB: There were Finns in the area. Were there many other nationalities in the area?
HUNGERFORD: Oh yes, there was a lot of Germans here. Lot of our descendants are Germans. The Kuskopf people - they were all descendants from German people. And there was Arndts and Blancks - they were all German and Bookes - people by the name of Bookes. Some of them were Pringles. They were all the same German descent.
SB: How did the people feel about them during the War?
HUNGERFORD: Well after the First World War, there was a bit of bitterness crept in. Because people came and there was on old house here next door, just across the road here, and there were three girls in the family and a boy. They came down from Mundubbera because the persecution had been so bad up there. And of course they came up to our old home and Mother was one of those who went out to everybody and she gave the little girls a glass of milk each and a piece of cake, and treated them nicely. And of course, they went back. And of course the next thing the old lady came up. Somebody had treated them kindly. (laughs) There was a lot of bitterness against the Germans.
Even in the last War, the old boss that I used to work for he was... oh somebody got him put away. He was a decent old fellow and he went in as a baker into the concentration...where they put him away. He was a fruiter. He used to cart fruit around the district and his opposition sort of got him put away with false rumours about him.
SB: Was he German?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. But he`d been out here before even the First World War.
SB: So they put him in a Prisoner of War Camp?
HUNGERFORD: They could see that war was coming on and what was going to happen. A lot of Germans fled out to this country where it wasn`t so bad.
SB: So were people of the area afraid of the German people that were here?
HUNGERFORD: No, they just sort of despised them because they were there, and being the enemies.
SB: And in the Depression, were there many people travelling through and looking for work?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, there were but mostly they`d wander up the railway line, up the highways more than anywhere. We used to see a few of them heading down towards the coast, but there was a lot of poverty in that period.
SB: What work were you doing in the Thirties?
HUNGERFORD: Oh generally farm work during the Depression.We had a lot of depressions. Had pineapples here where I grew up. I planted pineapples in here, see.Father died at the age of sixty-three. He left us to cut the farmland up into blocks, and I was left with this block, 68 acres and I carried on with a bit of the cane. I used to go out cutting cane and that too. Then I got a few cows and I got some valuable stock too, pure-bred Illawarras and I had a little dairy here. We got a terrific drought and I lost most of my cows. Then we had pineapples. I had pineapples here, all down the front here. We were just starting to pick them and we got a terrific frost. Wiped them all out. Well then I went into Army then.
SB: For World War ll.?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. When we got out of that....course`d we`d have been called up anyway. When that was finished I came back onto the land - kids were small then - and decided to go on with the cane and the Bank chap that we knew came out and said to me, " Why don`t you but a tractor? Oh they`ll loan you the money to but a tractor." So I brought a little TE20. Came home very proud of it. Then everybody got me to go out ploughing.I worked all around Montville, and around all this district, Buderim, and ploughed and made a few bob that way and gradually backed up and worked the cane.
SB: When the cattle and the pineapples failed, how did you get money to live?
HUNGERFORD: We were down to our last penny at one stage, and I went in and spent me last few bob on tucker. Food. And I went to the post Office and the Post Mistress said,"Oh, there`s a letter here for you." I thought "I wonder what it is"? And i opened it up and there was a cheque for twenty-five quid in it.
SB: What was that for?
HUNGERFORD: It was left by some lady who left her money to the needy. Whoever it was I don`t know, but got it sent to me. I put it down to higher hands above.
SB: Did you do any work outside the farm?
HUNGERFORD: Yes,oh yes. We used to go on the cane season. We`d go cutting cane. Work it as best as we could.
SB: How much would you make cutting the cane?
HUNGERFORD: Just depended on how hard we worked. (laughs) We used to cut it for so much a ton. Either that or they paid day wages. I had to work for an old Jew one time. I was chipping his orange trees and working for him and he came and he said,"Oh, do you think you could cut cane?" I said,"Yeah, I cut cane before". I was only a lad of fourteen. And he said, " One of me men off me gang has gone off sick. Would you fill his place?" I said, " I`ll do what I can." So I went and cut cane with them. When pay day came, he paid me a full wage. Poor boy of fourteen and I walked out with this good cheque, you know . I said to him," Oh, I didn`t expect to get that." He said," Oh well lad, you get just the same as they did. You`re entitled to it." So I always had a high opinion of that poor old fellow. Some of his family are in Woombye yet.
SB: So would pineapples get any diseases?
HUNGERFORD: They got root rot; in wet patches where there was soakage in the ground, they got root rot. But oh, there were beautiful patches there and when you looked out and saw them all going off like rotten cabbage, you know all frosted. Enough to break anyone. I had that too with the cattle. I had an old friend over at Kilcoy and he gave me a beautiful bull, a very prize animal. Then he gave me two heifers. And I worked me little team of cows up, herd of cows up till I got thirty-six.
We had a rotten drought. Oh they were all heavy in calf. They just went down and you couldn`t get them up. You had to feed them and lift them and all the rest of it. Nothing, no nourishment in the grass. Anyrate, that`s what made me give dairying away. I sold what I had, and went on.
SB: Where would you send the milk when you were working the dairy?
HUNGERFORD: Milkman used to pick it up at the gate at 4 o`clock in the morning. And so I always had to milk them about 3 o`clock in the morning. So had to get up early.
SB: And where would he take it?
HUNGERFORD: He would take it to Maroochydore.
SB: Oh yes.
HUNGERFORD: And he used to deliver it all round Maroochydore. Those early mornings usen`t to agree with me.
SB: I can understand that. So ,what would you do for entertainment through those years? With all those problems, would you have time?
HUNGERFORD: We didn`t have time for entertainment.
SB: What would you do to relax?
HUNGERFORD: I got very fond of me tennis, cricket. Football was too hard for me. You play football, and it would take a week to get over it. You`d be that stiff and sore. I gave that away and carried on with me cricket and tennis. Used to ride a push bike to tennis and cricket. Then used to play first at Maroochydore. We were in the first tennis court at Cotton Tree. Won the cup that year too! Then I played at Bellevue at Buderim. Then I played with Red Rose at Forest Glenn.
SB: Red Rose?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. Played there. An then of course you used to have to travel to all the different places. And then I played at Woombye, with the Wattles Club, and then I finished up playing with Mooloolaba.
SB: You were telling me about driving race cars at Noosa.
HUNGERFORD: Oh yes. A little racer car. A little T-Model Ford it was. Built like a racer car. I used to go back and forwards to work with that. We went to Noosa. They had the opening of the big Weyba Creek Bridge, the first bridge they had there. They had a big carnival, a lifesaving carnival. My brother was at Doonan, working the bananas. I used to stay there, work there. We went down and met up with our team. I took the two judges down in this little flivver we called it.
SB: What did you call it?
HUNGERFORD: A flivver.
SB: What does that mean?
HUNGERFORD: Oh it was just a nickname we gave it. They used to sit up on the back there and put their feet down between us. We were supposed to have our dinner at the big hotel at Tewantin. And when we left there, we had to go out to a big enclosure. Of course there was a lot of cars there that day. And of course the old Sergeant was steering us all out. And he saw this, and he let out a roar of exclamation, as we drove down in the procession of cars. Everybody was on the verandah and our little bus came along with these four fellows on it. You can imagine what happened.
SB: Should really only seat two, should it?
HUNGERFORD: Yes. Only had room for two but we had four on it. Any rate we won the carnival that day too. We were quite happy.
SB: How would you get petrol for the car?
HUNGERFORD: Oh, we had to buy it.
SB: Were there petrol stations like there are now?
HUNGERFORD: It was a lot cheaper than it is now.
SB: How much was it then?
HUNGERFORD: I forget. About eighteen pence I think - used to be a gallon.
SB: Eighteen pence a gallon. And you used to get it at service stations?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, well Main Roads used to have a big camp down here in the bottom of our place. We used to sometimes buy it from them. They`d have it there for their big trucks. Otherwise we`d pick it up from the service stations round about.
SB: This is in the 'Thirties', is it?
HUNGERFORD: Yes, it would be. They built this road and used to cart the metal down through here, right past us.
SB: Is the metal a rock, a type of rock?
HUNGERFORD: You can get different varieties of rock. There`s a sandstone rock, that`s crumbly here. The quarry is just down the road here below the industrial area. That`s soft sandstone. They put that in. But then when that got wet, water, a bit of a hole in the road.... it used to fall to pieces. And up here they used to get the sandstone. It was a harder stone and it made a fairly good base. But now they don`t use that.They use the blue metal. And then they bitumen. They used to put sheets on the raod, metal sheets. And the trucks would come and tip their metal onto those sheets. Then we used to have to spread it and form up the road. Put it right to the pegs, and that was hard work too, especially if the trucks were one after another pretty quick. You`d only get just get rid of one load.