The Tutt family moved to the Kenilworth district from their property at the base of Mount Cooroy late in 1923
Interview with: Mary Schulz (nee Tutt)
Date of Interview: 4 August 1987
Interviewer: Tapuitea Hartogh
Transcriber: Felicity Nappa
Mary talks about her father Herbert Tutt (Bert) born 1885 and died 1961 and her mother Lewis Catherine Tutt (1887-1972) married in 1913 and their five acre banana patch at the base of Mount Cooroy in ca 1914. Mary had three brothers Herbert Stanley 'Stan' Tutt, Charles 'Charlie' William Tutt, and Nigel Reid Tutt. The Tutt family moved to the Kenilworth district from their property at the base of Mount Cooroy late in 1923. They initially lived at 'The Camp', a pioneer slab hut with a shingle roof located close to the Mary River. They subsequently relocated their home to the foot of the ridge running up to the Kenilworth Bluff in order to have easier access to a banana patch Herbert Tutt had purchased. The family remained on the Ghurella property until late in 1939 when Herbert bought two blocks of land in Landsborough from Henry Allen late in 1939. Mary's father built a fibro cottage, on Old Landsborough Road which Bert Tutt named "Woodnook" after a locality he knew in England. During WWII Mary was a hostess at dances held as recreational exercises for troops stationed in Caloundra during WWII. Mary also relates her and her husband Percy Reynolds' involvement in the establishment of the Landsborough Historical Museum.
Image: Mary Tutt in fancy dress for a theme dance 'Song of the Islands', 1942.
Mary Schulz oral history part one [MP3 43MB]
Mary Schulz oral history part two [MP3 43MB]
Mary Schulz oral history part three [MP3 43MB]
Mary Schulz oral history part four [MP3 40MB]
Tape 1/Side A
FN Good afternoon Mary. I'd like to thank you on behalf of the Landsborough Shire for allowing me to interview you.
Oh, hello Felicity. Nice to see you. No, it's a pleasure.
FN I'd like to ask you a little bit about your parents. Their names and dates of birth and where they were born.
My mother was born Louise Catherine Annie Doris Grey up at Yondin, Queensland. Father was an inspector of stocks up there, that's right, and they both, 24th January, 1887, that she came back down to Sherwood, Brisbane, and spent all her childhood there with her Grandparents. Her grandparents are buried down at Francis Lookout. My father came out from England. I'm not quite sure, but about 1902 on that S.S. Nineva; S.S. stand for steam and sailing, they used to tell me. He was born on the 12th August, 1885, at Bowen, Lincolnshire, England. He came from a big family of nine, and three brothers came out as migrants.
FN You were saying your mother was a school teacher. Where was she teaching when she met your father?
She was teaching at Wooroolin, it's up near Kingaroy in Queensland where they grow all the peanuts now. But I believe it was a big area for growing maize, I suppose, and Dad and his brother had a farm up there. And she had been teaching school at Boona which is in the ...............Valley from 1905 to 1911. Oh, she just loved Boona. Some of the happiest memories she used to talk about, and I suppose she went from Brisbane up to Ipswich by train, then they had a train mine out from Ipswich to Boona which I don't think they have now. And she had to board with some of her pupils' parents, but they'd be about five miles away, so she had to buy a pony and a side saddle, oh, it's a lovely photo of her.
FN Your parents met, where did they get married?
After a short transferred to Wooroolin, that's where she met Dad. And then her people lived at Redgate, Murgen, which is about, if I remember right, about five miles down from Murgen. So Mum was married on the 16th July 1913 at 1 Georgie, Redgate, Murgen at her parents place, Mr & Mrs Grey. Oh, it was one of her sorrows, I suppose, there was no photographer, because it was too far out, the minister had to ride out to marry her, and she carried golden wattle because around there, all the golden wattle is beautiful, it should be out now.
FN What was your father's occupation?
Well, of course that's when Dad was a farmer growing corn then, maize.
FN What made them leave that area?
I believe it was a great big drought. Very, very severe drought.
FN Was that in 1917?
No, 1913, they were married. And Mum told me, Stan was born in 1914 in Murgen, or rather Stan Tutt. They must have come down after that.
FN And where did they move to?
They moved from there to what's called......................and went on to a dairy farm. And that's where next brother Nigel was born at Nambour, but not at the Nambour Hospital as you know it now. It was just called Nurse Dolly's and then my next brother Charlie was born there at Nurse Dolly's and then when I was coming along, they had moved definitely from there over to .............. at the bush Mt. Kooroy and Mum wasn't very well because there'd been a lot of Asian flu. Big epidemic they told me, this was early 1919. And so she went down, Nurse Dolly had shifted down to Cleveland in Queensland, the other side of Brisbane and Mum was driven in by sulky and got the train at Eumundi, and then train down to Brisbane and then she took down to Cleveland.
FN All the way to see nurse Dolly?
Oh yes, to have me.
FN What year was that?
1919, 23rd September.
FN Where did you spend your early childhood?
Well, I don't even remember being at Sunrise..... Cooroy to Lower KenilworthFN And what was your father's occupation when you were at Lower Kenilworth?
Oh, that's when he was cutting sleepers and girdle for the railway, timber worker.
FN And you were telling me he was away a lot? ......your mother to do a lot of the rearing of the children?
Yes. I remember him being away a lot you know. Oh, it was hard, really, I suppose. Now I look back on it for Mum. And our supplies used to come out three times a week with what we called the Mail Coach from Eumundi to Kenilworth, that was the only way. You rolled up your sugar bag and you put your order on the outside of it, and that was sent to the butcher. And you just write a little note, I remember Mum writing them, what she wanted and sent down to the Co Op. Oh, the first shop I remember sending to was Fred Arando. And then of course your mail came out from Eumundi too. And if you want to go anywhere, you had to catch this old Cream Coach. There was a big Butter Factory in Eumundi in those days and that's why cream trucks used to go down. But I do remember Harry Gordon in the first place having horses and coach and when it was wet weather, they used to just take what was called the little coach to get through Belli Creek because there was no bridge.
FN How many horses did you have on the little coach?
Four. I've only got one recollection of being on a coach and horses. And my Grandmother used to live at Maroochydore and it was marvellous to go for one holiday when Mum went once a year to see her. And it must have been a wet season in January and I remember it was night. It was dark because it had been raining and raining and the Belli Creek was up and I remember us sitting up in the closure of this coach and Mr Gordon, he wasn't a tall man; such an honest man he was, one of our neighbours. And he took a lantern and he got down, and he...... I can still see, oh, spooky! He waded across the creek holding the lantern up, while we sat there and waited to see if he could get the horses and coach across or we'd have to stay there all night. And then I remember coming back in...........we got through. You know I can't remember another thing of that trip but oh, that always stayed in my mind.
FN And he was a neighbour of yours?
Yes Harry Gordon.
FN Did he use to bring you the supplies? And he came from Eumundi?
Yes, run accounts in those days.
FN What does that mean?
That you didn't send any money down. You got your bill at the end of the month and you paid your butcher and your baker too. Oh no, Mum made all our own bread, so we didn't have to pay any baker.
FN What sort of meat did you get? Did you get salted meat to meet the situation?
Yes, a lot of salted meat and also Gordon, he used to kill a calf or a bullock and the boys used to go and help or rounding up the odd jobs and cleaning up everything. And so we used to, they worked him like the golden neighbours, like Pequins or something and each one would have a quarter of the beast, so if there's no refrigeration, they ccould manage to eat that because they all had big families. And we used to get some.
FN Did you have your own house cow?
FN And who would churn the butter? Was that your job being the youngest girl?
Yes. Oh, I didn't really churn the butter so much as when we went up to Murgen, and it was hot up there and no refrigeration. And we went up to Mum's old place where she'd been married; her parents had been; oh Felicity, we used to churn and churn and churn, and that's what had happened. Another thing came good was I learnt to be a good speller.
Because I used to have to learn my spelling while I churned and you weren't allowed to get up and run away. And that was the other good thing I think that ever came out of the butter making.
FN You were telling me you had three older brothers. Have you got their dates of birth?
Stan Tutt, the writer, the 16th May, 1914. He was born up at Murgen in a cottage hospital. And then Nigel was born up nurse Dolly's hospital at Nambour on 26th February, 1916. And then Charlie was born on 20th December, 1917 at nurse Dolly's hospital. So you can see that's where I went, and that's where I got Ethel in my name, after nurse Dolly; nurse Ethel Dolly.
FN And you were the last born and the only girl, you were born in 1919?
FN Where did you go to school?
I went to school at what was called Lower Kenilworth.
FN Is that building still standing today?
Yes, not in the school ground though. Stan and I have gone up and looked. The old school ground is there and the big old horse paddock on the hill, I believe this pioneer Bill Hilker gave the land down at his big paddock for a school to be built there many years before. And then when it was closed, it's been transferred up to what we used to call Top Kenilworth and it's used just for scouts then. So it's lovely to see it. It has preserved, you know.
FN Yes. You were telling me a funny story about Stan and the old grey horse going to school. Do you want to tell me about that?
Well, this is what I've been told because I wasn't old enough to remember. Over at Cooroy, they lived way out of Cooroy.
FN What year did this approximately. Stan was nine when he first started going to school I think, so it would be about 1923.
Yes, about 1923 that Mum having being a school teacher; she was very good teacher too on her English. They taught Stan until he was nine and Nigel until he was seven and then, they thought that Stan was old enough to watch, but first to steer the horse. Nigel used to belt him a lot. So there was an old drover and they had this grey horse and the drover's name was Billy Pike, and that's what they called the horse.
FN They called the horse Billy Pike?
Billy Pike. And Stan was always telling about Billy Pike, how he used to open the gates through the paddock and steered him through. And I believe that this horse, if a man goes on his back he'd move, but when children got on him, they could hardly make him go, so that's why Nigel had to to have a stick at the back and get him going.
FN Stan................Nigel. Doubling?
Yes, doubling. And then we left there, Cooroy, which I can't remember and went up to Kenilworth and that's where I started. And Mr ...................was the teacher when I went there, and he was the teacher when I left.
FN Did you still have..........................?
FN So how did you get to school?
Walked. Walked across the paddock because where we were, was this side of the Mary River. When I went with the boys, we'd shifted up onto a mountain on the .........., nearest bananas, Dad was growing bananas by the time I was about twelve I suppose. And then I used to have to wade across the Mary River and get across. And then at flood times you didn't go at all.
FN You didn't go to school?
You couldn't, the floods from the Mary River, they'd come down and they used to flood Gympie. And the time when the boys and I were going, we were on the side nearer to school, but at the pedestrian, so we used to cut through Alec McKenz's paddock and there was the maize on these lovely mornings, the corn tops were up and all the cockateers, wow, they used to come up and play out. The farmers weren't very thrilled about them but we loved them. But we used to play out with Pequin kids and Stutan kids and we'd go off to school and my friend............ Oh, just as well because I still remember meeting black snakes and that on the way to school. The boys used to despatch them.
FN How big were they?
Big. Of course they were country kids and our little school was only about twenty seven to thirty three there. Oh, it was a happy little place, you know. You could only see one house in a distance, one house. And there was a corner of the Mary River came down, and the Cherela creek came into, and Yahu creek down. ...........Pioneer Park in Lower Kenilworth, they call Pioneer Park now, beautiful place. Well, in summer time, of course they could all swim. The girls used to go swimming two days a week at dinner hour and the boys had three days a week. I remember we used to be a bit sour because the boys had three days. And I could be allowed to go down to the big swimming pool and, it's deep, but you had to be able to swim otherwise you couldn't go.
FN That's how you spent your lunch time?
Yes, at summer time. But I don't know, we used to play lots of games like rounders and twos and threes and hide and seek down our playground. And I would say that our teacher then, when I look back, he did take an interest on any kids playing around or something and seeing that there wasn't a lot of squabbles and bulling going on. In those days, the teacher, had to be a married teacher, they had a house only a few hundred yards away from the school.
FN So what are some of your earliest memories of growing with three older brothers and you being the only girl?
My first memories were that I was allowed to go down the creek and go canoeing in the Mary River. And I wasn't because I couldn't swim.
FN How old would you have been then?
Well, I learned to swim before I went to school because I was told I could go, I had to wait for either Mum or Dad to go too, which didn't always work in, until I could learn to swim. And it's marvellous watch you learn to swim. And then my friend Elva McKen, she couldn't swim. She soon learned, we learned together. Dad taught us in the ............somehow. And one of my very earliest memories was that I had been given a little duck and one tin bucket for Christmas which was marvellous when I had to get something like that for Christmas in those days.
FN A live duck?
No, a little rubbery sort of duck. And I'd taken it down, I suppose it would be celluloid, now I think of it, and I'd take it down to the river and the boys have these home made canoes and we were picking these little water things, Mum used to make jam out of them. Everything was used in those days.
FN Mmm, that's interesting ........... figs.
Yes, well that's what we called them. They were little brown things and my brother Charlie, I was in the canoe and we were using this tin billy, and he leaned over too far and out I went clothes and all. We were under the, you know, and the only thing I was so sorrowful about was the fact that I could never get my billy. They dived and dived for it.
FN What about your duck?
Well, it seemed to, I think they must have got it because I see it later on in photos but I still remember that really.
FN So your three brothers were a bit wild or were they just..
Oh no, no. They just learned with Dad away. Stan used to go and catch cod fish. He used to dig for the worms down in the scrubs down near Pequin's crossing. I've got photos there that was no bridge across to Pequins and they were a big family. Four of their girls were picked for the Queensland hockey team as they grew up. Oh, they went many a times with Queensland hockey team, they were great hockey players.
FN So with your father away, what duties did the boys have to do around home?
Chop the wood. For your fresh vegetables, Mum was a great gardener and she had a corner just fenced off so cattle couldn't get in and horses, and they used to have to go up to McKenz cow yard to bring home little billy carts full of cow manure, and that was for your fresh vegetables; cabbages, carrots, and strawberries to make jam.
FN What about fresh water?
Fresh water, you have no idea Felicity, I'm still thankful to have running water. I've only been on what you call town water since 1976. Water was always a problem. We only had a five hundred gallon tank and oh, there was this little sort of hand cart and it was a distance from the Mary River, that the boys used to have to put two kerosene tins and go down and they used to drag this back. There are photos of them. One each side of the little shaft in the front......
FN It must have been hard work for them.
yes, and Mum used to have to boil up kerosene tins on the stove and then there was big stones put outside with two bars across.
FN Why would you do that, with the two bars across? Was that to boil up the kerosene tins?
Yes, they had fire underneath. That's how she did her washing. She had a wood stove inside. But we only lived in a small place.
FN What sort of place was it?
It had shingle roof. Well, it turned out, now I'm older, I didn't appreciate it when I was a kid. It was made of slabs, it had a slab floor, it had a shingle roof and it had like a scullery, they called kitchen.
FN What does that mean?
Oh, a sort of little put on piece. And it had been the first building on ................where, when the pioneers went up to Kenilworth and they pioneered their properties. And housing was hard to come by evidently in those days, it was. And we went to live in it and there was another room put on for the boys as a bedroom. And Mum kept it nice. I remember she even wall papered it, and it was the nicest paper she could get down in.............She could lie in her bedroom and read.
FN Lovely, that's a good idea.
Possibly, that's why Stan is so good in his writing.
FN Can you remember any other stories of Stan or your brothers when they were growing up?
Oh, swimming in the river and waiting for the water melons to come in. Oh, it just seem so, all happy time.
FN Very happy time.
Yes, it does. And we used to have sing song. You might think what did we do as we were growing up. Well, we had a piano. Gordon's had a piano. Chrisy Adams' had a piano. It seemed to me, well I learned a bit. Mum could play and somebody always played the piano. So we used to go about once a month to these peoples' places and they'd come to us. Oh, this when we'd shifted to a bigger house, up near the bananas later, and it was out sing songs and Dave Gordon used to play the saxophone and Nigel had taught himself the picolo. And we used to have musical evenings and then other boys from all other farms used to ride over and they'd hitched their horses up on to the trees.
FN Sounds like a wonderful time. Stress free.
Oh, it was. And the other ladies, people that used to come over, they'd all bring cakes, all great cooks, plenty of eggs, plenty of butter.
FN So all the community all worked in together to help.
Well, just in our little encampment part, in our immediate area. Oh, on the picnic..............of Kenilworth. Oh, it was the old picnic ground. You'd have to walk over at Jerilla creek and then up on the other side to see where it was. And they played cricket, they were terrific on their cricket. The boys, the three of them in their whites. That's how I know Jack Beausang and all these, they used to come down from up Maleny and play cricket against the Kenilworth teams.
FN Would you have picnic on that day? Would everyone bring food?
Oh, yes. It was a real basket picnic. None of this sitting off by yourself. And at Jerilla Creek, even to this day, we used to go down in the hot weather and under the shade of these big trees just near the creek and they'd put in our boxes, they'd put seats between the trees, just planks, and they'd put boxes, and they'd put the cups in them, no sauces. All these big white cups, and do you know, nobody ever stole those cups. And I went there year after year and they were there for the use of the ones who had picnics there. And these great hockey players, the Pequins girls, that man, the one from Brisbane came up, taxation officer used to come; what they called varsity girls, university girls; and we used to have these big hockey days. I did learn to play hockey and played ..............as I got older. But the cricket and hockey, and tennis; we all learned to play tennis. Mr Beverly, our teacher was a great tennis player, so he taught us.
FN Did you have tennis court up there?
FN What were the courts made of?
Ant bed. It must have taught the committee I suppose it was, who were all very busy men with farms and to bringing all these ant beds and putting up the posts round...................and we used to walk out from the school grounds into this paddock up on top of the hill.
FN What's a good thing about ant bed?
Oh, it's lovely and hard. It seems to have a beautiful striking surface for the ball coming up to you. They were all ant bed courts in those days. Oh, no. You had to learn to play tennis to be in it up there.
FN What about your mother. Can you remember any of the food or the things that she used to cook because you'd always have to make do, wouldn't you?
Yes, well, having army getting your supplies three times a week from down at Eumundi, well, I remember one time when we were on one side of the river, Mary River when we were living there, that for six weeks, they couldn't get through from Eumundi to us.
FN Why was that?
Because of the floods and there were no bridges. What bridges were, were......
FN Do you remember what year round how old were you then?
I must have been about nine I'd say, because I always remember we didn't have any sugar for six weeks. Mum used to get a sack of flour, a big sack, this high, and she got a great big box, and I'd help her. We lined it with brown paper, thickness and thickness of brown paper and we used to empty the flour in that and it had to sit beside the stove where it was warm so it wouldn't go mouldy in the wet weather. And the boys used to shoot wallabies. What Stan is saying now is so.....
Yea. And they used to skin them and those were our mats on the floor, and on top of it, big box. Mum had a lovely big grey wallaby skin, and the cat always wanted to sleep there of course, and the dog.
FN But then, what would you do, would you cook the wallabies?. I was looking at a recipe book that there's...........wallaby and publicity book you gave me.
That's right. Just occasionally. I remember we did have wallaby tail soup.
FN What did that taste like? Do you remember?
No. I didn't like, rather like ox tail, and I'd never been keen on ox tail soup whether it's because you have a like for that type of soup. But the haunch of a young wallaby was quite nice when Mum used to, she used to bake that and we always had mint. Her being a great gardener, though water was a problem, that's was the thing, oh, how lovely it is to turn your hose on. We used to keep, there was an old kerosene tin, and when the boys washed their hands in a little enamel basin, you didn't throw the water out, they all washed their hands in that. You used to tip it in the kerosene tin and then late in the afternoon, Mum used to go around and she used to dig a little hole beside her plants and she'd tip in a little tin full and she'd cover it with old dry grass and that to mush to keep it in.
FN So you didn't waste a thing?
No. And she always had mint and shed used to have mint sauce with this leg of wallaby which made it quite nice. Probably they've served it up nowadays in a restaurant with some commercial name and we wouldn't know. Now when I look back in those days, riding the horses and that type of thing and the old shows, everybody give their hand work for the shows.
FN You didn't have any electricity of course in those days. What sort of lighting did your mother and father have?
Mother had a very lovely students lamp which was given to her for her wedding present from her brother.
FN What's a student's lamp? What's it run on?
Well, it's run on kerosene. Ah, I can't think of..........
FN It would be about two foot high.
About two foot high and it had a stem on it made of medal. And it was most uncommon. It would run up the stem and it had a, where you fill with kerosene, and a tank made of medal on one side and the kerosene run down. And then on the other side, you could swiffled it round like on the stem with this lovely mantle and a lovely white globe. Mum gave it to one of her Grandsons, he's got it to this day.
FN What other lighting did you have?
Well, otherwise it was mainly I think we had one glass lamp and hurricane lantern, that was all.
FN Did your mother do sewing and that at night?
Well, not particularly, no. We used to try and do all our sewing in the day time. Stan, when he was trying to do his writing, even in those days, he used to knock off work on the bananas early, you know, have his wash, and there weren't showers and bathrooms. And in the dry weather, we have all our baths down the Mary River.
FN And so you'd take some soap down the Mary River?
What Dad called de rubber dub. You wash and you soap and washed out some of the Mary River. And in really dry times, Gordons' women,......... and Ruby and Mrs Gordon, Mum and I, would get together, and they used to take their washing down and their copper on a slide, a horse and slide, and set up. The men would do that for us and then they'd boil out down beside the Mary River, and these round tubs would be taken down and they used to hitch your line right across among the trees there to hang up the washing. But that was over the water problem. Still I think we had more fun.
FN Appreciated it, probably a lot more.
Yes. Of course we swam everyday when it was summer time. That was the big thing. Swimming parties, canoeing parties, water melon parties and these sing songs. Oh, well, there were dances I believe over in the little old Kenilworth hall, but I hadn't sort of really I suppose got to that age.
FN What if someone was sick. What would happen? Did you have any experiences where a doctor was needed?
No, never. Healthy lot, must have been, had to be. The only time I can ever remember, I suppose I should have been taken to a doctor, going to school, somebody came along with their pony and said to me "Get up for a doubler instead of walking this morning." I scrambled up behind him and the flimming horse butt and I shot up in the air and I wasn't far from home. Oh, I still have trouble with my left wrist. It must have been broken, but Mum just patched it up and put cold compresses and I wasn't able to use it for about six weeks. But no, we must have been healthy, like I don't even remember with other families.
FN No. very lucky.
Yea, although I do remember a little sister of a friend of my mother's.............dying. I think she might have had what they call tetanus now.
FN They wouldn't have known about that, that much in those days?
No. She wasn't going to school but I remember Mavis being upset.
FN You would have been too young to remember the Prince of Wales visiting.
No, I don't remember anything about the Prince of Wales. I vaguely remember about Hinkler coming in.
FN Who is Hinkler?
Burt Hinkler, the great aviator that flew that little plane which you see down in our Museum. I don't know if they got it up in the new Museum, but in the old Museum of Brisbane, it used to be hanged from the ceiling.
FN Where did he come from?
FN Where did he fly?
From England to Australia. Yes, Burt Hinkler. And they had these songs, "Hussling Hinkle". I can remember quite well.
FN When would that have been? About in the late 1920's?
I suppose it would be.
FN You would have been taken notice of things then?
Yes. So I finished my schooling at Lower Kenilworth in 1933.
FN What did you do then?
Well, I just helped Mum at home because the three boys were home on the bananas.
FN What age were you when you finished?
Fourteen and three months.
FN And you helped your mother at home?
Yes. So I had to do so much of the cooking and general helping. So you learned to cook then. Oh, you were saying about what did Mum make........ Well, I remember the wallaby, oh, it was lovely stew since she was great on putting dumplings in stews too. And made extra lot of dumplings and then just boiled them up and have them with golden syrup.
FN What about Christmas time. How did you celebrate? Can you remember any Christmas' when you were young? It might not be the same as today but do you want to tell me about one of your Christmas'?
Well, I always used to remember.........., well I realized we were pretty poor, see, we were. Everybody was, we weren't the only one. And this was going in to the depression years of course. And we didn't have decorations. We couldn't afford to buy them. And I remember once that ................ and I went down... the coach to Eumundi. We went down the school holiday, her mother went, so we were allowed to go down. It took all day, you know. Oh, gee, it was a long trip. And buying a few things with this little bit of money I've been given. But the main thing I always remember every Christmas now is that Stan was allowed to take; well he used to chop the wood, the boys chopped all the woods, you see, they axed. And we'd go down along the Mary River and we used to pick out lovely green leaves and vines and that was the one time of the year we used to bring it back and we were allowed to put it over; Mum always had pictures and thing round nice; and we were allowed to decorate with all these green leaves. And we always seemed to get one of those sacada....ones that .......................And I always think in my mind when I hear that it's Christmas. We used to love to go there.
FN Did you have special food at Christmas?
Yes. We always have rooster because chooks weren't............you can't get a what you call a chicken in these days. You had your own chooks and Charlie was the chook man.
FN That's your, the third brother.
He was so keen on fowls. And would you believe in later years when he came out the army after the Second World War, that he was able to do a course and he became a poultry inspector with the primary industries. And that have been sort of the one thing....
FN And you were telling me, Stan has always written, he has always been a writer? Always been interested in English?
Yes. And his grandfather in England was too.
FN Oh well, it runs in the family? Do you love writing?
Yes, I do, I love writing. ........................State School that you ............
FN You have a good way of expressing, you can't learn that, it comes naturally I think.
Oh! no, they were happy days, and then the war came.
FN Go back to the late say 1920's. What happened to your family to move. Did they move from the banana plantation? Something happened to the bananas during the depression?
Oh, yes. We had beautiful bananas, acres and acres and you wouldn't even get the price of what you paid for the case, they were in big wooden cases.
FN So the price dropped out of the banana industry?
FN What did your father do then?
Well, seem to me he used to pick potatoes for the some of the farmers like Bill Hilder and, well I suppose Charlie would be just finishing school. No, Charlie would have been finished. But even when Charlie was finishing school, he'd be kept home on days to help pick up the potatoes. They were all picked up by hand. They were all dug with the fork by hand and it's a bit of a joke in the family. The fork ones, you can put in a big sack and they were part of the pay. They weren't paid a lot in money in those days, once it became so bad in the depression they were paid in potatoes. And Dad, it's a joke now to say, "He made Cherry .............caught a few during the day," because that was his pay and Charlie had to pick up the potatoes.
FN So the depression hit everyone pretty badly, especially in some sort of industry, like the banana industry?
Oh it did, yes. But we used to, on the burns for bananas, we used to go out and watch some settlers on Sunday afternoons.
FN What are the burns?
Well, they fell the scrub, and then it was dried off, and then they'd put fire through it and burned it out, but it'd still be logs, and for some reasons, the birds must have carried the cape goose bush. I don't know if you know what cape goose bush are? It's down south. They're beautiful little things. Well, they'd come in the thousands, and you'd go and, oh, Gordons and we lot, be a Sunday afternoon sort of picnic thing, and we'd pick them by the sugar bag full. And well, we sold those and made jam and, oh, everything that was, we had pawpaws growing and the bananas and we grew beans as a side line..
FN This is your family?
Yes. And then the boys used to, Nigel particularly, had a nice horse. What we called a split bag which put over the back of the horse with a split on each side and carried, we used to take them around Lower Kenilworth and sell the beans to get a bit of cash.
FN Do you remember any swaggies coming through when you were a kid?
No, I can't. We were well off the beaten track at Lower Kenilworth. One thing I can remember, our school might have been even on the record score in Gheerulli, and the diphtheria was bad at one stage. And two children from our school, Laura Sutton and Archie Burton were taken into Gympie hospital because they'd been proved to be carriers one way or another. They had been in contact. So they sent a doctor out to Gheerulli school. We'd never seen a doctor in our life, uh! ....................We were all petrified, you can imagine. And it rained, and Mr Burley came down here and he was laughing because he had the one and only phone. And he'd got the phone message, his wife had come and called him that the doctor couldn't get through to swap the gorilla children. Ha! ha! ha! See, how he got it mixed up.
FN So Mary, this time we're talking about 1930 1932, and you were telling me that your father decided to give up the bananas. What was the story there?
Well, he was still on the bananas when I left school, I know it. And that was 1933 or 1934.
FN You were saying the bananas gave you away rather than you gave.....
Well, we still have them, but then the boys were growing older and they took up, they were good with their axes, they were called good axed men. So they took up falling scrub and a lot of that where forest station..............over past Dimbo out to the Baranga dam; have you ever been there?
FN No, I haven't.
Lovely trip. Stan could tell you. He still likes to go out. And hundreds of acres they fell there for the forestry. They put in tenders for contracts for scrub fellers.
FN So they would only have been seventeen and eighteen then? So what age were you when you first came into the Landsborough Shire?
Nineteen, I think. Well, we were still over in Kenilworth, but we'd bought this piece of land at Landsborough.
FN Where about in Landsborough was it?
Where Stan Tutt now lives.
FN Where is that?
About half a mile down at Landsborough going down towards Brisbane but on the old, what's called the old road. The first Brisbane road went past it,..............of Landsborough. But Mum and I worked still up at Kenilworth and I distinctly remember when war was declared. .................I think to this day, still has agricultural shows and I'd gone over with .......Gordon, my friend, out to ............show. And we knew that things weren't good in the news. Not that we had a radio, we didn't then, at all. And while we were over at the show, the news came over that war had been declared. Because I remember that we were all young girls talking about it and, oh......
FN The news came over what, a loud speaker?
Yes. It was announced there.
FN Did you have a radio in those days to follow events prior to the war starting?
FN So what you heard was word of mouth prior to that announcement?
Yes. Well, the paper, the Daily Mail used to be sent out, we shared with Gordons one copy between us. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the cream lorry from Eumumdi. And Dad was always an ...........reader of world affairs. So I suppose I was kept more up to date with it.
FN What was the reaction when the war was announced?
Well, as I say we were young girls, you don't seem to realize this would be such a terrible thing. Although Iwas only thinking of how it would affect you personally. And I suppose the change in your life, we didn't realize it would change our lives so much but then the boys.......
FN You were saying when you heard about World War II, you didn't realize how it was going to change your life. You were still living up at Kenilworth and you were going to tell me about your father?
Well, when Dad went down to Landsborough, and I've got some photos, there was no house there, and they put up two old tents, which they had, where they camped down when they were timber felling down ...........creek out from ............... And the boys had to go into the army at three months at a time. They were called up. They had to go three months training at the time. Well, the three boys all went in, and they went to Brisbane. I think it was their sight of Brisbane.
FN It must have been excited for them in a way?
In a way it was, but they were trying to make a living too at the same time because for salary I think in the first place, it was about six shilling a day. There was only eight shillings a day when they came out. So Dad went ahead down at Landsborough and he grew beans and lettuce and things. And then the boys put up a small cottage there.
FN Where were you living then?
Mum and I were still up at Kenilworth. We were right up on this bluff, the house on the bluff, and it was the highest house in Kenilworth. And oh, I've always been frightened of snakes. I know, twice, once there was a big adder in the house at night time. And we only had this old oil lamp and Stan would come in and Mum said, "I think something brushed down the side of my foot under the table," And Stan, oh, had just come in, it was after dark, with his cricket bat. And Mum lift lamp, she said, "What's the dog looking at?" And she lifted the light off the table and looked under the table and she said, "I believe it's a death adder." And Stan, he'd just grab the cricket bat and he'd kill it. And I know another time, we had a calf tied up outside and Mum was bringing it in because there were dingoes around. And there was another death adder she'd put her foot against, that the boys got. But I was always scared of snakes.
FN So when did you finally join your father down in Landsborough?
I'd say about Christmas. It was so funny coming over. The boys
had bought what was called the model "A" Ford, this is how they used to transport their camp up where they were cutting timber, the scrub. And most of our goods came ......................we did have some........................transport some over in his big truck. But Nigel had come back down to the army, and we had two horses and two cows to come over and you didn't transport them in how they do in stock trans and things now. And they had to be driven over the range from Kenilworth up through Wootha down past Maleny. So he saddled up his horse ....................Nigel, and he drove the two cows, and when he got somewhere up Conondale way, everybody as I say was friendly, he asked some farmer who saw him, and he said , he could put them in his stock yard, cow yard for the night. He didn't know the person.
FN It would have been quite a trip?
Yes. And he put them there overnight and they gave him a bed I believe. He drove them down to Landsborough the next day. Well, I don't know which boy it was, took Mum and I, and we had a crate of chooks on the back and the wirenetting. Talk about olden days with our selection. All the live ...............we took with it, the cat the dog. So then, we just got to Landsborough, a few weeks, oh, we had the most terrible heatway. The worst I've...
FN What year was that? Still 1939?
No, that would be 1940 because we're going into January. It was nine days in a row I know, it went over a hundred degrees and you must realize that we didn't have any water because the tank hadn't caught any water. And there was only this little creek. And we used to have to boil all the water and I still remember getting so sick with them. I can't put savaloids in my face, somebody went up and got savaloids. Oh, dear, was I sick. So then of course.....
FN That would have been in 1920 then?
Yes, and then the war, shall I say touched the small..........
FN How was that?
Well, the three boys went away.
FN Where did they go?
Up to New Guinea. Well, they were at different places of course. They went up to.........................and Townsville, and then they got leave coming back on the troop trains. And then they were taken, of course they weren't allowed to say where they were really.
FN Why? Was there a lot of secrecy involved?
FN Even with the family?
Well, they could tell you when they saw you but they couldn't in their letters because the search would cut it out. So we'd know we had a good ordeal because someone here attended. But they went over. They were sent up to New Guinea to Mellun Five and when the first of that big bombings were on, and they were there twenty two months without leave.
FN That must have been a worrying time for your mother?
I should imagine so, you know. And that's, well the troops had moved in round Landsborough then.
FN Did they come into your houses or did they live in tents?
Well, around Landsborough, they lived in tents. The only houses I knew that were commandeered were opposite what's called nowadays Peach Park, it was Memorial Park on the Maleny road, going up to Maleny, outside Landsborough. And there was a big convalescent camp put up there. It was big marquees all over that area, near the tennis court, and they commandeered a few houses on the other side for the doctors and the staff like that. Because I remember so well, you couldn't buy rubber sole shoes.
Because all the rubber was used for the army, for tyres for the trucks. So, when all these troops moved in, there was ten thousand in the area, moved in with separate partition between, I'd say Caboolture and Yandina, that's a lot of men. Well, they came and asked us, I had to be secretary of the town's clerk. I became secretary soon after I got frankly up to Landsborough and I've been trying. And Arthur Lawson, Jes Dunken and I and Johnny Whitlam, I can remember those four. And they came and asked us they wanted some entertainment and sport for their convelescing soldiers. They had come back from the Middle East, and could we possibly like organize all rackets and four sets of sandshoes because the soldiers only had those big .............boots. And I know that we got four rackets given in and got them restrung, Arthur Lawson saw to that. And they asked us would we go out on Saturdays afternoons and Jes and I always used to go up. I used to ride a bike and she'd walk, and we'd walk together on the pathway, and then we used to organize those two courts then, they took one away later. Tennis and then when we got it done, we left the rackets and the shoes with the soldiers and some of them who came from South Australia knew they were going to be there for a few weeks sent down to South Australia for their shoes.
FN Out of ten thousand soldiers, were they all Australians or would they all be from different countries?
No, they were all Australians, that's a division, the seventh division. That's made up of a lot of battalions and a lot of companies. Companies made the battalions too.
FN So what were the ten thousand men doing in the Landsborough Shire? Were they training, resting?
Well, they were doing both I gathered because the Middle East type of warfare was much different to what they were going in to jungle warfare up in New Guinea. And you must remember round here wasn't all houses and cleared like it is now. For instance; where the second twenty seventh camped back on I think they call it Malton Street, that was all covered and sort of scrubby stuff. You couldn't see a thing. Well, that was just four little tents under there, helped to allow through.
FN Did you know anything about an underground hospital in Maltman Street?
I'd heard rumours of it but I can't say that I ever knew. Well, you were warned in those days, everywhere in railway stations, everywhere, they had the posters up that said, "Don't talk, walls have ears."
FN What did it say again?
"Don't talk, walls have ears."
FN Posters everywhere?
Yes. What they called the third con, it was somebody that you wouldn't realized would want to know about troop movements and then they could pass it on to the secret service on the other side.
FN So there was a lot of secrecy and undercover work?
Yes, there was. I don't whether I should put it on tape, but it came home to me as a girl, yes, well you'd think it's a little bit far fetched, don't you? But the reverend Lamb goes in with this story. The Manze, this Manze was in Landsborough in those days, not down here in Caloundra. Well, they had started what we called the Presbyterian Methodist Recreation hut up at Burnice house at Queen Street, at Caloundra, which is above the Primary School. And he came and asked, would just Dunken and I, (we went to that church) be willing to come with his wife on Monday afternoons or evenings to dispense, hospitality and went as a hostess right up in that area, Caloundra supplied ladies some of the other nights. And the ladies round Landsborough, that was their afternoon. He went round and collected up homemade cakes and pikelets and, well, we gave them milk. I remember riding my bike out from Woodnook.
FN Where is Woodnook?
West of Hadley, and oh, I was real good. I could the cakes in a bag on the front and a billy of milk on each hand bar in those days.
FN You rode from Landsborough to Caloundra?
No, up to Landsborough and take milk for the cocoas and coffee down here. Well, you must realize that they couldn't just go ahead and used sugar and butter and that because everything was rationed. But we had three house cows milking well. Generally, we wouldn't, we would only have kept one, but seeing it was war years, we kept the three milking and we gave butter, (homemade butter) managed to churn it in the churn, to Mrs Icenburt and Mrs Dunken, and Mrs McCorre and Mrs Dam had cows, and she was our first Red Cross..........., she was second Red Cross president, but she was in for all that thirty years. And her husband was a soldier, he'd been to the first World War too. Well, you see, you saved up your bit of sugar and you gave them butter and that was our evening spring down here to Caloundra.
FN How would you get down to Caloundra for the evening?
Well, the reverend Lamb had an old car, it had running boards from the local saw. It wasn't very reliable. And his wife had two little children, look, she was marvellous, now I think of it. You remind me of her. Yes you do.
FN What was your job at the recreation hut?
Well, we had to pass the guard and you weren't allowed up past that road that goes up lighthouse hill. I'd been married and moved in there and that was all cut off and the Methodist church used to stand on the side there. It was a little building with great big high stumps at the back of it. I remember Jessie and I waiting in the car while he had to go to that church, but we couldn't go through.
FN You were showing me your special, what do they call it again?
The pastors. Well, then we went around up past Kings and up Queens Street that way, well, there was one set of guards and then another set of guards. And every time one battalion moved out, the commanding officer from headquarters would come up with another typed out paper which you'd have to sign and you had to show that.
FN And they were very strict about that?
Oh, yes. The only reason I ever was up there on the camp was that reason. And you can see where it's written on, where they'd extend it for a duration. And of course the Primary School was their headquarters. It had been taken over by the army here at Caloundra. And the kiddies had to go to school at the Scouts then and it wasn't, well, lots and lots of people had gone because this was a battle area, battle ground too.
FN So lots of people left Caloundra for a year?
Oh, yes. But they still couldn't accommodate the number of children I believe in the Scout's hut. So, the young grades would go in the morning and the old grades would go in the afternoon. Heather McBrides can tell you, all of it, because she remembers the children and she's got vivid memories of it.
FN So, all these soldiers coming in, two thousand coming in to Landsborough. How would you go about feeding them? Did the army have their own.., did you ever get rations from the army at all?
No, but of course they weren't all in one camp.
FN No, they were scattered around?
Yes, Peachester had them, Yandina, Woombye, Landsborough, Caloundra, Glenview and you wouldn't really see them. But at the three ways to Landsborough, the road used to run right through Landsborough before those new roads cut it off, they'd erect sign posts and they would have military police and donas, they were on motorbikes, dispatched riders, and they'd have big sign posts and big signs out, and it had only numbers on like "61" and a little picture beside it, say a swan or a kangaroo, or a koala, and that meant a certain battalion.
FN And that was secret as well?
Yes. But we girls got to know, you know, which one meant, and yet you could pick them up on the back of their trucks. It won't belong to that unit, it was on the back of the truck. But it was something that you just learnt but you didn't talk about it. Well, I was going to say what made me aware of talking, there was only the old hotel Francis here at Caloundra in those days, not ..........curious about and I knew a leutenant. And when we were up there in the serving at the P & M hut at Caloundra..
FN What's P & M?
Presbyterian and Methodist. Well, we were there, the first hostesses, there was writing papers supplied for them, there was no electricity, you know, it was just glass lamps. And we had to organize games, there was a ping pong out on the front verandah. I learnt to play ping pong to help them there, Chinese checkers, oh, and the musicians we had come in. There was a piano, and organized a sing song, but before that, you were on call, and you were behind like a little counter in the kitchen. And you served a cup of tea or cocoa. The army had to supplied the cocoa because you couldn't buy it and one pikelette, one piece of homemade cake for sixpence. But, now sixpence was a lot because they were only getting eight shillings a day.
FN So that was a treat too, wasn't it?
Oh, yes. We served up to five hundred in one night. I'd say it was the record but it was the only night that girls were on so I suppose there was something to that. And you had to wash up in the washup dish and throw the water out the back. I always remember one night. I said,...............and I flew out to the back verandah and I went woosh with the .......dish and I heard this yell out to me and I looked, all the washup water had gone over a couple of sergeants. They were always very well mannered toward girls. There was never any troubles, you know, at all. And then, it was cold winter. And then when we used to come back through the guards, Mrs Lenin used to brew up more cocoa. Coffee didn't seem to be in, I don't think we could get it. And they used to put in one of the billies that I'd had, seven pounds...............and some cakes, and oh, these guards would be there and it used to be raining and it would be cold and this little old car would pull up and they'd come forward, the rain dripping off their ground sheets, and they used to be so grateful to have this hot cake up.
FN That was probably one of the highlights in their training to get just that little bit of sustenance and a bit of care.
A bit of care, and that's why we had to go round and organized games.
FN Lift their morale up?
Yes, and the Chinese checkers, you played six. I never won a game ever, because there'd be about six behind you and you should be the same. But that went on through all the winter.
FN Did you have dances? Did you organize dances?
Yes. Well, straight away when the troops came in round Landsborough when I got there, I'd joined the Red Cross, and Jes was the secretary of the Red Cross, that's why I went and joined and I got......
FN Who was she?
Jes Dunken. Her father Pursey Dunken was the manager of Hancock and Gorse Bigg's sawmill in Landsborough. And he was an aerate warden through the war here, we've got his helmet and his certificate up in the Shire of Landsborough Historical Museum, and his daughter Norma Cooper, but Dunken she was, she goes with me, she is our friend. And she was only telling me last night about how father used to have to keep the steam up in the mill twenty four hours a day during the war years because pulling the whistle, it was aerates.
FN So you'd always have to be on stand by?
Yes, there was no electricity..............There was no electricity in Landsborough till 1941 about August, and there was none here in Caloundra until 1941. And so, he used to pull on his boots and go and stake up the engine so the speen would be there, and it was used three times. I can remember distinctly it being used one day.
FN Where were you then?
At Landsborough at the day time. And we'd all been told that we have to take our places and take shelter somewhere.
FN Where had you planned to take shelter?
Well, we went up the back paddock what's called the old race course. And I remember Mum and Dad and I sitting there under some trees.
FN Where, up rocky creek?
Up that way, yea, between Stan's place and rocky creek, quite a nice place to sit. Oh, no, the dances, oh, well, I straight away went across, booked the hall, the big memorial hall at Landsborough, and for every Friday night, and trully, oh, the dances used to; I don't need any more notes; well, the dances would start at eight oclock sharp and closed at twelve oclock sharp. And the soldiers had to leave at twelve oclock sharp, the big trucks came for them. Like Cinderella, at the stroke of midnight, and you never sat down, like only between, because I even remember I used to ride my bicycle up and Heather McKay, her father was Eric McKay who was a night officer on the railway. And I used to stay the night there because I lived a bit out or I'd stay with Jes Dunken, and we girls in those days, we used to walk round. Heather and I would walk over and get Maureen McKoster, and then we'd walk and get Jes Dunken and then we'd all go together.
FN That sounds like great time.
And you know, we never had any troubles like they have now about the girls being knocked out, and yet there was all these men around. So, down we used to go to the hall, and oh, my goodness!
FN Did you have special dresses that you,...did you make your own dresses?
Yea, well, for a start off, long dresses seemed to be in and I hadn't danced much but you soon had to dance.
FN Practise in one night.
And the sergeants, they didn't worry whether the girls could dance or not. But you soon became a good dancer because you'd have plenty of practice. And I will say that the southerners, see they had come from Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, most of them were southerners that had come, being sent up. Well, I worked with dancers. We always had a pianist and drums but then once a battalion had been in for a while, a few couple of weeks. They often would send in some of their own musicians.
FN What sort of music would bring?
Oh, they had their own band. In that old hall in Landsborough I have seen a hard pipe band or a brass band. And then once they did get their leave, one might play the saxophone, one might play trombone. You might just get two that night but with the piano. And some of them turned out to be really good players from down Melbourne.
FN What about your dresses? Did you actually buy, during the depression, how would you get your material?
Oh, well, during the depression I wore either cut me downs from cousins or aunties and an old lady Miss Nosworthy from Sherwood, used to send me one piece of material and a necklace and a broach every Christmas. So that was one new dress.
FN Well received.
Yes. And then when the war claimed like that Russians had come in, well, they seemed to be wearing long dresses. Well, I would my cousin, she got married, she bequeathed me a couple of her long dresses. And then the girls did it this way, that they borrowed from a cousin say up in Townsville or somewhere else, they went around. Well, then, long dresses went out because material got scarcesome and, well, you just bought now and again a piece. Jean MacBride used to sometimes make one for me, and made one myself. But you didn't have a lot of new clothes. Oh no, those dances, well, they had one every Friday night and I remember one night, Heather and I were looking out from McKay's place near the railway and before we were ready, Mrs McKay ran in, she said, "Girls, I'm just counting, come and look, there are seven trucks here and it's only about seven oclock." Seven truck loads came down from Peachester camp alone, who got there early.
FN The McKays used to live just behind the railway station....
Yes, they've taken the house away, it was the railway house. It's only been gone in the last three years.
FN So seven truck loads, 7 p.m.?
Yes. And then the others rolled in afterwards. And they really used to put on the dances. I've got a photo, I must show you, where I went as a....
FN ...where you went to some of the islands?
FN Where did that grass skirt come from?
Oh, brother Stan had sent it down from New Guinea and he said it was a very good dancing girl skirt and it was all coloured grass. I'm so sorry I didn't keep it.
FN Yes, that would have been nice. Now, you were telling me about the Sunday Mail war time swim suit competition?
Well, that was in December 12, 1943, and the Sunday Mail had a war time swim suit competition and everything was rationed. Elastic was unprecurable because they had rubber in it and you had to make it out of a small piece of material even if you recycled some other garment. It was well done in those days. Well, I've got, I think it was a yard and a quarter of material up at Bundaberg, I'd been on a holiday, and I made this play suit and it had four buttons, white buttons down the back because they were in Mum's button box, and I got highly commended, section two without photograph, award to Miss Mary Tutt, ..........of Landsborough.
FN You were telling me about the elastic. You had to explain where the elastic came from? Why was that?
Oh, well, bloomers were worn mainly in those days and you had to say, or show that it came out of like a used garment.
FN Used garment because the rubber was fairly restrict then?
Yes, and of course, Malaya, it was in the Japanese hand, and that's where your rubber came from, the rubber the plantation. And so they weren't getting any rubber in, and they would just have them to recycle. Even soldier's boots and shoes were recycled tyres of cars in those days. If you had one pair of shoes for dancing, you made sure you kept them.
FN What other things that we take for granted today, that were heavily rationed?
Oh, chocolates.......... terrible, lollies..........terrible. China, yes.
FN You couldn't buy any little nig nag or..?
You couldn't buy cups, you couldn't buy cup, plates, anything. They were even serving cups of tea, I've seen it in restaurants in Brisbane, in what we called polly cups, no handles, they got knocked off in the washing up. As long as they weren't cracked, they didn't allow anything cracked because of disease. And then they brought in glass cups. You've seen glass cups, have you? Little ones, we've got one in the museum.
FN No, I haven't seen them. I must come and have a look.
Yes, glass cups. There was none of that, that you could buy at all.
FN So all those things we take for granted.
When Jes Dunken got married after....................two years away up at Thursday Island in the forces, she couldn't even buy any cups to start a home or saucepans. She started with the billies for saucepans.
FN What year was that? Can you remember approximately? About 1944 you were saying?
Yes, about 1944.
FN In 1943, the Australian hospital ship the Centaur, was torpedoed and sunk. Can you remember anything about that? Do you want to tell about that?
Yes, because we were having a dance at Landsborough and Jes Dunken, and Blanche Cooper was the nurse down at the hospital in Brisbane, she became a nursing sister in an army hospital later, and I remember Blanche came up, we hadn't been told anything here, hush, hush, and she came up and she was on casualty when they were brought in, the survivers. And that's how I got the first hand account of the sinking of it, through Blanche.
FN Did you know anyone or know of anyone in the area, because it was a hospital ship, wasn't it?
Yes, you know, I realize I didn't finish that about not talking.
FN Right, go back to that, that's interesting, very interesting.
Well, they used to have a password on the camps and when we were going up there, it became a bit of a joke, that they were saying, not a lot of soldiers but just you heard, that the drink was getting weaker every week but we can't, and they were going through drinks as the password; like lemonade, coke cola, but what it was. And then one night it came that they were getting stronger and it got to whiskey I think it was. And this leuteneant came in and I said something I knew about whiskey, you see. Well, he never said anything there, but he took me aside quietly after, and he said that, not to know the password, and that really told me then that over at the hotel Francis that one of the bar maids, it must have been, always knew the password, and before some of them knew the password, and that she was being watched. Because she was in the position to be passing, and getting a lot of information. So, he said, "Just in future," very nicely, "even if you hear it, never say it."
FN So things were that hush, hush?
Yes, and I realized then, so what you heard you kept to yourself.
FN You must have had some fantastic experiences even though it was war time? Do you want to tell me about some of that?
Yes, well,........was dance down here in Caloundra on Saturday night.
FN Where were they held?
Up in the old School of Arts. I've got a photo of it for you. Well, theirs was Saturday night, so it worked in, I could go Friday night to Landsborough and if I could get to Caloundra, you realized there was no transport, I may, what did they call it,the service bus, up to the train at Landsborough and the service bus came down from Maleny to Landsborough, Landsborough was the big center, there was railway refreshment rooms on the end of where the station was, they'd been pulled down. The Post Office was there, and there was the hole in the fence beside the Post Office.
FN What was the hole in the fence?
Well, it was done with that wiremesh, and the soldiers getting off trains, they had to pay, which I think was a shame. When they came home on leave and they got so little time at home and they got so little money, why should they had to pay for their transport to come home before they went to New Guinea or somewhere. So, everybody had to turn a blind eye if they could get off that train and over the fence, not pass the ticket inspector. And the hole in the fence was where a toe of boot first went in and then many toes of boots went in, and it became even a hole that you could crawl through if you weren't too big. It was a great meeting spot. If you were going to meet somebody, you'd say, "Well, I'll meet you near the hole of the fence."
FN So the Landsborough railway station was really a bit of the centre of..
Oh, it was the centre, the heart. It was the heart. It really was, the troops trying to change through, the change of loaded with guns, brand guns, artillery, yanks, all the trucks.
FN Going up north.
Yea, our little railway line. They might have changed all that, but gee, it was the lifesaver.
FN It did a service during the World War II?
And I know, knowing Eric McKay who was one of the nice officers there being friendly with Heather, his daughter, and those men, they weren't young men then because all the young men were taken. And do you know, they used to have to pore all those points by hand and changed light signals by hand and walked down to the points and then walked back. And they'd have so many trains at night going through that he couldn't say what they had on, that was hush, hush. But they just worked like slaves, those older men to get the trains through. I remember one night when a yankee troop train broke down, the Sunday, 26th July, 1942 because I've got a souvenir of it written by a yank that was on it with his address, wanted me to write to him and I've kept it. Well, while the seventh division was in, our troops, their Pardry, Pardry Frank Hartley, he was a wonderful man. He wanted something for his troops to do at week ends when they had leave. So, he went round and first of our little church, he used to have to train them underneath the little hall, but it was too small, it became absolutely packed. And when we were having wine, you couldn't have them outside. On Thursday nights there, we had what was called, The Girl Comrades and the ..........the order of knives, and we were allowed to have as a social every Thursday night. Well, it didn't matter church they followed, they were all welcomed, and you can imagine they were all rolled up and they got a cup of tea and they had games and, oh, we had telefortunes and all sorts of games there. But, anyway, he could see it was too small, so he approached the big hall, our hall was the biggest one on the north coast at that time and he went round, all the different battalions. I was in Mackay one day, when Mr Lenin went into different sports and Pardry Hartley was with us, they were his troops and Pardry was the captain.