Sunday, March 20, 2016

BH 2 Bald Hills - Family Links

Bald Hills - Family Links

For almost 40 years we lived and worked in Bracken Ridge, and were heavily involved in the local community.  But even before we chose Bracken Ridge for our home, we had links to or lived in
Bald Hills!

Both of us share memories now 60 years old, of the different aspects relating to our involvement with Bald Hills.  During our school life and work life, we both knew members of the Carseldine family.

So how pleasant to be able to catch up with one of John's work colleagues, and how very interesting to learn of some other "links" back to Bald Hills.

The Carseldine's owned a shop in Gympie Road, Bald Hills.  The shop has on two occasions been damaged by fire, but the facade remains!

We then realised that both parents had owned the same shop!

But another link was that both parents had been in World War II, and both were members of the Bald Hills Branch of the RSL.  What a small world!

Family Links

My great aunt moved to Bald Hills mid 1950's.  She lived in a little worker's cottage in Grand Street, on the corner, with a cumquat tree in the back yard, which a cousin and I used to climb.  My memories are not so clear, however perhaps the house was not sewered, and it used to fascinate us to see all the little holes dug by the bandicoots each night.

Her name was Roma Donald and she used to live at Albion, in fact she had a snack bar, that opened at 5.00pm and she made the best hamburgers.  People came from miles around to eat her burgers.  Real burgers.  

The taxi drivers on night shift were her greatest customers.  They called her Mrs Mac.  The name stuck.  So perhaps she was the creator of Mac Burgers way before an American came up with the idea!

My in-laws Dale and Ethel Herron  ran the grocery shop on Gympie Road.  How times change, now it is home to modern technology, the old facade though is still in place. It used to have a mural painted on the roof!

John Herron's memories

From left – real estate agent – think it was Jack McKeering.

The general store – leased by Herons in Jan 1959 – leasehold bought for £1650– store taking were about £400 per week – 7 days opening  

This started to affect mothers health and sold  leasehold in Aug 1959.   Dad also was a fruit & veg buyer for a shop at Sandgate between 4th and 5th Avenue

We had lived at Nundah but Mum and dad thought the neighbours kids were going to land "us" kids in jail eventually so moved.  (3 boys).

Next was a newsagency – the RE and NA were two little additions on the side of the main store – which had a three bedroom residence behind.   Mum won £2,500 as one-third of share of first prize in the casket.

There was a laneway beside the newsagency through to next street and to the back of our shop.
The corner triangular block was a house and a Fish Shop – opening directly onto the footpath. 

The area to the left of the shops was an open 3 or 4 acre paddock with a large Moreton Bay fig in the middle with an old rusted 1920-1930 car abandoned under it. There was a chemist shop in the back street (Bald Hill’s road which was no through because of the railway line. 

There was another store down by the railway line which was run by Carseldine’s I think.  Then there was a chemist. A barber was in a little shop near where the gym is – and I think that was a hardware. 

The barber bought the first TV in Bald Hills and very generously put it in his front window and everyone would “borrow” an old fruit case from behind our shop and sit on it to watch tv.   JH

Added to by Ron Herron!

Whites owned the newsagency next to us, I think it was him or the fish shop owner that owned an Austin Atlantic, very futuristic looking car.   Don`t remember the fish shop owner's name , the other shops are correct, I think Huhsie owned the hardware.

The Fruit & Vege shop in Sandgate is still there as a F/v it was probably a very original name like Sandgate Fruit Shop. don`t recall. but dad managed it as well and one of us had to go with him Saturday mornings to polish the apples & fill the potatoes as it was a very busy store.  Probably got a shilling or two and a Tristram`s soft drink for pay,

I used to get that much of an afternoon after school doing the same thing for Fergurson`s store at Nundah opposite Rode Rd.    Mind you the Saturday morning work at Sandgate, was not an opt in or out it was Ron or John or both

I had the rough end of the stick at Bald Hills school too. At lunch time I had to come home for a 1/2 hour to mind the shop while the old people had lunch, never mind Ron having lunch or a bit of free time, so I made up for it by eating chocolates & golden roughs while standing around in the shop during their lunch break. I also used to give Ernie Woods a chocolate for lending me his Malvern Star racer to go home on. mind you the school was only 400 yards away if that. That store had a big Freddo Frog painted on the roof up until very recent like last 10 years.

 Opening hours were originally 6:30 am to 8:00 pm but got moved to 6:00 as mum wanted Pauls icecream as well as Peters, but they went through early. so we had to open by 6 oclock, & they discovered there was a lot of customers at that time, both waiting for buses & passing traffic 

So we opened early , no wonder mum got sick, what with having a new baby & working all those hours, mind you dad was not there several mornings a week as he went to the markets & Tickles Wholesalers, then the pastry cooks in the valley to pick up pie shells,another profitable line he got mum was really carrying the shop with John and I helping. 

Dad would not even close for a 1/2 day on the weekend, I remember the Dutchman in the other shop near the butchers down the road near the empty paddock,  came up to see if they would agree to a 1/2 day off like probably him on Saturday pm & us on Sunday pm, or something like that,

I know this was put forward as his son was at our school & told me. Anyway the old man would not agree as he thought he would miss out on trade , but no one would pull out of that traffic on the way home from the coast as it was bumper to bumper. 

I remember us kids sitting on the stool out the front watching the crawl on Gympie Rd on Sunday pm. Mind you this Dutchman was not a grocery store, only a milkbar ,snack bar etc

We also had a pure bred Foxy dog that came there one night, just wandered in lost, we fed him & gave him water & offcuts from the small goods ,which were all sliced up by us those days, no prepack . 

He stayed and was really my dog, but the old miss who was the station mistress used to shut up the rail station near 8 o'clock & catch the red & white buses to Scarborough where she lived, She used to call in every night & get a Strawberry milkshake waiting for the bus.

Any way she tried to claim Dusty, but I said no. Then the parents & she ganged up on me & said he would get run over on the main road or some tragedy would happen. I was upset as it was the only thing I had, but they also said the shop was not a place for the dog because of regulations, Any way they got their way & he went home with her. 

I did not forget that dog, as I always asked her abut him," Yes all good, he loves his new home". But she was at work all day so the dog had to be lonely. Anyway when we sold the shop & moved to Redcliffe, I caught them all out. I knew where the old miss lived as she told me around near where Scarborough  boat ramps are now........................................

Sadly Dusty did get out and was run over.  Ron and Joan had their very own foxy for many long years.                                                                              Ron Herron

All those years ago, my great aunt probably took me to my father-in-laws shop to buy her groceries, neither of us knowing that our lives would later be joined.  Around the corner in Bald Hills Road, she bought her meat, and a bone for the dog, from the butcher shop, now a wellness centre.

Letters were posted at the old post office, and then there was a fruit shop which was at the railway line.  You could buy lollies from that shop!   This was it in 1920's owned by Tom Messenger.

My aunt was immensely proud when St Paul's School opened just up the road.  Perhaps her community "spirit" was the reason for her legacy to our children so that they could all attend.

In 1930, Council officially named Ana, Wing, Air, Brain, Parer, Hawk, Barbour, Lacey, Norris, Cullimore, Lobe and Grand Streets. 

In the mid 1950's Mr Perrins was selling his home, his family were involved in an unpleasant family incident and the family decided to move. 

The house was described as:  

£2300. new modern home. L-shape, w.b., low set, concrete stumps, 7 rooms, all electric, near station, shops, school. Finance may be arranged. PERRINS, Grand Street, Bald Hills.  


Bald Hills has been a huge part of our life, not only from our parents, but also with that of our children, and our grandchildren.

As a Bracken Ridge resident, Bald Hills was our train station!    John and his siblings attended Bald Hills State School, as did two of our grandchildren, who also lived in the suburb.

Our daughter regularly attended dancing examinations in the Municipal Hall.   Throughout my working life, we sold countless properties in the Bald Hills area.  

St Paul's Rural Youth was sited on the old dairy farms.  The school was a huge part of  the lives of our family, and still is.   This aerial photo from the school identifies well the surrounding landscape.

Dale Herron was one of the members of the Aspley Bald Hills Sub-Branch of the RSL.  He was instrumental in beginning the Dawn Service at Pinnaroo Cemetery on Anzac Day.  Something he went to all his life, and a tradition which his grandchildren follow on with today, and wear his medals with pride.


The residents of Bald Hills used to have their annual Anzac Day service in the Memorial Hall.
A Memorial Arch was erected over the entry gates.

Unfortunately the Bald Hills Municipal Hall caught fire in 2015

A hall in Brisbane's north has been gutted by fire on Sunday morning.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services were called out to the Bald Hills Memorial Hall on Gympie Road, Bald Hills at 8.49am and it took five fire units almost 30 minutes to control the blaze.

A staffer working at Bold Coffee along the road from the Memorial Hall when he saw fire streaming out the building's rear window.
"There was heaps of fire coming out the back window, it looked like the hall was full of fire, you could see the smoke down the road," he said.
"Smoke was coming out the back and front door."

The hall was built in 1920 to commemorate the soldiers from the Bald Hills district who served in World War I.

The arch gate, which reads 'Lest We Forget' was dedicated to those who served in World War II.
The community hall was empty at the time of the blaze, with a fire investigation underway.

The Brisbane Times
Amy Mitchell-Whittington

Thanks to the sources of the Chermside and Districts Historical Society, this photo is of the Honour Board that was hanging in the Memorial Hall.  The Honour Board has been salvaged from the fire, and is able to be restored.

Today as we hurry around our localities, whether it be Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Sandgate or where ever we may now live, and while we may all have different memories of the past, often the best stories are told by those who were there!

Cast your minds back to 1859, and walk in the footsteps of this "Traveller" as he describes the locality and how it was in the days when Queensland began.



The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861) Saturday 29 January 1859 p 4 Article
... bush track leads you to the Bald Hills, and the South Pine, of which more anon. At present, let us ... further a field for his evening meal, and leave the Bald Hills' farmers to enjoy the repast, unshared b


HAVING in my previous letter conveyed your readers to the German's Blunder, with the depth and breadth of which no doubt those   who have travelled beyond that soft spot have become deeply acquainted, I will now,   with your permission, take them over that   Slough of Despond, and lead them with me,  in fancy, wandering to the future Brighton of this province.

I verily believe, that could  the Brisbanites be made fully sensible of the value Sandgate would be to them, were it once established in public opinion, as a health restoring site for' the invalids of other lands, they would take measures to make the road and approaches thereto safe, pleasant, and easy.

The drive to " Sandgate " would then be considered by the fashionable world as a necessary recreation ; and the families of our up country graziers and stock-holders make it a point of spending the season at the Baths. Even as it is, the track is equal to most colonial roads, and generally passable even in wet weather ; but the creek wants bridging, and sundry soft spots (a la blunders) made firm.

The country, after passing the Cabbage Tree Creek, opens out into beautiful forest scenery, thinly timbered, presenting to the eye of the traveller beautiful vistas of park-like scenery. As you pass through the forest glades, the nimble kangaroo is seen leisurely to hop away, proving how little his haunts have as yet been disturbed by the sporting men of Moreton Bay.

At the crossing-place at the creek, ,a bush track leads you to the Bald Hills, and the South Pine, of which more anon. At present, let us canter along this very beautiful road, level as a bowling green, and full of ever varying beauties ; magnificent building timber standing in every direction ready to fall at the demands of man.

A ride of some four miles, after crossing " Cabbage Tree," brings the traveller to the shores of the " Pine River bight," the land gradually sloping away, upon the left, or as the sailor says, the port hand. The drive to the "Head" sweeps away more southerly, and at every few hundred yards presenting to the enraptured gaze of the casual visitor that beautiful view of sea and land, which not to see is folly, and to see and not appreciate, stamps the man or woman as belonging to the far from extinct race of Goths.

Upon one of the suburban allotments at " Sandgate, " overlooking the Pine bight and Redcliff Point, has been erected, within the last few months, a modest building, composed of wood, and containing some half dozen rooms, the occupier of which professes to entertain visitors at his (the Belvedere Hotel).

Three other mansions of very limited dimensions, in close proximity, compose all the present edifices at the village of Sandgate. Let me correct myself, and say rather in the environs of " Sandgate." The allotments in the village itself, sold some five years since, cannot yet boast of possessing a bark gunyah. "Why it does not .may to the casual visitor seem strange, but to those who have been initiated into the system of land jobbing, so rife down here a few years since, the mystery is at once explained ; the lots were bought up on speculation ; and the holders thereof fondly hope to reap a goodly profit some day for their investment.

 In the meantime its Eagle Terrace, its Signal Row, and  other beautiful sites for buildings, is left reproachfully in a state of nature. As I sat upon the headland, over-looking that noble expanse of water "forming this magnificent bay, fancy conjured up the future busy and romantic town that must one day spring out of this lovely spot ; and many now who occasionally view this scene of quiet grandeur, will perhaps from the self look with loving eyes upon some noble vessel weighing her anchor, ere she commences her voyage, conveying some dear friend home, and freighted with the rich and varied productions of this genial clime; whilst at the anchorage, abreast of the town, will be seen numbers of vessels of various rig and tonnage, waiting for the flood to run up the rivers Brisbane and Pine ; or else waiting sailing orders to proceed to sea.

And who knows, but upon the next anniversary the regatta, which has taken place in the river so lately, may be carried out upon a grander scale in the waters of the bay, and in close proximity to this pleasant spot. Yes, gentlemen stewards, I warn yon, if you wish to give the ladies a real aquatic treat, you must shift your ground of operations. ' Shame that this noble sheet of water should be passed by for this national sport, and the muddy Brisbane preferred instead.

Readers 1 think well of my suggestion ; and if you and I are spared until this time next year, may we be enabled to take our families to see the Moreton Bay Regatta at pretty Sandgate ; giving our steam-boat companies, and cab proprietors a chance to make a few pounds extra. One suggestion more ere I have done with Sandgate.

Its easy distance from this metropolis marks it as a pretty site for a fishing company. Fish could be taken to town every' morning, ns the bay abounds with every variety of the finny tribe, from the luscious tu-tle to the prolific bream. Oysters of delicious flavour (although small) abound about tho points, but those of a finer growth are easily attainable at the creeks and rivers towards the harbour's mouth, so that a constant supply might be in the market daily.

Stone, of a durable quality, brick earth, and the lighter description of timber for building purposes, are still procurable in the scrub bordering the north and south' Pine rivers. Thus, I give your readers a rough sketch of Sandgate, confidently hoping, and believing, that in doing so, it may be the moans of drawing attention more pointedly than hitherto to the varied beauties and excellencies of this gem in the diadem that circles the frontlet of the salt sea wave,-that falls so peacefully and softly upon its silver sands.

Reluctantly does the eye of the charmed one withdraw its gaze from this glorious scene, and memory stamps upon its tablet the sunny hours passed in the quiet contemplation ol' this picture, wrought by the Master hand Divine. And though years may pass away in other scenes, and the mind become engrossed with the cares and perplexities of life, still a word lightly spoken, or some passing remark of a particular shell, will recall with vivid distinctness the days passed at " Sandgate."

Now then for the route, the forest road, the glades and thickets, the hill and dale, the joyful breathing of the health-infusing breeze-the mad gallop for a brief space after that timid kangaroo ; to luxuriate in such revelry as this,-makes one,' (makes me at all events), at times wise, plot some fortunate discovery, some lucky hit, or providential death of a rich old aunt that had given me possession of the means to wander where fancy wills.

 But out upon such maudlin stuff! I possess what thousands of the rich and-great would barter all their wealth to possess-health and a cheerful heart. And though my wardrobe consists of few habiliments, and those the worse for wear, I envy no Commissioner, or lucky squatter, the swag they carry at their saddle bows.

Now, reader, come down to this sunny ridge with me, and let us jog on socially together. and take a drink in occasionally of this  Australian scene, whilst we run up the country about the " South Pine."
That deeply green fringe you see there to the right, is the scrub bordering the branches of the Pine. A large quantity of cedar and pine has been got out of those scrubs, and brought to market, still there is some to be cut yet,~-when the demand is sufficient to make it pay.

The land lying between Sandgate, or rather Cabbagetree Creek and the South and North Pine, is almost everywhere suitable for agricultural purposes. A gentleman of the Southern States would consider, I have no doubt, a section of this country, with a dozen niggers, a very valuable cotton plantation. A small portion of the land in the neighbourhood of the " Pine" has only yet been put up to public competition.

 In the neighbourhood of the Bald Hills we come upon a clearing, occupied by some three or four families who, although hut a short time upon their several locations, have gone to work in earnest-securing their allotments from intrusion of stray cattle with substantial fences, erecting humble but comfortable homes, and turning the-wilderness into a fruitful field. I know but little of these people, therefore do not hold them up to view as model farmers ; but I feel constrained to remark, that were their examples followed by many of our pseudo farmers, in their mode of acting upon the useful principle, " self reliance," we should find scattered about these fertile lands more men of that thrift}', far seeing, self-depending class of small farmers, than we at present do in these colonies.

The fact is, we in Australia, want to get rich and independent too soon ; we cannot wait with the necessary patience to insure ultimate success ; and arc apt to buy from the shop and stores many articles we could as well do without, or as is most probable could raise ourselves. The situation selected by these people, as I imagine for their future homes, possesses in common with many other places on the Pine, the advantage of fresh water in abundance, the river bounding nearly three sides of the clearings.

I had hope to have spent a night at one of the farms, and thereby acquired a wrinkle in farm management, but the usual bush invite, not being forthcoming, " stay and have a pot of tea," (although by the the bye it was just sundown) your humble servant had to go further a field for his evening meal, and leave the Bald Hills' farmers to enjoy the repast, unshared by the presence of a stranger.

Taking again to the track, we run the South Pine up some five. or six miles to Cash's Cattle Station, the margin of the river being densely packed with scrub; but the ridges and bottom along most of the route, well worth the attention of future purchasers of Government land.

 On reaching the stockyard at Cash's, I found the household busy cutting and branding a lot of young stock recently run into the yard, and was much amused at an incident that occurred during the short time I was watching those important operations.

 A green hand, first undergoing the process of breaking-in to bush mysteries, was busily employed with the proprietor of the station and the other men, roping and securing a frolicsome calf. Not being one of those fast young men that are supposed to be up to a thing or two, whether in a stock yard or a cigar divan, he failed to get out of the way at the moment of casting loose.

The consequence was, the two (calves I was going to say) made a surge ahead together, the young sucker taken to the side of its sorely perplexed and wondering mother, whilst the new drum took to the bosom of his mother earth, and from whose maternal embraces he was at once assisted by his laughing mates who, for a few minutes, thought from the pallor of his chubby cheeks, he had received some hurt: this mistake, however, was soon corrected, and many, not very flattering compliments was passed during the evening upon tho young fellow's fear of a bull calf.

Cash's shanty stands alongside the road leading to the Upper Brisbane and tho North or Burnett country, and is consequently much troubled with the visits of the passing tramps ; but I must do Cash the justice to say, that though his means and accommodation are far from ample, I never heard of a man passing his door without getting a feed or a pot of tea, if he required one. Rough bush hospitality may be sure of being secured by the foot-sore or weary traveller at Cash's.

A night's rest, and my nag well cared for during the interval between the rising and setting of the sun, enabled me to wend my way the following morning towards the Caboolture Creek, a considerable stream of water, draining the country lying to the northward of the "Pine." 

That portion of the route running between the South and North Pine is very uninteresting and exceedingly monotonous, the traveller having to pass over a succession of barren hills, only reaching the bottom of one to find he has to mount to the top of another, so very similar, that one is apt to think, occasionally, the ridge he had just left behind him, had in some unaccountable manner jumped up before him to plague him again to mount the same dull rise.

 However the dullest road has a termination and this one, upon closing up with the river, opens out upon some very passable country, long rich flats stretching away upon either hand, upon which mobs of cattle are occasionally to be seen chewing tho cud, " not of sweet and bitter fancy," but their last meal of grass. Shortly after crossing " the Pine" a road diverges to the Westward, leading to Samson's Vale, in which are situated 'the stations of Mrs. Captain Griffin and her son's, Mr. John Griffin. Upon the range dividing the " Pine" from the Caboolture, a very pretty view of the Glass House Mountains is obtained, and a fine view of the country stretching away towards the river's mouth.

Between the Pine and Caboolture rivers the country appears to he well grassed, although I believe its fattening qualities for stock does not rank very high in the estimation of our graziers.

The North Pine is navigable for some distance from its entrance in the Bay ; for vessels drawing from 10 to 12 feet of water, having loaded with timber in the river. This very important fact renders it very probable that as the land gets occupied and cultivated along the banks of the Pine Rivers, a coasting trade will spring up from thence, adding another valuable feature to the advantages possessed by Sandgate, and should the Land Company, inaugurated by Dr. Lang some years since, get speedily into operation, I have no hesitation in saying, that the directors will look well at the country about this neighbourhood, for. settling down a cotton growing and agricultural population.

A few miles from Mount Samson (a conspicuous object at the pine ranges,) is the station of Messrs. Jordan, Zillman, & Co., occupied as a cattle run. This station is noted in the annals of crime, as the scene of two barbarous murders, namely, that of Mr. Gregor and his servant woman, Mary Shannon ; both of whom some ten years since were cruelly and wantonly massacred by the aborigines camping in the vicinity of the station. 

Up to the present the "dark skins" about the Caboolture and coast country arc not to be trusted. A short time since a poor fellow was killed by them whilst passing through the bush looking for timber, his mate also being left for dead.' 

Lately the Native Police have come to close quarters with them, and I believe taught them a lesson they wont speedily forget; and as the country gets occupied these outrages will become of less frequent occurrence..

My route not extending beyond the Caboolture, I was necessarily compelled at this period of my journeying to make back tracks, and have therefore little further to add to this sketch of the Pine River country, beyond remarking that the land only requires those two requisites, capital and labour, to make it very productive. I intend in my next letter to furnish you with some particulars of Moggill and its neighbourhood.

A lovely description of the country as it was then!

Summary: View of a landscape painting created by Leonard Shillam. The artist's medium was watercolour
Scene is looking over a part of Bald Hills, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland.

  • Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland

  • Is Part Of: Collection reference: 6015 Len and Kath Shillam Papers

  • From Queensland Archives

    As a result of Japan's entry into World War II, and anxiety for Australia's security, it was felt that a new transmitting aerial needed to be constructed to replace the city aerials which were on the roof of strategic city buildings. The new site chosen was the Bald Hills transmitter site, one mile to the north of the Bald Hills Village. It was designed by Alf Howard and Vernon Kenna, the divisional engineer, PMG's broadcast construction department. (Description supplied with photograph) 

    In 1986 the mast was dismantled due to the possibility of corrosion of the metal.

    Summary: The site chosen for the Bald Hills transmitter, one mile to the north of the Bald Hills Village. The vertical radiator designed by Alf Howard and Vernon Kenna, the divisional engineer, PMG's broadcast construction department. (Description supplied with photograph.) This photograph is of the coupling building adjacent to the pipe mast of the radio transmitter. It was hit by the falling mast when it was decided to dismantle the mast in 1986.

    This old house was a well known feature of the landscape until it was demolished!

    Aerial view of Bald Hills, Brisbane, showing the construction of the Gympie Arterial Road, 1976
    : July 1976
    Summary: South Pine river is visible in the distance.

    There are two main theories as to the naming of Bald Hills. The first is that it was named on account of the D'aguilar Range which can be seen from the suburb. 

    The second theory is that Bald Hills was so named because of two bald grass hills which stood out prominently from the surrounding bushland. The early development of Bald Hills was as a farming settlement. In 1867 Cobb and Co began a service to the Gympie goldfields which gave the area a boost because of the need for stores, blacksmithing and other requirements for the traveller.

    The first railway in the area was completed in 1888 and at this time new subdivisions were offered for sale between Telegraph Road and the railway, and to the south of the current St Paul's School

    Cultivation of the excellent farming land in the area did not start until the 1880s.

    Arrowroot and cotton were grown by John Stewart. Sugar cane was also a major crop and a mill was built by the Lang family. A major housing boom occurred after World War II with the subdivision of the Richmond Heights Estate in 1959 and Eaton's property to the east of the highway in 1968. In 1974 the estates of the Carseldine, Feuerriegel and Williamson families were subdivided into the Canterbury Estate.

     (Information taken from: Brisbites Suburban Sites, retrieved on 8 June 2004, from: and Brisbane Suburbs and Localities: Information from the Queensland Place Names Board)

    Historical Photos from John Oxley Library


    Each piece of historical information adds to the Memories.  However it began as an agricultural area way before 1880!

    1 comment:

    1. they can't help it that this is their only way of communications. In fact, seeing I've visited their silent world a few times and feel it's not them who are missing out, it's us. fence company keller