Friday, May 6, 2016

BM 5.1 Memories of Bracken Ridge Family Links.



For many years our home was on Norris Road, Bracken Ridge, opposite the TAFE college.  We and our neighbours enjoyed a rural lifestyle, surrounded by our animals, Jersey cows and horses it was for us, along with the chooks and fresh eggs.


Queen Street farmers, with city conveniences.  A bus stop at our front door, and walk to the Bald Hills rail.   Most people would remember not only our distinctive yellow house, but all those of us who lived around Norris Road on our 3 acre blocks.  

Initially our property was dog kennels, and further along the road towards Telegraph Road were another two sets of dog kennels.  Our land was indeed very high.  The views at the top of our land to the north east were over the Pine River to the Glasshouse Mountains.  

But like most residents we knew absolutely nothing at all about what our land was before urban development.

Time and progress march on.  Nobody would recognise the area now, with so many townhouse developments replacing the open space of our acreages.

Our land was fairly "natural" full of huge stands of old native trees.  Perhaps never farmed, but containing "red" soil in the high areas bordering Ramon Street.


We first moved to Bracken Ridge in 1972 and were one of the first residents in this section of Mongabarra Street, at the Pangarinda Street end, which we purchased late 1971. It was typical highset home very popular then.   

Local builder Hartley Crouch built the houses opposite, ours was a one off from a Banyo builder .

At the time there was a shortage of materials for house building.  The house had been advertised for sale in the Saturday paper, by Bill Want Realty of Boondall.  We collected the keys, and kept them all morning while poor Bill was getting pretty agitated as he could not get inside the house, which was at "lock-up" stage.

All worked out in the end, because we bought the house, and returned those keys.  My apologies to all the other people who showed interest. 

In those days, there was a dairy farm where Norris Road State School is, and often we would find a stray cow or two munching on our "blue couch".

Between our house and the cemetery were a handful of homes.  Our closest rear neighbour was Bob and Laurel Hagen.   His Shepherd and our Labrador used to meet every afternoon for a bit of a doggie "chat".

So it became quite interesting to learn that our lands were once owned by Mr J. Grant..  103 acres is a substantial portion of land, in fact almost 10% of the total acreage created by the natural borders, of the North Coast railway line,  Cabbage Tree creek, Bald Hills Road, and Telegraph Roads.   It was known as Lot 96.  

Our memories of Bracken Ridge begin years before.   For the Herron family, Ron Herron, my brother-in-law, used to have a "mate" who lived in Bracken Ridge.  Ron and he used to hang out together in the 1950's.  Ron recalls there were no bitumen roads, no kerb and channelling, and no sewerage.   He remembers that one family must have had some influence, as Phillips Street was the only sealed road in the area.

That family was the Flewell-Smiths.  

My first memories were associated with crossing the railway crossing at the Telegraph Road crossing.  There was an old house on the Bald Hills side, and there lived a lady, whose job it was to open and close the gates, morning noon and night, rain hail or shine whenever a train was due.



One of the roles of a family history researcher, is to ask questions usually -  "Why?"

Finding the answers often create a series of coincidences, and for me the definition of coincidence is "a series of answers to questions, that require further research"



The History of Bald Hills and Bracken Ridge was certainly full of those co-incidences!


My life hit a huge road block in 2003, I retired.  Not with any fanfare, or farewell parties that editors mention in the local press.  My farewell was complete with "sirens", ambulance type.  To those 4 crews who came from the Sandgate Ambulance and the Chermside Ambulance, thank you.

I realise that abrupt exit from my surroundings perhaps left a few old friends wondering what became of me.  My apologies for that, however everything was taken out of my control from that time on.

Doing this research has been very therapeutic, after 13 years, some "monkeys" have been removed!

Bracken Ridge has always and will always, be a very special part of my memories of our Life's Journey.  Perhaps in reflection, the connection with Bracken Ridge, even today is so much stronger than our any other place that we may call  home.                      Kris Herron 2016

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