Tuesday, May 10, 2016

BRM 5.10 Memories - Reflections on the past

The best people to share their recollections of Bracken Ridge come from those who were the early residents.  Probably now referred to as the "Old Timers".

Doug and Jan Evans bought their first block of land in 1970. .............

Jan and I bought our land at the end of Tulee Street (no Woorak Street in those days) in June '70 for the princely sum of $2,850 after discount for cash. The Willmore and Randell office was located in Tarwarri Street, second on the right going up the hill at the back of the Halls house. We built and moved in December 1970.

 I can remember assisting the milkman (home delivery) on quite a few occasions at the end of Tulee Street where a storm water pipe ended to flow down what is now Woorak Street. There were still Potato and Strawberry farms surrounding the area. The top of the hill was farm.

Wendy and Rod Lamprecht lived on the Cnr of Tulee and Tallara Streets (now live Cnr Child's and Denham Streets) and the Lilleys lived on Tallara Street looking down Tulee Street. His parents owned a drink factory in Sandgate (I think). The 'plastic' house on the Cnr of Tallara and Waruda Streets was built about 4 years later.

Don and Jan McWatters built next to us at 4 Tulee Street (now living on the Gold Coast). Don was Australian Hockey coach. The Fings built at 3 Tulee Street and later moved back to Bevington Street, Sandgate into Elizabeth mother's house.

 Jan used to shop at the Cut Price Store in the Barrett Street shops and wondered how we were going to manage when the weekly shopping went to $25.

 We later bought land in Tomah Road when Cambridge Credit went into liquidation for $15,250. Dick Crone was the principal at the Bracken Ridge primary school and also Zone Chairman for Lions. Invitations were issued to various people to a meeting about Lions and as Don McWatters could not attend, he gave me the invitation.

The District Governor then was Phil Mitchell who worked at Snows Service Station in Lawnton who was the Ford dealer. Phil now lives in Taree after moving from Bokarina on the Sunshine Coast. The meeting was supposed to be only an information session, however we formed the Club that night with 32 members in November 1978.

John Roberts was elected as charter President, Tony Emms was elected Secretary (later owned the Ampol Service Station now Caltex) and Jeff Page was Treasurer. They each filled their positions for 18 months. The Club held its charter night in February, 1979 at the then Lions Hall in Lawnton.

The following February, the Lioness Club was organised with Denise Roberts as President. Jeff Page was elected President of the Lions Club for '79 - 80 and I was President '80 - '81 with Jan as President of the Lioness Club. The Clubs in those days were really grass roots conducting many hands on projects including maintaining a much smaller McPherson park which was located at the rear of the now Barrett Street Shops and supporting a number of families from the Housing Commission area.

During my year as President, we installed playground equipment in the park at the Cnr of Denham and Barrett streets, with 693 4KQ in attendance for its opening. I am sure Jeff Page would have stories from his term as President.

We used to meet for our twice monthly dinner meetings at the Tavern then owned by Bob and Laurel Hagan (football fame and brother of Michael Hagan) We supported many Lions projects including Australian and International projects and of course, Camp Duckadang and many times conducted bucket collections for national and international disasters.

When a severe hailstorm hit the Sandgate/Brighton area in the early '70's, members could be seen up on roofs fixing tarps in place. The Lions and Lioness Clubs worked very closely together and supported each other tremendously when either Clubs had projects on. One of our joint fund raising projects was at the Big Valley Bingo which just about ruined the Lions Club as money was too easy.

 Another joint project was delivering telephone directories around Bracken Ridge. I can remember driving the streets in our red Falcon Wagon with a huge Lions Christmas Cake on top, dressed in Santa uniform, to sell Lions Christmas Cakes and of course we had the weekly meat tray raffle down at the Gawain Road shops supported by the then butcher who was a member of Bracken Ridge-Bald Hills Lions Club.

Most members had small families and members would socialise with picnics etc and children were most likely taken on projects. The Lions Club enjoyed an annual cricket match with the Lions Club of Boondall and our Tail Twister at the time, Bob Muller, always presented a number of 'trophies' following those matches. ( I can remember receiving a net because I dropped a catch). Those were the days!

For me that released a string of other memories, let's hope they become memory joggers for you as well.

John Roberts and Denise went to Ascot School when I did. Denise was a hockey guru. They had one son, and John died fairly young. We were members of Mayne Football Club, John played in the 60's. Bob Muller and Jan, she was a teacher. at Bracken Ridge School. I think Tony and Wendy Emms moved to the Coast. I remember selling his home to an investor. Garth and Pattie Davies had the PO in Gawain Rd. It is our memories that make up the years post 1960 as the newspaper archives end then.

Doug then had some more:

Garth and Pattie Davies. Kruger was the dentist at Barrett Street shops. Peter McGrath and Elizabeth Marsh were the doctors at Gawain Road with Di Spink the receptionist being a charter member of the Lioness Club as her husband John was a charter member of the Lions Club. John was a radiograph at RBH when Jan was nursing.

 Percy Adams was the ANZ bank Manager and my niece, Rhonda Evans was a teller along with Bruce Sullivan, whom we caught up with a couple of years ago. Bruce is now a motivational speaker on the International circuit and has published a number of books. Kathy Churchward a charter member of the Lioness Club owned a fabric shop in Gawain Road, and of course Demetrius Pouflos owned the fruit shop, although he was not a charter member. Hill was the pharmacist in Gawain Road and our very first Miss Personality entrant, Judy Sullivan was an assistant there. We raised over $15,000 dollars, Kevin Huntley was my Chair for that year. Judy did a great impersonation of Frank Spencer and used to have everyone rolling in the aisles at functions.

Some more of mine:

Memory joggers! Kerry Curtin was the Dr in Barrett Street, Alan Hartland the Chemist, he and I were part of the shopkeepers committee. My memories of 1974 are of a suburb of nappies flapping in the breeze, as we all had chain wire fences, and pregnant ladies. As I had a children's wear shop nearly every mother came for a chat to see another pregnant lady serve them! Peter McGrath opened in  Barrett St, and then retired to breed his Labradors in the Pine Shire, Kerry Curtin succeeded him.  What an absolutely fabulous doctor he was. 

His help and assistance to this 5 month pregnant patient at the sad time in 1979, was much appreciated.

Melinda O'Brien, another who worked for the kindy, Marcia and Vince Caruso, Wendy Turnbull's sister in the second house in Tallara St, Doug Anderson about the 3rd house was in the Sandgate Fire Brigade, his brother (Don?) worked at Bayards in Sandgate. John Anderson was our preferred plumber in the business for many years.. Denise and Ron Howarth, were the preferred Pest controllers. Emily Tong our inspections officer lived in Walu Street, and she knew every one!

And more from Doug

The Milfords lived about the 4th or 5th house up Tallara on the left, both Glenys and Wally were Charter members.. Denise and Ron Howarth built on the block of land behind us when we lived in Tomah Road. We cursed because their block was where we used to play cricket during family get togethers. Barry Henningsen built our Tomah Road house and of course they now live in the Enbrook Estate . Alan Callaghan who was a builder and lived in Darragh Street was a charter member and the Amy and Ray Holz were charter members and lived down on the Cnr of Quinlan and Schaeffe streets. Norm Johnson built two doors from us in Woorak Street and of course grew up in the suburb as his father was Don. Norm and wife, Rhonda live up the Sunshine Coast. Rick and Joy Grainger were charter members of both Clubs and lived in Gawain Road opposite the shops as did Dick and Eva Crone. Bob and Jan Muller lived in Pellinore Road.

 Gail Irving's Memories

"You are welcome to use some or all of this if you want, however, if it is not suitable that is fine too. Chris and I built our first home in Buckra St, Bracken Ridge in 1972 and then built again in Bronwyn St in Brisbane Expo year - I think that was in 1988 (not sure, but it was definitely Expo year). Bracken Ridge resembled a chess board - families did not move out they just moved to another street. I was Lioness Club president for a term and enjoyed having a community portfolio in another year.

 I remember instigating Safety House program for the area and also a Cancer in Women Forum which was presented at the library as well as many other functions and events combined with the Lions Club.

Our two daughters attended Bracken Ridge Kindergarten and then Bracken Ridge State School. The principal for part of that time was Mr Jim Dionysius. They both attended the Bracken Ridge Physical Culture Club and Karla attended Bracken Ridge Dance School.

 It was a growing suburb but our girls were able to fill their leisure time by attending activities within the area. Bracken Ridge was a great suburb in which to raise a family as it had a country feel about it and lots of community spirit"

There are countless other people who contributed in so many ways.  Vivian and Rod Tabberet were also some names associated with those early days.

Well summed up by Gail, as her thoughts about those early days probably mirror all of us "oldies".

The Lions Club though has for the past 20 years been almost the "hub" of community activities.

Their work in the community should be widely acknowledged.  Their project to construct a steam railway in Mc Pherson Park was an amazing achievement. 

It was my honour and privilege to become the "first" female member of the Bracken Ridge Central Lions Club.

Then Jeanette Mitchell who still lives in Wobur Street in the original home, was able to fill in some missing blanks.

Clive Mitchell was a house painter, and both Clive and Jeanette have devoted their time to the Bracken Ridge Central Lions Club and the Bracken Ridge Lioness Club.

"Bracken Ridge as we knew it was expanding from 1970 onwards with the area above the school, west of Warrimoo and Waruda Streets being subdivided by Barclay Developments and sold by agents Willmore and Randall.

There already was a smaller shopping centre at Gawain Road. A parcel of land bounded by Denham, Barrett and Medika Streets was vacant. In 1971 all land owners were asked to participate in voting Yes or No for a tavern on the Denham Street corner.

The carrot was - if a Yes vote for the tavern, a shopping centre would be built in Barrett Street as well, and if a No vote, the tavern and shops would not proceed. Many young families were not particularly interested in the tavern but the lure of brand new shops in the area was appealing so the tavern received the vote and it opened in 1974 with the shops to follow.

There was a vacant parcel of land where Woolworths currently stands. The corner block on Barrett and Medika Streets saw an Ampol garage erected with full driveway service.

This Barrett Street area was well patronized with a supermarket, bank, doctor, pharmacy, butcher, dentist, hairdresser etc. tavern and service station. These shops certainly took business away from Sandgate, the nearest large commercial area."

Jeanette Mitchell
Bracken Ridge

                                            EARLY MEMORIES OF BRACKEN RIDGE
It was a hot, steamy afternoon in November, 1969.  Doug and I were going for a drive to Redcliffe.  We decided to turn left at the roundabout to see the land that Wilmore and Randall was advertising.  We had never been to Bracken Ridge before.
Near the Bracken Ridge State School was developed, but as we travelled up Tallara Street to the real estate office in Tarwarri Street, we realized that the land marked out into allotments with dirt tracks going through it  had previously been farm land (pineapple farms). That was the first attraction - good soil, lovely rich red soil. We walked up the street and could not believe the view.  Moreton Island and North Stradbroke were very clear.  Also the breeze was magnificent.  These were the three criteria for a block on which to build - good soil, view and breezes.  We only had $5 with us and that was sufficient for a deposit on the land which was $4500.
We were not able to build until the land was registered.  Roads had to be completed and services installed.  I’ll never forget when those awful telegraph poles appeared.  They were not even straight and marred the landscape.  I believe this was the last estate to have above-ground electricity.
We moved into our home in February, 1972, the weekend of a cyclone.  Trying to save money, we did not have car tracks.  The red dirt was transferred from the tyres to the cement under the house.  That beautiful red soil that we so craved stained the concrete and the evidence is still there.
Laying turf was another chore.  Again, to save money, we cut the turf into rectangular pieces and left a gap between each piece.  Early in the morning, after our marathon efforts, a munching noise could be heard.  A herd of cows was in the front yard having an effortless breakfast as the turfs were lifted into their mouths- a tasty morsel and no effort on the cow’s part.
There were many young families in the area and we had a lot in common.  Playgroups were formed and were held in homes.  Some of these friendships have remained till today.
A move was made to establish a kindergarten in Barrett Street.  The early days meant much fund raising with pie drives, lamington drives and fetes etc.   Potting plants in tins was a common occurrence.   Time and effort was what was needed.  We all had a lot of fun working together.
The Bracken Ridge State School had been established many years before and had a huge population up until Norris Road State School opened in 1977.  There were eight Year One classes in 1976 and five in 1977.   Many families were involved in the Bracken Ridge State School Swimming Club which commenced in 1981. The school pool was a huge asset for the community.
Churches were being established.  The Bracken Ridge Uniting Church, of which I am a member, met on 13th March, 1977 in the staff room of the administration block of the Bracken Ridge State School.  Later, worship services were moved to the school library, although bookshelves often had to be moved and replaced.  An old pedal organ was purchased which the school allowed to be stored in the library.  Family gatherings, Ladies’ Fellowship and Youth Groups met in private homes.   A very large Sunday School  met in the Pre School.   Accommodation of numbers attending soon became a problem.  Property became available through special consideration by the Jesse Gaskell family.  An old house and land on the corner of Pellinore Road and Bracken Street was purchased from the Gaskell family for $15000.  The Jesse Gaskell farm had previously been subdivided and the Synod had purchased two other blocks adjacent to the corner site at a special price for a future church.  These were sold to Sandgate Parish for a Bracken Ridge building, making the all up cost of land purchase $21000.  
The old house was used by youth groups until it was sold in July 1980 for $1500 when it was  removed.  A grant of $15000 was received from the State Government towards the cost of erecting a building which would also function as a Community Centre.  The building was constructed to just beyond “lock up” stage by the contractor and everything else by voluntary labour.  All the painting, electrical work, landscaping and external concreting were done by voluntary labour.  Over 1200 voluntary hours went into the building for Saturday working bees alone.  On 7 November, 1981 the building was opened and dedicated by Rev. D.J.Brandon.  The first service was held the following day led be Rev. Ted Hutton.
We have been in our home for 44 years and have never regretted the move to use that $5 for a deposit on the land in Tarwarri Street.  When I see the fern coming through the cracks in the brick retaining wall, I think about the land a long time ago, even before the pineapple farms.  Bracken Ridge has grown and developed and is still one of the best places in Brisbane to live.

Marilyn Linnett.

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