|In 1928, Roy’s grandfather, Bernard James Grant, purchased Peters Ice Works on MacDonnell Road at Redcliffe, and Roy’s father and grandfather became involved in the butchering trade in Redcliffe. Roy attended St Joseph’s School at Redcliffe. He set up a successful Dry Cleaning & Laundry business and was instrumental in relocating Rugby League to Redcliffe in 1948.|
|As I said before, apart from the hotels we had Hamilton’s and then we moved down next door down to the Moreton Bay Hotel, as we knew it then, was Simpson’s Butcher Shop. It was attached to Simpson’s Yards out at Klingner Road. From there, a laneway separated to the Regent Café and then a little printing works followed next door. We had the E S & A Bank then and from my point of view particularly in the 1940s (45-47) was Darragh’s Pharmacy, moving on gradually down through Redcliffe to what was then known as the Moreton Vista Hotel (which burnt down) and we finally got down as far as the Rainbow Café. The Rainbow Café was opposite the Redcliffe Jetty and was dependent greatly on the coming of the ‘Koopa’ or the ‘Doomba’. They would arrive on the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 11.30am then proceed to Bribie and arrive back around about 2.30 or 3.00pm before leaving for Brisbane. |
|Good afternoon. Thank you the opportunity to give you something of my history in Redcliffe from 1938 until this present time, 2005.|
I am here basically because of my grandfather (great grandfather) coming to the Caboolture area in the 1860s and taking up quite a lot of land around the top of King Street in Caboolture, which included what was then known as Carmody’s Hotel and then also the property at Morayfield that now houses the big industrial complex.
That particular property at Morayfield was the stagecoach stop for Cobb & Co and my grandfather was born there, Bernard James Grant and through his early years he was involved with the Aboriginals. Of a morning the ladies, or the gins as they were known in those days, would come and take him walkabout, so that he gradually knew a lot of the Aboriginal law and also the district around Caboolture and Morayfield.
As he got a little bit older he got himself involved with bullock teams. And from bullock teams, he met a lady, Mary Brennan, and they married and after a little while they left Morayfield and they came to John and Anzac Avenue in Redcliffe, where they conducted a boarding house round about the turn of the 1900s.
From that early stage they then went on to run various hotels around Brisbane, from the Port Office out to Pittsworth and finally the one that they really got involved with from my point of view, was The Exchange Hotel in Kilcoy.
My father had returned from the Great War and he was, shall we say, the providor, or runner of that hotel. He controlled the books and victuals and whatever may be. He married my mother, Josephine Smith, and then in 1928 Bernard James who already had property in Kilcoy – farms and different things like that – decided to come to Redcliffe and get involved in the butchering trade.
Now the butchering trade involved buying into the Redcliffe Ice Works, which in those days was known as Peters Ice Works at 47 MacDonnell Road, Redcliffe. The location of that ice works also encompassed a lot of freezing chambers and that was placed on top of the hill there at 47 MacDonnell Road, just on John Street because of the winds. The southeast wind or the north-east wind evaporated the air from the condensers and depending on whatever way the wind blew, 14 hours could be the making of a block of ice.
I would describe it that in those early years it was slavery as far as the local population was concerned. We were in the depression (1932 – 35) and manual labour was everything they knew, and to see those men soaked or solid wet, dragging great slabs of 100lb weight of ice out of the brine and then cutting it up (sawing it) delivering it to ice boxes around the town each day for probably next 8 or 10 years before refrigeration came into focus.
But the Ice Works, plus the Cold Stores, also enabled 3 butchers’ shops, owned by my grandfather, or conducted by grandfather at Simpson’s which was in the main street of Redcliffe, and that also had the slaughter yards attached to it on the corner of Klingner Road (which we now know as Klingner Road) and Boardman Road. The second slaughter yard was at Korsch’s Paddock and that extended from Elizabeth Avenue back to Dorall Street on the southern side of Anzac Avenue.
To supply meat for those 3 butcher’s shops, each Thursday morning out through Petrie, across the Bulimba Ferry to Cannon Hill Sale Yards purchasing anything from 30 to 40 head of cattle and up to one hundred sheep, which would be trucked overnight to Petrie Railway Station. Men on horseback would leave Redcliffe at 2.00am on Friday morning and be there at the Petrie Railway Station at daylight to unload the sheep and cattle. It would take them anything from 8 to 10 hours to gradually walk them down from Petrie for slaughtering.
A water hole would be at Bray’s Road, which is at the top end of Mango Hill, and then another one down at Saltwater Creek, but those sheep and cattle having been on a train from Western Queensland or wherever for up to 3 or 4 days and they were particularly hungry and thirsty. Good dogs and three men, and that was the way the meat supply came to Redcliffe.
Slaughtering took place, as I said, daylight in the morning. The beasts would be run in the night before to drain out, then they’d slaughtered and hung and quartered, and possibly laid in the sunshine or semi-sunshine until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon; something that we would sort of frown on these days. Hygiene, hygiene? Well hygiene was a second consideration but anyway, people survived.
What I’m trying to bring to you about survival – in those days very little was wasted. All the offal meats, whether it be tongues, livers, heart, anything at all - ox tails – all were for human consumption. People lived very, very simply. Milk, bread, butter, lard, dripping and the basic foods – tripe – tripe was very, very important. Tripe and onions that was really a product, because people, as I say, did not have a lot of luxury money.
The Ice Works served two purposes; cold storage because the family also ran butter and other products, shall we say, smallgoods from Atlas Bacon Factory in Brisbane, which is at Murarrie, but those products would be supplemented by butter coming from Caboolture. Trucks would go to Caboolture, buy the 50lb pack in a beautiful pine box. It would be tragic to see the beautiful pine boxes used as firewood. The basis would be that two or three ladies would cut those 56lb boxes of butter into half or one pound packs, re-wrap them and put them back into the same case. They in turn would be delivered with the smallgoods to the various little shops around Redcliffe.
When we talk about shops, most shall we say were 200 or 300 metres apart, small family shops, because motor vehicles weren’t very, very popular. If you wanted something you walked or you had a pushbike, so therefore little convenience stores supplemented by men were going to work, sort of was the part and parcel of Redcliffe. They boomed, those little corner stores, at Christmastime when the campers from around the southern or the western suburbs, Ipswich and those sort of places, booked their sites year after year for the foreshores of Redcliffe starting at Woody Point up through Margate (Suttons Beach), down by the Jetty, Scarborough in front of all the hotel and all there was more or less precious. From one year to another each family had a booking.
Jack Stapleton, Mr Jack Stapleton, he was the gentleman that went around with his little book, collected the weekly 5 or 10 shillings, or whatever the fee was in those days and in between times, of course, the milkman, the iceman – they were all involved delivering to those little camps – trying to keep their food. You can imagine tents, all sorts of arrangements, but then in later years caravans arrived, but Redcliffe definitely was the ‘Mecca’ for the average family man in the 30s up to and including the War years. When War broke out we sort of lost a little bit of favour and then following the War, roads started to open up towards the North Coast, towards Maroochydore and towards Bribie Island and some of that camping enthusiasm gradually drifted out of Redcliffe.
To supplement the campers, of course - entertainment. We had the skating rink, a lovely skating rink near the Redcliffe Jetty on the site of what is now known as Anzac and Rotary Park, and as far as a social was concerned, that was the entertainment. People would congregate watching the skill. Some of those young ladies it was absolutely marvellous to watch their ability and different people, suddenly their eyebrows jumped in recognition that you didn’t probably admire them in one sense, but their athletics was another.
Then again the athletics extended to the Ladies Hockey with Mary Nairn and Bella Sim and Audrey Strathearn – wonderful hockey players over here at the Showground opposite this Library. They represented Brisbane and Queensland in Women’s Hockey and out of it came hockey for the young men in the area and two that rose to fame were the Argus boys and Donny Argus became an excellent hockey player. Don was working in the National Bank at Redcliffe in the 1950s and he went on to rise in stature through the banks to become involved with BHP.
We have had some wonderful sports people rise through sport here in Redcliffe. As far as the football was concerned, in post-War years Terry Kearns was a Corporal in the Air Force, and through my involvement in the Dry Cleaning and Laundry years from 1947 to 1994, I would call at most of these small shops in Redcliffe with a sub-agency, and Terry said to me, “Look, we’ve missed out on the football. Can’t we get it running in Redcliffe?” With Terry Kearns and my assistance, we ran dances at the Church of England Hall in Sutton Street, Redcliffe, and finally we got the enthusiasm of a lot of young people and we got football relocated here in Redcliffe in 1948.
From the football came an involvement by members of the City Electric Light. They would have their own families involved and we gradually got the football into an area of what they call the Sandgate Suburban Rugby League and we would play external of Redcliffe through Sandgate or Aspley or even up to Caboolture. My memories of when we hit Caboolture, those big timber-getting men really gave us a thumping! To overcome that we found that we had some bookmakers here in Redcliffe who enjoyed the football of a Sunday afternoon because they could profit a little bit by running up and down the sideline taking a little bit of ready cash and gambling.
Out of that came bringing players from Brisbane Rugby League, particularly Valleys, and with that came Arthur Beetson and Stevie Wainwright, and quietly they were paid a very nice fee to play for that one-and-a-half hours. This amalgamation of the football took place in the ordinary group with Terry Kearns, Cliffy Benson and myself involved until about 1952/53 when they stepped up to become founded by a new group that is now known as The Dolphins, but the early amateur group set forward from about 1953 and this is probably where most of the history of Redcliffe Rugby League revival took place.
The Redcliffe Ice Works situated at 47 MacDonnell Road became a very important part of the War effort, inasmuch that around 1942 we saw the arrival of the Americans. The schools around Brisbane, i.e. the Nudgee College, Stuartholme and the Marist Brothers College at Ashgrove which was right on the Enoggera Army Reserve, were evacuated up to Tamborine Mountain and that’s where we stayed until 1944.
The Americans took over a lot of Bribie Island particularly with the Seabees it became a training centre, and from Bribie Island we had a small fleet of boats, landing craft and all sorts of things arriving at the Redcliffe Jetty on a daily basis, and they would be either bringing men over for recreation leave, or picking up supplies. A lot of those supplies were dropped off at the Redcliffe Ice Works and they involved a lot of American ‘special’ foodstuffs like chicken, turkey, ice cream (all done up in little cubes) and Almond Rocca, the lovely boxes of sweets which the ladies really went for at the Seabrae dances of a night time. Seabrae was the recreation area for the Seabees, and the Hotel Scarborough for the American Army.
At any particular time there could be anything up to 200/300 men allocated to those two particular areas so, of course, entertainment the local ladies were invited to come along. Stockings – and as I say Almond Rocca – were the trophies for the night and by the same token at the Ice Factory we had the Australian Army coming in from out at Deception Bay and they would bring kegs of beer. Somehow or other kegs of beer would be swapped for American delicacies, and that was a little bit of liaison between the two groups of men.
Through all of that, of course, we had the main street of Redcliffe and part and parcel of that was Hamilton’s Grocery Store which is probably where now where Hutchinsons, solicitors were at the front street of Redcliffe. We then moved along to the ‘Blood House’ as it was known then (the Ambassador) because there were more fights there - in those early days pre-War particularly, all bottles of beer were in large bottles, no small bottles, large bottles of beer and then of course there was the Moreton Bay. They were the two main watering holes in Redcliffe.
Through those watering holes we had a certain amount of social problems. Because unemployment was very, very rife in Redcliffe and we had, shall we say, a social set-up here where was a certain strata of ‘income’ people, but then there was another strata of people that were really hard put and children were numerous. Families were 2, 3, 4 or 5 children and to try to look after and feed and clothe those children meant that going to school they were more often than not in hand-me-down clothes, barefoot. You would have to walk; it didn’t matter whether you lived 2 or 3 miles from school, you walked to and from school. When you got to school basically we had open verandahs. We had no real, shall we say, shelter. Those open verandahs had a roll-up and roll-down blind and if the weather was bad you tried to get somewhere where you got a bit of protection from those bad winds.
Basically, as I say, Redcliffe was dominated by a sort of hard earning capacity of people; they were really hard put. We also had, shall we say, a religious grouping, where we were locked in by about two or three major religions, and those people were very, very hard. It was a small community and if you got out of line your parents knew about it in a flash!
Secondly, if your children misbehaved, suddenly your family were put down as a ‘no-hoper’ family, so that you had to be pretty careful of how your image went through Redcliffe, both from a religious point of view and also everybody was sort of keyed up to try – the discipline of living was very, very keen. Coming round to that, we had the ladies who were involved in the Country Women and I recall that Mrs Beedham, who had the picture show in the main street of Redcliffe, would allow the ladies to do a lot of home work making, shall we say, embroideries on tea towels or tablecloths. The handiwork of a lot of the women was unreal and they would have a fair once a year in the Redcliffe Theatre.
One particular year I remember the theatre was covered with peach blossom. It was limbs of trees that were cut and formed into like cherry trees. It was a wonderful sight and of that person who was in charge was Mrs Doctor Roberts, W H Roberts. She seemed to be the ‘leader’ of the Country Women and other group of people around. Also that particular group had a little bit of, shall we say, a social get-together by having a golf course situated between Hercules Road down as far as the present, shall we say, motor industry in Elizabeth Avenue. It was a 9-hole golf course in a property called Tears – t e a r s – Tears property. Now there were no real greens or anything like that; you just hit a ball and you went and foxed and found it, but that was the formation of the Redcliffe Golf Club out from Klingner Road, Hercules Road, back down as far as the motor industry.
As I said before, apart from the hotels we had Hamiltons and then we moved down next door down to the Moreton Bay Hotel, as we knew it then, was Simpson’s Butcher Shop. It was attached to Simpson’s Yards out at Klingner Road. From there, a laneway separated to the Regent Café and then a little printing works followed next door. We had the E S & A Bank then and from my point of view particularly in the 1940s (45-47) was Darragh’s Pharmacy, moving on gradually down through Redcliffe to what was then known as the Moreton Vista Hotel (which burnt down) and we finally got down as far as the Rainbow Café. The Rainbow Café was opposite the Redcliffe Jetty and was dependent greatly on the coming of the ‘Koopa’ or the ‘Doomba’. They would arrive on the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 11.30am then proceed to Bribie and arrive back around about 2.30 or 3.00pm before leaving for Brisbane.
There was some pretty foul weather at times as you can realise in January, February and March when those cyclones came. We had more, shall we say, wind and rain disturbances then than we have had over the last 8 or 10 years now. We’ve only just joking in the last 10 years – in the 1970s and 1980s onwards. It was, shall we say, a regular thing – we would have three or four days of torrential rain followed by bad winds, and it would be sometimes very difficult for those boats to even tie up.
By the same token those boats supplied a service to Bribie Island and products for the shops over there at Bribie Island would be loaded on those particular days. An old trolley would go out along the Jetty. The jetty was a source of, shall we say, product, for the local people. Ample fish, no trouble at all to go and get plenty of Gar and all those sorts of things. At night time I can remember Mr Ray Harrison and Mr Bill Cameron would lift a plank, drop a cord line down through the end planks and bring home beautiful Jew Fish. The Jew Fish would be caught on worms that would be dug in front of the Seabrae Hotel – bloodworms were plentiful – and even oysters. Those rocks were absolutely smothered with oysters and crustaceans in those days.
At other times they would just go there at nighttime and catch Bream, but this was Redcliffe – ample fish. It didn’t matter if you had a little rowboat, you could just go out off Shields Street here in Redcliffe and I can remember H M Slee a grocer who was in one of the shops opposite the Jetty and Mr Jack Stevenson. They were regulars; they would have a bit of bait, mullet preferably, and they would get into their dinghy, row out before daybreak and be back in time to open the grocery shop. It was lovely fish, Squire, Sweet Lip and all those beautiful reef fish. They’re there still, but you’ve just got to know when to go and get them.
The schooling in Redcliffe was from age 6. You had to be six years old before you were allowed to attend school. Therefore if you happened to have a birthday in the middle of the year you were a little bit behind those who were lucky enough to have previously turned 6 at Christmas or whatever time.
By the same token, as I said, we would just have to walk to school with your school books and schooling was pretty rudimentary, English a bit of Mathematics, and I saw here the other day where people asked a professor what was 12 times 13. He said, “Oh, er, oh… we’ll just skip that for the moment”. In those days multiplication and division and all that were very paramount and you all knew it backwards. Then again, if you didn’t come up to scratch there was a cane sitting in the corner and six, six, six no trouble at all! We were under the tuition of the St Joseph nuns and boy oh boy; they didn’t let up on us.
Coming away from that, most of my schooling was done on the western side of the Church on the corner of Anzac Avenue and what was then North Coast Road. Opposite North Coast Road, which is now the petrol service station area, was the Redcliffe rubbish dump and that was caused by the taking of soil from that particular area in horse and drays supplied by Mr Walker. Mr Walker had a small farm up between Davis and Eversleigh Roads fronting North Coast Road, North Coast Road now known as Oxley Avenue. He would bring those horses and drays down to a little tin shed, which was the forerunner of the present Youth Centre opposite Gomersall Street, Redcliffe.
The whole of that area between Gomersall Street and Anzac Avenue facing Oxley Avenue, was dug out because there was a good clay base, and it was used to start to build the Oxley Avenue south from Anzac Avenue towards Woody Point. Bitumen was a no-no in those days. You were lucky to even have a dirt road passing your house. Bitumen never came until well in the 1940s—1950s different streets started to have a coat of bitumen.
The early bitumen was made by heating up tar in a horse-drawn tarpot and logs of wood would be put underneath the solid material and men with big, oversized watering cans would take the liquid and pour it down, and the horse and dray would come along with gravel and the gravel would be thrown on top of the semi-hot tar and then as soon as the temperature dropped a little bit a horse drawn roller would come backwards and forwards to push the gravel into the tar. That was the formation of the early road south from Anzac Avenue towards Woody Point.
That particular area there was a wonderful, shall we say, drainage area. The present trotting track was just overgrown with tea tree, wattle and long grasses so that when we had heavy rain beautiful water would filter all down through there into the present Humpybong Creek, catching just near the present site of the swimming pool into a lovely water hole, and it would be up to 10 or 12 feet deep. From there people would have water delivered in the case of dry weather to their houses, to supplement tanks. Tanks were, shall we say, a necessity, but then again we were always conscious of mosquito larvae getting into tanks, but it was the only way we had fresh water in Redcliffe in those galvanised tanks.
Recollection of myself of tanks came about with Griff Roberts inasmuch as he visited my home, or my parents were living at that time in a home not far removed from the Ice Factory. There was a vacant lot next door and we had a lot of hens and chooks, and all that sort of business, the ducks. Apart from a little bit of meat, eggs were always a basic ingredient for living in those days, but for some unknown reason the hens would get out and we would have to chase them in from the allotment next door. This particular day Griff decided that he wanted to burn off this piece of ground next door, so the fire started and it started to edge towards other houses. My father in anticipation grabbed an axe, cut the next-door neighbour’s tank to get water – a volume of water – to extinguish the flames.
Not being content, Griff fired off a lovely trolley that had been bought and made for me by Mr Williams – a four-wheeled trolley. This was at the time when you had a little box sitting on a frame. Griff decided that he would like to experiment how that would run down over the cliff in front of the Ambassadors Hotel. Here we are at about eight years of age and I came home with a couple of wheels and a broken chassis. Griff went on to become a doctor, but for that particular day I’ll never forget him (a) a lovely fire, and (b) a smashed trolley!
In the 1860s my great grandfather had a very large property area around Caboolture, and particularly Carmody’s Hotel at the top of the hill in King Street and also the present Morayfield Shopping Centre. A lot of people refer to my name as Roy Grant but when it comes to technical or legal I got to be involved in many cases as Arthur Roy Grant. It stops me for a moment when somebody says to me, “Hey, Arthur” but anyway I was born in Kilcoy in 1927, May 1927, and moved to Redcliffe in 1928 with the family establishing the Redcliffe Ice Factory and butchering businesses in Redcliffe.