My Toowong Business

Roy Hanson: My Toowong Business

In about 1947 Roy Hanson rented premises in High Street, Toowong and opened an electrical retailing business. This is his story:

I rented a shop off Miss Brownsdon and ran my business from here. It was an electrical retailing store, selling small appliances such as irons, toasters and stuff like that.

I also did electrical installations — doing light switches, household electrical repairs and wiring etc. The store was more a shopfront than a store, really — an electrical shopfront — and was more of a storeroom than a shop.

I don’t remember much about who else lived along that part of the street as it was so long ago. I don’t remember Miss Brown’s Kindergarten at all, so may be she had retired by then.

I did electrical work in the suburbs, particularly around the western suburbs. I remember I had a Morris Z utility and I went along to my jobs in this. Getting it up what is known as ‘Government Hill’ was difficult because it was so steep, and we went up it backwards!

I don’t have a lot of memories about the time because I was only there for a couple of years, and then I moved.

Thank you to Roy for this contribution given on 15 November, 2009

Badger’s house ‘Arlington’; now known as ‘Endrim’

Badger’s house ‘Arlington’; now known as ‘Endrim’

Address: 28 Woodstock Road, Toowong

‘Arlington’ was built in 1905 for American Joseph Stillman Badger. Badger named the house ‘Arlington’ in honour of the United States National Cemetery. He became known as ‘Boss Badger’.

Badger, a qualified electrical engineer, came to Brisbane in 1896 at the age of forty-five on behalf of the General Electric Company as its chief engineer to oversee the electrification of Brisbane’s out-dated horse-drawn tram network for the Brisbane Tramways Company (BTC).

After the sudden resignation of BTC project manager, Mr Walklate, due to ill health in 1897, the BTC directors approached Badger to become not only BTCs Chief Engineer but also as to assume the duties of General Manager as well. Badger consequently resigned from GE. A proud American , Badger named the house Arlington in honour of the United States National Cemetery.

Arlington, 1906

Photographed by Frederick Munro Hull and courtesy of Genevieve Kennett

[Toowong and District Historical Society Inc.]

Well-known local Toowong resident Percival Hanlon, who used to work at the BTC workshop prior to assuming the lease of the Toowong cross-river ferry, always maintained that the house sat upon tram tracks which were used as bearers. Speculation and rumour circulated Toowong as to whether this story was correct, so when the property eventually came up for sale many locals attended to check this out for themselves. As Hanlon’s son, also named Percival (‘Percy’), later related, ‘I went under the house and there it was!’

Verification that Badger had used tram tracks as bearers for his house did not dispel speculation, but instead added to it. As a result, particularly more recently, locals wondered whether he was using his position at the BTC to cream off monies from the Tramway Company for his advantage. Badger acquired a reputation which could be described in common parlance as being slightly ‘smelly’ and eyebrows were slightly raised at the notion of Badger’s integrity. The speculation resulted in an article being written a couple of years ago in the local newspaper Westside News which described Badger as being ’notorious’, which was the first time such speculation actually was recorded in print as being a fact (and without any supporting primary documents or evidence). Formerly, it was suggested in verbal asides only.

However, reminiscences collected by TDHS in 2003-05 from several elderly former residents, aged between their late 90s to over the age of 100, do not include a suggestion that Badger had a tainted reputation. These included the childhood memories of99 year-old Len Hall in 2003-4 whose parents operated the local shop in Woodstock Road across the road from Badger. So the speculation seemingly appears to be more recent in origin, gaining more credence since the decade 2000-10 when the earlier generation of residents had by this time died.

To further investigate these innuendoes, TDHS examined the title deeds for the property. One person keen to know the truth was Percy Hanlon who did the legwork. The information was passed onto Badger biographer David Burke (then researching for his book titled One American Too many Boss Badger and the Brisbane Trams). David kindly provided the information that the names on the title deeds were board members of the BTC.

This implies that ‘Arlington’ was financed by the Brisbane Tramways Company, possibly as part of an executive salary package, but Badger appears to have had a free hand in the house’s design as the architecture has an American flavour. It would seem that more than half a century later speculation fueled by ignorance has sullied Badger’s reputation. But at the time the house was built, the fact that the BTC owned the house was well-known, and hence no eyebrows were raised at the mention of Badger’s name at that time. Otherwise, why would the upper echelons of Society so admire Badger, socialize with him, queue up to pay patronage to him and do business with him? Badger’s business acumen was admired far afield, not only in Brisbane, but also in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide and also as far afield as in London and New York.

Prior to living at Arlington, by 1900 Badger and his family (who had joined him from America) lived at ‘Belle Vue’, a large house and property on the hill in Miskin Street, just short distance from where the construction of the tramline along Milton Road to terminate at the Brisbane General Cemetery was in progress. This tramline opened on 22 July 1904. Then Badger moved his family to ‘Arlington’. This was when work commenced upon the extension of the tramline from the gates of Brisbane General Cemetery, down Dean Street, and into Woodstock Road to terminate at the (Toowong) Tram Terminus situated just near his front gate. The Toowong Council had campaigned to extend the tramway down to terminate at Toowong, and there were plans to build more termini along Sherwood Road. But to protect its suburban railway traffic, the Railways Department made sure the track was kept apart from Toowong station and so the extended tramline and termini did not eventuate.

Badger used a gate built into his side fence to walk down concrete stairs built into the steep slope of the ridge to access the tram stop near to his residence where his private tram collected him to go into work. Claims published recently (in 2018) by The Courier-Mail that the Woodstock Road terminus is built upon Badger’s property are incorrect, as the terminus has been built behind the footpath at the base of the hill upon the publicly –owned Miskin Street road reserve.

 

Above: Steel tram track floor bearers in the undercroft of ‘Endrim’ (2016)

 

 

Below: A recent photo of the residence now known as ‘Endrim’ (2016)

Photographs courtesy of Christopher Sapsford {Toowong and District Historical Society Inc.]

Badger was partial to moving. Between 1913-15, he moved again to Hargreaves Road, West End, and later elsewhere. He liked to move to an area where the tramway was being constructed so he was immediately upon the spot to supervise. Badger was very much hands on!

Due to both his role in the electrification and extension of the Brisbane tramway network and his hardline opposition to unionism and the role he played in the lead up to the General Strike of January 1912, the residence has ever since been associated with his name. However, people refer to it as ‘Endrim’, the name the property was later called, and not as ‘Arlington’.

‘Endrim’ has attracted more controversy lately with plans to build a childcare centre being lodged with the Brisbane City Council (BCC). Concerns have been expressed over a wide range of issues, with one being an expected increase in traffic and the another being the impact upon the heritage of the house.

 

References:

Leigh Chamberlain and Lindy Salter, Toowong; A tram ride from the past, Toowong and District Historical Society Inc., 2018, p.124.

Leigh Chamberlain, Interview with Len Hall, ca. 2003

David Burke, One American too many. Boss Badger and the Brisbane Trams, Queensland Museum, 2012.

Certificates of Title and survey plans, Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying

Brisbane General Cemetery (aka Toowong Cemetery)

The Brisbane General Cemetery’s picturesque setting maintains the visual allusion of the Victorian concept of a mortuary park on the outskirts of the city. After a sizable portion of land was set aside for cemetery purposes at Toowong in 1861, the appropriateness of the site at Toowong for the purpose of a General Cemetery was an issue contested for the next two decades. Its isolation and doubts about the suitability of its site, with a lack of access and public transport, fuelled dissent and debate while the public continued to use the cheaper, more accessible familial grounds at Paddington.

The State government passed the Cemetery Act in 1866 providing the means to establish general cemeteries under the control of government appointed trustees. In 1868, a further portion of Crown land, 53 acres in area, north of the cemetery reserve was added to fulfil of the Trustee’s requirement for the entire cemetery to be surrounded with public roads. The reserve was gazetted and the Cemetery Trust established in October 1870. The grounds at the Cemetery were laid out by the prominent surveyor, George Phillips and the Cemetery was officially opened on 5 July 1875.

The first burial here was that of Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall (1 May 1809-2 January 1871), an Irish soldier and politician who served as Queensland’s second Governor. He served from 14 August 1868 until he died while in office. As his health was declining, in 1870, he selected the highest burial site at the new Toowong Cemetery. Shortly after, he died in office on 2 January 1871. His memorial is the largest and most prominent in the cemetery with commanding views of the city and surrounds.

Between Governor Blackall’s burial and the official opening of the Cemetery, there were six burials. The next interment was Ann Hill, wife of Walter Hill, superintendent of the Botanical Gardens on 2 November 1871. Thomas and Martha McCulloch were buried in November 1873, Teresa Maria Love on 16 March 1875 and Florence and Ethel Gordon on 4 July 1875.

The distinctive Cemetery gates are an example of the Victorian concept of a mortuary park and were designed by F.D.G. Stanley, who later resided in Church (now Jephson) Street, Toowong. The gates were erected in 1873-74.

Just inside the gates is the Temple of Peace. This memorial was erected by Richard Ramos as a memorial to his four sons, three of whom had died in WW1. Victor Ramos died at Messines, his brother Henry died of wounds in Belgium, and the youngest son, Gordon was killed at Gallipoli. An adopted son, named Fred, was killed in an accident in 1923. Ramos’s grief was so profound he designed and built the temple for his sons in 1924, and also for the family dog which was poisoned.

 

Raymond Dart: Toowong-born world renowned palaeontologist

Researched and written by Peter McNally

Raymond Dart (1893- 1988) was an anthropologist and palaeontologist who realized that a fossilized skull he was examining in 1924 was the earliest example of primordial bipedal man ever found to date, thus proving beyond doubt that human ancestors evolved out of Africa. Dart named the species Australopithecus africanus, the ‘southern ape from Africa’.

Robert Broom (a Scottish doctor who became a professional palaeontologist in 1933 at 67, and who was a long-time supporter of Dart) paid this tribute to Dart:

Raymond A. Dart’s discovery and analysis in 1924 was one of the most important in world history.

Early Years

Raymond Dart was born in Queensland, Australia in the inner western suburb of Brisbane on 4 February 1893. He almost didn’t make it as he, his mother, and her midwife had to be rowed to safety after he was born from the family grocery store in Sylvan Road, Toowong during one the Brisbane River floods of that year. He was the fifth born of nine children of Samuel Dart, a Queensland-born storekeeper, and his wife Eliza Ann, née Brimblecombe, who was born in New South Wales. He had seven brothers and a sister.

Despite being born in Toowong, Dart was raised mainly on a dairy farm near Laidley. His early education was at Toowong State School, which was then located in Aston Street, Toowong. He also attended Blenheim State and Ipswich Grammar schools. He later attended newly established The University of Queensland where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science on 17 April 1914 and a Master of Science, First Class Honours (in Biology), 10 May 1916. He later spent four years at the University of Sydney, studying medicine. All these qualifications were achieved before his 25th birthday.

After graduating, Dart left Australia and served in the medical corps as a captain and medic in the Australian Army in England and France during the last year of World War I. In 1920 Dart was appointed as a senior demonstrator at the University College, London at the direction of Grafton Elliot Smith. A famed anatomist and anthropologist, Smith was regarded as THE eminent anatomist in Britain. Interestingly, Grafton Elliot Smith, who was also a fellow Australian, had moved from Grafton (as in his name), New South Wales, to take up a position in London.

Dart then travelled to Washington University, St Louis, Missouri on a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and then returned to his position at the University College, London,

In 1922, Dart left Britain to take up the position of Chair of Anatomy at South Africa’s newly established University of Witwatersrand’s fledgling Faculty of Medicine (sometimes called ‘Wit’s’ University). He was reluctant to do so, but agreed after encouragement from Elliot Smith and Scottish anatomist and anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith FRS, who was professor of physiology at the Royal Institution of Great Britain from 1918 to 1923 at the time. Dart was just 31 years of age.

Archival photograph of Raymond Dart holding the Taung skull

[Courtesy of WITS University Archives]

Taung Child

In 1924, one of Raymond’s students brought him some quarry rubble containing a skull. After Dart painstakingly cleared away non-essential debris around the skull, he declared : In my opinion it is not a young chimpanzee, as many scientists have suggested. I believe it is a crossover between an ape, and a human, possibly a human ancestor.

Raymond named his skull the ‘Taung Child’ after where it was discovered. Dart then presented his findings to the scientific journal Nature, who published his report on 7 February 1925.

Eventually, the skull turned out to be the earliest example of primordial, bipedal man ever found. It also proved beyond doubt that human ancestors evolved out of Africa.

Back in 1925 Raymond claimed that this genus of hominid would have had a posture and teeth similar to modern humans. It also had a small ape-sized brain. Most importantly, Dart, being an anatomist, knew that the position where the vertebrae entered the skull meant it was bipedal.

Dart’s conclusions were met with hostility from other many anthropologists. It must have been disappointing for Raymond to be challenged by Grafton Elliot Smith, his own professor and mentor, who stated, ‘The Taung skull was more likely to have been a chimpanzee, not a human ancestor’. After a number of years, a disenchanted Raymond gave up searching for fossils, and went back to teaching.

Piltdown Man

Dart had accepted the science of the time, that the earliest human ancestor was indicated by the discovery of Piltdown Man’s skull. It was found in 1912 by amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson in Pleistocene gravel beds near the town of Piltdown in Sussex, Britain, and was regarded as the earliest known record of a pre-human fossil. This proved that human ancestors evolved out of Europe. Grafton Elliot Smith, one of the anthropologists that Dart had observed and admired while working in London, was later called to the town of Piltdown to help reconstruct pieces of the skull that had been found there.

The Piltdown Man was later exposed to have been a hoax, one of the biggest frauds in anthropological science history. The general public were horrified to find out that the hoax had taken place, and even more concerning, that it took 31 years for the deception to be discovered. Today, after much investigation, the fraudster has not been named.

After witnessing the Dart experience following the discovery of the ‘Taung Child’, Robert Broom, a doctor and anthropologist, became interested in the search for human ancestors. He explored dolomite caves in South Africa, particularly Sterkfontein Cave (now part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site). Twelve years later, while continuing his exploratory digs, Robert Broom, found an adult female skull of the ‘Taung Child’s’ genus among other fossils in 1936.

Robert Broom’s discoveries of further Australopithecines (as well as Wilfrid Le Gros Clark’s support) eventually vindicated Dart, so much so that in 1947, Sir Arthur Keith, who had publicly disputed Raymond’s claims, in 1947 made the statement: ‘…I was wrong and Raymond Dart was right!’

Dart, who recalled that back in 1871 Charles Darwin had stated, ‘It was more probable than not, human ancestors evolved out of the African continent’, had the historical sense to remind the world of Darwin’s words. Thus Raymond Dart’s second distinction after realising the significance of the ‘Taung Child’, was that he had turned Darwin’s ‘Probable’ into a ‘Definite!’

Another major contribution by Dart was that he established Witwatersrand University as the epicentre of human evolution science, research and achievement. The Institute for the Study of Mankind in Africa was founded in his honour.

Others who have followed in his footsteps have been Professor Phillip V. Tobias, Dart’s long-time collaborator, successor and biographer. Tobias died in 2012 aged 86. Currently, Professor Lee Berger is a major contributor to ‘Wit’s’ research. In 2013, he and his large team discovered the biggest primitive hominin assemblage in history. Another is Professor Ron Clark, the man who found an almost complete skeleton of a 3.67 million year old human ancestor. It was named ‘Littlefoot’. Berger and Clark, as well as many others, are continuing the tradition of Raymond A. Dart’s work.

Raymond A. Dart died in South Africa on 22 November 1988, aged 95. This year 2018 commemorates 30 years since his passing.

Peter McNally, the author of this article, was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1940. In 1975, Peter, his wife Judy, and their three sons moved to Queensland and over the past 25 years have lived in Brisbane, within 15 kilometres of where Raymond was born.

In recent years Peter has become very interested in researching the evolution of the Earth, and in particular, the evolutionary history of Australia, and human evolution within Australia. Peter further explains: ‘Australian’s evolutionary history goes back approximately 3.4 billion years ago to the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It’s one of the earliest places on earth where microscopic, biological, organism evidence has been discovered, making it one of the earliest places on earth, where life began.’

Thank you to Peter for sharing his research with the Toowong and District Historical Society Inc., and for giving permission for his article to be published.

References:

Encyclopaedia Britannica Volume 2, 1985, p. 436hNational Geographic, Volume 168, No. 5 November 1985.

Also the following webpages:

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dart-raymond-arthur-12402

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_Link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Dart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Dart#cite_note-6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taung_Child

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Raymond-A-Dart

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/rdart.html

South African History online at http://www.sahistory.za   

 

WILLIAM and MARGARET WINTERFORD

WILLIAM and MARGARET WINTERFORD
Regatta Hotel, Toowong (1882–1897)
William Winterford (1834-1919) was the second son of James and Elizabeth (nèe Gillet) Winterford, Publicans of Shepreth, Cambridgeshire, England. William was christened “Levi” in All Saints Church, Shepreth, on 1st June 1834.
William came to Australia in 1855 on the ship Ballarat arriving at Port Phillip Bay. Records indicate that William paid £18/2/6 as the fare. It would appear that at that time he had no particular trade or calling as he was listed simply as a Gentleman.
William followed his brother John and sister Eliza Gillet Edds who came to Australia as assisted immigrant’s on the Thetis in1849.
William and John are believed to have had a Bullock dray business along the east coast of Australia and we know they were both in Rockhampton in 1863. It may be that John and William were attracted to the area by the Canoona Gold Rush of 1858.
William married Margaret Hannah in Rockhampton in 1863. Margaret was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 11/01/1844)
William’s profession was listed on his marriage certificate as ‘Bushman’.
The newly married couple headed south to the Logan River area which had been opened up for settlement in 1824 and where cotton was now being grown.
It is apparent that John Winterford went his own way prospecting and was to drown alone in a flooded creek near Nockatunga Station in 1882.
William and Margaret Winterford lived and worked in the Logan River area until 1870, when they moved onto their own selection at Pimpama. During their years at Logan River, they started a considerable family.
Arthur James was born on The Albion Cotton Company’s Plantation, Logan River on 8th May 1865. Elizabeth Wilhelmina was born on 14th March 1867 at Logan River. Mary Ann was born at Gympie on 13th December 1868.and Walter John was born at Logan River 11th August 1870.
The family of six took up residence on Block 173 at Pimpama, where in June 1870 William had also selected the adjoining block No.256. The Homestead block, No.173, was 80 acres of first class agricultural land, while the adjoining block 256, consisted of 188 acres overall and made up of 80 acres of agricultural land and 108 acres of second class pastoral land. Record has it that William improved his Homestead block 173 with the construction of a 4 roomed bark house with a bark roof, also a large slab building containing a barn, a cart house and a store, with a roof of bark. There was also a bark hut for workmen. Eleven acres were cleared and fenced with a sapling fence. The crops planted were sugarcane and maize. He also had a few cattle on the property.
On the second block, 15 acres was cleared with10 acres under cotton and the other 5 acres planted with sugarcane. On this block he constructed 30 chains of sapling fencing.
During this period in Pimpama the Winterford’s managed to increase their family with another four children being born. On 25 May 1872, a son, William Henry was born, and on 19 October 1873, another son, Alfred Edwin, arrived. The next arrival was a girl, Alice Louisa, who was born at Pimpama on 12 April 1875.
Another daughter, Beatrice Selina was born 8th December 1876 and in 1878, yet another daughter, Florence Emily, was born on 23 August at ‘The Valley’. It is assumed that the reference is to Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.
William Winterford obtained a Retail Spirit Dealers License in December 1879 for the Beenleigh area and operated his first liquor license at the Ferry Hotel (built in 1871) at Yatala on the Albert River.
William also acquired the Wharf Street Brisbane premises in 1879 which accommodated the family and operated as Public House.
Another addition to the family, Maggie Hannah was born at Yatala on 5 October 1882.
During this period William purchased the original Regatta Hotel on the Brisbane River at Sylvan Road in Toowong.
In 1886 William had great plans for his old wooden hotel. It was removed from the site to make way for a completely new development. He commissioned the architect Richard Gailey to design a much larger building to blend with its position on the bank of the Brisbane River. George Gazzard carried out the construction at a cost of £4,800. The finished product was outstanding in every respect. The new
Regatta Hotel was officially opened in 1887 and enjoyed good trading for 10 years in spite of the big flood of 1893 when the Brisbane River broke its banks.

Proposed new Regatta Hotel, drawn 1887


Another daughter, Clara Isabella was born in Brisbane on 29 May 1884. Unfortunately Clara died three months later on 28 August.
1892, the year before the big flood, was a big occasion for William and Margaret. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Wilhelmina, was the first of their children to be married. The wedding was celebrated on 11 March 1892 when she married Thomas Henry Haynes, a pilot at Bulwer Island.
Another wedding was to take place the following year when the eldest son, Arthur James, married Lizzie Elmes on 4 January 1893.


Winterford family
(Photograph taken in the Regatta Hotel, Toowong in 1891 or 1892)
Standing from left to right: Mary Ann, William Henry, Elizabeth Wilhelmina, Alfred Edwin, Walter John and Alice Louise.
Seated from left to right: Florence Emily, Arthur James, their mother Margaret, and father William with Beatrice Selina on the extreme right.
The youngest daughter Maggie Hannah is seated in front of her father.

The date and place of birth of each of the above children is as follows:
Arthur James: 8.05.1865 at Albion Cotton Company Plantation, Logan River.
Elizabeth Wilhelmina: 14.03.1867 at Logan River.
Mary Ann: 13.12.1868 at Gympie.
Walter John: 11.8.1870 at Logan River.
William Henry: 25.05.1872 at Pimpama.
Alfred Edwin: 19.10.1873 at Pimpama.
Alice Louise: 12.04.1875 at Pimpama.
Beatrice Selina: 08.10.1876 at Pimpama.
Florence Emily: 23.08.1878 at Valley. (Possibly ‘The Valley’, Brisbane)
Maggie Hannah: 05.10.1882 at Yatala
Two other children William and Clara Isabella did not survive.
Ten years after the official opening of the Regatta Hotel, there was a downturn in trading, which resulted in the hotel being forfeited to the Mortgagees.
Following the loss of the Regatta, the family moved to the Clarence Hotel in South Brisbane. The move took place in 1897. It was from here that two sons, Alfred Edwin and William Henry, enlisted in 1899 in the Queensland Mounted Infantry, for service in South Africa during the Boer War.
The turn of the century in 1900 was not a good year for the family. Alfred Edwin and William Henry were in South Africa fighting a war, and while they were away, the family lost their mother, and William, his wife of 37 years, when Margaret died on the 3rd of August.
Sergeant A.E. Winterford arrived back in Brisbane with his contingent from South Africa on 3 May 1901, and on the 10th of May, the unit was disbanded, leaving him free to resume civilian life. He returned to the
Public Service as a Crown Land Ranger. On 30 October 1901, there was another wedding being celebrated, when he married Margaret Brereton Robinson in St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane.
The next family wedding was to be celebrated in 1904 when Walter John married Clara Jane Arthur, (nèe Cowl) in Broken Hill. Walter John was active as a miner in Broken Hill for some 35 years and was President of the Barrier Workers Association during a period of turbulent workers disputes.
Alfred Edwin resumed military duties during World War I, attended Duntroon and was promoted to Lieutenant. He was killed in action in France on 10 June 1918.
The interesting life of the family’s foundation member came to a close in the following year when William Winterford died in the Diamantina Hospital on 6 April 1919, and was buried in the Toowong Cemetery the day after. He was 84 years old.
William and Margaret’s descendants are now spread throughout Australia and number in the hundreds. The Regatta Hotel is now heritage-listed and is one of the iconic hotels of Brisbane.

Notes
Some have suggested that Mary Ann and Elizabeth Wilhelmina have been incorrectly positioned in the above caption. I suspect that they are probably right, but leave it to others to decide and comment. I have enclosed some additional pictures below to assist such decision.
Hopefully there are some better pictures to help us.

 


Elizabeth Wilhelmina
                               
Mary Anne

                              Mary Anne as Bridesmaid; Elizabeth Wilhelmina as Bride (standing ?)

Thank you to Bruce Winterford for giving permission for publishing this history of the Winterford family.

 

Recollections of Toowong Hardware in the 1950s and 60s

Martin Maguire

I have attempted to recall aspects of Toowong Hardware store owned and operated by my father, Alan Maguire, in the 1950s and early 1960s. After 50 years, my memory is far from clear. Apart from providing a snapshot of a Toowong business of yesteryear, I have presented an analysis of three important innovations during this time which have revolutionised the industry until this present time. I hope to prompt the memories of some of those who may have had dealings with or recollections of the store at that time. Those who remember ‘the way that it was’. With their input our understanding of the underpinnings of the present Toowong business precinct may be better understood.

My father was a metallurgist who worked in the steelworks in Port Kembla in NSW during the war years. After the war ended in 1945, he moved back to Brisbane with his new wife, Jean, and two young sons (Adrian and Martin). He took residence in the family home at Highgate Hill. There he worked in the air-conditioning industry, and then for the company which was the distributor of Kelvinator refrigerators. Within a year or two of shifting to Tarragindi in 1951, he made the  decision to go into partnership with my mother in his own business. By now three other children had joined the family (David, Helen and Judith).

From memory, my mother never took part in the actual hands on running of the business, so my (natural) understanding was that it was my father’s business. Only now while researching this account, did I notice that the photo of the sign outside of the Sherwood Road store was styled ‘AE & JE Maguire’s Toowong Hardware’. Forgive me then for using ‘he’ and ‘my father’ as the proprietor in the following account.

Toowong Hardware: Toowong Hardware was an existing business which came all stocked up and ready to run. It was operated by my father in three locations in Sherwood Road and Jephson Street, Toowong in the 1950s and early ’60s. Dad commuted each day to Toowong via Rocklea and Sherwood Road across the Walter Taylor Bridge. First of all he did this in his 1940s Wolseley 6 motor car and then later by his three-wheel Lambretta motor scooter, with a tray in the front to carry goods.

Lambretta colour

The Lambretta motor scooter with passengers

The original and largest store was located on the south-eastern corner of Sherwood Road and Jephson Street, hemmed in by a Shell Garage. The site was leased to him by the Shell Oil Company. When the lease expired and Shell took over the whole corner site, the business relocated to the opposite side of Sherwood Road to premises owned by a Mr Gittoes. Finally, as business declined further, Toowong Hardware moved to quite small leased premises in Jephson Street within the Jubilee Theatre building.

J. Caldwell Hat Factory

Eris Jolly’s aunt, Miss Dorothy Neal, came to Toowong in the 1930s to work for the Caldwell family who operated a hat factory.

Eris provided the following information about her aunt’s time of employment at the hat factory.

Dorothy_Eastaway_1938

Dorothy Eastaway (nee Neal) in 1938

My aunt, Dorothy Neal was born in 1904, and came to Brisbane with her parents and siblings from Blackbutt in 1920. They settled at Rode Road, Nundah. Dorothy was apprenticed as a milliner with the firm of Pettits in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Dorothy later moved to Overells Department Store which was also in the Valley — though it may have been known as Whincups Department Store, as I know the family were friends of Mr and Mrs Whincup.

Dorothy’s father was appointed as the caretaker of the Orient Line building and as a comfortable residence on the top floor was provided for him and his family, in 1930 her parents, along with their two daughters, Dorothy and Joan, moved from Nundah to a flat on the seventh floor of the Orient Line building in Eagle Street, City. Dorothy sought to change her employment to a closer position and she moved to Toowong to work for Caldwell Millinery, where she stayed until she married Wiliam Eastaway in September, 1938.

Dorothy was the ‘Head Girl’ and was in charge of the factory. She travelled by train from Central Station every day to her place of work. Her husband, William Eastway, worked as a porter at Central Station.

J. Caldwell Hat Factory was located just outside the Toowong Railway Station in River Road, Toowong. The Caldwell’s residence was situated in Coronation Drive, between Booth Street and Paradise Avenue, next door to the Brisbane City Council sheds. It was on high stumps and looked over the river. Mr and Mrs Jas. Caldwell had two children, a girl named Elsie and a boy whose name I don’t recall, and who both died of lead poisoning in the early 1930s. I know that Elsie died in 1931.

Eris thought that this was why Mr and Mrs Caldwell grew so fond of her aunt and she said:

The death of the couple’s children from lead poisoning was very sad. They were young adults when they died, aged in their early twenties. They kind of adopted my aunt, who became very close to Mr and Mrs Caldwell, and they came to regard my aunt’s family as a substitute family. They were very good to my aunt.

I have a signet ring, with an ‘E’ on it, which my aunt gave it to me when I was a child. It belonged to Elsie and Mr and Mrs Caldwell gave it to my aunt when their daughter died. Because my name starts with an ‘E’, my aunt gave it to me.

Eris shared this special memory of Mr and Mrs Caldwell from when she was a child:

Mr Caldwell drove a car and on the occasional Sunday would drive Dorothy to visit my mother (who was her sister) and father and our family at Eagle Junction. My mother’s name was Rene and my father’s name was George Bond. My father worked for the Queensland railways. My mother was the eldest in her family of five girls and one boy. Cars were a novelty to us children as we certainly did not own one and sitting on the running board to have our photograph taken would have been the nearest we ever got to travelling in one.

Jolly, Eris_family_in_carThe accompanying photograph was taken in 1935 or early 1936; my Aunt Dorothy sitting in the driver’s seat; my mother, Rene in the passenger seat; her brother-in-law, George Bond (who was my father), leaning on the bonnet and Mr Caldwell (or ‘Jimmy’ as he was called) being the photographer. There were seven children in my family, one being born after this photograph was taken. My eldest brother must have scampered off to visit a mate the Sunday morning this was taken. I am the girl in the middle, sitting on the running board. The original of this photograph has been donated to the John Oxley Library.

Recently, while she was visiting the John Oxley Library, Eris had a half hour to spare, so she decided to consult the Post Office Directories to research the entries for Caldwell Millinery and for the Caldwell’s residence.

These are her findings:

In the Post Office Directory for 1934, commencing at the Regatta Hotel and going towards Toowong, the entries read (with the original spelling and punctuation as is): ‘Regatta Hotel; Robinson A. Mtr. garage & ser. Station; Paradise Ave.; Barr Alex.; Caldwell Jas.; City Council sheds; Dunn Ben J.; Henderson Mr. M.; Booth Street; Toowong Swimming Baths.; Railway Station.’

Then Eris checked the entry for the hat factory in the 1936 Post Office Directory for Sherwood Road, and it read: ‘Right from Railway Station: Toowong Post Office; Cmth Bank; Amor Hat Co., Hat mfrs.’

To Eris, this 1936 entry came as a complete surprise, so now she ponders several possible explanations. Did the death of their children cause the Caldwells to sell out to the Amor Hat Company, and continuing on as managers? Or did they decide to limit the liability of their business in the event of possible failure in these times of depression by restructuring the firm to create a company? If so, were they the only shareholders?

Whatever the circumstances were, Eris is definite that her aunt worked at a hat factory which was located next to the Railway Station and also that her aunt worked there at the factory for the Caldwell family until she married in 1938.

Consequently, Eris feels that further research is needed, whether in the trade directories, the phone books of the time and in the Post Office Directories, to answer these questions. She concluded her covering letter by saying, Maybe at some future time, when time permits, I will complete the research, for my own satisfaction.

Then the whole history of the Caldwell family and their millinery factory will be known!

Thank you to Eris Jolly for providing this contribution, written on 17 May 2008 and published in 2008 by the Toowong and District Historical Society in ‘Toowong: A Tram Ride from the Past’, p.24. To order see details on the Publications page.

Keeping adoption in the family

Mrs Dorothy Beavis and her husband Kevin Beavis were interviewed by Leigh Chamberlain in November, 2000. Adopted as a child, Dorothy recalls the circumstances which led to her adoption. At that time it was legal for adoption to be privately arranged.

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Dorothy Beavis

Dorothy Beavis (née Harper) was born in 1931 and is the only child of Mr Ben and Mrs Alice Harper. Mr Harper, who was a returned serviceman from both the Boer War and WWI, worked for the Queensland Railways at Ipswich as a foreman coppersmith.

Dorothy lived with her family at 15 Sandford Street, which at that time was in Toowong. Dorothy recalls:

I have lived in the house for 69 years, and my dear beloved, [indicating Kevin], for 52 years. I was brought here as a baby, adopted by my parents who brought me here. I was only 2½ lbs when born and was ten weeks ‘premmie’ when my mother brought me down from Townsville on the train.

My real mum died when I was only five days old. Her name was Violet Ethel Drewett (née Harper). She was unconscious when she had me and didn’t even know that I had arrived. This is what I was told. My parents had me wrapped up in cotton wool and had newspapers around the bottom of a washing basket — you know, the old cane washing baskets. That’s how I came down from Townsville.

And I believe — it was really funny — there was one old busybody on the train, and she came up to Mum, and she said, ‘I had heard that Ben Harper had had a child but I didn’t believe it.’ No way I could have been Ben Harper’s child — he was the father who adopted me — but there was no way that I could have been his blood because we are altogether different. He was tall and as broad as anything, while I was a skinny little runt. My real father was a tall man too. His name was Edwin George Drewitt. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a brother who was over six feet tall.

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Poster advertising the Glen Olive Garden Estate

In 1924–25, Mr and Mrs Ben Harper had purchased a double allotment in a new development called ‘The Glen Olive Garden Estate’. They had a house built which they then rented out. After the Harpers returned from Townsville with their new ‘bundle of joy’, they were not able to live in their Sandford Street property because it was still tenanted. Therefore, they rented a house in Aston Street until their tenants were able to vacate. The Aston Street house was the one later purchased by Sir Arthur Fadden. So Dorothy was about six months old when the family finally moved into their Sandford Street house.

Dorothy wasn’t initially told that she was adopted, or that she had brothers and sisters. This important piece of information was disclosed to her much later, and contact with her real father was restored. There was a history of adoption in the family as Dorothy’s biological mother was herself adopted. Violet was adopted by Ben Harper’s parents, Mr and Mrs Ben and Elizabeth Harper, a stone mason who lived in Townsville.

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Residence of Dorothy and Kevin Beavis in Sandford Street, Toowong. The tree at the back of the house is the last remaining olive tree from a grove which was planted in the area. (Photographer not known.)

According to the story handed down through the family, Violet’s mother was a servant girl who worked for the Harper family and when she became pregnant, the father abandoned her and her unborn child. Desperate for assistance, she turned to her employer, Mrs Harper, as she didn’t know what else to do. Although they already had two children of their own, Benjamin John and Louis Arthur Milton, they offered Violet’s mother a lifeline by deciding to adopt the baby. (The ‘Milton’ in Louis’ name was a family surname in the Harper family). When Violet died, her brother, Benjamin John, and his wife, Alice, decided to adopt Dorothy.

By adopting Dorothy when her mother died, the adoption was kept within the family. Alice Harper had a history of stillborn births, so the new-born baby gave Ben and Alice Harper a chance to enjoy parenthood that would have been denied them otherwise and she was their ‘only child’.

Dorothy had lots of extended family, both biological and adopted. Holiday time was a time for the extended family and Dorothy explains that when the family went to Scarborough:

…other children came with the family too. There were four kids, and Mum and Dad. Now, these other children that I’m talking about, who lived with me for years (I was thirteen at the time), were my brothers and sisters. I didn’t realise this at the time, as we were all brought up as cousins. This was only because my mother died while giving birth to me.

Thank you to Dorothy Beavis for the above reminiscences.

You can read more of Dorothy’s reminiscences in the Toowong and District Historical Society’s publication, Toowong: A Tram Ride from the Past, 2008, p.41. To order see details on the Publications page.

Childhood memories of roaming Toowong’s streets

Roden_smlStuart Roden’s family came to settle in Toowong in about 1919 or 1920 when his father Olof Clarence (‘Clarrie’) Roden purchased land at 8 Augustus Street, three doors up from Bennett Street, and had the family residence built on this land.

Starting with memories of his childhood home, Stuart recalls nearby local streets and the people who lived here, and concludes at Toowong Memorial Park, the source of many wonderful childhood memories for Stuart.

According to McNaughts, our topside neighbours, the 1893 flood just reached the bottom side fence. Extensions were later added to the house. It was the place of birth for all three of us — Clarence James, who was known as ‘Jim’, born in 1921 Stuart (me), born in 1925 and my sister Eleanor Vera, born in 1926. Dr Wheeler, of Sherwood Road, delivered all three.Sherwood_Road

Originally, there was an ‘out-house’ dunny in the backyard. Augustus Street was one of the earlier streets in Brisbane to be connected to the main sewer to Pinkenba. The street was bituminised during the Great Depression by ‘Relief’ workers. The milkman, whose name was Mr Shields, delivered milk in big quart metal pots and pint pot. He had a utility truck covered at the back, with two big milk cans with taps on them and he’d fill our containers.

Delungra Street, off the north side of Augustus Street, was an easement which was lined with huge old gum trees on its eastern side and belonged to the Swain family who lived in a large old house down the easement. There was a white picket fence with double gates on Augustus Street. The hearse with the body of the grandfather of my friend, Wally Swain (full name: Walter Edward Swain) came out those gates, probably around 1937.

In Golding Street, that part of the street east of Earle Street was opened up in the mid-1930s with five look-a-like houses built on the north side. The area covered by the five houses and the extension of Golding Street was previously a big paddock which belonged to the Swain Senior family.

My friend Wally lived in a house on the eastern end of the old Golding Street, on the topside, with their northern fence on what was then a paddock. Cowboys and Indians and building cubby houses out of small trees in the paddock were what sometimes occupied my friend Wally and me. My mother took me to school (at the Toowong State School) on my first day and I was expected to find my way home. But Wally’s mother brought me home on the first day of school (along with Wally) from Toowong State School through their yard, the Swain Senior’s yard, the easement and the double gates on Augustus Street. Wally was a life-long friend until the day he died! He was my best friend at school and later I was his Best Man.

Next door, on the top side of Wally’s place, were the Fardons. Then there was a pedestrian lane here between Golding Street and Augustus Street. The lane is now closed. Then there were the Cribbs (he was a dentist); the Steers (and this house was later bought by the McGregor Lowndes) and then Charles Elliott, who was on the corner of Golding and Jephson Street. The latter was a stockbroker. On the right-hand side was the fire station, which I will discuss later. There was an easement from the lower end of the new part of Golding Street to Standring Street, which ran eastward to Bennett Street.

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Church Street, now Jephson Street

Earle Street ran from Golding Street to Sylvan Road. Sylvan Road met Croydon Street at the corner with Church Street (now Jephson) and ran westwards to Milton Road. Just near the corner of Croydon Street on Milton Road was the Elite Picture Theatre where I used to go to the pictures with the family on Saturday nights. My father used to ring up and book our seats and we used to walk down and home again. Your eyes became accustomed to the dark and you didn’t really need a torch. You could see the Milky Way clearly in those days and it was beautiful to see!

Lands’ Wholesale/Retail Butcher Shop and Ice Works was on the corner of Earle Street and Sylvan Road. Augustus Street and Golding Street joined Jephson Street, formerly Church Street, as did Sylvan Road, which continued westward to Milton Road near the Brisbane General Cemetery (or Toowong Cemetery).

Christmas at the Walker and Roberts households

The Walker and Roberts families lived next door to each other in Sylvan Road, Toowong. Cecily Walker moved to here with her parents in 1929, while her cousin Erl Roberts and his family, didn’t come to live there until the 1940s. Erl was born about 15 years after Cecily.

When Erl and Cecily were interviewed in 2003, Erl provided the following memories of how his family celebrated Christmas during his childhood (from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s). Erl remembers:

I can remember the ice cream—people considered it a treat to obtain ice cream but there was no way of keeping it without freezers. We eventually bought a big flash refrigerator called a ‘Silent Night’. It had a freezer and then, of course, Mum could make ice cream. You could buy a cardboard cup of ice cream like Peters from the shop next door and take it home. You couldn’t buy chicken commercially like it is now. It was something you had at Christmas and Easter.

We used to go to Maroochydore. My grandparents on Mum’s side, the Smiths, had a little house they owned at Maroochydore and so Mum and Dad had the old Chev ‘ute’ (which we covered in at the back for holidays) and we’d take most of the baggage up there. We used to stop at Burpengary on the way up to have a cup of tea and a break.

We used to go up there every Christmas and every Easter with a couple of chickens on the running board—that was Christmas dinner! At the time, chicken was a luxury and you only had it at Christmas and Easter. [Cecily says: We all looked forward to that chicken twice a year.] The same with ice-cream — you only had it at Christmas and Easter. Mum used to make ice-cream, but prior to that, we used to buy it from the shop.

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Elaine Roberts and the backyard chook pen

Dad used to kill the chooks, then we would pluck them, clean them—and those sort of things! Dad used to get young chicks and fatten them up for Christmas and Easter. Of course, I used to give them all names and got to love them all—nurse them and everything. And then the time would come! ‘You can’t kill Susie!’; ‘You can’t kill Betty’ and ‘You can’t kill Sebastian’. And he’d have to go and buy a chook! He spent all those months fattening them up and then he had to go and buy one! Uncle Dick used to buy the chickens from the Chinese market gardener down at Sylvan Road. You could buy ducklings from him and day-old-chicks.

An article featuring Erl Roberts and Cecily Walker’s memories of Toowong titled Cousins Share Memories of Toowong is published in Toowong: A Tram Ride from the Past, Memories of the Toowong Community Vol. 4, ed Leigh Chamberlain and Lindy Salter, Toowong and District Historical Society, 2008, p.14.

To order see details on the Publications page.