The Village We Knew
Originally there was just the hotel and the bakers and just one shop. Then a barber shop, which later became a hardware shop. (Koros then Burns)
Ernie built our house himself, in sections, and we camped on the floor while he completed the next section. We couldn’t do it nowadays. He’d have to be a registered owner-builder now. To get water, we had a windmill over a bore, and pumped it up to a high tank. Ernie later replaced this with a Jack pump. The water was good to drink, but when washing, every now and then there would be a spurt of iron oxide that would leave an orange stain on the sheets. We and the neighbours used to share water between our tanks whenever one of us got low.
We had a swimming pool for the children, which we gradually made bigger for the neighbours as well, on the proviso that their mums came to watch them as well. We had no fans or air conditioning then, so on a hot summer’s night, we used to have a refreshing dip before bed. When the last of our children left home, we sold off that part of our land.
That land next door used to be a road called Wort Street, but when they closed the railway line in about 1963, they tore the bridge over it as well. However, when they rebuilt the line for the electric trains, they had to have the bridge higher to allow for the overhead cables. This meant that Wort Street was then too low, so they made it into a cul-de-sac. Incidentally, the street was named Wort after one of the original families there. The family name was pronounced ‘Wirt’ but was always mispronounced by people who did not know the family. Mr. Wort’s first name was Frederick, so the street is now known as Frederick Street to save any confusion. We keep the closed off section mown and have planted bushes there as well.
Once, before the trees grew tall around here, we could see the Wellington Point jetty from our place and watch the boats coming in and out. We could also see all the way around to Peel Island, and the only thing that blocked the view was Fernbourne. This house was in a street originally known as Commercial Street, but now renamed Fernbourne Road. There also use to be a dairy down there as well. The remains of Burnett’s jetty are still there in Hilliard’s Creek. It was called the Piles.
The jetty at the Point used to be longer because the point ended at the Norfolk Pine Trees and there were mud flats beyond that, so the jetty had to extend back over them. Since then, though, there has been a lot of landfill, so it has been shortened. There were a lot of boats moored there, and the jetty has been used for fishermen, but not much else. In the steam train era, Tommy Few used to run a little bus from the railway station up to the point for the tourists. There used to be an old kiosk there, where they could have a feed, a swim, or a walk out to King Island at low tide. In the Christmas holidays, the Point became a tent city with holidaying campers. There were no caravans then. A stage would be erected and concerts given.
Another activity for the beach was the annual sand garden competition, which was held on all the beaches from Redcliffe to Wellington Point. They were very well organised: each entrant was allotted their own area on the beach and it could be decorated in a given time only with materials such as shells and seaweed. In the case of Wellington Point, the materials could be collected from the beach at Wellington Point or from the sandspit between the Point and King Island. Some entrants collected their shells early and took them home to be bleached in the sun. This made their displays stand out more.
When we were kids, sometimes we’d go for walks over to Ormiston, and take some lunch with us for a picnic. On one occasion we got hopelessly lost and ended up at Ormiston House. Whereupon an elderly lady came up to us and said, “Are you aware that you are on private property.” We apologised, so we finished up being taken on a walk through the gardens by her and being shown all the rare trees such as the Indian Plum Trees. This was our idea of fun, which contrasts with today, where none of the kids get taken on picnics. Parents don’t have time to do things like that with their children now.
When Ernie was younger, he built a boat, which was very hard to launch through the mud. There were no channels dredged and no beacons, so it was hard to navigate back to the point at night – usually by a couple of streetlights.
Another thing we did with our children was to get them into sailing. Ernie even helped organise the Hobie Cat Australian Championship in mid to late 1975-76 with competitors coming from all over Australia.
Wellington Point October 2011
(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)