From a Farm Beside the Sea with Pam Tickner – Part 3

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. 

1976 Hobie Cat Australian Championships

Pam Tickner

Wellington Point October 2011 

(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)

From a Farm Beside the Sea with Pam Tickner – Part 2

My family connection with the Wellington Point School began in 1913, when my Grandmother, Mrs. Skinner, became station mistress at Wellington Point, and her three children Letty (my mother) and her two brothers, Charlie and Jack, were enrolled. Some years later Letty married a local farmer, Jim Belford. They had seven children, of whom I was one, who also attended the school. I remained in the area, became a teacher, and married Ernie Tickner. We had four children, all of whom also attended the Wellington Point School, and when some of our grandchildren also attended – two of whom are still there – this made four generations of our family to have attended the Wellington Point School! 

When I was a pupil at the school it was a three-teacher school. I remember the roads were all dirt and gravel, and in very poor condition. Then, as more people moved into the area, the roads were gradually improved and they began to be bitumened. We children always went barefoot – heaven forbid today! – and one of our favourite past-times on the way home from school was to burst the bitumen bubbles with our big toes, so that we would arrive home with our toes all blackened. 

I started school in 1934 in the little old original school building. When the building of the new school – 4 rooms and an office–was underway, school was continued in the old A.H. & I. (Agricultural, Horticultural, and Industrial) Hall next door – all classes in together, blackboards along the Southern wall, and classes from year 1 to year 7 side by side. I would say it had to be the first and largest open area school ever. 

The A.H. & I. Hall had many uses over the years. Not only was it a gymnasium, it was the venue for many other social occasions. It was a dance hall and fetes and garden parties were held there. It became a movie theatre – with canvas reclining seats the caretaker was an old identity called, Bill Hopp and if the young people became noisy, on would go the lights and he’d tell them off in no uncertain manner. The school had its fancy-dress ball there every year and we had our wedding reception there in 1952. I can’t tell you when it was shut down and removed but the Education Department bought it when the school was extended. 

During World War II we had zigzag trenches dug in case of attack by the Japanese, and practiced regularly leaving our rooms in an orderly fashion to take shelter – fortunately they were not necessary. Incidentally, there was an American military camp right on the Point during the war. 

We walked a mile to school along Starkey Street, and quickly learned that if we could be at the gate by a certain time, we would get a ride with the new infant’s teacher, Miss Nancy Atkins, in her cute little two-seater auto with a dickey seat. We felt very important, rolling up when we were lucky enough to catch her. 

We had visits from the ‘Camel Man’, who would come to school from time to time, and we’d have rides from where the tennis courts were to where Pooley’s shop was, and back. Mr. Sam Martin came regularly to cut the boy’s hair under the school, and Eddie Edwards came weekly to teach the mouth organ – we marched in regularly to “Our Director March”, played by the mouth organ band. The school dentist had an annual visit using a foot treadle, which worried all of us – it was such a slow, noisy machine, and we waited in dread for our turn. 

Wellingto Point State School now (2021)

A highlight of each year was the fancy dress ball, and the grand parade was practiced until we could march through the whole parade without a mistake – all dressed up, and having tried so hard to keep secret what we were wearing. 

Most of the children would arrive at school bare-footed. It was rather difficult playing hopscotch without shoes. Every morning we would have a school parade, where we would recite Our Ritual, and salute the flag. The Ritual went thus: 

“I love this land which gave me birth,

And the great virtues of truth, justice

And freedom for which it stands.

I shall strive to be true to these ideals,

And shall try to be a credit to my family,

My school, and my country.”

High School

I went to high school at Wynnum then the teachers’ training college at Kelvin Grove. I used to get the train then – a rail motor that we called “The Rattler”. Most of the steam trains went as far as Manly, and then we’d have to get the Rattler. At High School, I used to leave home at 7:20 in the morning and get back at 5:30. It made for a very long day.  After graduating as a teacher, I taught all the middle grades (3 to 5) but I did go to a one-teacher school outside Gayndah where I had five grades. 

After moving back to the Redlands, I taught at Thornlands for two years before I got married, then for six years at Wellington Point afterwards. 

(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)

From a Farm Beside the Sea with Pam Tickner – Part 1

Our Farm

I grew up on a farm in Starkey Street – now a vacant lot plus 2 houses on southern side now. It was always in kept in pristine condition without any rubbish in it. My dad was Jim Belford. We grew small crops, as did most farms in the area, with strawberries being our main crop. We kids weren’t that pleased with the strawberries because they always ripened in August and we had to spend our school holidays stemming strawberries so they would be ready to be sent away for jam-making. We sent all our crops to the Brisbane or Sydney markets. At the time there was the railway station just near our present house, which had a large goods shed where the farmers produce would be loaded. Eventually the farms were sold up for housing, so that we have the situation today where there are very few farms remaining here, which is a shame. Our old farm is now a vacant lot which the Council had fenced and designated a leash free area for exercising dogs, but the people living nearby complained because they said the dogs barked too much – although I never saw a dog there – so the area was converted to a park. 

I have always lived in Wellington Point except for some years when I went away teaching. While I was away, I met my husband, Ernie, and he wanted to live by the sea at Wellington Point, so we came back here and we have been in this house for 59 years. Ernie built it – the only one he has ever built. Ernie came from England and was a commercial artist by profession. Originally, he worked as a draughtsman for Qantas Empire Airways. Brisbane Airport was originally situated at Archerfield, but later moved to Eagle Farm. When Qantas’ Maintenance Unit was transferred to Sydney, Ernie went to work for Barrier Reef Airways at Colmslie. One of our memories of that time was the sinking of one of their Sandringham Flying Boats when a fishing boat accidentally slit one of the plane’s floats. We had just purchased our block of land at Wellington Point and we had an idea that we could move the Flying Boat hull to our land and use it as a house! The practicality of getting it there soon dashed this dream! 

As well as being a draughtsman for Barrier Reef Airways, Ernie also performed any other chores if required. One was to be boatman at their base at Redland Bay. Their loading vessel was the Ina and after a plane had been loaded and taken off, it was time for some water sports using the Ina to tow a door as a surf ski! The fun times came to an end when the seaplane operations were transferred from Redland Bay to Sydney. Ernie spent six months before resigning and coming back to Wellington Point and resuming his career as a commercial artist. What he was doing was commercial illustrations for newspapers and the like. Houses, furniture, hats, floor plans. The client would give him the floor plan and he’d have to draw the house. It was a bit like what a computer-generated image is today, and in fact he retired from work just as computers were coming in. These days he just paints for a hobby. 

Ernie Tickner’s painting of the old Wellington Point hotel

(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)