Friday, 16 February 2018

Lionel Edgar Laws family story part 4 1934- 1944

Referring back to my family:-

My brother Jack was married on 20 February 1935 to Catherine Alice Borger a trained nurse from Toowoomba Hospital.  They settled down in Toowoomba.  Jack continued to work for my brother Lionel and my Father.

Fred returned from England in 1934 but he did not to go back to his trade of plumbing but worked for my brother Lionel and my Father on the road jobs.  Fred was married in 1935 to Madge Jarrot of Toowoomba. He took a job as an Insurance Inspector for Commercial Union Assurance and shifted to Warwick and covered a fairly large territory.

In January 1935 my parents, Aunty Lil and Aunty Jess took a holiday at Main Beach Southport.  My Father was beginning to think about retiring.  This holiday convinced them that the South Coast was a good place to retire. Both of my sisters Lil and Jess were keen on going into business. By the end of this year they purchased a cafe and mixed business and a property freehold at Surfer’s Paradise where the Chevron Hotel now stands.  It was decided that my Father, Mother sisters Lil Jess and Thelma who had left St Hilda’s school by now, at Christmas would shift to Surfers Paradise. There was accommodation on the premises. On 19th December 1935 my sisters took over and operated this business. My sister Thelma helped them.  My Father took his vacation during this period and they settled in.

First shop for L & J Laws

Jess & Thel in the shop.
Taking over a business a week before Christmas at Surfers Paradise and operating it without any previous shopkeeping experience was the task my sisters set themselves.  At this time I had my annual leave. I went down and helped them for one week.  I took stock on the takeover and did my best to start them off.

On Christmas Eve December 24th I set out for Warwick in the afternoon to spend Christmas with Mum, Helen, David and Beryl Gilmore who was staying with Mum while I was away.  This was only three weeks before Alan was born.

My sisters managed to survive.  They had help from Uncle Fred & Aunty Madge.  Bill Hamilton who was friendly with Thelma also helped considerably.  This is how they started at Surfers Paradise.  At the end of my Father’s vacation he returned to his work in the country and returned home at the weekend.  About September 1936 my Father decided to retire from work.  My brother Lionel carried on the contracting and insisted that my father remain a partner even though he did not work.

About this time my brother Jack joined Main Roads Department as maintenance Officer at Cambooya being responsible for a length of Main Road on the Cambooya Goondiwindi road near Cambooya.  This involved the use of his truck.  He lived at Cambooya and held this job until he enlisted for the AIF in 1940.

In 1938 Barnes & Co Pty Ltd Allora, the firm I previously worked for, wound up their business. Another Allora Business bought them out.  Uncle Colin Laws was working for them at the time and had the offer of working for the new firm.  He decided to open a small grocery and hardware business in the main street of Allora.  He decided to take a partner in the person of Bert Flanagan.  After a few months it was evident that it wouldn’t carry two partners.  Uncle Colin bought him out.  This was a new venture for Uncle Colin but he made a success of it. Colin had two girls in his family Margaret born 17 October 1931 and Mary born 6th or 7th October 1933. 

Uncle Bill Hamilton and my sister Thelma were married on 24 September 1938 at St John’s Cathedral Brisbane. Bill was an overseer with Main Roads Department.  Later he became overseer of works at Dalby where they resided for some time.

My sisters at Surfers decided to close the cafe and concentrate on the store. This was less than six months after their taking over.  They worked hard in the business and cared for my Mother and Father.  At this time my mother’s health had deteriorated.

At the end of 1938 Fred decided to resign his job and move to Surfers Paradise.  He started with them Christmas 1938.

Soon after my Father retired to Surfer’s Paradise he purchased some 40 blocks of land at prices from 50 pounds to 100 pounds per block. He could foresee a future.  The intention was to hold this land for a few years and realise on it.  The plan was right but the War delayed development.  He could see by now that he would have to hold it too long and offered it to his family.  He drew lots for the land and let his family have it at about 10% or 15% of its value.

Helen started school in 1935 at the Warwick East State School. 
Warwick East State School ca 1928  *1
This was the closest school to Albion St.  When we shifted to Wood St she transferred to the Central State School.  David went to this school starting in 1938 and Alan started in 1940.

Uncle Victor took on Uncle Lionel’s Farm on shares in 1938 or 1939.  He later shifted his family to Toowoomba to allow his boys to go to Grammar School.  He eventually left the farm and returned to Toowoomba but the farm is still owned by Lionel.
Lionel & Bess at the farm.

Uncle Jack enlisted in the AIF for overseas service in 1940 and his family went to live at Jondaryan on a farm with his wife’s people.  He left Brisbane on Christmas 1940 after serving 3 months in Darwin. He left Sydney on Dec 26th on the Queen Mary for the Middle East. Soon after arrival his unit went into operation in the Western Desert. They advanced as far as Benghazi and owing to heavy pressure they had to withdraw. Near Derna on 4th April 1944, his company HQ Company of the 2/15th Battalion was out of touch of with the rest of the Battalion and were taken prisoner. Jack and three of his mates escaped and tried to return to the Battalion. For six weeks they lived in the desert and hid from the Italians.  The Wogs protected them as long as they had money to pay them three fold what the Italians would pay and they were picked up on 4th June and sent to Italy where they spent two years before being sent to Germany for a further two years.( His Army records are at 

*1 Photo  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland  

Lionel Edgar Laws family story Part 3 1923-1934

Continuation of the Lionel Edgar Laws family story as told by Frank Goodall Laws to his children Helen, David & Alan

Your Mum, Marjorie Stay spent four years at the Ipswich Grammar School.  She returned home at the end of the school year.  She passed her Senior and was keen to go to University but her parents said they could not afford it and she was forced to finish school.  She obtained a job in the office of the Allora Butter Factory as Assistant to the Manager and after a while just about ran the office. She kept this job until she left to get married.  She and I became friendly a year or two after she came home from Grammar.  She was a very good tennis player and had a good singing voice.  She was keen on her  Presbyterian church and belonged to the Choir and Guild and was organist for some time.

Victor, Frank, Fred, Colin and Jack all played football at Allora.  Victor gave it up after a few years because of a knee injury.  I played for three years and also injured my knee, spelled for a year and played for another year and gave it up permanently.  Fred continued to play. He shifted to Warwick Daily News and started his plumbing trade later.  He played in Warwick and was first picked to play for Queensland in 1925. The following year shifted to Toowoomba. He continued his trade and played representative football until 1935. He represented Queensland every year from 1925 to 1935 and played in three or four Test Series and toured England twice in 1929 and 1933.  Colin played with Allora for a  few years after I finished.   He also Played for Toowoomba with Newtown Club. He represented Queensland in five consecutive years.  He just missed a tour of England.  Jack played local football also.
Laws Bros in Allora and Warwick Rugby League teams

When my sisters were both away it meant that my mother had less help in the house.  At this time my father undertook to do a lot of work around the house before and after his work.  We boys also helped.  However, during 1924 my sister Lil gave up nursing temporarily to come home to help.  Up to 1925 my father told me that he was able to get by on his salary but was unable to save for his future and that my brother Lionel approached him to resign his position on the Shire Council and go in partnership with him and they would contract for Main Roads jobs.  They agreed.  Main Roads work by contract at this time was increasing.  The first job they obtained was a contract to build a road at Killarney which would take 12 months to build.  This was a big venture. Dad decided to shift his place of abode from Allora to Killarney which he did in May 1925.  Mum, Dad, Aunty Lil and Aunty Thelma set up house in Killarney.  Colin and I had a job at Barnes and Co Allora and Jack was employed at the Allora Post Office.  We three took board at the Commercial Hotel It was a severe jolt for us living away from home and I’m sure it affected my mother also. However we settled in and were fortunate that Mrs Dodd, the wife of the Hotel Proprietor, was very kind to us and kept a motherly eye on us especially if we showed signs of being sick.
Note the motor vehicles in use now.

The contract at Killarney was a success.  My mother took ill with Dengue fever about March 1926 and was dangerously ill for some time.  She recovered.  The Killarney contract finished in June. My father, Uncle Lionel and Uncle Vic who was working for them all decided to shift to Toowoomba and set up house.  My father rented a house in Russell St and nine months and later purchased a home in James Street.  Uncle Lionel purchased his home when he first went to Toowoomba in Mary Street where he still lives but he has improved it considerably. 
Lionel & Bessie's home, Toowoomba
Uncle Vic also bought a home. At this time I resigned my job at Allora and secured a job at Barry and Roberts in Toowoomba and I shifted down about the same time as my parents and again I was living at home. Fred also came home to live.

My reason for shifting to Toowoomba was to live at home and I thought I had more opportunities in a larger city.  I reckoned that I had left Allora for good but this was not to be.  Since I left Barnes & Co other changes had taken place. 
Barnes & Co Allora ca 1918  *1
A new manager took over and the head of groceries and hardware had left to go into business on his own in Roma.  The new manager heard that I was spending Christmas 1926 vacation in Allora and he asked me to call and see him.  This I did and he offered me the job to take charge of groceries and hardware depts.  I did not want to return to Allora to live as I had hoped to have a home in Toowoomba.  However I considered the promotion was worth the sacrifice. Something I have not regretted.  I returned to hotel life for three months then Mum and I decided to get married 2nd April 1927 and settle down. We were 
lucky to rent a house almost new in Geck St and this is where we lived for the next six years.

About this time Uncle Jack resigned from the Post Office and worked for Uncle Lionel and my Dad and he (Jack) lived at home in Toowoomba.

For three years after I returned to Allora things were reasonably good. In 1929 things overseas deteriorated and the Great World Depression came.  The full impact was felt here in 1930 and 1931 and into 1932. You have probably read of this and need no reminding of it.

(Note added by Helen.  While working at Barnes and Co Dad had the top of one of his fingers cut off by a bacon slicer.  He got 16/8d compensation and two weeks wages calculated by averaging weekly wage for two years)   

I was lucky that I had full time employment during this period.  I had received two small increases in my wages .  I had to go back to the wages I started on when I went back to Allora.  We had a few pounds saved up and we owed no money so we got along alright.  Aunty Jess resigned from St Martins and was appointed a Sister at Warwick General Hospital.

Later she did private nursing in Warwick.

Later she went home to care for Mum.  Then Aunty Lil was appointed theatre Sister at St Dennis Hospital in Toowoomba and acted as Matron several times during her 5 or 6 years there.  My mother’s health was indifferent most of the nine years she spent in Toowoomba but were enjoyed by her.  She had most of her family near her.  Although my Father had to go away from home during the week to work.

The depression years brought reduced work in the contracting field. I believe they always had some work to carry on with.

Uncle Fred toured England with the Kangaroos Rugby League side in 1929/30 and again in 1933/34 ( Read a letter he wrote to E J Portley Warwick at

Uncle Colin Laws was married to Katherine O’Neill in October 1930.  They lived at Allora (Aunty Kit).

About this time Uncle Lionel bought his farm at East Greenmount over 600 acres.

At Christmas it looked like inflation would run rampant. However we came out of the depression badly scarred.  Many people who lost their jobs during this time never regained the pre depression status they had. Some were too old to start.  This was a man made depression.

By 1933 things were returning somewhat towards normal.  Early in June 1933 I learned that there was a vacancy at Warwick for a representative of the Shell Company of Australia Ltd.  I applied for this job and secured it.  I gave Barnes & Co two weeks notice and started with Shell in Brisbane on 19 June 1933 (for one week) and then a week later I started at Warwick.  In the meantime I purchased a new Plymouth Car, a tourer. (it being the cheaper type) for 351 pounds. It took all my savings plus a loan of 40 pounds from Mum which I soon repaid.  This job improved my income very considerably.  Uncle Colin Laws helped me pack our furniture and effects and we shifted to Warwick in 1st July and from this time we took up residence there our first place of residence was on the corner of Albion and King Sts (next to Carlsons) in a house belonging to the Warwick Electric Light Co.

As representative I actually represented the Company in my territory known then as Warwick Territory which extended beyond Killarney part way to Stanthorpe beyond Allora in the north including Clifton. Shell had a depot in Warwick which was run by a Depot Superintendent a clerk and a driver.  I wasn’t responsible for the running of the Depot but was responsible for the company sales in my area.  I soon learnt my new job as far as company policies and procedures were concerned but I was still learning things about my actual job 9 years or so later when I was transferred.

We had a number of dry lean years in parts of my territory.  As a big portion of our sales were made to primary producers this did not make my job any easier. 

I was 29 years and eight months old and Mum  a few months older when we moved to Warwick Helen was 3 years 8 months, David was 3 months.  Fortunately for the first seven years at Warwick I was able to be home every night with odd exceptions.  I was able to trade in my car every two years and buy a new model.  Shell Co supplied all petrol for business and private running.  Each Christmas brought an increase in salary.  I received two weeks holidays a year when I first went to Warwick and after 3 or 4 years this was increased to 3 weeks per year.  We were able to take holidays at the seaside every Christmas.  The first of these was in December 1934.

*1 Photo 

John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Lionel Edgar Laws family story part 2 1916-1923

Part 1 can be viewed here
Continuation of the Lionel Edgar Laws family story as told by Frank Goodall Laws to his children Helen, David & Alan

In those days wages and conditions are nothing like they are today.  How my parents fed clothed and kept us I will never know.  We were always well fed and clothed.  My eldest sister Lill was a stalwart.  She stayed home and helped keep things moving.  She made most of our clothes and cooked and helped my mum.  Our family could never repay Aunty Lill for what she did for us in those days.  At Warwick my mother bought a Wertheim washing machine, wooden manually operated.  She also bought a piano (a Hapsberg) and both were bought on terms.  This piano was a really good one. Aunty Thelma has it now.  It has been renovated and modernised in appearance.  For years my mother did her washing by boiling up 2 kerosene tins on an open fire and lifted all the water she used. No set in tubs in those days only round galvanised tubs.  My father’s work took him away from home most of his time.  He told me that in 1916 he decided to have some home life.  He applied for and was successful in obtaining the job of Shire Engineer at Allora. On 16 June 1916 we shifted from Warwick to Allora.  All our family went except Uncle Lionel who took over the contracting work, which previously he and my father carried out, Victor who left school in 1915 and had many jobs.  He was working at Flitcrofts coachworks as a striker for a blacksmith when we shifted to Allora.  Richard was overseas at the war.
Allora Shire Council with Lionel Edgar Laws 3rd from the right in the back row & Jacob Holmes 2nd from the left in the front row.

Lil and Jess learnt music at the Warwick St Mary’s Convent.  Jess also learnt painting there and at the Warwick Technical.  Lil stayed home and helped my mother.  Jess worked at Poulsen & White Photographers where she did retouching of plates.

My fathers appointment as Shire Engineer carried a salary of 265 Pound per annum and he had to provide his own conveyance, a horse and sulky for which he received no allowance.  His salary did increase sometime after to 350 Pounds per annum and he still had to find his own transport, however some relief came a few years later when the Queensland Main Roads Department came into being.

In the beginning of Main Roads work, it was supervised by the Shire Council.  The first Main Roads construction on the Darling Downs was in the Allora Shire about 3 miles from Allora- Banndons on the Warwick road and on Collins Hill on the Toowoomba Rd. The allowance my father should have received was 2 ½% of total cost but the Shire Clerk claimed he should get half of this and my father had to agree.  He kept his job as Shire Engineer until May 1925.  I will tell you more of this later.

Referring back to our arrival in Allora, We first took a rented house in Geck St at 15/- per week. (This is the street Mum and I set up our first house later in 1929).  Lily stayed home and helped Mum. Jessie got a job in the Shire Office as assistant to the Shire Clerk not immediately but some little time after our arrival.  Frank, Fred, Colin and Jack all went to school at the Allora State School.  Owing to the War the cost of living was increasing.  Many manufactured goods were in short supply.  Local stores holding stock kept putting up prices on stock held.  This was common all over Australia and a word called profiteering was coined for this practice.

Some eight or nine months later we shifted into a bigger and better house with more land in Jubb St (near Grandfather Stay’s saleyards). Uncle Lionel and Victor did not move to Allora but stayed in Warwick.  At this time Allora had no electricity supply no water supply and no refrigeration. Lighting was kerosene lamps and later petrol lamps.  Some houses (only a small number) had a lighting system installed.  These were Gloria Wizarde Quirks systems. They were actually petrol operated.  A container holding 4 gallons of petrol was installed and through air pressure pumped into the tank by hand pump to about 50 lbs pressure.  The petrol was forced through a hollow brass wire to lights permanently installed in homes and shops etc.  Each light had its own generator and a small brass tube which when heated generated gas from the petrol and this was forced into a mantle which gave the light. An example mabe be seen at

We had two petrol lights at that time, one as standing table lamp and the other a Hurricane lamp type and also kerosene lamps and candles.  Earlier in Warwick we only had kerosene lamps and candles although Warwick had town gas for street light and some houses and shops had it at this time.  Electricity was produced in Warwick for supply to consumers soon after we left there in 1916.

I first met Mum when I went to Allora School we were almost 13 years of age.  In December both Mum and I sat for the High School Entrance Exam at Warwick. We both passed. Mum also sat for State scholarship and passed.  I did not sit for this.  In January 1917 Mum went to Ipswich Grammar School as a Boarder. 

*1 When Marjorie was away at Ipswich Grammar School Frank was friendly with Eva Jensen sister of his friend Peter Jensen.

I went to the Warwick State High School.  I travelled by train each day.  Riding 4 miles on a bicycle to catch the train at 9am and the same on return in the evening at 6 pm and then ride 4 miles home.  I went for two terms. I left to start work at Allora in Barnes & Co. a grocery and hardware store The vacancy was caused by a young man about 19 who had enlisted.  I stayed in this job for nearly 9 years.

We were living in Allora when news came through that my brother Richard had been killed in action.  This was a great blow to my Mum and Dad and also to all the family.  It was the first break in the family. My mother never recovered from this loss. Both Fred and Colin went to the High School for about a year.  Fred left to take a job as a compositor at the Allora Guardian Newspaper to learn printing but later switched to plumbing when he was apprenticed.  Colin took a job with the same firm as I worked.  Jack came on later and joined the Post Office as a telegraph messenger switchboard operator.

In 1919 Aunty Lil who was keen to be a nurse went to Brisbane and trained to be a nurse at Pyrmont Hospital later to become St Martin’s when the new War Memorial Hospital was built on the site of Old Pyrmont.  

2 sisters outside the hospital
Aunty Lil was one of two of the first nurses to graduate from St Martins and later became a Sister and was a Theatre Sister for some years.  Aunty Jess changed from her job at Allora and joined Deacon & Co as a bookkeeeping typist and stayed there for some years.  Uncle Colin Laws was a tremendous help to my Mother in the home. My Dad also was a great help.  In the meantime our house in Jubb St was put up for sale and we shifted to a house in William St near the Showground.  Aunty Jess decided to become a nurse and she also went to train at St Martins and completed her training. Both sisters were at the hospital for some time together.

When we came to Allora my sisters became friends of the Holmes sisters Bess, Linda and Norma-daughters of Jacob Holmes.  Through them Uncle Lionel met Aunty Bess and Uncle Vic met Aunty Norma.  Uncle Lionel and Aunty Bess were married on October 22nd 1919 and lived at Warwick where Uncle Lionel was still contracting building roads and bridges in the district.  Uncle Lionel was the first of our family to marry.

Some four years later, Victor married Norma at the Church of England Glengallen Church on 6 June 1923.

Your Mum, Marjorie Stay, spent four years at the Ipswich Grammar School.  She returned home at the end of the School year.  She passed her Senior and was keen to go to University but her parents said they could not afford it and she was forced to finish school.  She obtained a job in the office of the Allora Butter Factory as Assistant to the Manager and after a while just about ran the office. She kept this job until she left to get married.  She and I became friendly a year or two after she came home from Grammar.  She was a very good tennis player and had a good singing voice.  She was keen on her  Presbyterian church and belonged to the Choir and Guild and was organist for some time. 

* 1 Comment added by his daughter Helen.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Lionel Edgar Laws family story Part 1 1868 to 1915

Great Uncle Frank Goodall Laws has left wonderful handwritten stories of the Laws families so let's begin. Thanks must go to his daughter Helen for preserving them and allowing me to publish them.

A transcript by Pat Flynn and me from notes written by Frank Goodall Laws (1903 – 1982) regarding his father  Lionel Edgar Laws (1868 – 1848) and family written for his children, Helen, David and Alan in the late 1970’s.

Lionel Edgar Laws was born on 12 February 1868 at sea on board a British ship, the Bayswater. The nearest land at the time was the island of St Helena.  I understand his birth was registered in London  as was custom when British subjects were born at sea on British ships.

His parents were William Frank Laws and Sarah Sophia  Laws

Lionel arrived in Brisbane mid 1868 where his parents settled at Brookfield.  He was educated to primary school level in Brisbane.  He learnt the trade of bridge carpenter under his father who did this type of work in Queensland, building wharves in Brisbane and railway bridges in Brisbane and in the country.  He also became a very proficient carpenter.

When he was a young man, work here became slack. He and a friend (workmate) decided to go south to the South Coast of New South Wales where he obtained employment in his trade building railway bridges on the South Coast of NSW.

At Berry he met and married your Grandma Louisa Rebecca Chamberlain.  They were married on 2nd  November 1892 at Nowra Shoalhaven New South Wales and he continued work there on the South Coast of NSW.  Lionel Edward my eldest brother was born there on the 28th August 1893 and my brother Richard William on 23rd May 1895.  During the next 2 years he moved back north to Brisbane where he continued to work building bridges and wharves.

Lillian May was born in Brisbane on 8th May 1897
Jessie Charlotte was born in Brisbane 21 March 1899
Victor George was born in Brisbane on 12th February 1901

When Victor was very young, my parents moved north where Dad was engaged building railway bridges on the main line north and the Gladstone Rockhampton line and also Gladstone Many Peaks line.  It was while they were here I was born  at Auckland St, Gladstone 17 October 1903. 
Bridge being built in North Queensland

Soon after I was born they moved back to Brisbane and Dad continued to work at his trade in and around Brisbane.

Frederick Charles was born in Brisbane on 30th April 1905 and Colin Chamberlain was born on 9th September 1906

When Colin was a few months old Dad and a partner named Peter Trewick won a contract to build a bridge over the Condamine River at Warwick known as the Helene St Bridge.  This is the bridge we used to cross when leaving the town of Warwick when going on the Toowoomba road to Allora.

When the bridge was completed Dad decided to stay at Warwick and work on his own account building road bridges and culverts in and around Warwick where he completed many.  The Helene St Bridge has now been replaced by a high level concrete structure as the one my father built was at a lower level in those days. On account of the cost this was the practice.  This was a fairly big bridge in those days.  When work on bridge building was scarce he used to shift houses and other buildings and he commenced building roads for Shire and Town Councils.

Note the logs under the house for house to roll on.
When Dad went to Warwick Lionel, Richard, Lillian, Jessie and Victor went to school there and attended the West State School later to become Central State School (the one you went to in Warwick) .  I started there in 1909, Fred in 1910 and Colin in 1911 or 1912.  John Edgar (Jack) was born at Warwick on 17th February 1909. He also attended the same school years later.  In fact nine of the ten of our family attended this school at different times.  Uncle Lionel passed the Sydney Junior from this school at Warwick.

Lionel left school to work for a firm of produce merchants in the office.  He was there less than two years when Dad was told by a Doctor that he had a weak heart and he had to do no hard work.  At this stage he took Lionel from his job and Richard from school to work with him on building bridges and roads.  After a year or two his health had so improved he put Richard to the plumbing trade and Lionel stayed on with him. 

Horse and cart delivering rock to the rock breaker for road making
Lionel and Richard both belonged to the Junior Cadets and Lionel and Richard were both good rifle shots with Lionel being the better.  They both played Rugby Union in competition at Warwick. In 1914 there was a dispute about the administration of Union and the majority broke away and formed a Rugby League Club.  The next year they formed 3 clubs and a competition.  League has thrived there ever since.  Union has never regained its place in sport there except in schools.  Richard was a very good footballer and a very good racing cyclist both road and track and a fairly good swimmer.  Lionel was also a good footballer but he had less time to play sport.

The First World War started in August 1914 and all the eligible young men started joining up.  Richard joined the AIF in September 1915 and left for camp in Oct 1915.  His Regimental Number was 4829.  He was in the 9th Battalion.  He sailed for overseas on 28th March 1916.  He went to Egypt to England and to France where he served for 15 months being wounded and returned to England in 1917 where he was placed in a barracks job.  In 1918 he returned to France and was killed on 23rd August.  We believe he was  stretcher bearing when killed.  This was a great shock to our mother.  It had a serious affect on my mother’s health.

On 31st Dec 1915 Thelma Louisa was born at Warwick while we lived in Cecil St.  At Warwick our family lived in three different houses.  McEvoy St, Percy  St and Cecil St, all rented houses and each one better than the last.  This was the reason for the change.  I can assure you that the rent was always paid.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Another of Lionel Edgar Laws poems for his grandson Robin.

In previous  posts and I transcribed some of Lionel Edgar's poems.

Here is another. Remember he is writing these poems for his 12 year old grandson Robin,

Three men in suits

Three men in new suits
without any boots
went out to steal fruit one day
when they got to the fence
and strode in to commence
they heard a loud voice that said Hey.

They proclaimed 'twas in fun
but he pulled out a gun
up went their hands to explain
For two pins I'd bust you
You know I don't trust you
You lie, as you'd steal, that is plain

They started to cry
It made him fight shy
This overcame all of their fear
But this is the rub
They took him to the pub
and fill him with Bulimba Beer.

According to repute
the beer cost more than the fruit
'Twas not a congenial outing
The man with the gun
Had the best of the fun
While the men in new suits did the shouting.

He did not put three wise
It came as a surprise
to find that he was stealing as they were
But the next time they met
They were already set
what they gave him compelled him to stay there

There is a proverb that says
You can't have it both ways
and as sure as he was a sinner
when you read of my joke
In it's worn threadbare cloak
you'll declare that there's nothing much thinner.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The family vehicles over the years

1913 Studebaker

Looking through my photo albums I discovered we had many vehicles over the years so decided I would collect them all so we could see them all in the one place.
Yes it is 1913 but no we didn't have this car as our first car.
My brother is a vintage and veteran car enthusiast but it is the earliest model that some member of the family owned.

From the photos I've inherited the next earliest one was owned by Grandfather Armitstead and here they are in about 1927 going on a picnic in the 1926 Chrysler.

Austin 7 ute and 1937 Chev
Family outings to picnic spots were very popular so here we have Grandfather Laws's 1937 Chev as well as Mum & Dad's first car-the Austin 7 ute -nicknamed Oscar.
The 1937 Chev had a gas producer fitted during World War 2 as petrol was rationed. Instead of feeding the car with petrol you had to load up the gas producer with charcoal to burn to produce the gas. So in 1944 when Mum & Dad got married they had to have someone who could drive this gas producer monster of a car so they could go on their honeymoon to Redcliffe. Dad couldn't do it and neither could my Mum so her brother Bryan had to drive them away on their honeymoon to Redcliffe.
Is Austin a favourite because A is for Armitstead and A for Austin?  Grandfather Armitstead owned an Austin too and it must have been the family favourite brand as having bought the poultry farm and moved to Warwick it wasn't long before Mum & Dad bought the Austin A70 ute to replace Oscar.
Grandfather Armitstead and his Austin

Austin A70
My memories of this one relate to a camping trip we made to Evans Head. There was a canopy over the back so we slept in the back and it was cold so Dad gave us  newspaper to keep us warm. So for the rest of the night if we moved the paper crackled.

As the business progressed we needed a van so the Commer Station Wagon was bought.
Commer station wagon with  my Uncle's Ford Anglia
We all thought it was great as  a grey station wagon but Dad decided it needed jazzing up. Metallic paint was just coming in so it was painted in 2 colours -cream & a beautiful dark metallic green. We were so with it- a 2 toned car with metallic paint.
Somewhere in time we needed something to drive around the farm in so we got  second hand  utes including a Star and a Whippett
Farm ute
and they were followed by a 1932 Hillman ute that I learnt to drive in. I've never lived it down either as I was practising backing I backed over a sapling. This sapling story has been turned into a big tree story by other members of the family. Their Hillman ute must have been a bulldozer to knock over a such a big tree that heir tales included. Our first truck was a VW Matador and it provided transport for our hayride party in 1963
VW Matador on the left.

We are on a picnic again. This time the Ford Zephyr took us there.

After this we purchased a new blue Ford Zephyr station wagon and Of coure we went on picnic in it.
It was great but we didn't seem to have it very long before we had a new Ford Falcon station wagon and this time we had 2 toned again-light blue with a roof of dark blue- not nearly as jazzy as the Commer was BUT this one was automatic. How revolutionary that was for us.
Dad having ridden my bike to the dairy across the road to get our milk supply. Falcon in the background outside the chicken abbattoir.
The business needed a new ute to deliver our dressed poultry to the shops so we got a green Datsun ute in 1962 and purchased an insulated box for the back of it.
Of course it was then time to have another new station wagon and this one turned out to be a lemon and Ford replaced it with a green Falcon station wagon which again was automatic.
This Falcon lasted a long time and did a lot of kilometres for the business-trips to Moree, Lismore Glen Innes, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba, and Stanthorpe as well as social trips for the family.
In 1985 came the last vehicle- a 1984 Toyota Camry hatchback and this was in use until 2008 when Mum at age 86  finally decided she wouldn't drive any more.
As the  chicken business  grew it needed vehicles to deliver the fresh chickens to Lismore, Goondiwindi, Toowomba and Stanthorpe so we had many different trucks too many to mention here except to mention in passing that they included - Bedford, Dyna, Hino,and Nissan and more Datsun utes. This Nissan was used to collect live chickens from other farmers so we could use them in our abattoir.
 1928 Model A Ford
In 2010 my brother had had enough of cranking the  1913 Studebaker so he  bought a 1928 Ford Model A ( with electric start)and is an active member of the Model A club in Darwin.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Jack Armitstead- First Aerial photograph of Warwick Queensland

First aerial photo of Warwick, Queensland 10th May 1920
 This photo was hanging in the Warwick State High School for many years. As with many places they decided to have a clean out and this was put out for rubbish. Fortunately one of the older members of staff realised what it was and gave it to the Warwick and District Historical Society Inc. They have a museum at 83 Dragon St Warwick. They have a public Facebook page at  where you can get more information about their opening hours. This photo is now on display in the Museum in Dragon St, Warwwick, Queensland

Why am I writing about this? My grandfather Jack Armitstead who owned a chemist shop in the town  took this photo. As well as being the chemist he was also an optician and had a photo developing business.
He wrote about his experience in the local paper. It was his first experience of flying so I am amazed he could take the photo and have it focussed while the plane was moving and probably bumping around.  See Aerial photography
From this piece in the Warwick Daily News on May 17 1920 he says that the above was the only photo to come out, successfully. Others he tried to take were blurred from the vibrations of the plane.
In loose leaf pages from his photograph albums there are the following photos of Warwick and these must have been taken another time but still in the early 1920's as the one looking south does not have the Roman Catholic Cathedral which was built in the mid 1920's.
Looking south along Palmerin St Warwick

The Post Office is the building on the left with the arches.
Possibly looking north in Palmerin St