So much has changed across Buderim Mountain, yet there remains a seam of history, rich and abundant with stories and memories. These belong to the people who grew up on Buderim and can still recall the days when the area was a respite from the bustle of Brisbane. As the price for produce fell and the farmers were forced to give up their land and seek employment, the character of Buderim began to change and became more urban. Real estate agents and developers wrestled a premium for views that are now reserved for the financially privileged.
One Buderim family is marked now only by a street named “Feeley.” Here is the story of growing up in 1950’s Buderim as told by Rosemary Feeley.
Living in Paradise
My parents were small crop growers, cultivating beans, peas, peanuts and gladioli for the Brisbane Markets and ginger for the Buderim Co-Op. Yet in this paradise where most people knew each other, my first experience of racism is still imprinted in my mind and had a lifelong impact.
“Blackbirding,” which was
another form of slavery, is part of the history of cane growing and other forms of agriculture in Queensland. When I grew up in Buderim (1950-1962) there were several families on Buderim Mountain with
Pacific Islander heritage. In the early 1900s they were known as “Kanakas, ” a term now considered derogatory.
With a friend named Raelene, I walked to school along Mill Street to Buderim State School. We were confronted by a group of boys who threw stones at Raelene. From such early memories, I developed a deep sense of social justice, which inspired me to become qualified as a Div 1 nurse and then a Social Worker. The picture above shows Raelene and I heading off to school in 1955.
My family moved to a farm adjacent to Lindsay Road. The property stretched from Martins Creek to the area now known as Feeley Street and Amaroo Drive. Amaroo Drive was called Bonny View Drive when my father subdivided the property in the early 60s.
I still have many a memory of taking a sandwich and heading off to the waterfall and small creek that bounded our property. I pretended that the willy wag tails that followed me all the way were my friends. We fished for eels and brought them home to put them in the laundry tub. There were green snakes in the trees and carpet snakes coiled above the combustion stove. My siblings and I would sing while playing on 44-gallon drums, rolling them along the path. We collected bottles to take to Middleton’s or Fieldings’ stores for a cash return. I attended Sunday school at St. Marks Church and remember the day my father asked me to visit the neighbour to get a recipe for scrambled eggs!
I have vivid memories of my parents in the paddocks when I left for school. They were still there on my return. When the struggle for a fair return for crops became too much, or we were impacted by floods, my father took work as a taxi driver to supplement the family income. There was always a cooked meal and dessert on the table every evening, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of exercise.
Mr. Toohey (the School Principal) encouraged us in tennis and many other sports. At school we had Maypole dancing and fancy dress balls. Ken Fletcher and other prominent tennis players visited our school. One teacher had little tolerance for my left-handedness, so I never achieved a cockatoo stamp for an excellent copy book, as the writing was always smudged. (I didn’t think to blot as I wrote.) I was even told that I wouldn’t come to anything and would end up worthless. Such methods of motivation from teachers would seem very strange today! Fortunately for me, this fairly harsh teacher provided me with an
incentive. I changed from being a “not so bright scholar” in primary level to forging my way in society.
Another memory from Buderim School days is of milk being delivered in crates to the school and left in the shade of the trees until required. Sometimes there were one or two bottles of flavoured milk, usually consumed by the fastest-running pupils!
I wonder where the pupils of Buderim Mountain State School 1955 Grade I class are now?