Christmas Day at Maurice Stiensen's 'Felicity Cottage' Omrah Avenue, Caloundra, ca 1940.
Christmas Day at Maurice Stiensen's 'Felicity Cottage' Omrah Avenue, Caloundra, ca 1940. Picture Sunshine Coast

Good neighbours inspired our sense of community

AUSTRALIA has just celebrated Neighbour Day, which identifies the importance of community and connectivity with those who live in your neighbourhood.

The theme this year was the importance of social connection for the elderly.

A good neighbour is someone who looks out for you whether you are young or old; is there when you need them most and offers a wave and a smile "just to say hello".

It is about a sense of community and kindness and respect for all who live around us.

Not all of our Sunshine Coast stories are formal. They may be handed down through yarns or memories, stories of bravery or humorous tales once told and forgotten, then recalled and today written to become a part of our local heritage.

A memorable wake to say farewell to a good neighbour occurred in the sparsely-populated land located not far from what is now Roys Rd, just off the busy Bruce Hwy.

 

The farewell was organised by those who lived and worked in the district and a party took place on the junction of Mellum and Coochin creeks on December 9, 1896.

It was the night when old Campbellville, the Glass House region sawmilling town where the steamer "Mavis" once loaded sawn timber from the heavily timbered land of the district, closed for the last time.

Residents of the region decided it would be "a graceful act on their part to organise a banquet and say farewell, though regretfully, to P Campbell, the popular manager of the mill". (Stan Tutt)

Mr Campbell had treated the locals fairly and always looked after his neighbours, some being many miles inland at places like Landsborough, Beerwah and up into the high country of the Blackall Range.

He had trusted their word and when times were tough, allowed some credit at the Campbellville store.

The toil of a hard working community and generosity of a neighbourhood, both rich and poor, came together on that hot December night to say farewell and thank you.

Campbell's neighbours arrived by boat, horse and cart and all forms of transportation, all with food and drink to wish him well on his new venture.

The decorated tables were well lit, weighted down with all that the community could offer.

Once the speeches were over, there were various songs, dancing, banjo playing and dancing till dawn.

Daylight allowed the locals to see their way home, perhaps to get on with the milking and other chores on their farms.

Today the little town of Campbellville has mostly been reclaimed by the bush.

Author Nettie Palmer, in a series of articles which appeared in a Brisbane paper in the late 1920s, wrote of Thomas Welsby's description of the pioneering Tripcony family and their welcoming home "Cowie Bank", on the bank of Pumicestone Passage - "The hearty welcome, the jolly times and the sense of integrity of the home".

All of these words describe a place that perhaps we would all like to know and experience, but sadly the historic home was burnt down by vandals on Christmas Eve 1990.

A link to Caloundra would be the happy memories of the special guest house, Caloundra House, where sisters Hilda and Jessie Waters managed the accommodation on the passage for their family from the late 1920s.

The visitors' welcome was special as Hilda and Jessie's brother, Ken Allen-Waters, had a touring Hudson automobile named "Annabelle" which was kept immaculate.

Ken would pick the visitors up from the Landsborough station after they arrived by train and take them for drives around Caloundra to meet the neighbours, often stopping off for cups of tea with locals.

They were simple times when Caloundra was just a small village and everyone knew everyone else.

The Allen-Waters gave a big farewell party for Caloundra lighthouse keeper Birrell and his family when they left town.

At that stage Ken had traded in "Annabelle" and was driving a very flash silver grey Oldsmobile called "Valerie".

During World War Two, manoeuvres were held at night all throughout the Sunshine Coast district.

Sometimes the soldiers camped out in the bush for days at a time and one group found themselves training in winter at Buderim.

Being a farming community, the locals also showed their kindness.

When the soldiers were marching along near a peanut crop and a farmer called out from the distance "Hop in boys, and get some peanuts".

Another good neighbour was Alan Templeton, of Eumundi, who became one of the leading ginger growers of the district.

It was Alan who put the green into Eumundi by planting shrubs and gardens down Memorial Ave and along the road approaches to the town.

Hard working and unassuming, his voluntary work can still be seen to this day.

Alf Roy was another busy person in the early communities.

A popular farmer of the Palmwoods district who contributed greatly to the development of Palmwoods, he served voluntarily on many committees and was always a good neighbour to the town by helping any way he could.

Today we have volunteer organisations that help our community in times of trouble.

If you have time on your hands there is always a group or organisation that needs a hand.

This week in North Queensland we have seen SES and Red Cross members volunteering their time to heelp out in the cyclone.

There is always a volunteer group there to extend a hand if we are in trouble, quietly bringing people together for a community event or a volunteering exercise.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council's Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

In 2017, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast. For more information on this milestone anniversary visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/fifty


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