Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Lee's Hotel, Ingham
Freemasons Hotel, Gympie
Commercial Hotel, Gympie
Sir Horace Tozer
Scottish Mine, Gympie...circa early 1900s
Tozer & Jeffery (Now known as "Jeffery, Cuddihy & Joyce) Premises-Building on right of pic)

Forewarning:  You might need a large mug of steaming coffee for this one...and you might have to read it in a couple of sittings, as it is rather lengthy....

“The Pub with No Beer”, the song made famous in 1957 by Slim Dusty, was originally written by cane cutter, Dan Sheahan in the Day Dawn Hotel, Lannercost Street, Ingham in 1943.  A disgruntled, Sheahan penned it after American soldiers had drunk the pub dry the previous night.  

(I've never been a fan of Slim Dusty.  Back in the late 80s I saw him live in concert one Sunday afternoon at the Kuranda Amphitheatre (Cairns hinterland)...friends and I went along, to see the group called "The Flying Emus" where were part of the concert...the better part.  I found Dusty to be very arrogant....just my opinion, of course, which matters little, because he had a very successful career and was loved by many)

In 1958, the Day Dawn Hotel was purchased by Rupert Lee, an Ingham businessman.   
Rupert rebuilt the pub in 1960, aptly renaming it… “Lee’s Hotel”.  Next door to the hotel was Rupert’s large, successful gift store, named…“Lee’s of Lannercost Street”.  For a few months, during 1997-98, I worked long hours as the hotel’s cook, catering for the town’s hungry citizens.  A rich, sugar cane area, Ingham’s population mainly consists of Italian heritage.  Ingham, “Little Italy” of the North.  I enjoyed my time living and working in Ingham.

Prior to working at Lee’s Hotel I’d known Rupert since the early 70s.  Rupert was of Chinese heritage, and his wife, Gloria was Spanish.  They were lovely folk.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on Gympie in its heyday…or, at least, the days of my childhood in the 50s, and my teenage years in the 60s…which were often heydays…days spent under the loving, guiding eyes of my Nana, Ivy Hay, and, of my mother, Elma, of course.  

Engrossed in my reverie, I counted the number of pubs in Gympie during the Fifties.  Gympie’s population was 10,000, more or less, in those long-gone years…probably less. 

Mary Street, Gympie’s main street, boasted nine hotels during those decades.   

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, and those of my now late older brother, our mother worked as a barmaid.  She gained a worthy reputation as being an expert in her field.  The quickness of her feet and hands in the service of the patrons were matched only by the quickness of her wit, and her swift ability to sort out the sheep from the goats!

Starting at the top end of the town centre…on the corner of Channon Street, at the top-end tip of Mary Street, was the Freemasons Hotel. On the opposite corner, at the start of Mary Street, the Commercial Hotel sat. Continuing down the street was the Royal Exchange, (opposite of which was the Soldiers’ Club aka the RSL Club); further along the doors swung open to the Empire Hotel; then the Royal, the Atlantic, the Imperial, Queens, and Tattersalls pubs.

Dotted throughout the town…away from the town centre of Mary Street …more hotels sated the thirsts of parched locals.

Those pubs were the Mount Pleasant, Victory, Phoenix, Railway, Australian, Northumberland, and the Jockey Club.  The Columbia Hotel burned down one night in the early to mid-Fifties, as did a couple of others, the names of which I no longer remember. 

I guess in the early gold-rush days the miners were a thirsty lot…hence the huge number of pubs.  It has been jokingly said on every mullock heap throughout the town Gympie a pub was built.   

 (Mullock heap:  Mound of loose stones left over from gold mining operations: People say there is still gold in the mullock heaps that the early gold miners left behind.)

My great-grandfather, our Nana’s father, Robert Hose was killed while at work at Gympie’s Scottish Gold Mine.  On any normal shift, Nana’s father worked above-ground, but he’d been called in to take the place of an underground miner who was unable to work due to illness.  A large boulder came loose…and the rest is history…

Our grandmother and mother were both born in Gympie.  My brother and I were born in Rockhampton.  Our grandparents had left Gympie to live in Rockhampton in the 1920s.  There our grandfather continued his chosen career as a butcher.  He passed away from an unexpected heart attack at the young age of 48 years.  

Nana, Mum, Graham and I moved back to Gympie in April, 1948…and, once again…the rest is history..

In Mary Street during my youthful years, along with the pubs, there were quite a few cafés.  Either before or after spinning yarns across the bars, people loved their pies, milkshakes and sundaes, as well as all the other special, delicious treats cafés presented to the populace in those days.

Most of the Mary Street cafés were owned by respected Greek families.

Offering friendly smiling service and tasty treats… Londies, Cominos, Freeleagus’, Nick’s, Patrick’s, Little Brown Jug, Webster’s, and Tobins…were situated here and there along Mary Street.   

Webster’s shop, situated at the Five-Ways (originally called,  “Nash’s Gully) end of Mary Street, made the best fruit salad ice-blocks …they were loaded with chunks of fruit.  Many years later, when I had my greengrocery-health food shop in Noosa Heads, I stole Webster’s idea.  I made and sold fruit salad ice-blocks.  They sold well…and ran out of the shop before they had time to melt!

On the corner of Station Road and Tozer Street in Gympie, a snack bar called the “Green Door” opened its green door in the early Fifties.

In the early Sixties, the Dorith Café at the far end of Condies’ Arcade in Mary Street, made its debut.

dding a sense of sophistication, while tempting the locals’ taste-buds, the Dorith quickly became the “in” place to visit. 

Condie’s and Harry’s were the town’s two bakeries.  Their pies and pasties were the best!  To this very day, I’ve yet to find pasties as good as the pasties…Cornish pasties…we enjoyed back then.  To me a pasty is not a pasty without the inclusion of Swede turnips!

Three jewellery stores, four newsagencies-bookstores, department-general stores such as Rankins, Wilbraham’s, Cullinanes, and Abdy Bros, a couple of dedicated menswear shops, three individual shoe shops, Kozminsky’s, a sporting goods store, ladies’ hairdressing salons, men’s barber shops (the men needed the red and white barber poles outside the front of the barber shops to alert them which shop to enter for their short backs and sides!), and a couple of ladies’ dress salons also helped fill any gaps in the main street.  
Our mother frequently modelled in the fashion parades held by the fashion salons.  In one such parade, when I was around eight or nine years of age, even I featured….”strutting my stuff” to the popular kid’s song…”The Teddy Bears Picnic”.  At first, I recall, I was as nervous as hell (strange as it may seem now, I was a fairly shy little girl), but once the music started, I got so carried away in my moment “under the lights”…I didn’t want to leave the catwalk!  The smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd…can cause one to quickly forget one’s normal self!

I adored the dress I was showing off to the crowd that night. It was made out of very light, white cotton with emerald-green flowers embroidered over it.  A matching emerald-green satin bow around the waist completed the effect.

Back to the crowded state of Mary Street in days of yore…or, mine…

Banks, four pharmacies, a motor vehicle accessory shop, two electrical wares stores, two butcher shops (and three others elsewhere in the town), two music shops, along with legal offices, and the premises of the local newspaper, the “Gympie Times” were also in Mary Street. 

The top level of the Bank of New South Wales building (the bank later became known as “Westpac”), was the home of Radio Station 4GY...from there it held court, and the airwaves.

The firm of solicitors for whom I worked for five years after leaving school, was then known as ”Tozer & Jeffery”.  The building remains today. The firm is now known as “Jeffery Cuddihy & Joyce”.

The firm was first established in 1866 by Horace Tozer, who began his law career as an Article Clerk in Brisbane. In 1866, after completing his Articles, Horace was admitted as a solicitor. Upon moving to Gympie shortly thereafter, Horace Tozer set up law offices in upper Mary Street, in the building mentioned above.

An authority on mining law, Tozer served on the Gympie Mining Court.  In 1867 James Nash discovered gold in Gympie.  Tozer was an Alderman on the first Gympie Municipal Council in 1880. Twice he held the electoral district of Wide Bay, in Queensland’s Legislative Assembly. He was Colonial Secretary and Secretary for Public Works from 1890-1893; and then, Home Secretary from 1896 to 1898.  In 1895, Tozer helped establish the free Public Library and National Art Gallery in Brisbane.  Horace Tozer served as Acting Premier from March to November 1897.  In June 1897, he was knighted. He resigned his parliamentary seat in 1898 to take up the position of Queensland’s Agent-General in London, a position he held until 1909.  Sir Horace Tozer died on 20th August, 1916. He was buried in the now heritage-listed Toowong Cemetery.   

Coincidentally, in the late 1970s my then husband, Randall and I lived in the Brisbane suburb of Torwood...just around the corner a bit from the well-known old cemetery.

One day, during my Tozer & Jeffery years, I became absorbed in some ancient, yellowed journals and financial ledgers that were stored on dusty shelves in the below-street basement; “the dungeon”, as we called the area. 

In one of the heavy, hard-cover, thick volumes, to my surprise, I found an entry which referred to the one and only...James Nash.

In October, 1867, James Nash discovered rich gold deposits in the Gympie area...on the banks of the Mary River.  Immediately thereafter, a massive gold rush began.  Gympie was originally called “Nashville” . (I love the music that emanates out of Nashville, Tennessee...perhaps therein lies the link!)   

Still a Gympie resident, James Nash passed away on 5th October, 1913.

Gympie’s Scottish Gold Mine was the largest, in those days, in the southern hemisphere.  Many Scots, which included my ancestors, settled in the Gympie area.

James Nash had been a client of the firm of solicitors, known, when I was employed by the “Tozer & Jeffery”.   I was thrilled to pieces when I discovered the historical entry.  I felt like I’d struck gold!
Naturally, I brought the glimpse of yesteryear to the attention of the rest of my workmates; and to my boss. Mr. John Jeffery. He was a man I liked very much, and one to whom I was forever grateful for hiring a naive 15 year old, who, at the time of being hired, had no idea what a solicitor was!  Under Mr. Jeffery’s patient, calm guidance and tuition, I quickly learned.

Mary Street, Gympie's main street is a lot different these days to the days I describe above.  It is a mere skeleton...ghost...of its past self...Things change...and most do not remain the same...

Cornish Pasties: Place 450g plain flour, 2tsp baking powder and 1tsp salt into a food processor and give a quick mix. Add 125g cold butter, cut into chunks; whizz until the mixture turns into breadcrumbs; or make the pastry the old-fashioned way using your fingertips to rub the ingredients together...just your fingertips...not the palms of your hands.  Add 2 egg yolks; mix; with motor on...or you motor on...add in 125ml cold water, a bit at a time until the dough comes together into a ball. You may not need all the water.  Wrap dough in cling-wrap; chill 1hr.  Preheat oven 180C.  Sprinkle 2 baking trays with some flour.  Roll out dough on floured surface until desired thickness, about 3mm. Cut circles into the dough using a 20-21cm diameter plate; repeat process; place circles stacked onto a plate as you go...sprinkling a little flour between each layer to stop sticking. In a bowl, mix 450g peeled, finely diced potato, 150g finely diced Swede turnip, 150g finely chopped onion, 300g skirt or sirloin steak, finely chopped, fat discarded, 1tsp salt and 1tsp pepper. Take one circle of pastry; place on work surface.  Place a good handful of mixture onto half of the circle, leaving 2cm border around edge. Dot 1-1/2tsp butter on top of filling.  Dip pastry brush into beaten egg; brush egg wash around edge of pastry circle. Fold other side of pastry over filling until edges meat, forming a semi-circle; seal firmly; crimp with your fingers; place on prepared baking tray; with the point of a knife, make a little hole in top of pasty to allow the steam to escape. Repeat process with rest of circles and filling. Brush tops of pasties with egg wash. Cook in oven, 50mins, until golden.

Strawberry-Choc Sundae: Preheat oven 190C. Add 2c whole, hulled strawberries to bowl with 1/3c sugar and 1tsp lemon juice; toss to combine; put into a baking dish. Bake 15mins. Remove from oven; cool slightly.  Melt together 125g chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1/3c coconut oil, and 3tbs light corn syrup; stir to smooth. Add 1/4c strawberries to bottom of glass sundae dish/es; add 1/2c to 1c strawberry ice cream; top with 2tbs chocolate shell; it will harden as it cools. Garnish with choc-dipped strawberries.

Banana Split Sundae: Hot Fudge Sauce: Combine 1x385g sweetened condensed milk, 1/2c heavy cream, 1/3c sifted cocoa powder, 1tbs butter and 150g milk chocolate, broken into pieces, in small saucepan; melt; remove from heat before it reaches boiling point; set aside. Halve lengthwise 4, unpeeled Cavendish banana; sprinkle flesh with 2tbs brown sugar. Grill over hot coals, or under grill until they start to soft.  The sugar will burn quickly - keep a close eye on them. When bananas are grilled, serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream; drizzle the hot fudge over them; add strawberries and cherries or blueberries. Serve immediately.

Apple Crumble Sundae: Melt 2tbs butter over gentle heat; add 4 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled, 1tsp cinnamon and 2tbs raw or brown sugar; cook 10mins until apples soften, but still hold their shape. Split mixture between 4 sundae glasses/bowls. Sit 2 scoops of ice cream on top of each; top with crushed Ginger Nut biscuits; serve while apple mix is still w

Thursday, July 23, 2020


Foreword... this fanciful fairytale is my fanciful foray into the world of fantasy...for the fun of it...

On a sunny Sunday afternoon...i.e. September, 9th, 1990... heralding the culmination of five years of dating...August March married the love of his life, Autumn Spring. The happy young couple left for their honeymoon on the following Saturday.  Having waited five years, and until winter’s end before tying the knot, they inhaled feverishly deep breaths simultaneously, believing a few more days wouldn’t matter before taking the leap.

Together they had three daughters, whom they named...April, May and June.  Coincidentally, each girl was born in the month of July.  Furthermore, each entered the world on a Thursday. 

August and Autumn’s only son, Daymon, was born on a Monday morning in October, seven years after June.  Arriving a little early, he had been due on the Tuesday.

Every summer, from December through to January, before school recommenced in February, once the children were old enough to enjoy the freedom freely offered by the ocean, the family cruised the Whitsundays aboard their yacht, “Sweet November”.   

November had been the month August and Julie realised they liked each other more than as friends. Their mutual feelings fell into place when they shared their first dance at the Friday night Formal.  Forthwith, they knew their futures would be forever forged.  Fortuitously, both teenagers attended Fairfield High School. From across the football field on a Wednesday afternoon their eyes locked.  Henceforth, they had eyes for no others.  August kicked a few goals during the game.  Goals, which not only helped his team win the match, but, also, helped him win the heart of the girl who became the forever after love of his life; a perfect match were they.

At first, flighty flirtation floated freely to and fro between the two. Soon the facts were faced. August and Autumn knew their feelings weren’t featherweight. From a fruitful friendship a firm, forevermore foundation was formed. The fundamental framework continued to flourish.  How frustrating such a perfect formula as theirs isn’t available on the market.  Was it a fluke?  To be fair, firstly, they were fortunate to have met; to have fallen for each other. It was fate...their destiny.  Nothing about their lives...the depth of feelings felt... was a facade.

Blame the above foray on lockdown.  Some would say I should be locked up...barred from my keyboard.  Hold on! I’m always in solitary confinement!  

Perhaps it’d be better if I took up needle-point, crocheting, knitting, quilting, scrap-booking, or building shadow boxes (not shadow boxing). 

Forget all of that!  Who am I trying to kid? This is far more fun...for me, anyway. 

If you have a beef about the fanciful fiction I’ve forced upon be it.   

Sensing your cross words, maybe I’ll stick to crosswords, and keep my nonsensical ramblings to myself. I like to ginger things up a bit; stir things up, so I won’t do the latter. No surprises there!

 Friday!  Does that mean fry-day is on its way?

Ginger Beef Stir-Fry: Cut 700g sirloin into thin strips. Whisk together 5tbs soy sauce, 2tbs rice vinegar, 1tbs grated ginger, 1tbs honey, 1tsp red chilli flakes, and 1tsp cumin; add beef; marinate at least 30mins, up to 4hrs.. In a small bowl, mix 1tbs cornflour with 2tbs cold water, Heat 2tbs veg oil in wok (and 1tbs dark sesame oil if desired), over high heat until nearly smoking. Pat beef dry; separate into batches no larger than what can fit into the palm of your hand. Sauté beef, in batches,until just brown outside, rare inside; about 1min. Transfer to a bowl.  When beef is cooked, put 2-3 sliced hot chillis and 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves into wok; stir-fry 30-45 secs. Add 1-inch knob of julienned ginger; cook for 30-45secs more.  Return beef; add cornflour slurry; add 3-4 diagonally cut shallot stalks; cook 1min.  Add 1/2c loosely packed coriander just before serving, if desired. Serve with steamed rice. 

Fried Steaks with Spicy Blue Cheese Sauce: Combine 1/2c plain flour, 1/2tsp salt and black pepper in shallow dish. Whisk1 egg and 1tbs water together in shallow bowl until blended. Combine 1/2c dry bread crumbs, 1/4tsp salt, 1/4tsp garlic powder and 1/4tsp ground red pepper in shallow dish. Place 4 eye of round steaks, each about 3/4-inch thick between sheets of waxed paper; pound to 1/4 inch thickness. Dip steaks in flour, coating both lightly; shake off excess. Dip in egg wash, then in bread crumbs. Heat 1tbs olive oil in pan over med-heat until hot. Cook 2 steaks at a time until coating is crisp and golden and beef is med-rare, turning once. (Do not overcook.) Remove steaks; keep warm. Add another tablespoon of oil, if needed, and remaining steaks. Sauce: Place 150g blue cheese (such as Stilton etc.) 1/3c sour cream, 1tbs Dijon mustard, 1tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2tsp paprika and a good pinch ground cayenne in processor; season to taste’ whiz to combine. Place steaks on plates; spoon sauce over the top; crumble about 50g blue cheese on each.   


Tuesday, July 14, 2020


Two Images of Grasstree Beach...south of the northern Queensland city of Mackay
Two views of the bridge crossing the Maroochy River, at Bli Bli on the Sunshine Coast

If the title of this post sounds is the reason...

English lyrics were put to what was originally a Russian song, “Dorogoi dlinnoyu”....difficult enough to pronounce with your teeth in...try saying that without your teeth in place...even once is hard enough, let alone quickly, and  multiple times...  

Later on down the track, in 1968, a new version produced by Paul McCartney, who really needs no introduction I am sure, became a No. 1 hit.  McCartney’s production of “Those Were the Days” was sung by Welsh songstress, Mary Hopkin .  No “s” necessary...but lots of cheers.

Those were the days, my friend...days about which I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing ...probably a little more than I usually do, and that’s saying something! 

A few good friends of long-standing celebrate their birthdays around this time of the year; which means, of course, we’ve been in contact, talking and laughing away the hours as we did when we were much younger than we are now. 

Being old, however, shouldn’t stop one from laughing, even if, these days, there’s not much to laugh about.  We must do our utmost not to allow ourselves to crumble under the world’s burdens.  Laughter lightens the load....

Those were the days...we’d sing and dance forever and a day. All too soon the busy years went rushing by us.  Did we lose our starry notions on the way?  I’m sure we did lose some of them.  It’s a long time since I’ve been to a tavern to raise a glass or two.  No doubt, it will be a long time until I do so again...if, in fact, I ever do.   

The desire to do so doesn’t present itself.  I was never much of a one for drinking in pubs or taverns...although, over the years, I have worked in both.

The week before last dear friends of old and I were in contact.   

The wife I’ve known since my childhood years. The husband and I first met...quickly becoming good mates...when he, a brash, young blade of 17 years, arrived in Gympie, announcing to all who would listen he was the new voice on Radio 4GY.  He boarded with a family who lived in the street up behind where I lived.  My mother and grandmother and Nana took him under their wings from first meeting.  Often he was  guest at our dinner table.  He was a pleasant, likeable young bloke back then...and nothing has altered over the intervening years.  He and I have always been platonic friends...that will never change.

Before joining the 4GY crew, my friend had been a panel operator aka “panel op” at 4BH, a popular Brisbane radio station. There he’d worked under the watchful, tutoring eye of the then well-known radio announcer, Bill Gates (not the BG of Microsoft fame).  Bill Gates discovered the brothers Gibb aka “The Bee Gees”. 

In 1964, shortly after marrying, my friends moved to Mackay. And, as the years passed, they raised their family of three children, all of whom have grown into fine adults.
He left 4MK in 1990 to help set up Ch. 10 (television station) in Mackay.  Nine years later he returned to 4MK, taking on the position of Accounts Executive until his retirement in 2010.

From that moment forth, as well as working within a couple of community-minded organisations...Rotary Club Australia being was high on his agenda.  
Since retiring, my friends have lived on the beachfront at Grasstree Beach, a small coastal area 37kms south of Mackay.  Grasstree is a 15 minute drive east of Sarina.

My friends' front yard is the foreshore looking out to the Coral Sea.

Through the unfolding years our friendship hasn’t diminished.  Nothing changes, except our ages; we’re older, but are we any wiser?

Among other subjects, fishing, of course, was main topic of conversation the other day with my Grasstree friends. 

These days I have no current stories, real or unreal, to compete with the enviable stories my friend related because it’s quite a few years now since I’ve been fishing.  I loved fishing and partook often back when....

I had to depend on my stories of old; and, I do have lots of them.  Fishing stories never grow stale. I’ve enough to reel off and keep you entertained on a lengthy scale. 

Hold your horses! Don’t run off...I won’t!  

However, one that really takes the cake; one which is factual, I have to relate.  I assure you, it’s not embellished in any way.

Shortly after my now late ex-husband, Randall and I relocated from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast we were fishing at the Maroochy River close to the Bli Bli Bridge. 

Casting out, the wind picked up Randall’s line, carrying it, mid-air, far off to the right.    
Randall caught a truck that was travelling along the bridge!   His Alvey reel was spinning at a hundred miles a minute!    

Finally, the fishing line broke, and the truck driver was none the wiser.

True story! 

From memory, I have related this tale previously, but it’s worthy of repetition because I believe there would be few, if any others, who have ever caught a truck! 

Oh, yes...those were the days...that’s what friends are for.....

Fish Cakes: Process 500g raw white fish fillets; add 1 beaten egg, 3tbs cornflour, 1tbs fish sauce, 3tsp red curry paste, 1tsp chopped red chilli and 1/2c fresh coriander; process until combined; transfer to a bowl; add 10 sliced green beans, and 2 chopped spring onions; mix well. Form into large patties. Heat 1tbs oil in pan; fry patties. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

Whiting & Lemon Dill Sauce: Melt 10g butter in pan over med-high heat until foaming. Add 2 lemons, cut into wedges; cook 1-2mins each side, until caramelised. Transfer to plate.  Season 4 white fish fillets (about 600g). Add to pan; cook 2-3mins each side or until flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork. Transfer to plate; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium; melt 40g butter in pan until foaming. Add thinly-sliced green shallot and 2tbs drained, chopped capers; cook, stirring, 1min or until shallot softens; add 2tbs chopped fresh dill and 2tbs lemon juice; stir until heated though.  Trim 1 bunch rocket, and thinly slice 4 radishes; combine in bowl; drizzle over 2tsp x-virgin olive oil and 1/2tbs lemon juice; toss. Divide fish onto plates; top with caper mix, lemon wedges, and rocket salad.

Blueberry Crumble: Preheat oven, 190C. Grate rind of 1 lemon; juice half lemon. Toss 5c fresh/frozen blueberries with 2tbs sugar, rind, 1tbs lemon juice and 3tbs flour; put in suitable baking dish. With fork, combine 1/4c softened butter, 1/2c brown sugar, 1/4c flour, 3/4c oats, 1/2c chopped almonds and 1/4tsp cinnamon; sprinkle over blueberries; bake 45-40mins, until golden and bubbly.