Our 1961 camping trip to North Queensland.

In the last summer, the one before I started to feel nauseated when I wiped up, we had gone on a camping trip to North Queensland. My mum hated camping and I had heard stories of when they used to travel to Sydney from Condoblin when my brother was a baby, my mother and brother would sleep in the car, whilst my Father would sling his army issue hammock complete with roof between two trees. The tales were always ones of woe for my mother so consenting to our holiday under canvas would have been a surprise. 1961.11 camping near Rockhampton On this trip we went in luxury. Our tent was large enough to take four, hessian-strung stretchers in a row, so we slept in relative comfort. If I wanted to go to the toilet during the night, I had to wake my mother to come with me, as it was usually quite dark in the camping grounds and my mother had a fear that some ill would befall me if I went to the toilet block alone. Packing and unpacking our Holden car became at first was fun as it was an adventure, but then it became a real chore for my parents. We had many relatives up north and we visited many of them. The most memorable was the visit to my Uncle Ollie who was the post master in a really small country town in North Queensland not too far from Rockhampton where we also crossed the Tropic of Capricorn into the torrid zone. 1961.10 A,C,I,near Rockhampton 1961.9 J,C,I, Not only was Uncle Ollie the postmaster, he was also the local telephone exchange and weather station. Fascinated by the rain gauges, thermometers and barometers installed around the post office grounds we pretended to be the postmaster. Inside the house there were telephones in every room and in a central location was the big, black switch board with many wires poking out, waiting for a call to come in which he would then connect one of these wires to the line of the person the caller wished to speak to. My uncle let us connect some of the calls as they came. On this trip we made it as far as Mackay, 1,196 kilometres from our starting point. 1961.12 C,I,Mackay We would all have liked to go further north but time ran out and we had to return home as school was about to start after the holidays. My parents promised that the next year we would visit the Great Barrier Reef and stay on one of the islands, not rough it as we had done this year. Apart from the visit to Uncle Ollie I have to admit that at five I really have little recollection of the trip, and if I had not been triggered by the washing up I probably would not have thought of the holiday (though Uncle Ollie is vivid). I imagine it wasn’t a lot of fun for my parents as my brother suffered from car sickness and I would have been bored from the inactivity of the travel. I do, however, have strong memories of the following year.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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2 Responses to Our 1961 camping trip to North Queensland.

  1. xbox2121 says:

    Irene, this is a well told memory with pictures to boot. You are fortunate to be able to recall these old memories and to have photos this old. All of my old photos I hear that my ex trashed just to spite me. as for the memory mine just doesn’t go back that far 😉


  2. Thanks.This was prompted by thinking of the washing up and putting myself back there. As for my memory :- my brother probably has a totally different one as would my mother. It is so sad when ex’s do that to photos. They do help to bring back detail.


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