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Currie, Allan & Lyn

Allan Currie - 1923 to 2003

In 1947 Allan rode a BSA motor bike probably because it was cheap and cars were expensive, also petrol was rationed. No safety helmets, he may have worn leathers.

Businessman and author.

Born 1923 and grew up in Kangaroo Point. Had one brother Ken who died in New Guinea in World War II.

Allan was a fine Clarinet player and played in orchestras and bands in Brisbane in his teen years.

Allan served in 5th Div Signals in PNG 1943 to 1945 while there he suffered severe cerebral malaria and spent lots of time in Army Hospitals.

Allan was employed by R.A.C.Q. in the Touring Department in late 1947 on the counter issuing petrol ration tickets

Lyn Currie (nee Walsh) Born 1928

Lyn Walsh did not ride a motor bike, she rode pilion and hung on. When the going got rough she got off and walked, smart girl.

Proud Mum and committed to music

Educated in Townsville where her parents were very involved in the music life of the city; mother was a music teacher and father played the violin in several orchestras.

Her first job after leaving school was in the City Library, where the wage for a 15 year old was 23/6 ($2.5) a week. When the US forces arrived in the South Pacific, Lyn started work as a stenographer (steno) at one of their station hospitals, where the wage jumped to Five Pounds Ten Shillings ($11) a week; a 368% rise which was possible because the USA had far greater resources than Australia.

The family entertained quite a lot of servicemen with sing-a-longs around the piano and mother played for dances at a church hall during the same period.

Lyn's brother, Clem, joined the RAAF and was serving in Great Britain when he died in a mid-air collision over the midlands, he was only 21.

After that tragedy the family moved to Brisbane, where Lyn worked as secretary to Dr. Arthur Cooper, Founding Director, of the Queensland Radium Institute.

Some time later she worked as secretary to the manager, King's Music Store in Queen Street, and she also played the Top 40 tunes on the piano in the front window to promote sales.

They Married in 1947

A new start, the war is over and peace has broken out. A new adventure in a new place called Chermside. Where's that?

They met while were both living at the Bulimlba Hostel as accommodation was very hard to find at the time due to the shortage of housing caused by World War II.

They married in 1947 at St Mary's, Kangaroo Point and the same year bought 24 perches of land in what was then bush at a cost of Eighty Seven Pounds ($174) but a receipt of only Forty Pounds ($80) was given by the vendor (a woman in Townsville). There were price restrictions at the time and that was a way of getting a higher price than was permitted.
When the land was bought it was covered in native timbers, which were cleared by Allan using an axe on weekends. Allan had a motor bike, and used to travel along Hamilton Road, with Lyn riding pillion, to the bottom of Eastleigh Street, where she had to dismount and walk the rest of the way, as the street was just a bush track.

However, with a few exceptions, the Housing Commission bought up most of the remaining land around, came out and bulldozed all the trees in about one week. They could not believe their eyes when they came out the following weekend; it looked like the surface of the moon!

Goods that were available such as petrol, meat, butter, sugar, tea and clothing were rationed and just about everything else was in short supply or not available at all. There were major shortages in home building supplies just after World War II, and lots of waiting for roofing, baths and other necessities was common.

They Built a Little House on a Little Block in the Bush

The Currie house 1948 would have been state of the art with its coat of linseed oil as paint was in very short supply.

Their home was designed and built in 1948 at 9 Eastleigh Street costing ₤1,300 ($2,600) while Alan built the garage and bought a shed for brewing beer. Air conditioning was installed.

The original plan was drawn by Theo Hutton of Ford, Hutton and Newell. It started off as a two bedroom home, with an extra long second bedroom, part of which would become a hallway leading to the third bedroom when it was built on.

The house was built by a Scotsman, Jack Dobson, who had already built his own home near the end of Miller Street where it joins Kingsmill Street; there have been units there now for many years.
Jack's brother-in-law, Spencer Garden, was his partner. Spencer had built his own house near the bottom of Greenbank Street where it joins Hamilton Road; this is also now units.

Materials were hard to come by in 1947. The roof was to have been corrugated fibro, but that was unavailable, so a concrete tiled roof was substituted. Also, an enamel bath was not available when needed, so a concrete one was installed instead. (Very cold on the rear end when the bath water started to cool down) The children were always told to "sit on the washer". No hot water system of course but an electric bath heater was installed at the end of the plunge bath, and water for washing up in the kitchen, a few steps away, was carried out from the bath heater.

There was no refrigerator, they were mainly in the corner shops, so and ice box was installed somewhere in the house where the melt water could be drained away. The ice man came and put a new block of ice in the top and the small compartment below held the milk, butter, meat and little else. There was no ice cream at home, you had to go to the corner shop for a threepenny scoop of ice cream in a cone; it was a big treat. Each week Tony the ice cream man would come on his motor bike with the ice cream in the side car and his bell would bring the children running. The Curries had a golden spaniel, Leego who use to delight in chasing and barking at Tony. One day Tony managed to run over Leggo's long floppy ear, the dog recovered - but did he chase Tony again?

Jack Dobson was a real craftsman, he built all the kitchen cupboards himself and they are still going strong. Pine was used for the shelving - no pre-made fixtures at all. An excellent floor was laid, polished professionally and used that way for many years; just a few scatter rugs.

By 2010 the house had a new roof and many coats of paint over the years. It is still the same house but probably a lot quieter than in the past. Lyn has been living here for over 60 years.

And Then There Were Three More

Particia, Peter, Lyn, Wendy and a friend at the beach. Allan is often missing from these photos because he was the one taking them.

Although there had been lots of delays for lack of materials, the house was ready for moving into by August 1948. Just as well as their first child, Patricia was born in 1948, second child, Wendy was born in 1951 and third child, Peter was born in 1955. All the children were educated at Wavell Heights State School and Wavell High.

Housing Commission homes were built in Eastleigh, Greenbank, Cowan, and Miller Streets. They had fibro walls with asbestos roofs and some were sold while others were rented. In Eastleigh Street the privately built homes were mixed with the Housing Commission homes and all were on 24 perch blocks. The people in the Commission homes could rent or buy them and most did buy over time.

Roads were built after the house was finished in about 1948 as the housing commission buildings needed better roads so council built them and, later, sealed them and dug drainage ditches; kerbing and guttering came still later.

The lawn was started by taking a push-cart up to what is now Burnie Brae Park and bringing back little clumps of grass which were planted then rolled with a tennis court roller, and watered regularly. Hard Work!

The builders had no trench-diggers of any sort everything was done by pick and shovel, manually. Also no nail guns, hammers would go all day driving nails, saws were manual, no electric ones.

Mixing concrete was done without even an electric mixer. No such thing as a truck of liquid concrete for a pour. All mixing was done on a slab on the ground, with the hose going for added liquid when needed.

Chermside in the 1950s and 1960s

In the 1950's there were lovely polyanthus roses grown on both sides of the tramline which ended at the Uniting Church, Chermside. Every year the bushes were trimmed by the City Council gardeners, and any branches cut off were allowed to be taken by the public for planting in their own gardens. Lyn had very nice roses growing in the garden after striking them from the off cuts. This went on for a number of years.

During the 1950s Lyn was staying at home for the growing children. She ferried them to music and ballet lessons, played piano for fancy dress balls and concerts and, for a time was accompanist for a ballet teacher at Bardon.

A regular Night soil collection serviced the back yard sentry box lavatories but did not take the spiders and lizards while cane toads were all over the yard; Allan had to accompany Lyn and the children up the back to the 'dub' at night. The bath waste water went into a either a drain or a sullage pit and soaked away into the ground as the sewerage was not connected until 1965.

It was not uncommon for a man to have a vehicle or motorbike and sell it when he married to help finance the house and or land. Allan had to sell his BSA motorbike and it was not until 1954 that they were able to buy a second hand car which was a Morris Tourer; they had a piano before the car.

When Lyn was learning to drive she would go into the city by tram carrying Peter, who was the baby at the time, and Allan would mind him while Lyn had her one hour lesson with a RACQ instructor; she was scared stiff. Then she would collect Peter and go home on the tram. She got license first off and Allan made her keep the car at home for three months to drive and get confidence.

Lyn estimates that roughly half the original occupants of Eastleigh Street had a vehicle, which would be about 10 for the street but bicycles were common and widely used for both adult and child transport.

All the neighbours knew one another, there were chook yards and vegetable patches in the back yards, the children were in and out of each others houses, played cricket in the street, went down to the creek, played in the bush, walked to school together, went to the Dawn Theatre for the pictures; there was a 'crying room' there up the back, so you could take a crying baby in the watch the picture through a glass wall; the sound from the show was piped in. Chermside still had the village atmosphere about it in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Children are Growing Up

Lyn is playing the piano in the band at the Oxley Hotel. She drove herself to any place where she was booked to play.

When the 1960s began and all the children were at school Lyn became bored with housework and began to look for some activity to keep her busy. Being an accomplished pianist she began to play for functions around Brisbane. This led to them buy their second car in 1959 because Lyn had to drive around Brisbane at night to various hotels, wedding receptions and other functions at Oxley, Annerley, the City and other places which she did without any worries. However her mother worried about it partly because many of Lyn's engagements were at night but nothing ever happened. Lyn continued playing for about four years which came to an end in 1965 because she gave up trying to compete with the ever growing number of guitars. This was a period of rapid change and this particular change was at least partly due to the popularity of the Beetles, the Bee Gees and such groups.

When a housewife participates in market research she usually fills in a form or answers the phone, but not Lyn, she actually conducted it for the firm of Colgate-Palmolive. She had to pick four households in a street, knock on the doors and interview the 'lady of the house' to get her opinion about a range of the firm's products.

Following this she registered with the employment agency Centracom for temporary (temp) work in offices around Brisbane. This became a steady job and she found that she was being sent to the offices of the shipping firm P & O at Hamilton quite regularly. They noticed it too and they finally offered her a permanent job which she accepted.

Lyn, like many other housewives of the period was changing her habits and ideas along with the general change in work practices and employment that were taking place in the Australian economy from the 1960s onward.

Beginning in the 1960s both Lyn and Allan were subscribers to the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and used to attend performances in the Brisbane City Hall and later at Southbank. This continued for many years.

The Family Extends

Patricia decided to travel around the world and got as far as New Guinea. There she met Michael, they married and had a family.

Change was steady in those decades and as the children grew up they had to get jobs and then move out as they married or moved to jobs. Their eldest daughter, Patricia married and went to New Guinea but now lives in Brisbane, Wendy lives on the Gold Coast while Peter has travelled all over Australia as a Chef and is presently living in Charters Towers.

Allan's Community Services

Allan was President of Chermside Rotary for some years. An important part of Rotary's work was to sponsor young people from overseas to spend a year living with a family in Australia. Australian students were sent in exchange to live in the other country. Lyn co-operated in these projects. Here they are welcoming two exchange students from the USA at Brisbane Airport in 1970.

In the 1950s Allan was President of Kedron RSL Sub-branch three times before the amalgamation with the Wavell RSL.

Allan was a very involved member of the Anglican Church from 1960 on, serving in many capacities at All Saints Anglican Church in the city, and later transferred to St Francis Anglican Church, Nundah, from where his funeral took place.

He served in Brisbane Legacy in the 1960s. In the 1970s he was a member of Chermside Rotary where he was President for a time.

The Third Generation and Allan's Retirement

Allan nursing Michael the first grandchild, son of Patricia and Michael born 1971. Allan's retirement in 1981 did not mean stopping but rather starting something new.

Allan's progress through the ranks of RACQ, from serving on the counter in 1947, up to Assistant General Manager / Acting Manager appeared in the last few pages of his book about RACQ "The Friendly People", which he published in 2001. The concluding sentence reads "So, vale to the RACQ! You were good to me at some times and bad to me at others. Nevertheless, we have been through a lot of dry gullies together, you will always be in my blood, and I miss you."

Upon Allan's retirement from RACQ at the end of 1981, he and Lyn worked hard for the Queensland Youth Orchestra, and he also did reading of books onto tapes for the blind.

Lyn joined the University of the Third Age (U3A) from the mid 1980s and continued till 2006 when she decided that it was becoming too stressful to drive in the inner city. She then began to attend classes at the Aspley Uniting Church annex.

1990s The Suburb is Changing

The pace of change started to quicken in the 1990s with the houses at No.7 and No. 11 Eastleigh Street being removed, for re-erection somewhere else, and being replaced with units. Later more housed disappeared, some were demolished, being replaced by more units.

The occupants of the old houses were dispersed, some shifted out to other suburbs, the lady from opposite Lyn moved to a unit in Hall Street while the one from No. 11 moved to Deception Bay, another in No 5 moved into care and some died. It was the end of an era, after 40 years old friends were leaving, old houses were disappearing and new, mostly young, people were coming in their place. The new people had a very different lifestyle to the old ones.

The new occupants were sometimes noisy and Lyn never got to know them as they left in the morning and come home in the dark. She did make friends with the people in No 11, an army couple, but they did not stop long. Some neighbours were friendly but often didn't seem to care about making local friends as they were mobile and had communities elsewhere. Many were renting and moved on after some time as work or other commitments changed.

The transport mode was changing as automobiles became more common and this brought problems of parking in the street, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when friends stayed overnight. The car 'hoon' appeared doing 'burns' in the street, parking in or too near driveways and driving too fast.

The old neighbourhood has gone - all strangers now, but the biggest change in Eastleigh Street is the absence of children and dogs, the two went together in families. Some children walk to school along the street but they come from other areas.

Changes to the Older Generation

Allan and Lyn at St Francis Church in about 2002. Allan had his activities curtailed and Lyn had hers changed, but they successfully coped with the changes.

From 1995 onward Lyn's time was constrained in that she had to care for Allan who had a severe stroke and had to be constantly assisted. However, once his daily basic needs had been attended to he was able to fend for himself in many ways and Lyn was able to leave him at home for short periods. She continued her work for the Queensland Conservatorium and towards the end of the century joined and became an active member of the Chermside & District Historical Society Inc.

By 2001, the house has been surrounded by units/townhouses on all sides. Luckily the house was air-conditioned and the constant noise associated with months of continuous building was dampened inside the house. The house is within easy walking distance of the Westfield Shopping town Complex, Kedron Wavell RSL, Library, Chermside Pool and public transport. It is an ideal position for their retired lifestyle today. They had no wish to move, regardless of the massive building activity and changing character of the surrounding streets.

Allan died in July 2003 as a result of the stroke he suffered in 1995 and this presented Lyn with another change in her constantly changing lifestyle. As of 2010 Lyn is still able to look after the inside of the house with cleaning and cooking for herself while a gardener, who lives in the street, comes to mow the lawn and keep the gardens in order.

Eastleigh Street has Changed and is Changing

Eastleigh Street Chermside in 2004, vastly changed from the 1940 photo.