It is generally thought that the information age began in about 1982 with the development personal computer and later, of the internet. Like the electric telegraph in the 19th Century it was the product of a long series of discoveries and grasped opportunities, it didn’t just happen, the infrastructure had to be in place. Again the younger generation took to the new technology with gusto as did business and another new way of communication began.
The development of service industries in Chermside continued with the virtually continuous growth of the Myer Shopping Centre as well as the shops along Gympie Road where professional services were growing. The combination of the credit card and the computer was revolutionising financial activities for both business and the consumer.
The ecological movement was gaining in momentum with the development of parks and care of bushland while some very large community organisations were developing.
The good years that started at the end of World War II were continuing as the workforce responded to the continual changes in the workplace but unemployment was uncomfortably high especially among the young members of the workforce.
The speed of change was increasing especially in the electronics industry with new model computers appearing in rapid succession. People were ‘on the go’, partly because there was so much happening and transport, mainly the automobile, was available to take them to the ‘happening’ in short time; what was once ‘too far away’ had become ‘just down the road’. Cars had radios so one could listen to favourite music or shows or commentators at the same time as travelling to and fro. Skilled workers changed their jobs more frequently while the old idea of a ‘job for life’ was receding as firms and public service began ‘contracting out’ work rather than employing full time workers.
The table shows the dramatic drop brought about by the boundary changes of 1975 which replaced the old boundaries dating from the 19th Century. Two new suburbs, Wavell Heights and West Chermside, were carved out, and several others were enlarged. The population then stabilised as most of the building land had been used.
The basic structures of society such as roads, electricity, water, sewerage, petrol and vehicle maintenance, education, accommodation, communication, banking, shopping were all in place and being maintained; the big addition of the seventies and eighties was in computers and the internet.
Computers that had begun in the fifties with very large models using vacuum tubes, became smaller and more widely produced in the sixties due to transistors replacing the cumbersome tubes. The seventies saw the development of integrated circuit technology and the invention of microprocessors which reduced the size of the unit and marked the beginning of the use of computers for individuals and business.
The early eighties mark the beginning of the Information Age when large amounts of information could be stored and accessed easily by individuals using the PC (personal computer). This was to expand dramatically in the nineties with the rapid development of the internet and its widespread use.
Large scale manufacture of computers lowered the cost and enabled individual families to acquire their own sets. The younger members quickly learned to use them, often at school, and some then taught their parents. Computer games appeared and had an instant appeal to the younger users.
Small computers began to be used in household machines such as television, washing machine, microwave oven, telephone and car.
The typewriter was being replaced by the computer and desktop publishing appeared with ordinary users setting up and printing their own newsletters, advertising material, greeting cards, in fact anything they felt inclined to produce.
In 1981 the Education Department began to explore the use of computers in schools and by 1986 there was limited use by the pupils in the library at Chermside State School. Computer teaching began in about 1990 when a room was fitted as the school computer room where a whole class could be given handson instruction.
The computer works very efficiently once it is programmed, which can take a long time, sometimes involving very repetitious and boring jobs. In 1985 a Chermside and Districts Historical Society member, Stirling Hinchliffe, aged 15 started a school holiday job in the firm where his father worked. He was to work on computers and that sounded exciting, working at the cutting edge of technology, or so he thought.
The job was to prepare records for transference to computer disks by copying out the relevant details from hundreds of files in the filing cabinets. His technology consisted of biro and paper, carefully printing each number and letter very clearly, crossing all the 7s, Zs and zeros. Somebody else entered the information on the disks and then the computer was able to be used to find relevant information much more quickly than the old hand sorting method.
The development of computer technology has been very rapid which contrasts with the 19th Century development of the electric telegraph with wires, cables and the manually operated telegraph key which lasted from 1845 to about 1990 or so; computers change with the seasons and the operating programs multiply like grasshoppers.
The development of the commercial core of Chermside in this period is complex and contrasts sharply with the earlier development in the preWorld War II period and still more with the 19th Century development. The changes chronicled below are made between very large national organisations dependent on an intricate transport and communications network as well as a sophisticated capital market. These infrastructural factors did not exist in the previous century and were only beginning to develop in the preWorld War II period.
The Chermside Shopping Centre which was a revolutionary design when it began in 1957 continued to grow and change. This can be taken as a mark of its success and, as it attracted more customers, it was acting as a major growth engine for the local area.
In September 1972 Target, a discount department store operated by the Myer Emporium, opened in the Chermside Shopping Centre. This was probably as a response to the new KMart, the first in Queensland, which was opened by the rival firm of Coles at Chermside Markets on the corner of Webster and Gympie Roads the previous year. Suddenly Chermside had two competing discount department stores operated by rival national firms on the same road less than a kilometre apart.
On the 19 December 1972 a fire virtually destroyed Woolworths and caused extensive damage estimated at $1.5 m ($11, m in 2004 values) to Myer and Clark Rubber as well as several specialty stores. The fire damage was expensive but it seemed to act as a spur to further expansion with the buildings, not just being restored, but greatly expanded.
In June 1974 Myers announced a development plan costing $16 million ($93.5 m in 2004 values) which included additions to the Target store, a new Myer store and 40 specialty shops. There would also be provision for 2,500 cars, a bus terminal and the project was to be finished by June in 1977.
A second fire damaged Woolworths in 1978 but was not as serious as the previous one. In December late night shopping began in the suburbs to allow families where both partners were working to do their shopping. This was a mark of the changing social structure where double income families were becoming more common, and where many found they had to have two incomes to support their lifestyle. The consumer society was becoming more powerful as it helped drive the economy to higher production levels and higher debt levels.
In August 1985 the Myer Emporium Ltd and G J Coles & Coy Ltd merged becoming one of the largest Australian corporations, ColesMyer Ltd. This probably triggered the next phase of expansion in the same year when six specialty stores opened and Safeway Supermarket owned by Woolworths was changed to Franklins No Frills Supermarket.
This phase continued and was completed in July 1987 with the number of specialty stores increased from 55 to over 90 at a total cost of more than $7m ($12.1 m in 2004 values)
During the expansion a severe hail storm occurred and flooded Myers with 30cm of water on the ground floor. The problem of flooding was to be a continuing one and necessitated continued upgrading of the drainage system on the low lying site.
The 30th birthday celebrations featured some of the cast from a TV soapie “Neighbours” including Craig McLachlan, Annie Jones and Guy Pearce; a visit from the Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, was another highlight of the celebrations.
The further expansion of business was assisted by the extension of trading till 4pm on Saturdays in 1989.
This is a fairly new concept in shopping and was not associated with shopping centres before the 1980s. In those days if a customer wanted to have a cup of tea or lunch while on a day’s shopping in the city or ‘in town’ they had to go to a café or the store cafeteria. The fare was very traditional with a cake to accompany the cup of tea or coffee; for lunch one had sandwiches or a pie and peas or roast beef and ‘vegies’ with sweets all picked up by the customer and put on a tray and carried to a table.
The food court accompanied the other attractions designed to make shopping a pleasurable experience in the big malls; these included cinemas, gyms, bowling alleys, child minding facilities, pinball or computer games ‘alley’ and a very wide variety of specialist shops. Shopping could be a day long experience; a day’s outing where eating would be a pleasantly memorable experience; it all helped to increase sales.
Originating in USA, the early food courts developed from the street vendors of traditional foods cooked on the spot and served hot, tasty and fast. Gradually over the 1990s the idea of leisurely eating came to be incorporated into the design with a spacious central table area surrounded by a variety of cooking outlets each with its own specialty; if at all possible an outdoor area or picture window view would be added.
In recent times while the variety of foods has widened, Westfield Chermside lists 29 outlets in its Food Court/Takeaway section, there has also been an emphasis on ‘healthy eating’, ‘fresh food’ as well as the general ban on smoking has led to a more up market scene.
The Westfield Food Court is located at the Gympie Road entrance in a large roughly circular space with a battery of 15 food outlets catering for the fast food eater and national foods for the adventurous eater; Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mexican, KFC, McDonald’s, Red Rooster and Zaraffa’s Coffee shop offer their wares to the hordes of chomping shoppers and local workers. While in among the seated customers there is another coffee shop, a Sushi Deli, a Muffin shop and a Magic Beef shop, where presumably, one is served by a conjurer.
While the customers are eating they can survey the offerings of the newsagent, the ABC shop, a hair salon and the Groove Accessories shop, where the groovy people go.
Located at the northern entrance of the Shoppingtown is the Parkland Pavilion, which is, in effect, a second Food Court. This area is, in keeping with its name, more open with views of the park and the famous Downfall Creek where considerable landscaping has been executed.
Methods of Payment by Consumers
Considerable changes took place in the way consumers paid for their purchases. These changes reflect the development of commerce in Chermside as it changed from the relatively simple local agricultural, small manufacturing, 19th Century model into the very complex international model of the latter 20th Century.
In the 19th and first half of the 20th Centuries payment was mostly in cash over the counter with a cash register or the cash drawer. Business houses used the cheque while a consumer may have used a bank cheque for a very large purchase such as a car or a house.
The layby was used very early and consisted of paying off the purchase price while the shop held the goods until the last payment was made. The purchases would be goods which did not deteriorate with age while fresh food had to be paid for on purchase. This was very common up to the post World War II period when credit selling or hire purchase became widespread.
The hire purchase system allows the buyer to purchase the goods and use them while paying off the cost plus interest in equal instalments over a set period of time. Sometimes a finance company is involved paying the seller a discount price and then charging the buyer the full price plus interest. This system serves a more complicated economy which was developing and which was largely controlled and supplied from other parts of Australia and overseas. This system was, and is, used for more expensive durable goods such as cars, refrigerators, T V, air conditioners, sewing machines, computers and furniture.
Credit, debit and charge cards began to be used widely in the late 1960s early 1970s and are all cashless means of purchasing items. This meant that the consumer did not have to carry large amounts of cash but it also meant that they had to have bank accounts with money in them or access to a loan. The danger is that some people spend too much and then cannot settle their account resulting in debt accumulating. To help such people counsellors at organisations such as Lifeline teach them how to budget and negotiate with the lenders to enable the debtor to pay off the debt; also debt collecting agencies specialize in collecting the money owing. Another problem is stealing the plastic cards and buying goods quickly before the owner discovers the loss, criminals learn quickly and the police have to learn new skills to deal with a modern version of an old problem.
This sector still looms large in the Chermside scene with old groups continuing and several new groups such as Craigslea School Parents and Citizens Association which would have formed in 1972 when the school opened.
1988 Downfall Creek Bushland Centre
The centre, which is located in the Raven Street Reserve off Rode Road, West Chermside, opened in 1988 to promote education and community involvement in protection of bushland. It was started by Greening Australia and the Brisbane City Council took over in about 2002.
Education in the protection of bushland is undertaken:
On site by a two hour program for school children who come in class groups to visits the centre. This involves talking to the children in the centre and then going outside to do some handson activities.
Advertising activities for older groups of young people and adults who then sign on at the centre to take part in an organised program.
Customer service at the centre from people who visit and want to know more about the bushland.
The local community is involved in maintaining the reserve by regenerating the bush. This involves such activities as weed removal, replanting original native species lost through past European occupation, cleaning rubbish and general repairs. There are two Bush Care groups which meet once a week and the Friends of Downfall Creek which meets on one Saturday each month.
A staff of four working a mixture of full and part time operate the centre and all have degrees in Environmental Science or Teaching. The Council Catchment Coordinators and rangers conduct research in the reserve in such fields as fauna counts and identifying Australian native stingless bees as well as the identification of many species of flora.
Mountains to Mangroves
The concept started with a group of local residents who wanted to protect the newly formed Raven Street Bushland Reserve. It grew into the idea of linking the reserve to a wildlife corridor of some 30 kilometres stretching west to the mountains near Brisbane Forest Park and east to the mangroves at Moreton Bay.
The corridor is to preserve and revitalise the natural systems that existed before the European occupation. These include open forest in the west, heath and woodland, wetlands and tidal wetlands beside the bay in the east. When fully developed, the corridor will enable the native animals and birds to move along it to find their best habitats. Because of global warming and climate change many species are beginning to move in order to survive.
Linking much of the corridor is a system of creeks including Downfall, Nundah, Cabbage Tree and Little Cabbage Tree, all of which empty into the bay.
The idea of a corridor grew and, in 1995 Peter Armstrong, manager at the Bushland Centre, organised a committee comprising residents, representatives of government, educational bodies and other interested groups to make it happen.
An enormous amount of planning, surveying, negotiating, fund raising and sheer hard work was necessary before the corridor was mapped out and the borders determined.
A series of seven large ceramic signs, ‘visions of the corridor’, artistically depicting the surrounding areas was executed by Jamie McLean. A separate set of 28 smaller signs, depicting a journey through nature and time, containing written messages pointing out important aspects of the environment and local history was also developed; both sets were erected in 2000.
Every two years a fortnight of events is held involving activities associated with the corridor and culminating in a huge celebration festival which involves thousands of participants and visitors.
In a nearby area the Brisbane City Council bought 4.6ha of bushland at 590 Trouts Road West Chermside previously owned by the Salvation Army for $1.3m to provide a link between the bushland areas of Cabbage Tree Creek and the Chermside Hills. This area supports 12 species of mammals including the rednecked wallaby.
KedronWavell Services Club
The Club, the largest single community organisation in the district, grew out of the Kedron Wavell Sub Branch RSL (Returned & Services League of Australia) which was formed from the merger, in 1968, of the Kedron Sub Branch RSL and the Wavell Heights Sub Branch RSL.
The Kedron Sub Branch was formed sometime after World War I and built its headquarters, the Kedron War Memorial School of Arts, in 1928 on the corner of Gympie and Broughton Roads, now the site of a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. The Wavell Heights Sub Branch was formed between the end of World War II in 1945 and 1950.
The Services Club began with a meeting of 65 local residents on 4th December 1968 in the old School of Arts (Library Hall) and applied to the Brisbane City Council to build on reclaimed land at the corner of Hamilton Road and Kittyhawk Drive.
The Club commenced operating on 18 December 1970 with a 21 year lease and on 6 March 1971was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Clem Jones. It aimed to provide the people of the district with a place where they could socialise in an enjoyable manner with their friends and families.
In 1992 the Club was issued with a gaming machine licence and took delivery of 45 gaming machines soon after. This was very important as it gave the club a large steady source of income to develop its widespread community activities.
In 1994 the area in the Club’s lease was extended and the lease renewed for another 45 years. In return the Brisbane City Council called for financial help to establish the new Library beside the club and to help in the redevelopment of the Chermside Swimming Pool.
In 2000 the Club with a grant of $1.3m from the National Standard Sports Facilities Program built a hockey complex of a synthetic surface field, two grass fields and a clubhouse for $3m as part of its assistance to local sport.
The annual report for 2006 places the membership at 20,533 and gives an overview of the Club’s assistance to the organisations of the local district.
Almost $1million is provided annually to support over 70 local community nonprofit and charitable organisations including:
The Breast Cancer Association, Variety Queensland, The Prince Charles Hospital and QUT, Orana Youth Shelter, Drug Arm, Leukaemia Foundation, Legacy Care Group, Clubs Smile for a Child, Brisbane North Development Forum, Shawsportz Ltd which has a large community sports complex on Shaw Road, Wooloowin and another at O’Callaghan Park, Zillmere, Netball Queensland and AFL Brisbane Juniors with 6,500 players.
As part of a five year commitment the Club makes an annual contribution of $75,000 to fund aged care research by Jennifer Abbey who is Queensland’s first Professor in Aged Care Nursing
The Club was fully accredited as a registered training organisation as from May 2006 and the first step was to provide hospitality training for its own staff and, in 2007 commenced training staff for external industry customers. This is part of the program of diversification to cope with the more stringent regulations coming into force in relation to gambling and sales of alcohol.
Under the policy of acquiring freehold land the Club owned 13 homes in Playfield Street, Chermside. It was intended to develop low cost accommodation for elderly local residents on this land but with the widening of Kittyhawk Drive to four lanes about 9 metres was trimmed from the back yards of the houses facing Playfield Street so the idea was shelved and the houses are rented for the time being.
In Ballantine Street the Club had successfully developed group of 44 low rent units for elderly local residents, now operated by the Sunny Cove organisation which is continuing the policy.
Burnie Brae Senior Citizens Centre
The centre was opened by Sir James Ramsay, Governor of Queensland, on the 22 March 1984 with 1000 members previously signed up. The centre, costing about $500,000 ($1.1 m in 2004 values), was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chermside, which spent six years working towards this goal. Considerable financial assistance was provided by both State and Commonwealth Governments and the Brisbane City Council granted the centre a 20 year lease of portion of Annand Park, renamed Burnie Brae Park in 1997.
The centre is named after the Hamilton family home which stood nearby on this land from 1873 till it was demolished almost 80 years later in 1952. On reflection this is one house that should have been preserved at public expense because of its very great historic value. However in the 1950s people didn’t think in those terms and the building was lost forever.
The need for the centre arose from the ageing of the local population, the longer life spans due in part to better diet and medical advances and also the changing attitude to older people. Elderly people are no longer content to ‘live out their days’ sitting at home or in the local park. They want to be active in the local community and meet other people and use the skills they have acquired over many years. Most of them have mobility, they still drive their own cars and the centre has parking for 350 cars.
Mr Brian Austin, State Health Minister said that with life expectancy increasing, retirement formed a significant portion of a person’s life. “It marks the beginning of perhaps 20 or more years of a new way of living. Senior citizens’ centres are therefore an integral part of our community in providing opportunities for people to live life to the full.”
Burnie Brae provides a onestop shop for seniors’ services in North Brisbane. Tai chi, bowls, dancing, aqua aerobics, transport, support services for seniors, the frail and the younger disabled, respite services, Welfare Office, Home Assist Secure, Meals on Wheels and others.
In 2004 the Social Isolation Project of the Brisbane City Council was started at the Centre to reach out to people who are isolated in their own homes and link together people who can identify older people at risk of social isolation. The centre can then contact the isolated persons in order to help them cope with their problems; Meals on Wheels is one such organisation that helps to find the socially isolated individuals.
Membership in 2006 is 1,250 with some 219 new members joining which slightly exceeds the attrition rate and so keeps the membership fairly constant.
This was an example of what some parents were prepared to do for their local area. It started with the Windsor YMCA sending a couple of leaders to organise the children; later the parents formed a committee and took over but retained the help of two of the YMCA men who stayed so that the club became totally local.
The Club was based at Craigslea State Primary and used the facilities there. They had no storage facilities at the school so the parents built a trailer to carry all their gear to events and garaged it at various members’ homes.
The ages varied from 7 to around 17 or so, and they had a variety of activities such as archery, softball, football, gymnastics, face painting, crafts, ice skating, grass skiing, 10 pin bowling and others. The children were encouraged to take part in several activities and encouraged to communicate with each other.
Camps were held at places such as Eaton’s Hill and Samford Valley each year, one for the children and one for the adults and one for the leaders who were trained by the exYMCA men. The youthful leaders were trained to take care of small groups of younger members and help them to acquire the skills needed for the activities.
A small fee was charged when the members attended their meetings and fund raising was undertaken amongst the parents with such things as cake stalls.
It was formed in the late 1970s when West Chermside was still growing with around 40 members and faded in the early 1990s when the West Chermside population was getting into middle age and the number of local children had declined; the club had served its purpose and it was time to close.
In 1973, Harry Johnson began teaching at Aspley Special School and, being conscious of the waste of materials in society set about doing something to recycle some of it. In 1983 he started recycling cans in the school and raised $25 for the year, but as the idea caught on, the volume of material recycled increased.
His ‘big vision’ the purpose built Kingfisher Recycling Centre, costing $92,000 ($124,000 in 2004 values), was opened in 1992, about 300 metres from the school with its own entrance on Dorville Road. Today the centre raises $20,000 per year, but more important, it trains disabled teenagers and adults to develop skills, self confidence, raise self image and set them on a course for a meaningful place in society.
There are 93 people, students, teachers, volunteers working together to earn money by recycling waste and potting up to 1000 native plants a week. The money goes to various projects one of which was to provide solar panels to heat the school’s therapy pool. Harry notes:
There is no other facility like this in the whole world…… The great thing about the whole process is that the public who drop off their recyclables see the students’ abilities not their disabilities and that is a vital aspect of the initiative.
The Kingfisher has been recognised by the United Nations for its work on the environment, and has received several Banksia Environmental Awards. Harry was awarded the National Excellence in Teaching Award for Career Teaching in 2001 and the Australian Teachers’ Prize for Excellence in Enterprise and Career Education.
Harry Johnson retired at the end of 2007 after 34 years of service, but he will stay on as one of the volunteers at the Kingfisher Centre.
The decades of the seventies and eighties saw a great deal of merger activity among the churches of the Chermside district which had its roots in theological and practical sources. On the theological side a strong uniting movement was developing among the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches which stimulated merging. At the same time the populations in the older suburbs were gradually aging and the younger marrieds were moving to suburbs further out where land was cheaper. This movement caused congregations in the older areas to decline so that it was not always feasible to maintain all the local churches as the cost of maintenance was rising in the older buildings.
From 1973 mergers were occurring among local congregations of the above three churches and this was further stimulated by the foundation of the Uniting Church in Australia in 1977. The movement continued and involved about ten congregations in the Lutwyche, Gordon Park, Kedron, Chermside and West Chermside areas.
The movement culminated in the opening of the newly built ChermsideKedron Community Church in 2001. The new building is on the site of the old Chermside State School on the corner of Rode and Gympie Roads and is strategically situated near the heart of the ChermsideKedron business district.
The ChermsideKedron Community Church is a modern form of church building as it is a multi purpose building which is meant to fulfil the many roles a church has to fill in a busy city site.
The building has two large halls, a coffee shop, seating for about 400 in the church auditorium (worship centre), three kitchens, a conference room, education centre, office spaces and child minding centre. A large offstreet car park set amongst gardens with the opportunity shop Grapples on Henry Street, completes the site.
Saint Gerard Majella Catholic Church, West Chermside began celebrating Sunday Eucharist in a house on Gympie Road opposite Allan & Stark’s Drivein Shopping Centre in the late 1950s. In October 1961 they shifted to another house in Decker Street West Chermside and June the following year opened a church in Pullford Street seating 350 persons.
The growth of the congregation continued and a larger church was needed so in June 1977 the present church, seating 470 opened at Maundrell Terrace opposite Craigslea High School. The previous church in Pullford Street was sold to the Christadelphians.
The latter part of the 20th Century saw the emergence of sizable Asian groups in the local area and they brought their religious traditions with them; when their numbers reached a large enough size they built venues for their services.
A Hindu temple was established in a disused weatherboard church at Boondall, a Taoist temple at Deagon and a Mosque at Bald Hills. Although these are not in the immediate vicinity of Chermside, they are easy to reach by car today. Nearer to Chermside is the Cantonese Christian church which was established at Kedron in 1984; they have services in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
In the seventies and eighties the old, locally owned industries, were steadily disappearing as circumstances changed.
Redundancy of products or services – There were about five blacksmith forges in Chermside, four of which have been replaced by offices or shops because their products were being supplied by hardware shops or engineering firms. Vellnagel’s was the only blacksmith forge which remained in Chermside and it did so by constantly changing its methods and products and because succeeding generations of the family carried on the ancient art. Finally, in 2004 the firm moved to Brendale where they are nearer to their market in the new housing areas while their old site is now a sales office for Dixon Homes.
Products Undersold by large scale producers – Local sandal manufacturers, Box & Beck prospered for many years until cheaper foreign products almost drove them out of business. In order to survive they altered the product and finally sold out. The new owners facing the same problem switched from manufacturing to retail and began selling the foreign products but with a greatly reduced staff.
Forced to Move or Close – This happened to many tanneries which are noxious industries and existed on the fringes of settlements but as housing moved in they had to move out to dedicated industrial areas. The Packer Tanning firm sold up and shifted to Boundary Road, Narangba in 1973. In 2007 the firm, now known as Packer Leather, operates successfully with 180 employees specialising in kangaroo hides which it started to use in the 1960s.
Probably the last tannery in the area was the Bristol, owned by the Maggs family which in 1966 was sold to Johnson & Sons. Production continued till 1973 when it closed and was replaced in 1975 by housing development; today there is nothing to suggest the tannery ever existed.
Business replacing Homes – Glenora, the Maggs stately family home on the corner of Kedron Street, Gympie Road and Sport Street which had a three rink bowling green beside it, was finally sold. It had been a notable feature of Gympie Road for almost 40 years but the bulldozers moved in and it became just another used car lot.
The motor service industry has been increasing with repairs being carried out by service stations, panel beaters and spray painters, trimmers, caravan services all expanding along with the appearance of the seemingly endless used motor sales yards along Gympie Road from Rode Road to Kedron Brook.
Market Oriented – Sawmilling tends to shift as near as possible to its market which is the building industry, especially house building. There had been several sawmills in the area but the last one, owned by Mick Simpson, was in Mermaid Street. Chermside. It closed in 1982/3 and was replaced by a housing development.
Same Product Different Material – Sometimes old products may be made using different materials such as with Woodland Woodworks, which was sited on the corner of Hamilton Road and Charlotte Street Chermside and was owned by Jim Wayper. The firm produced a wide variety of small wooden items such as blocks to go under light switches, school rulers, pencil cases, shadow boards, bread boards, cheese boards, carving boards, knife blocks, rolling pins, wooden spoons, broom handles, saw handles, carpenter’s benches, saw stools, mitre boxes, wooden cement floats, toilet roll holders, even the sawdust was sold for use in stables.
In about 1984 the firm was sold partly because plastics had replaced wood in many of the articles which the firm had produced. The present occupier of the site is Byrne Ford a car sales and maintenance firm.
Australia Post – In 1975 the Post Master General’s Department was broken up into separate firms to deal with postal, telephone and telecommunications sections with Australia Post keeping the postal section. The local Post Offices were taken over by private individuals instead of the public servants as it was the previously. While still known as the local Post Office the often smaller agencies provide services of postage, financial services such as payment of bills and banking while selling a wide variety of stationary and other goods; in fact they resemble the earlier Post Office Agencies in the grocer’s shop.
Childcare – A New Industry
In the 20th Century more women began to work outside the home but generally it was expected that when they married they would leave work and become full time housewives and mothers. During the Second World War many more women entered some sort of full time work outside the home to help with the war effort and after the war many of them wanted to continue.
However the idea of a working mother was not widely accepted and, although many women wanted to keep working at their jobs, they stayed at home, at least until the children were old enough to go to school or preschool. Thus the idea of part time work developed in the postwar period partly to overcome the shortage of skilled labour and partly because women wanted to earn extra money for the family.
Still later the workforce became dependent on female labour as demand for goods and services grew. This extra labour had the effect of increasing demand still further and the two income family became progressively more common in the younger parent age group.
In order to cater for the needs of these people governments legislated for unpaid maternity leave so that a woman could stay at home with a new baby for a period of time and then resume work. When she resumed work it was necessary to have another family member, such as a grandparent, look after the child; the problem was that these carers were in short supply so that professional childcarers were needed to fill the void.
At first community childcare centres were established by churches, councils and neighbourhood community groups which charged the parents a fee and operated on a nonprofit basis; small privately run, profit making centres also operated. As the demand grew, the Federal government helped by paying subsidies, 40% of which went directly to the centres.
However the demand for places was outstripping the supply and in 1997 the Commonwealth Government decided to give the subsidy, graded according to income, directly to the parents and let them decide which centre they wanted for their child. The result was a huge increase in the number of profit making centres and a sharp decline in the notforprofit centres. The former group has come to dominate the industry because they have much greater finance, better management systems and economies of scale. They are also able to pick the most convenient sites and build state of the art facilities whereas the community care centres often had to use already established premises and try to suitably upgrade them.
The term childcare is rather outdated as the current facilities do a lot more than mind the children. Over the last 10 years the emphasis has changed to the idea of ‘early education’ with a programming approach in which the child is taught various skills and weekly assessments were made as to his/her progress; drawing, holding the drawing instrument, handling various implements such as a ball, spoon, blocks, learning to act as part of a group, correct manners, respect for others and the everyday skills needed in group situations.
Security at centres is mandated by government regulation and is strict. All employees and volunteers must have a Blue Card issued by the Commissioner for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. This involves a screening process in which the suitability of the applicant is assessed by a set procedure, involving personal identification and history.
The centres must be protected by proper fencing, entrance gates, supervision by the office of all clients and visitors; in some places entry is by keypad or voice contact with the office.
Access can be, and is, denied to a parent who does not have access rights to the child or any other person the office deems a risk. Security or closed circuit cameras may be used and records kept in some cases.
There are currently at least two centres operating in Chermside, one in Kuran Street with 75 places and one at The Prince Charles Hospital with 150 places; both are privately run, newly built and centrally placed.
In the newer area of West Chermside and environs there are possibly up to eight or nine centres and a dispute is in progress as to whether there are too many. This was triggered by the proposal of Centacare Child Services applying to build a new 75 place centre; the Councillor for McDowall, Norm Wyndham, was quoted as saying that there was a glut of childcare services in West Chermside.
Many centres have waiting lists and the press is constantly emphasising the shortage of places, perhaps it is more a problem of better location of the centres to areas where the need is greatest. But with the mobility of the population parents are capable of taking children to many different places, with some people dropping off children on the way to work and picking them up on the way home.
With the financial turmoil of 2008 some centres such as ABC Learning have overexpanded and found themselves seriously in debt. The Federal Government has had to step in and try to sort out the mess.
Odd Jobs Industry
Odd job is the term traditionally used to signify the small jobs that were done around the house, often by the man of the house, who had a variety of tools in the shed or garage. With more and more men being employed in tertiary or service industry, and especially in office work, the modern man sometimes lacks the manual skills his father picked up on the job in secondary and primary industry.
Additionally many people no longer want to do these traditional jobs and with better incomes or two incomes they are willing to pay to have the job done. This is seen very commonly in the number of professional lawn mowing and garden tending services available; at least it was until the climate change induceddrought stopped the grass growing.
Some people take up these jobs when they have lost their earlier jobs due to redundancy as old industries are changed or disappear. Others, often women, do some work such as cleaning, washing, ironing and shopping for others when their own children have grown up.
The weekly Northside Chronicle currently has 10 pages with about 70 advertisements to each page for odd jobs, a total of 700 in the section “Search Local Get Local Trades and Services”. This seems to indicate a labour force of at least 700 people plus ancillary workers perhaps 1,000 employed in the Northside area doing odd jobs.
Characteristics of the industry:
Usually small scale one person enterprises
May work under franchise
Do virtually any small job
Casual or regular work
Cash or cheque payment
Often not GST Registered
Lawn mowing – gardening
Landscaping – small scale
Concreting – driveways, paths
Roof plumbing and cleaning roof gutters
Painting – house
Tree pruning and removal
Wood chipping and stump grinding
House cleaning – external and/or internal
Pet care – grooming, nail cutting, washing, often mobile
Letterbox deliverers – junk mail
Mothers Shift – take children to school, clean house, make beds, prepare evening meal, washing and ironing, collect children from school, wait for parents to come home, go home.
TV Video antennas installation
Crust Gardening and Property Maintenance
Geoff Crust, with the help of Mrs. Crust, who does the paperwork, runs this small, one man handy man firm, doing a multiplicity of jobs. These include lawn mowing, gardening, weed spraying, pruning and shaping trees, clipping hedges, cutting borders, planting shrubs, mending fences, small painting jobs, repairs to buildings, doors, windows, welding, cleaning up rubbish, dumping rubbish and any other small jobs that people want done.
Geoff does not advertise but depends on word of mouth recommendations and has been operating for about 15 years, the first five on a part time basis. He originally trained as a wool classer and worked in the industry for 35 years as a classer and foreman with the large wool brokering firms in the wool stores along the Brisbane River.
About 15 years ago it became obvious that the wool trade in Brisbane had a limited life as the industry was declining in volume and shifting in location to Sydney where the sales were located. Queensland wool was increasingly being trucked direct to Sydney as it saved double handling by having to send it on to Sydney after it was sold. Geoff began to realise that if he wanted to retain his job he would have to relocate to Sydney as the alternative was redundancy.
He chose to start his present business, on a part time basis at first to build up a clientele. This proved a successful strategy and as he became known in the industry he acquired contracts with Real Estate agents who managed rental properties and wanted someone to maintain the outside yards and fences and to make small repairs, painting, tap washers, insect screens, small landscape jobs, remove a tree, etc. etc.
Geoff maintains that, for him, working on his own is better than employing labour as he would have to face the problem of keeping a steady stream of jobs to keep any employees constantly working and this would put extra pressure on him, pressure he does not want.
He uses a flexible approach to working by fitting intermittent jobs in between the regular ones and the urgent jobs that have to be attended immediately. The working hours are to keep going until the job is done, seven days a week if and when necessary.
He has contacts with other trades which he can call on when some work requiring specialist skills or machinery has to be undertaken.
Another group in the odd job sector is the volunteers who help with many charitable
organisations as a way of community service; Meals on Wheels, Lifeline, Salvation Army, Saint Vincent de Paul, Smith Family, come easily to mind. Prominent in this group are retirees who no longer have to go to daily work but are still able and willing to work and help others.
In the Chermside area there are about 150 local community organisations with hundreds of members involved in a multiplicity of activities and at the core of each one is a smaller number who form the executive and who actually do the work of making these organisations function.
The government has recognised the importance of volunteers in the community and makes grants and other incentives to encourage people to serve the community through recognised organisations.
Like most parts of the local scene education was changing, sometimes steadily with the continuous upgrading of teaching programs by teachers; sometimes dramatically with the introduction of Preschool and then the termination of same with the reintroduction of Prep, by the State Government; sometimes regularly with the revision of programs by the Department of Education. With Chermside State School there was the added change of the declining enrolment.
Despite the introduction of a small Pre School group, the declining enrolment at Chermside State School continued from 341 pupils in 1971 to only 88 in 1989. The Education Department attributed the decline to the ageing of the population in Chermside, Kedron and Wavell Heights and the closeness of the schools of Wavell Heights, Kedron and Somerset Hills.
Building activity had slowed so that young people were not coming into the area and 40% of the local population was over 50 years of age so were unlikely to have more children. Even when the Pre School section was opened in 1973 only 50 half time children were enrolled, enough for one teacher, and that number declined regularly in the following years reaching 23 in 1989. The unused rooms were used for various purposes including a Speech Therapy Centre in 1976
This situation contrasted with that at the rapidly growing, predominantly young, West Chermside area where the Craigslea Primary was established in 1972. The demand was so great that the West Chermside Lutheran Church was able to open its own primary school as late as 1984.
Along with the changes in enrolment the 1970s and 1980s saw a series of sweeping changes within the primary school to keep ahead of the changes in society. It was about new methods of accessing the information and new skills to process the flood of information pouring into society. The immediate change was the introduction of new primary syllabuses spread over the following five years,
In 1973 the provision of one year State Preschool education for four and five year olds commenced and the first regional resource centres for teachers, opened. These were places where teachers could go for inservice training or to obtain resources for their classes.
The first teacher’s aides were appointed to perform some of the routine and administrative tasks and allow the teacher to concentrate on teaching.
The inspection system changed and the Inspectors became more advisory rather than supervisory. This was part of a program to treat teachers more professionally. Teachers had to become more independent by developing their own programs in the light of their mission statements, which describe the teacher’s aims and what s/he wants to achieve with the pupils.
Self evaluation by the teacher was being developed in the light of their teaching aims and methods; lesson preparation became more important.
In 1975 the first resource teachers were appointed and their job was to assist the classroom teachers with material and other forms of help. Some were teacher librarians who made the Library into a Resource Centre where they trained teachers and children to find their own information. This was made possible by appointment of library aides who took over much of the earlier work of the librarian such as the acquisition, classification, storage and lending of books
When computers became common the teacher librarians were able to teach the use the Internet and how to access information; the Resource Centre was becoming more important as the centre of the school in the Information Society.
The Professional Development (In Service) Program began with eight and sixteen week refresher courses for teachers who had been working from five to ten years; this enabled the older teachers to catch up with the newly trained ones.
The 1981 school year changed from the old three terms to an even earlier system of two semesters made up of two terms each, i.e. four terms. The teachers now were able to have three pupilfree days per year in which they could plan their work.
Another sign of changing educational technology was the establishment of an advisory committee on computerassisted learning. It was not just a matter of installing computers in schools, the teachers and pupils had to be trained to use them in school subjects.
In 1983 the implementation of the new primary Science syllabus continued and sourcebooks for Years 15 were distributed at the beginning of 1982 continuing into 1983.
A new method for teaching handwriting was adopted which used a semiprinting style of scrip instead of the traditional cursive style; teachers also had to change their style.
This period saw one of the biggest changes in the organisation of the police force in its history with increasing specialization and mobility at Boondall to cope with the changes taking place in society.
As Chermside and district grew so the police station grew to cope with much the same activities as in the previous periods. The Inspection Report for 1972 noted that the Police staff had been increased by the addition of two trainee constables and a civilian staff consisting of a clerk, who started in 1970, and a clerk typist who started in 1972. This arrangement allowed the Police to be employed on police duties while the civilian staff managed the station office.
The report notes that crime was on the increase particularly in the areas of stealing and breaking and entering. The civilian staff was kept busy issuing 1,139 learner’s driving permits and 1,028 renewal of driver’s licences in the previous six months; this function was later taken over by the Department of Main Roads.
The area policed does not seem to have changed but the population had risen to between 40,000 and 42,000 and Chermside was growing as a business centre bringing more people to shop there which further increased the work load of the local station.
To cope with these changes the police system was reorganised by establishing a system of clustering which involved a large central headquarters with several police beats in the surrounding suburbs. Thus the North Brisbane Police District Headquarters or Cluster was established at Boondall and was operating before it was officially opened on 14 April 1991 by the Premier Wayne Goss.
With a staff of approximately 60 officers, the new Boondall Cluster covers the area from Carseldine in the north to Kedron in the south and from Virginia in the east to west Chermside and is responsible for the performance of several major services:
Criminal Investigation Bureau – The detectives specialise in the investigation of long term problems, of very serious offences and where there are a number of offences. Minor offences are dealt with by the General Duty Officers.
Juvenile Aid Bureau – Child Protection Investigation Unit – Trained to deal with young people under the age of 17 in situations of crisis management, child abuse and in school liaison work
District Traffic Branch – Responsible for enforcing road rules using motor bikes and high performance cars such as V8 and 6 cylinder Typhoon Ford Falcons; they have to have passed the Advanced Drivers Course.
General Duty Officers – These are the first response officers or ‘front line troops’ who deal with a wide range of problems such as domestic violence, armed robberies, assault, keeping the peace, community assistance, traffic incidences or accidents, help ambulance where someone is causing trouble or needs calming.
Special Groups in Boondall Cluster include: District Support Office, Tactical Crime Squad, District Intelligence Office, District Office, Superintendent and the State Traffic Task Force
When Chermside station closed to make way for the bus interchange, the police moved to a shopfront in the Medical Clinic on the corner of Gympie and Hamilton Roads. The Chermside Police Beat is now located in the Westfield Shoppingtown and has 2 General Duty Officers, a Police Liaison Officer, who deals with specific ethnic groups, and is identified by yellow epaulettes while the office is managed by a civilian police employee. Thus there is still a police presence in Chermside assisted by a highly specialised and mobile force at Boondall.
In 1970 the first coronary artery bypass graft operation in Queensland was conducted at The Prince Charles Hospital and heralded a new era in heart surgery. This was a big change and was the result of long preparation in training the medical team and building the technical infrastructure. It also highlights the delicate, highly complex procedures which were becoming routine in hospitals and sending the cost of running the health system ever higher, and higher.
Two other important changes to the structure of health care in Australia were introduced in the 1970s which were in response to this increasing cost of medical care. In order to help people financially when they were faced with expensive treatment the Federal Government instituted the two following instrumentalities:
Medicare, originally called Medibank, was introduced by the Whitlam Government on 1st July 1974. It is a publiclyfunded universal health scheme, operated by government authority intended to provide affordable treatment by doctors and fully subsidised treatment in public hospitals. Visitors from countries which have reciprocal arrangements with Australia have limited access to Medicare. The title Medicare was introduced in 1984 by the Hawke Government when it made further changes to the legislation.
Medibank Private, a complementary governmentowned private health insurance fund that provides cover for health treatment not covered by the universal scheme was introduced on 1 October 1976 by the Frazer government; it competes with all the private health funds. In 2006 the Howard Government announced it would be selling Medibank Private. It said there was a conflict of interest in being both the regulator of the whole private health insurance industry and the owner of its largest single competitor. However nothing eventuated.
Huxtable Park West Chermside
Extract from the Huxtable History by Beverley Isdale.
The name commemorates Edgar Huxtable who first surveyed the area in 1864 and noted the extensive stands of trees, none of which remain as the early settlers cleared them. The first land sales took place in 1866 and many blocks were bought as speculations but some farms appeared and, in 1898, Packer & Knox opened their fellmongery and tannery on Downfall Creek.
Farming activities ceased in the 1950s and developers subdivided the land for the housing of West Chermside and the local Progress Association campaigned for a park to be established. The Brisbane City Council agreed and acquired land from the developers so that in 1982 the area was designated.
In 1986 the Neighbours of Huxtable Park Inc was formed to look after and enhance the park; they were supported by Brisbane City Council, Rotary Club of Chermside and local businesses. A rainforest garden was planted in 1988 and in 1996 Brisbane City Council and members constructed a boardwalk through the garden.
A bush tucker reserve was planted, a walking/bicycle track constructed, automated watering systems established, security lighting, drinking fountains for humans and animals, bird nesting boxes were constructed. The Burul Scout Den and the Guides Hall are the only buildings in the park.
Huxtable Park forms an important link in the 32 kilometre Mountains to Mangroves corridor stretching from Camp Mountain to Moreton Bay and displays some of the marker murals done by Jamie McLean in 2000.
We live in a security conscious time, with regular reports on electronic and in print media of child abductions, burglaries, hold ups, armed robberies, assaults, frauds and many other incidents. While there is nothing new about the reporting, except that it is perhaps more graphic, there has been a dramatic change in our attitudes; it has become more personal. People empathise with victims, usually ordinary people, and think “it could happen to me”; the industry emphasises this approach in advertising, causing sales of services and products to rise.
Another important factor is the rise in the standard of living since World War II and the growth of the consumer society which results in Australian people having more articles, and more valuable items, in their homes than in the past; this, and the higher level of income, increases the ability to afford better security.
There has always been a security industry in the form of the Police and the Defence Forces but in recent times private security firms have become prominent. For a fee these firms offer the services of trained personnel for the specific purpose of protecting persons or property from damage or theft, while a small section conducts private investigations. Another section provides products which are used in households, shops and industry to provide security.
Uniformed security personnel deliver money to the local post offices and other firms, patrol car parks, marshal crowds at outdoor events; work in shops and large public buildings, operate night patrol around locked premises; banks have them in the public business sections. In some large offices a person cannot enter unless cleared by the security personnel, air ports employ large numbers in the crowded departure sections as well as the outdoor parts, some families employ security guards for special events such as parties or other celebrations.
Some of the products and services provided by the security industry are closed circuit television and surveillance, video and audio intercom systems, integrated security and fire systems, webbased security providing remote control, security motion sensors and detection devices, building management systems, locksmith services, perimeter fencing, security grilles, bollards and boom gates, safes/records protection, car alarms and immobilisers.
The security industry is regulated by law, and firms must be registered and/or licensed in all states and territories. In some states, licensing is linked to training requirements at Certificate II and III levels as well as criminal record clearance. About 37,000 people are estimated to be working in about 1,700 businesses throughout Australia.
The Yellow Pages Telephone Directory has 34 pages in the Security Equipment, Systems and Consultants section, listing a mass of firms ranging from the very small to the very large; there are many more listed under specialist activities in both volumes of the directory.
Chermside is no exception to this phenomenon and it is commonplace to see these security personnel in the local area; Chermside Shoppingtown has about 19 officers constantly on duty as well as the presence of the Police Beat on the premises.
Some people in Chermside still talk about the times when one could go out and leave the door open without fear of being burgled. It’s doubtful if such times ever existed and, in the past most people didn’t have much that was worth taking.
It is certain that these times did not occur in the 1920s for on the 17 August 1923 a petition was sent to the Commissioner of Police by the citizens of Chermside which said in part:
Since the withdrawal of the resident police officer from Chermside, numerous burglaries have been committed, poultry thieving and other dishonest acts are of common occurrence and it is quite unsafe to leave goods or premises unprotected, either by day or night.
This implies that it was safe ‘to leave goods or premises unprotected’ at some previous time as long as a police presence was maintained; the same argument is used today to get more police.
In the same petition they complained about the dangerous practice of driving vehicles, “even motor cars”, without lights after dark which they described as “a very dangerous practice” and “traffic regulations are generally ignored”. It seems that Chermside was not all that law abiding back in the 1920s.
Health and Fitness Industry
Chermside Shoppingtown lists 14 specialty stores in the area of Health, Sports and Fitness category including two large gyms, the Goodlife Gym and the Fernwood Womens’ Health Club.
In the past a gym was usually associated with the boxing world, where fighters trained, but in recent decades the gyms have attracted a much larger clientele as more people work in sedentary jobs and do not get much exercise.
Fitness has become a higher priority as people become aware that the normal exercise their parents used to get in manual jobs, plus walking or riding bicycles to work and shopping, is considerably reduced in the automobile age. Consequently bulging midriffs and thighs have become more common and, worse still, they lead on to all sorts of health problems such as diabetes, liver and cardiovascular diseases Added to these woes is the problem of diet which has been considerably affected by eating ‘junk’ foods and drinking too much sugar rich liquids to say nothing of alcohol and tobacco consumption.
In response to these problems the Health and Fitness Industry has developed to provide the exercise needed to counter the deleterious effects of ‘modern’ living.
Some people go even further and build their own gyms at home by buying sets of weights, exercise bicycles, treadmills, and other items, or by simply purchasing a complete ‘home gym’ which provides them with all they need except the human instructor; maybe they work from a book.
Outside one can swim in the many pools, aquatic centres, beaches and rivers or jog/pedal along the bicycle tracks, or even ride a bike on the lanes provided on roads. In recent years bikes have been allowed on footpaths because there are not so many pedestrians using them – they drive cars on the roads. Also the roads are becoming more dangerous for cyclists and it is thought they are safer on the footpaths; some pedestrians may not agree.
A parallel development with the exercise industry is the clothing, especially the footwear industry that has grown, as a glance at the 19 shops listed under footwear in the Shoppingtown directory will show; of course bare feet still work well when swimming unless flippers are used. Gone are the days when all the footwear a sports person needed was a pair of sandshoes.
In the parks as well as the bike/walking tracks, the Brisbane City Council has set up minigyms for walkers and joggers to exercise on chinning bars, steps, situp bars, leg lift poles, parallel bars, climbing ladders, and, for the exhausted exerciser, seats on which to sit and recover; spaced throughout the parks are drinking fountains for the humans and taps for the dogs. 7th Brigade Park has a Training Trail which incorporates several mini gyms with about 120m between each one. Many exercisers have ear plugs connected to portable sound machines, the latest of which are the Ipod and the MP3, or radios so they can listen to their favourite sounds while they exercise; it is said to relieve the boredom and saves time!
In the 1970s inflation soared to new heights and many people used it to pay off their home mortgages while, towards the end of the decade unemployment, especially among youth, rose and the term ‘dole bludgers’ was heard. Boat people were arriving in Australia from Vietnam and Asian immigration was becoming a bigger factor in the general migration picture. Some tried to revive the spectre of the ‘yellow peril’ but the idea of a multiracial society was also strengthening.
The 1980s was a period of prosperity with business booming but the level of unemployment remained high at about the 8% mark while youth unemployment was much higher around 25%. Privatisation became a new key word as previously public owned industries were sold off to private operators. Globalisation became another key word as Australia had to face market competition from foreign sources and the government was trying to reshape the economy to be able to deal with the new circumstances. Tariff reduction started to affect hitherto protected industries threatening more unemployment and disruption.
Old industries, including many manufacturing ones, particularly the ‘smoke stack’ variety gradually declined. At the same time the 'sunrise' industries such as electronics and tourism grew rapidly making available more jobs which demanded a higher standard of education from applicants.
As the technological age gathered momentum computers revolutionised the work place eliminating many jobs but creating a host of new jobs for younger and newly trained workers. The first scanners appeared in the supermarket checkouts to dismay of the more conservative section of the population.
The young eagerly sought and used the new appliances that were appearing on the market while many older ones resisted buying them. There was nothing new in this trend, Mary Jane Hamilton refused to use the telephone even though they had one in the house; Thomas Hamilton bought a car and never drove it himself but depended on the young ones. On the other hand he eagerly embraced the wireless as it allowed him to listen to the cricket. The young Mick Simpson introduced new methods in sawmilling but in later years refused to have a calculator in the office.
The status of women continued to rise as sex discrimination was outlawed and women formed an increasing component of the workforce. Superannuation for all was introduced by the Federal Government and ceased to be the ‘perk’ of the better paid in the workforce.
The number of students remaining at school to complete secondary increased as competition among youth for jobs increased. Multinational companies continued to spread more widely and Chermside had to come to terms with them.