Home - Chermside & District History

Chapter 9 High Achievers from the Local Area

Barrett, Ray – Actor

Ray Barrett was born in 1927 and lived at Glen Kedron Lane, Kedron. He attended Kedron State School and later went to State High.

At the age of 12 Ray won an eisteddfod, which was broadcast on 4BH radio, with a musical monologue about a dog named 'Paddy'. This was to set him on a different path from his dream of boatbuilding.

In his youth he was fascinated by radio, then a new entertainment medium, and won an on-air talent competition in 1939. At age 16 he had his own show on Brisbane Radio Station 4BH

Scarring from teenage acne, the bane of his teenage years, proved his making as he had an interesting face and was given character and tough guy roles from an unusually young age.

Post-war, his early career included many acting jobs on Australian radio. He left Brisbane for Sydney in 1954, and then travelled further from Australia to England in 1957.

He appeared in ‘The Sundowners’ in 1960 with Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, followed by ‘Dr Who’, ‘Thunderbirds’, ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Troubleshooters’, ‘Don’s Party’, ‘Goodbye Paradise’, ‘The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith’ and many other movies, stage plays, TV serials and shows

When his autobiography was published in 1995 he was living in Spain from where he could be anywhere in Europe in hours and Australia in a few days, sailing his small ketch and still working

(Sources: Autobiography of Ray Barrett – ABC – Peter Gooch)

CHERMSIDE, Sir Herbert Charles (1850-1929), Major General

Service biography

Joined Army 1868; Lt Royal Engineers 1870; Military Attaché, Turko-Russian War 1877-1878; Assistant Commissioner, Delimitation of Bulgaria 1878; Vice-Consul, Anatolia, Turkey 1879-1882; Egyptian expedition 1882-1884; Governor of Suakin and Governor General of Red Sea Littoral, Sudan 1884-1885; Consul, Kurdistan 1888-1889; Military Attaché, Constantinople 1889-1896; Commander of British Troops in Crete 1897-1899; Commander of troops, Curragh District, Ireland 1899-1900; 3 Division, South Africa 1900; Curragh District, Ireland 1901; Governor of Queensland, Australia 1901-1904; retired 1907

(Source: King's College London Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives

Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900-1975)

A soldier who had seen Foreign Service in the Middle East, Chermside was described by Lady Tennyson as 'a very short plain little General with a biggish moustache'. He was forthright, approachable and had a wide range of interests. His willingness to learn by travel around the state and his offer to forgo 15% of his salary in the middle of a drought made him popular. He felt, however, that following Federation the importance of his office was being reduced. This and the delicate health of his wife, Geraldine, may have influenced his decision to resign in 1904.

(Source: From Queensland's Governors 1862-1909)

Doohan, Michael – Motorcycle Champion

Michael (Mick) Doohan was born in 1965, Brisbane and lived in West Chermside where he attended Craigslea School.

He began his motorcycle career in 1984 at the Surfer’s Paradise Raceway on the Gold Coast and went on to win five consecutive 500cc World Championships between 1994 and 1998. This made him a Grand Prix Motorcycle Road Racing World Champion. He achieved this feat in spite of breaking his right leg in 1992 which caused permanent damage but he overcame the problem and went on to achieve his World Championship.

Although he had a low accident record he again broke his leg in 1999 and this resulted in his retirement.

He now lives on the Gold Coast.

(Sources: Wikipedia – Doohan website – Local Information)

Emerson, Roy Stanley

Roy was born in 1936 at Blackbutt and the family moved to Brisbane settling at the corner of Pie Street and Webster Road, Aspley where they had a tennis court. He was an outstanding athlete at Brisbane Grammar School and also at Ipswich Grammar School but did not play tennis seriously until he left school. His athletic ability enabled him to move with great speed on the court and gave him the endurance needed to keep the pressure on during games.

He went on to win 28 Grand Slam titles, 12 singles and 16 doubles, between 1959 and 1971 making an all-time record for a male player. Many of these titles were won when professional players were not admitted to the Grand Slam Events, but even so it is still an impressive achievement. He was a member of the Australian team that won eight consecutive Davis Cup tournaments between 1959 and 1967.

In 1968 he became a professional and in 1973 was still in the Top 20 when he won his 105th title playing in San Francisco. He continued playing in some tournaments and his last match was at Gstaad, Switzerland in 1983 when he retired from professional tennis and took up coaching.

Roy now lives at Newport Beach in California, and has another home in Switzerland.

(Sources: Local Knowledge, Wikipedia, Hall of Fame website, Emerson website)

Grenning, Victor (1899-1984) Forest Conservator

Victor commenced his education at Zillmere School, sitting for Scholarship at the Normal School in Brisbane in 1912 and coming first in Queensland. He then went to Brisbane Grammar, completing Junior; he was going to take up teaching but was granted an extension scholarship enabling him to complete his Senior, which he did with distinction.

In 1918 he commenced an Applied Science course at University of Queensland. While at university he continued his sporting success as vice-captain of the First Fifteen and representing Queensland against New South Wales. In cricket he played in the First Eleven and rowed in the First Four on the Brisbane River and in the Champion Fours of Queensland.

With his outstanding achievements in academia and sport he was nominated for, and awarded, a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in 1919 where he continued with outstanding success in both academia and sport.

In 1923 he left England and studied forestry in India, Burma, the Federated Malay States and the Philippines arriving back in Australia in 1924. Due to a series of unusual events he never took a degree at Oxford or Queensland but, due to his undisputed academic brilliance, this was no obstacle to his progress. However the Institute of Foresters of Australia refused to accept him as a member because he didn’t have a degree; several of his colleagues resigned in sympathy with him.

He commenced work with the Queensland Department of Forestry and his progress was rapid with his appointment as Director of Forests in 1932 after he refused several offers from the Forestry Departments of other states.

During his term as Director the area under plantation increased from 3,412 hectares to 43,450 hectares. He travelled to USA, Canada and New Zealand studying their forestry management and looking for new ideas to use in Queensland.

During the Second World War he had to manage the forests with half the staff because so many enlisted in the armed forces, at the same time he had to supply an increased amount of timber needed for the war effort. After the war he had to supervise the replacement of stocks and supply the timber needed for the housing boom that followed. The staff shortage was partly overcome by employing some 400 Baltic migrants from northern Europe.

Victor Grenning retired in 1964 and is described by Peter Holzworth, his biographer as: “one of Queensland Forestry’s great conservators – certainly the longest serving and one of the brightest.” He “carried forestry forward from its fledgling years ….. and its formative times ….. through the turbulent times of war and reconstruction towards the modern and relatively stable era of the 1960s. His is a formidable legacy.”

(Source: Brisbane City Council, Local Knowledge)

Hammer, Air Vice-Marshal Julie

Julie was born in 1955 and attended Wavell Heights Primary and Hendra High, where she went to study maths and physics, and obtained a Physics degree from the University of Queensland in the mid 1970s. She joined the RAAF in 1977 when women received 80% of the male pay although doing the same work.

She worked as Education Officer at the Engineer Cadet Squadron in Melbourne and then to the RAAF School of Radio at Laverton. In 1982 Julie was supervising a staff of 65 technicians servicing the F-111and other RAAF aircraft at Amberley; promotion to Squadron Leader followed.

Her career followed an upward path which included achieving her master’s degree in aero systems engineering at the RAF College, Cranwell in the UK; she was only the second woman to do the course.

Back in Australia, Julie was project engineer for a $200 million project with maritime patrol aircraft and, in 1991was promoted to Wing Commander and, in 1996, Group Captain.

In 1999 a further stint of study followed at the Royal College of Defence in London. This course was designed to train senior officers in understanding global and strategic issues in order to understand different cultures and develop a network of international relationships. On her return to Australia in 1999 Julie was promoted to Air Commodore.

In 2003 Air Vice-Marshall Julie Hammer was the Alumnus of the year at University of Queensland Alumni Association and her encouragement to young women is to feel that “If Julie Hammer can do it, so can I.”

(Sources: Australian Women Biographical Entry – U Q News Online)

Harvey, William Charles Roy AM (1921-2006)


Roy Harvey was a life long member of the Australian Labor Party. He lived in Homebush Street, Kedron and went to Kedron State School. He worked in the tanneries around Kedron till World War II broke out, he enlisted and served in the Royal Australian Signals. After the war he became an industrial chemist.

In 1952 Roy was elected alderman for Kedron Ward and served till 1973 in that office. Meanwhile he was elected to Queensland State Parliament and served a term as Member for Stafford, which seat he lost in 1974. He was re-elected to the Council in 1979 for Mitchelton Ward becoming Vice Mayor and Chairman of the Finance Committee.

As Lord Mayor from 1982 to 1985 he was responsible for the creation of the Queen Street Mall, the introduction of the “wheelie bins” which revolutionised garbage disposal, and the construction of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall. He presided during the 1982 Commonwealth Games, and escorted the Queen on a tour of the new Queen Street Mall during her official visit to the Games.

Roy retired from Council when he was defeated for the position of Lord Mayor by Sallyanne Atkinson in 1985. He went to live in Caloundra where he died in 2006.

(Sources: Wikipedia – Brisbane City Council – Local Knowledge – The Australian Labor Party and its Leaders. 3rd Edition Petrie Federal Division ALP)

McBride, Lambert (Stan) (1918-2002)

Stan was born at Cedergetter Creek near Kyogle, started work at 14 with a bullock team hauling timber for $1.50 a week and tucker, then sleeper cutting for the railway, timber mills, worked as a fettler and bridge carpenter on the railway and as a boxer in the Snowy Hill Gym group. After working at Brown and Broad Sawmill at Newstead he joined the Australian army during World War II.

In 1942 he married May Ross (1917-2002) born Yarrawonga, Hervey Bay, and they moved to Zillmere in 1956 where they celebrated their Diamond Jubilee in 2002, the year in which they both died.

Lambert was a fierce advocate all of his life for the rights of Indigenous Australians and was an active member of many groups such as Koobara Aboriginal and Islanders Kindergarten, The One People of Australia League, Taigum State School and Nalingu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Respite Centre at Zillmere, the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of which he was Queensland President. He worked at Aboriginal Hostels throughout Brisbane as Manager/Night Watchman, a public servant.

Lambert’s son, Bill RAN, said that his father “brought us up blind to race, colour, religion or creed. Everywhere I’ve sailed around the world, I have found his words to be true – we have a lot more in common than there are differences between us. We need to work together on what we have in common to make the world a better place.”

From his eulogy:

•There are many family and friends who believe it would be impossible to measure the positive effects and influence Lambert had on a range of people’s lives.

•It was an honour that when Dad passed away it was Linda Olive who was holding his hand, his niece, a fellow Bungalung person from his own land. You couldn’t have asked for a better farewell.

•Mum and Dad stuck to each other through thick and thin, the ups and downs, sickness and health, happy and sad times and were loyal as the day is long. It just proves in these days of high divorce rates, declining standards of morality and decency, shallow and superficial relationships, Mum and Dad are proof that such a thing as true, real, deep, loyal, love still exists.

•On the 14 April 2004, William McBride, the eldest son of Lambert and May died suddenly at age 49 – He served with distinction in the Royal Australian Navy and worked in drug and alcohol counselling, photography and had graduated Bachelor of Science just before his death. A tribute paid to him by a family member was “God had a sailing boat in heaven and needed someone to sail it, he chose the best, Billy.”

(Source: Family, Brisbane City Council)

Norman, Gregory John

Greg was born in Mt Isa in 1955 and attended Aspley High School when the family came to Brisbane. He played sport and took up golf when he was 16 quickly showing promise and playing on low handicaps within a year. He worked as a trainee at Royal Queensland Golf Club and played his first professional tournament in 1976 in Adelaide which he won.

From then he became a star player on the professional circuit winning 87 professional games and many places on the international golf scene. Renowned for his powerful drive he acquired the nickname “Great White Shark” and for a little over six years was ranked as the world number one golfer during the 1980s and 1990s.

While still playing professionally he now spends more time managing his business interests which include commercial wine making and golf course design. He lives in Hobe Sound, Florida, USA.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Peterson, Colin – Drummer

Colin Peterson was born in 1946, attended Chermside State School and by age nine had acted in the film “Smiley” and later had roles in several other films. He became a drummer, probably in small local teenage bands and in 1965 joined with four other musicians to form a professional group “Steve & The Board”. Some time later he joined the BEE GEES as their drummer and remained with the group till August 1969. Following this he worked on his own for some time finally teaming up with a couple of musicians to form the “Humpy Bong” which produced several singles but broke up before the end of 1970.

The BEE GEES is regarded by some as the most successful pop group to come from Australia and it sold many millions of records.

(Sources: Websites including Colin Peters)

Reid, Barrett (1926– 1995) Writer – Poet – Librarian

Barry went to Windsor School and then to State High where, at the age of 14, he founded the literary magazine Barjai which published the work of young poets and artists. They used to meet at the Lyceum Club opposite the GPO in Queen Street, attracting contributions from all over Australia and continuing for many years.

The Reid home in Chermside was a week-end meeting place for young writers and artists; Rona commented that it was nothing to wake up of a morning and find one of them sleeping on the veranda having arrived during the night. Their father, George Barrett Reid, encouraged the young people and made them welcome, assisting them where he could. Sometimes he would drive some of them out to the dump and they would scavenge for materials on which to draw and paint; the Reid children grew up in a literary, artistic atmosphere visiting the Art Gallery, orchestral concerts and performances by visiting celebrities.

Visitors included Sydney Nolan, who started his Ned Kelly series there and later painted Barry’s portrait that now hangs in the Queensland Art Gallery, Judith Wright, Joy Roggencamp, Earnest Briggs, Charles Osborne, Laurence Hope, Charles and Barbara Blackman.

Barry completed Senior at the age of 15 and, although considered rather young to go to University, at 16 he was accepted and completed a Commerce degree. After working in the State Public Library for some years he accepted an appointment in the Melbourne Public Library in 1952 and in 1967 became the Chief Executive of the Public Library Division of Victoria;

He was vice-president of the Contemporary Art Society, Co-Editor of Ern Malley's Journal, and wrote for the Museum of Modern Art and Design of Australia, Chairperson of Australian Book Review, Co-Founder of the National Book Council and Editor of Overland.

He was responsible for developing the talking books technique to assist people whose sight was impaired; also, he pioneered the concept of a Children’s Corner in libraries where their reading needs were met and he extended free public library coverage to 207 of Victoria’s 211 councils.

He was a guest speaker at many universities, libraries and art galleries and obtained his Doctorate in Arts/Law. Barry published several books on poetry and art; he also judged the book of the year awards in Victoria.

John and Sunday Reed, no relation, owned ‘Heidi’, a large acreage on the Yarra River out of Melbourne which was a meeting place of young Australian artists such as Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Arthur Boyd, John Perceval, Daniel Vassilieff and Sam Atyeo. Visitors to the house also included poets, writers, jazz musicians and intellectuals such as the Labor leader H V Evatt; here the Reeds developed the Modern Art Gallery of Victoria. Barry was a frequent visitor and, when the Reeds died in 1981, he made his home there until his death, in 1995.

For public service especially in the field of librarianship Barrett Reid was awarded the Order of Australia in 1983. The State Library of Victoria in recognition of his work sponsors the annual Margaret C Ramsay and Barrett Reid scholarships worth $15,000 each for the professional development of Victorian public library staff.

(Sources: Newspapers, Website, Sister Rona Arndt (nee Reid)

Sleeman, Frank (1915-2000)

He was born in Sydney and the family moved to Queensland searching for work in the Depression. Frank was a keen sportsman playing soccer and hockey, and boxing as a flyweight. At 18 he joined the Citizens Military Forces and when World War II broke out he was a Lieutenant and he joined the 2/26th Battalion. Frank then volunteered to join the 1st Independent Company, Australia’s first commando unit and was captured by the Japanese during a mission. He refused to co-operate with his captors in prison and spent almost four years in Changi, much of it in solitary confinement, only to be released when the war ended with the bombs devastating Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Even though this bombing probably saved his life he openly stated that the Atom bomb should not have been dropped on populated areas.

After the war he moved to Geebung where he operated a newsagency, founded the Geebung Branch of the ALP in 1949 and was elected to the Brisbane City Council in 1961 which he held until he retired in 1982. The final years from 1976 to 1982 he served as Lord Mayor.

During his term he supervised the preparations for the 12th Commonwealth Games, started to develop the Queen Street Mall, the restoration of the City Hall from an office block to a Community Centre, the protection of Moreton Island from sand mining and introduced the Swimming Pool Safety Program to prevent toddlers from drowning. This last one provoked fierce opposition even though it was to save lives.

(Sources: Lord Mayor’s of Brisbane, Wikipedia – The Australian Labor Party and its Leaders. 3rd Edition Petrie Federal Division ALP)

Tune, Ben – Rugby Union

Ben was born in 1976 of an old Chermside family, was educated at St. Paul’s Bald Hills School and was a prominent Rugby Union player for Brothers/Teachers North.

In 1996 he played with Queensland Reds in their first Super 12 season and then played Wales in the national side. This side went on to win the 1999 Rugby World Cup

Consistently among the leading try-scorers in the Super 12 competition since his debut, Ben’s superb form for Queensland saw him selected in the Reds “Team of the Century”.

He retired at the end of the 2007 season by which time he had scored 24 tries in 46 tests for the Wallabies. He was named on the right wing in the Wallaby Team of the Decade.

Since retiring he has taken up a commentating position on Channel 10 with other prominent players.

Ben is a keen motor racing fan and has started driving in the Mini Challenge; he recently drove in the celebrity challenge at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. In May 2008 he was injured in a high-speed crash on the Barbagallo Raceway in Perth and was taken to hospital where he was kept for observation overnight.

(Sources: Family, Wikipedia, Website)

Turner-Hospital, Janette – Authoress and Academic – Adrian Turner

Eldest child of Adrian and Elsie Turner born 11 November 1942 she attended Wilston Primary and Mitchelton Secondary schools. Janette trained as a teacher while concurrently studying for her Bachelor of Arts. at University of Queensland. Her first teaching appointment, in 1960, was to Mossman, North Queensland, where she found continued study virtually impossible. In the Christmas holidays she approached the Director of Secondary Education and was given a transfer to Newmarket Secondary where she was able to walk to work and attend lectures at the University.

Janette married the Rev Cliff Hospital in 1964 and, in 1966 they went to the USA where Cliff was to study for his PhD at Harvard in Boston; on completion Cliff accepted a Professorship at Kingston, Ontario, Canada and while there, Janette completed her MA degree.

They spent some time in Trifandrum, Southern India, where Cliff was studying Buddhism as part of his teaching program at Kingston. Janette was so appalled by the treatment of women in the caste social system that, in order to expose the negativity imposed on them, she wrote a novel, ‘The Ivory Swing’, published in 1983, which won first prize of $50,000 in the Seal Award. This was the start of Janette’s writing career and since then she has published seven more, along with four books of short stories; her books are published in ten languages and reach a wide readership.

She taught at universities in Australia, Canada, USA, England and Europe and in 1999 the University of South Carolina offered her an appointment in the English Department which she accepted. She now holds the dual portfolio of a Professorship and Distinguished Writer in Residence.

She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by Griffith and Queensland Universities and the Brisbane City Council Library website has 14 listings for her books in paperback, on tape and disk. There are 60 copies of her latest book, ‘Orpheus Lost’, published in 2007, in the BCC system; practically all are on loan.

(Source: Adrian Turner – Father)

Wrench, Christopher - Organist

On Palm Sunday, 1969, at the age of 10 years, Christopher Wrench made his debut as church organist when he took over playing the harmonium for church services at our daughter church, St. Laurence’s at West Chermside. From this humble start, Christopher went on to win numerous prizes in international organ competitions and is regarded internationally as one of the finest organists of his generation.

He performs regularly in Australia and overseas in addition to his positions as Lecturer in organ at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University and Music Director at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Kangaroo Point