- Roy Staib - A Short History of the Staib Family.
- Ancestors of the Staib Family
- Friedrich & Marie Staib Migrate to Australia 1886.
- Friedrich William & Blanch Catherine Staib 1909-1949
- Friedrich William & Blanch Catherine Staib - The Farm
- Clearing the Property
- Description of the Farm
- Alternative Food Sources
- Lindsay Staib's Reminiscences 1930s
- Early Model Thornycroft Truck
- Wireless - Early - 1928 to 1934
- Recreation - Self Made
- Light Horse 1939
- Lindsay and Scoliosis Treatment 1939-40
- Firewood Cutting 1940s
- The War Comes to Chermside 1939-1945
- The Staib Family
- Post War
- Last Resting Place - Friedrich & Blanch
In 1999 it was decided by The Prince Charles Hospital Board that an acknowledgement would be made to the Staib family for all their years of "caretaking" such a prime piece of real estate on which to erect a hospital of international repute.
An internal road on the hospital grounds had been named Staib Road. It wound its way up from Hamilton Road about the same area where the Staib's federation house once stood. Roy, Lindsey and family members attended the ceremony and Roy made a fine speech outlining the family association with the land. On reading the V.I.P. guest list it was interesting to note one name in particular - Mr Ian Staib, Health Rights Commissioner,
Roy Staib - A Short History of the Staib Family.
Delivered at the naming of Staib Road in honour of his Father and Mother
Probable date May 1999 taken from a photo in the Leader - Newsletter of the Prince Charles Hospital (Reported 2-6-1999 Northside Chronicle)
Mr Ted Howard, Chairman, District Health Council,
Mr Terry Hampson, Brisbane City Council,
Mr Phil Sheedy, The District Manager,
Doctor Jean Collie, Medical Superintendent,
Mr Ian Staib, Health Rights Commissioner (No relation)
The Prince Charles Hospital Executive
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to share a short history of our family and their association with the land that now forms a large part of the Prince Charles Hospital grounds.
Our father's parents migrated from Germany in 1886 and settled on a small block of land at the corner of Hamilton and Webster Roads. At the time, Dad was three years old. When he was twelve, he started work as a casual labourer and was paid two shillings and six pence (25 cents) per week.
Our mother was born in New Zealand and with her parents migrated and settled in Lutwyche where her father carried on his trade as a boot maker.
In 1909 our parents married and had a family of four sons. They purchased a block of land, approximately 12 acres (5ha), facing Webster Road by using borrowed money. Dad then assisted with the building of a small house. He also did the fencing of the block of land, built a large storage shed including cow bails for milking. Most of this was done mainly at night using timber from the property.
Dad had to continue working as a labourer, and later as a tanner, during the day while the trees were cut down in the evening by the light of a hurricane lantern. Mum helped Dad cut the trees, saw and shape the timber, whilst her children were asleep on a blanket or in a carry basket.
As you can hear they were tough times and Mum and Dad worked extremely hard. Chermside was then regarded as being a long way from the city and as a separate rural community.
Dad always felt that the area had a positive future and strong growth potential. Over time he acquired two adjoining blocks of land making a total of approximately 37 acres (13ha). The undergrowth and scrub was cleared and the land used for grazing and vegetable farming. One of his major problems was the lack of a permanent water supply.
In the late 1920s a larger house was built in the centre of the block bounded by Hamilton Road and Farnell Street. During 1941 all of the land including the two houses was put under notice of resumption by the State Government, originally for education purposes. The resumption was finalised in 1949.
Dad died in 1941 aged 57 and Mum in 1949 aged 59. Unfortunately they were not able to enjoy any benefit from their years of hard physical work or receive any rewards for themselves with the later increase in the value of the land and the unbelievable development of Chermside.
Today we have before us the marvellous facilities of the Prince Charles Hospital of benefit to many people not only in Chermside but throughout Australia and overseas.
On behalf of my brother Lindsay, myself and our families, we thank you for the honour of renaming Staib Road in memory of our father and mother.
Roy Staib. (CSS File CDHS)
Northside Chronicle Hospital honors pioneer family (2/6/1999)
An internal road at Prince Charles Hospital campus was named Staib Road the family that arrived in the area in 1886.
In 1909 Frederick and Blanche Staib bought 5.5 ha (12 acres) facing Webster Rd and built a small house where they raised four children. Fredrick worked as a tanner while dairy farming the block. They gradually acquired the two adjoining blocks bringing the total holding to 17 ha (37 acres). In 1949 the land was resumed by the State Government.
Lindsay and Roy Staib, grandsons of the original settlers were present at the dedication.
Ancestors of the Staib Family
From research done by Marion Eaton:
Gottlieb Friedrich STAIB and Ana Maria STOLL (great grandparents of Lindsay Staib)
Gottlieb was born on 5 October 1811 at Hohenhaslach, Wurttemberg, Germany.
This village is now part of the town Sachsenheim which is near Ludwigsburg in southern Germany. His parents were Andreas Staib and Elizabeth Catherine Stalder.
Ana was born on 13 April 1813 and her parents were Jacob Stoll and Elizabeth Margarethe Ganz.
Gottlieb was a farmer and was the mayor of Hohenhaslach. The couple was married on 30 April 1837 and they had twelve children; five of the children died in early infancy.
Gottlieb died on 26 May 1893 and Ana died on 12 June 1880
Friedrich & Marie Staib Migrate to Australia 1886.
From research done by Marion Eaton:
Friedrich Staib (1851-1924 aged 72 years) of Hohenhaslach, Germany married Marie Louise Morlok (1854 - 1940 aged 85 years) of Lochgan, Germany in 1877 at Lochgan.
They had eight children, four of whom were born in Germany and came with them in 1886 to Downfall Creek where the remaining four were born.
The family settled on a small property of a few acres (1 Ha) on the south-west corner of Hamilton (Herrmann) and Webster Roads near Downfall Creek which was part of Lot 541 which had been originally bought by John Patterson, the first storekeeper in the area.
Friedrich William & Blanch Catherine Staib 1909-1949
Fred, Blanch, Lindsay and their dog sitting on a huge old growth log on the farm. They look so small compared to the log but it was people like them that felled these mighty trees. Using cross cut saws, axes, pulleys, ropes and muscle they cleared the land. The trees in the background are about 200 years old and are still growing beside the present heli-pad on what was the cricket oval. (See Right Side Bar)
Their son Friedrich William (born 1883 in Stuttgart, Germany, died 1941 aged 58 years in Chermside) married Blanch Catherine Strange (born 1889 in Christchurch, New Zealand, died 1949 aged 59 years in Chermside) in 1909 at Albion. They had five children all boys one of whom was stillborn.
Frederick Norrelock, born 11th July 1909
Donald Burnham, born 25th Auguse 1911
Roy, born 23st May 1921
Lindsay Gordon, born 6th September 1926
Roy Staib comments that his parents Fred and Blanch "purchased a block of land, approximately 12 acres (5ha), facing Webster Road by using borrowed money. Fred assisted with the building of a small house on the block of land, built a large storage shed, including cow bails for milking. Most of this was done at night using timber from the property while working as a labourer and later as a tanner."
He also fenced the block of land and built a large storage shed with cow bails for milking using timber which he was clearing from the block. Most of this was done at night using timber from the property." Over time they acquired two adjoining blocks of land making a total of approximately 37 acres (14.5ha.)
Fredrick and Catherine are buried in Lutwyche Cemetery - Monumental Portion 1, Section 61A, Grave Number 32)
Friedrich William & Blanch Catherine Staib - The Farm
On the farm it was common to see large mobs of cattle or sheep being driven along Webster Road. Some would be heading for Normanby Sales yards. A local resident recalled being offered a sheep by the drover as his flock was herded past the house. The going price was one shilling and three pence (15 cents), enough to purchase a good meal and a drink or two at the Normanby Hotel after he had negotiated a sale for his herd.
A Joyful Meeting of Father & Son WWI
Uncle George never married but he enjoyed his post war years and was often seen enjoying a pot of beer in the Valley.
During the First World War he was wounded three times and each time was taken across the English Channel to be treated. On recovery and on his way back to the front for the third time, who should come walking along the wharf in uniform - his elderly father, my grandfather.
Towards the end of the war, grandfather had left his boot repair business at Lutwyche to enlist in the army as a Boot maker. After three years in the war we can just imagine how eager Uncle George would be for news of his mother, sisters and brothers back at Lutwyche.
In later years Uncle George would tell this story with a smile on his face every time.
Lindsay Staib January 2003
Clearing the Property
This was backbreaking work but Friedrich and Blanche had no choice, they could not pay someone else, they had to do the job on their own. As Roy pointed out above, they often worked at night clearing, as Friedrich worked elsewhere by day.
Split Fencing Pre WW1 to 1930s
Cross cut saws were used to saw and fell the trees. We did not have a pit saw, our fence posts and other palings were split using a wedge and mall. This early method was cost free and just exercise to young fit farmers, starting off. (According to Lindsay)
Maul and Wedge Data - Early 20th Century
Maul Head - Hardwood - 12 inches (310mm) x 4.25 inches (107mm) Circumference - Weight 4kg (9 pounds). Both ends of the maul are bound with iron rings 1inch (25mm) wide and half an inch (12mm) thick. The rings tightly bind the ends of the maul head and as the wood is shattered by continual use the ring moves down the side of the head until it is finally discarded and a new head has to be made. There is a 1.12 inch (28mm) transverse hole through the middle of the head to take the approximately 1m long handle.
Wedge - Iron - 10.5 inches long (260mm) x 2.4 inches (65 mm) wide tapering from a thickness of 2.4 inches (65mm) to the point - Weight 4kg (9 pounds) The head of the wedge shows some cracks due to being pounded with a steel hammer rather than the maul.
How they cleared the stumps is unknown but they had a couple of options, burn them out or dynamite them.
Description of the Farm
Beans and peas, sometimes a crop of lettuce and watermelons were grown towards Christmas. Corn was the main crop grown for the cattle in summer. Oats were planted in the winter. All of these crops were partly harvested each day to be put through the chaff cutter for feed as the cows were being milked each morning.
We had two tanks for domestic use while the cattle drank from either the dam or the water trough which used town water; I think the town water was connected about 1926.
The cattle roamed the paddock, eating whatever natural grass there was but in drought time it became sparse. Hay was thrown out in heaps in the paddock. The hay was made after the spring time when the mown crops had been dried in the sun.
From the field the dry hay was placed either in a hay stack or in a loft built into the roof of a shed.
We only produced milk and butter for our own use and an income was derived from the sale of cows as they calved. Warm milk as it was known, was distributed each morning by milkmen to the population. This in turn made a demand for milking cows so we could always sell a cow in full milk. After the calf was with the cow for two days it was taken and tied up in the house yard. I was reared then by feeding twice a day on milk, until it could survive on grass and able to join the herd.
Every second day, some milk would be processed through the cream separator. Out of one side cream would flow and out of the other side, skim milk would flow. The skim milk would be fed to the calves and the cream used to make butter. The cream was placed in a churn and, after turning for a while, butter would form with a residue of butter milk.
Type of Farm
Now days, it would be called a small crop farm. In times of drought my father would work in the local tannery until rain filled the dams. Crops could then be planted and a living made with produce taken to the Roma Street markets in the city where it would be sold by commission agents who would then pass the remainder to the grower.
Having our own milk, butter and vegetables we then only required meat, bread and groceries. The grocer, Mr Hacker called on a Monday and took our order which was delivered by horse and cart around the local area. The grocers were always very neat in their white starched aprons. At Christmas time, my mother would order six large bottles of soft drink and the grocer would leave a bag of hard boiled lollies for the children.
We had two other grocers' shops competing for the local orders; Mr George Early near Banfield Street and Mr Joe Fisher near Sparkes Street both fronted on to Gympie Road.
On the corner of Sparkes Street and Gympie Road was our local butcher, Mr Lemke. His shop was different to our super markets mainly because there were two huge block of timber about three feet high and three feet across. These were the blocks on which the meat was chopped and sliced for each customer.
Around the shop the carcases of sheep and cattle hung on hooks from a steel rail running around three sides of the shop and suspended from the ceiling about two metres above the floor which was covered with fresh sawdust to absorb any blood or fat and keep the floor from becoming slippery.
Near the door was the counter where the cut meat was weighed and wrapped while the customer settled the bill.
Alternative Food Sources
Catching freshwater mullet in the Packer, originally Packer & Knox, Tannery Dam was quite an art; the dam was formed in about 1890 by building a wall across Downfall Creek. It provided a more or less permanent supply of water for their boilers which provided steam power to operate the tannery machinery.
About 1932, in a bad drought, the dam only had two holes of water each about 25 to 30 feet across and about 3 feet deep; this was where the mullet rode out the drought.
The Lenz family, whose property adjoined the tannery on the upstream side came with their two dogs to the waterholes and we joined them. We then threw sticks into the water and the dogs went in to retrieve them, this activity stirred up the mud in the water. The idea was to make it difficult for the mullet to breath or see and so force them to the surface, some even slithered up the banks. They were easily caught and bundled into sugar bags; small hessian bags used to transport a load of about 70 pounds of bulk sugar to the shops.
I remember that three mullet weighed about 12 pounds in total. This large size, we were told, was in the dam situation, they were known as Land Locked Mullet. The juvenile mullet go up the streams to the brackish water to grow and then come down stream to spawn in large shoals.
My father smoked the mullet fillets in a large tank and they lasted for three months without refrigeration.
The Dam Turtles
A great story I always like to tell, is about the turtles in the dam. The boiler man always blew the steam whistle at 10 am and 12 noon to let the workers in the tannery, and the local people, when it was morning tea and lunch time. The turtles also knew the arrangement as twenty to thirty turtle heads would appear beside the service walkway on the inlet pipe that extended into the dam. They were coming for their scraps of bread and sandwich pieces that Mr Kemp, the boiler man, would throw to them.
Mr Kemp was a lovely man; he had a bald head and his face was blackened from the coal dust, but when we spoke to him his eyes would light up and his smile would crease his black face.
Eels, Lobbies and Hares
To catch an eel we only had to put a cork on the line about one foot up the line from the hook baited with a small piece of meat. Then just lay back on the grassy bank and when the cork disappeared, quickly pull the eel up on he bank.
Likewise with Lobbies, fresh water Crayfish, which lived in small, preferably muddy holes about six feet across when full of water. We would tie a small piece of meat on a piece of cotton thread and throw it into the water. Almost immediately the line would tighten and start to move. We would then get the scoop made of mosquito net and very slowly pull the line towards the surface so we could get the scoop under the tail of the lobby and land it on the bank.
The next step was to light a fire and boil the lobby in a jam tin; they turned red and you ate the tail.
Hares were a pest, they came out of the bush late in the afternoon, ate the crops of beans and peas. If we got the chance, they were shot, marinated overnight, cooked and eaten.
Fishing at Deep Water Bend 1930s
A favorite outing with Fred was his fishing trips with his mate and neighbor Jack Victor. The Victor family had lived near Grandma Staib's cottage and shared a back fence boundary with Fred and Blanche. Later Jack got a job as caretaker for the packer and Knox Tannery which included a comfortable cottage on Hamilton Road west.
The men would take Jack's sulky and horse "Dodger" and head north to their favorite fishing spot at Deepwater Bend on the Pine River. They sometimes picked up a bullocks heart from the slaughter yard as bait before hitting the road. Dodger knew the route and peeled off the main track at the Tinchi Tamba Wetlands and headed towards the bend in the river where a boat could be hired from the legendary boat and fisherman, Gus Davies. Gus was an aborigine who served in both WWI and WWII; he was prominent in the local community and it is gratifying to see that a park in the wetlands has been named after him. It is just before the Gateway Motorway joins the Bruce Highway at Bald Hills. (See Gus Davies on the website in Lutwyche Cemetery).
There were two other boat hirers at Deep Water Bend in those early days they were Edwards and O'Reilly. All were good boat and fishermen and knew their jobs. There were times when the bream were running just off the mangrove covered shoreline and Jack would get the big frying pan from the sulky in readiness.
At times Jack's son, Keith, would go along with the men as would Fred's boy, Lindsay, who recalled those days with fondness and stories of the nearby Herrmann family getting (chaff?) bags full of mud crabs; memorable days indeed.
Lindsay Staib's Reminiscences 1930s
Tom Hamilton Diary 1926 records that on the 14th August the old Kedron Chambers, then standing in Marchant Park, were sold to Fred Staib for 197 Pounds and 10 shillings ($395).Much of the materials salvaged from the building would have been used in building the new house in 1927, the scalloped barge boards featured prominently .
Lindsay was only a toddler when the new house was built in 1927, but as he grew older there was still bushland nearby to be explored. The children of the area always enjoyed the Sunday school picnics where the older ones would organise a "paper chase". A trail of paper pieces would be hidden in the shrubs and laid through the bushland where Byrne Ford (now McDonalds) later stood on Hamilton Road through to where Burnie Brae, the Hamilton family homestead stood. The younger children would excitedly follow the trail in eager anticipation of what goodies they would find at the end of it.
Earliest memories at home was the caring for and playing with the animals. Because of the isolation of the house, standing on its own, in the middle of a twelve acre paddock, the family kept fox terrier dogs who could always be depended upon to alert the household if someone was approaching the house.
There could be a calf tethered in the yard to be hand fed and consequently these also became household pets for a time. Lindsay would lead them around the paddock and as the animals became stronger, would practice riding them as he was keen to have a horse when he got older and this struck him as a good opportunity to learn to ride.
His parents, of a morning would milk the cows and Blanche would return to the house to separate the cream. Butter would be hand made every second or third day.
The grocer William Hacker, or one of his delivery men, would call on a Monday morning for the order and deliver it back to the house later in the week along with a small bag of boiled lollies for the children of the household. The grocer's apron would always be snow white and heavily starched.
In the early days the orders were delivered by horse and cart. The cart would probably have been built by Hamilton Body Works as that firm was responsible for providing most of the local business people their means of transport. This Hacker cart was heavier than a spring cart being designed to carry heavy bags of feed as well as the groceries. Trips were made weekly to the Roma Street sales yards for produce and other stock to be sold in the shop.
Later a 1913 Thorncroft truck appeared which was eventually replaced by a 1924 model. The latter vehicle survived in service until the store was sold to Beaurepairs in the 1960's. The bodywork had been done by the Hamiltons.
Another delivery service was that of Torrens Bakery who would drive up to the house twice a week with fresh crusty bread in the big wicker basket and carried up the back steps to the kitchen.
An errand that young Lindsay would be given to do was to take the plough shear, walk across the paddocks to Vellnagel's blacksmith shop at the Downfall Creek crossing on Gympie Road where he would watch in fascination as it was being sharpened in the forge.
Lindsay recalled the number of slaughter yards around the district in the 1930s. He remembered walking near the slaughter yards in Rode Road when the nearby owner of a poultry farm came along with two large tins of liver for his hens - nothing was wasted in those early days. Times were particularly tough during the years of the great depression.
Chermside State School Memories 1930s - 1940s
Many thousands of children were educated at the Chermside State School which had opened in July 1900 and closed in 1996. The building was relocated to the Chermside Historical Precinct in Seventh Brigade Park.
The Staib boys attended the school and Lindsay recalled that he would sometimes get into a scrape with another boy on the way home from school. Invariably he would end up with a bloody nose. These confrontations were eventually stopped by the teacher who insisted that both boys accompany their older brothers when walking home.
Another memorable occasion was during the sixth grade when, on a very rare occasion, Lindsay had not done his homework. Along with a number of other children, Lindsay was made to stand on a school form, against and facing the wall whilst repeating the homework,. At the same time the teacher walked along behind all of the children, hitting the back of their legs with the edge of a ruler.
Early Model Thornycroft Truck
The automobile which was taking over from the slower moving horse drawn cart and wagon represented progress and still does; only the models change. This one had solid rubber tyres and a crank handle to start the motor.Hackers would have had a similar truck as this one.
Wireless - Early - 1928 to 1934
Lindsay Staib -
Our house was well back from the road, in a paddock. Electricity was not connected so my father had to acquire a Wet Battery Radio. These batteries looked the same as a car battery and could be recharged about every couple of months. It really depended on how much the radio was used.
To receive the signal you required an aerial as high as possible, in our case two very high timber poles. Dad cut the poles from trees in our paddock. He cut the tree down then straddled it and, using a broad axe, he removed the bark and sapwood. This left the true wood. The plough horse may have been hitched up to lift the poles from the horizontal to the vertical. The wire aerial, probably a single copper wire, was stretched between these poles with another wire connected to the radio set.
The wireless consisted of the batteries, a rectangular box with the receiving equipment and a speaker. At first there were two batteries, each about half the size of a car battery, but later, a single battery was used.
The reception sound was not very great so the listeners had to gather in close to the set. The speaker was a horn shape, like a funnel or a Tuba (musical instrument). There was some static but, by turning the condensers, sometimes both together, this could be eliminated and good reception obtained.
The number of valves used would determine the volume and reception obtained. There could have been between one and five valves. The radio did not have a dial so finding the station had to be done by ear. The local stations included 4BG, 4QG and 4BH.
One of the highlights in the 1930s was listening to Don Bradman batting in England. To do this meant that we had to sit up until the early hours of the morning. The younger members of the family were sent to bed much earlier. Another was listening to the serials including Dad and Dave which came on about 6.45pm each weekday evening. The news at 7.00 PM was a must.
Later on 4BH built their broadcasting tower on Mr Dave Barker's property near the intersection of Yeada Street and Allan Street at Kedron. This improved the reception considerably.
Editor's Note: In the early days up to the 1930s the broadcast from England of the cricket matches was not direct to Australia but the commentary was sent by cablegrams to Australia. The local commentator would make up his commentary from them and simulate the sound of bat hitting ball by tapping a pencil on the desk. Not quite as fast as the short wave broadcasting of the time but much clearer.
Note from Glenys Bolland 25-12-08
I can't remember if I mentioned that radio station 4bh used to have its communications tower, and broadcast from Bald Hills. That is, apparently how it was called 4BH. - 4 Bald Hills.
Recreation - Self Made
Lindsay's father, Fred, was very keen on playing cricket and built a cricket oval and pitch on the farm. He marked out the boundary with a small ditch using his mould board plough and the pitch was made of bitumen. Local teams would play there and also on the pitch behind Hamilton's workshops on Somerset Creek.
An Outing to Sandgate 1930s
Occasionally the family would go by sulky to Sandgate for an outing. The horse would be unharnessed and tied up under a shady tree and given a nosebag with chaff to feed on.
Sandgate was a very popular beach in those days and hundreds of families travelled there to spend the day. The first train had run to the area in the early 1880's and extra services were put on at the weekends. On Sundays between 4.00 pm and 6.30 pm, there were five or six extra trains scheduled to return the day trippers home.
Hot water could be purchased from a nearby shop, some customers taking along an empty 7 lb treacle tin which would be filled for three pence or six pence. Families would spread a blanket under the shade of a tree and Mum would set up a picnic lunch whilst the family would scatter in all directions to seek the various forms of enjoyment that the area had to offer.
Swimming in Somerset Creek in Chermside 1930s
My brother often spoke about swimming in the creek that flowed across Hamilton Road, near Byrne Ford (now McDonalds) and under Westfield into 7th Brigade Park. It is still there now but in underground pipes.
Just inside Westfield's property it opened out into a deep hole. The boys swam there a lot, but one day a local girl joined them, Isobel Newman did not know how deep it was. Not knowing how to swim she was immediately in trouble. Fortunately the boys were able to pull her out on to the bank of the creek,
Daisy Air Rifles
Across the road from Packers Tannery at the junction of Hamilton and Webster Roads was an 8 acre block on which the bush had grown very dense and up to 15 feet (4.5m) high. Rubbish was also dumped there by locals.
The local boys used to get in there and play 'wars' using their Daisy air rifles and sheltering behind pieces of corrugated iron. A lot of fun provided you weren't hit by the little lead pellet called a Bee Bee. Once one of Lindsay's brothers came home with a wound in the middle of his forehead; just missing his eye, which he could have lost.
Light Horse 1939
Lindsay recounts the feeding of the horses by the troopers at their camps in Marchant and 7th Brigade Parks (Spark's Paddock)
Small saplings each about four feet long would be driven into the ground at intervals of about 2 feet in two parallel rows about 2 feet apart. Longer saplings would be secured to the tops of the two rows and smaller saplings placed across the two rows at right angles forming a series of square holes about 2 X 2 feet and 3 feet in height. A tarpaulin would then be draped over the 2 foot saplings and looped down to form a series of feed bags. The feed would then be tipped into the tarpaulin loops and the horses would do the rest.
Tent Pegging was also carried out by the troopers as a test of their riding and swordsmanship skills. A tent peg would be driven into the ground and a rider would try to flick it out of the ground with the point of his sword. It was a difficult thing to do as the horse would be galloping and the rider would be bobbing around, trying to stay in the saddle while leaning down to get his sword down to the level of the peg.
The army artillery was stationed at Enoggera and locals would sometimes see a column of horse drawn artillery travelling through Chermside. The guns fired a 25 pound (11.3Kg) shell and were drawn by five strong horses with riders on two of them. They were always well presented when on their way to maneuvers.
Sometimes the troopers used small cars, maybe baby Austins, instead of the horses. Lindsay thought that it may have been a preliminary introduction to mechanised warfare as the old cavalry units finished up fighting in tanks during WWII.
Lindsay and Scoliosis Treatment 1939-40
In about 1939-40 when Lindsay was about 14-15 he was diagnosed with Scoliosis which is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. He was sent to Princess Alexandra Hospital (called the Diamantina Hospital before 1960) for treatment. The doctors attached a collar around his neck and pulled it up till he was standing on tip toe; this hanging position straightened his spine. He was then encased in a body cast from shoulder to lower spine and had to lie on a wooden platform for six weeks in the hospital. The cure worked and Lindsay has had a good back since then.
Firewood Cutting 1940s
In the pre WWII Chermside most household cooking was done on 'fuel stoves' which were made from cast iron and used wood for fuel. Being made from cast iron they lasted a life time. They were replaced by gas and electric stoves in the post WWII years.
Lindsay tells of the time in the about 1945 when he was enjoying a day away from Chermside in the bush up Dayboro way with the Burkitts who had a firewood supply business near the Chermside School of Arts, which was on the corner of Hall Street and Gympie Road. The Burkitts used to cut blocks of wood and sell them for fuel. The block was a section of tree trunk about 30cm long which was a good size for splitting. The customers would split the block with their axe on the wood heap in the back yard of their house. The smaller pieces of wood were suitable for putting into the fire box of the fuel stove or the fireplace.
The Burkitts had a very early model 30 hundredweight (cwt) (1,524 kg) truck of unknown make. It had no sides on the flatbed to enable easy loading of the felled logs. Two smaller logs were placed one end on the edge of the flatbed and the other end on the ground to act as a ramp for the larger log, which would be dragged up and on to the flatbed.
Some of the early trucks were Thorneycroft, International, Morris, Ford and Reo.
The logs were hauled to a power circular saw bench and cut into blocks. A stationary petrol engine with a drive pulley was hooked up to the circular saw spindle with a much smaller pulley by a 4 inch (100mm) leather belt. The smaller pulley was to increase the speed of the circular saw, which made it easier to cut easily and speedily through the very oldest and hardest dry logs.
When the truck was driven up a steep hill it had to go up in reverse. The reason for this was the truck had the petrol tank mounted on the top of the engine bonnet in front of the wind screen. The early trucks did not have a petrol pump so the petrol had to be gravity fed to the Carburettor which was mounted low down on the engine.
Lindsay tells of a friend of his had left an axe out in the bush by pushing it up a hollow log. The idea was to have the axe handy for the next time he went there. In the meantime a bush fire went through the area and reduced the log, and the axe handle, to ashes. It was intriguing to see the axe head lying in the ash of the log with a perfectly shaped handle of lighter coloured ash. There must have been very little wind that day.
The War Comes to Chermside 1939-1945
Lindsay had been interested in woodwork at school and was able to be apprenticed as a joiner in 1939. Then when war broke out on the 3rd September 1939 the "war effort" began and the men were switched over to building Air Sea Rescue launches and bomb barges to ferry bombs out to the Catalina flying boats which delivered them to the war zone.
In late 1942/early 1943, Lindsay, then aged 16, was riding his bicycle home from his work place, the joinery establishment operated by the Brooks family in Kedron. At the Gympie Road / Rode Road intersection, a policeman (Qld. Police) was directing all vehicles to move off the road and to park at the side, while a convoy of US military vehicles proceeded along Rode Road, heading up the hill, out bound. The convoy took about a half hour to pass on that day, with gaps to allow Gympie Road traffic to clear, and there were other similar convoys with bomb loads, on successive days
Lindsay has a clear recollection that the type of vehicle was USA military vehicle, probably 4x4, large utility/light truck, approximately 30cwt (1,520kg or 1.5tonne). Each vehicle had a heavy steel bowed frame over the tray area with a longitudinal central beam over the top which projected a short distance to the rear, past the length of the tray floor.
Suspended from this beam, was an aerial bomb. Each vehicle carried one bomb only, either a 250lb. item, or a larger 500lb item. They were (obviously) unprimed, and strongly secured, in elevation, clear of the vehicle tray. The convoy went along Rode Road and turned into the area now occupied by The Prince Charles and Holy Spirit Hospitals; the build-up continued over a period of a couple of days.
Lindsay saw the stock pile when he took his dog for a walk, and before the guard system was established. It was well-concealed from general view in the light scrub, with tree branches and foliage thrown over for a camouflage effect.
During the time that the bombs were stored there Lindsay saw the way that the bombs had been stacked, but the site was soon continuously guarded, and public access was not generally permitted. Also, after their removal, Lindsay went to the area and saw the marks on the ground where the stock-pile had been positioned. He gives this description:
A section of the light scrub had been cleared and levelled by hand. The length was about 200 feet (61m), and the width about 10-15 feet (3m-4.5m). It was a single row of bombs placed across ways, on the ground each bomb resting up against the one beside it. A second row was placed on top of the lower row, and the upper level bombs were rested into the grooves of the lower layer. There was no separating material either sideways or between the upper and lower level rows or the lower level and the earth. In the haziness of memory, Lindsay estimates that there were up to about 10 such rows, each about 30 feet (9m) long. Guessing again, there would have been about 40 bombs in each row. Even conservatively guessing, the total stockpile would have been over 300 bombs
There was a permanent guard, and each guard was armed with .45 calibre pistol in a holster on his leather belt. The guards were positioned at points along the perimeter of the stockpile. There was no fence, and the guards continually walked back and forth to the next guard position on either side continuing to Webster Road. This continued, day and night. There was no lighting or illumination of any kind. The first guards were fair-skinned US Army soldiers, and these were later replaced by African-American US soldiers.
Before the military guards commenced their surveillance programme, Lindsay walked over to that area and has a clear recollection of the method of stockpile of the method of storage. Refer to his sketch.
He was not aware of any structure or shelter, or any permanent facilities. He has no knowledge of the shift change-over of the guards; food was probably provided from the nearby US camp at Doomben.
From their house, the Staib family could see one corner of the stock-pile but the area was generally obscured by the light scrub. The stock-pile remained in position for approximately 8 weeks. Lindsay has no knowledge about the method and procedure of the removal of the bombs.
It now seems incredible that such a vast storage of high explosive bombs could be positioned in the midst of a civilian residential area. There was no fire protection equipment specifically located at the site, and the local fire brigade station was at Albion, about 4 miles away. There were many military camps in this area - US and Australian, and some fire-fighting equipment would have been in place there.
When asked about the general civilian attitude at the time Lindsay commented, "We were gone. The Japs would have over-ran us if it hadn't been for the New Guinea battles, (Coral Sea, Milne Bay, Kokoda, Bismarck Sea etc.). We were lost."
With such awareness in mind of the precarious nature of the nation's immediate security, it would put a whole new perspective on what was an acceptable risk. All around the country, similar grim decisions were being made, and in our case, Chermside, everyone was aware that the Basnett family dairy farm, opposite the present Craigslea school complex, was being used to store many hundreds of 44 gallon (200 litres) drums of petrol. The Basnett family continued to operate the dairy, alongside the fenced storage area, guarded by armed US military personnel and guard dogs on running leads. The Australian Army Military camp was further along Hamilton Road. They were desperate times indeed; not to be forgotten!
General Douglas McArthur had arrived in Brisbane in July 1942 to set up headquarters and Intelligence centres for the war in the South Pacific much to the relief of all Australians who had seen what the Japanese had done in China and other places. Australians were very afraid that they could be next.
The Staib Family
Throughout Australia, there were families with members in the Armed Services. While Lindsay worked as a carpenter, which was one of the restricted industries, his three older brothers were already on active duty. The photo of Lindsay's mother shows her wearing the broach / pin that indicated that she had three sons on active duty.
By then Brisbane was alive with servicemen both Australian and American and there was much activity in the immediate area with army camps springing up everywhere.
The year 1941 would have been Blanch Staib's most stressful year. With three sons involved and the war at its lowest ebb, her husband, Fredrick, died in June. He would not be there to help her sort out the future of the family in view of the Government's notification that the property was to be resumed "for education purposes". In the event negotiations took several years to come to a conclusion and Blanche was to have her eldest son Don to advise and guide her. Unfortunately the year that the talks were finally settled, 1949, was also the year that Blanche herself died.
She was 59 years old, as age when most people are preparing to sit back and reflect on some of the benefits of a lifetime of hard work; certainly not in the case of Blanche and Frederick Staib.
The proposed school was never built and the Staib land was joined to the proposed hospital land where, in time, The Prince Charles Hospital was built and it is without doubt Chermside's crowning glory in the year 2000. However back in 1941, all Blanche knew was that she had lost her husband and was about to lose her home and farm. The war situation had gone from bad to worse with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and most "thinking" Australians, at the time, sure that "we" would be next.
Fred arrived back from the Middle East after surviving the defense of Tobruk in North Africa and then saw service in New Guinea before departing with the Occupational Forces to Japan.
Older brother Don joined the Air Force and was stationed at Oakey on the Darling Downs engaged on aircraft maintenance.
As a toddler, Roy had lost three fingers from his right hand in a farm accident. However he had adapted well with his left hand and became an accountant. With this experience he was able to join the army and served in the District Finance Office.
Lindsay had been a lad of thirteen when war broke out and Blanche would have been pleased that she had at least one son not involved. However his job as an apprentice in the joinery trade soon brought him into involvement with the "war effort" at his place of work.
Lindsay and three of his mates all had horses and would go riding two nights a week and on Sundays. Occasionally they would go to a horse show and if they did not win a ribbon they would take an old one and place it around the neck of one of the horses for the ride home.
By the end of the war Lindsay was one of the many young people who look forward to attending the local dances. In 1928 a large timber hall had been built in Kedron as a RSL Memorial Hall for the 1918 Armistice. It was used by the R.S.L. as a meeting place and Lodges and Gymnastic groups also met there. It was also a venue for numerous concerts, balls and school functions. Dances were held regularly and it was t one of those dances that Lindsay met his future wife, Elaine.
Fred and Elva had a son John
Don and Beatrice had given the family the first grandson in Graham Staib.
Roy and his wife Mavis had two children, Carolyn and Darryl.
It was Darryl's wife, Jennifer, who gave birth to the Staib family's centennial baby, Erin who was born in 1986, exactly 100 years since Marie and Frederick first arrived in Brisbane to find a new life for themselves and their family.
Lindsay married his dancing partner, Elaine Watson and they had three children Lynette, Graeme and Robert.
Last Resting Place - Friedrich & Blanch
Together they worked hard clearing the land, framing the land, building sheds and houses, raising a family of four boys only to see it all resumed.
Now they rest together and the grave looks as neat and tidy as their farm did.
They are numbered among the pioneers of Chermside of which Friedrick "always felt that the area had a positive future and strong growth potential." He was right!
"Dad died in 1941 aged 57 and Mum in 1949 aged 59. Unfortunately they were not able to enjoy any benefit from their years of hard physical work or receive any rewards for themselves with the later increase in the value of the land and the unbelievable development of Chermside." (Roy Staib)