Tronson Australia
FAMILY

Walter Vivian (1881 - 1965)

Tronson Family Crest


Ringwood Farm  1901  - 1934

Written in 1985 by Seymour Tronson (1917-2002)

2006 transcribed by Mark Tronson and re-edited by Deidre Tronson

 

 

[Assistances by elder sister Viva Sealy (1910-) and selected quotations by his elderly mother Jessie Tronson (1887-1987) – these have been added where a personal note was considered helpful.

 

We have summarised several documents, one by Jessie Tronson in her hand writing, one by Viva in her hand writing, one by Seymour in his hand writing, and a much more detailed account typed by Seymour over several months while Jessie was still alive and with Viva’s assistance. It is Seymour’s voice that you hear in the unidentified personal anecdotes.

 

 

 

 

Walter Vivian Tronson was born in Gympie Queensland 20 July 1881. His father was Thomas Bleakley Tronson and mother Mary Anne Davis; they were married in 1869.  Walter grew up mostly in Gympie, Qld but also spent a little time in Melbourne where he received a finishing education with his attendance at the Melbourne Agricultural College and where he worked for a further six months before returning to Gympie.

 

A reference dated 21 March 1896 reads:

The bearer Walter Tronson has been in our employ for the last six months as messenger and useful in the factory and we can recommend him to anyone requiring his services. Bridgland & King, Melbourne

 

 

Boxing

 

At this time he was also keen on boxing and later took the Middle Weight championship of Queensland.

 

An excerpt from “Toowoomba Chronicle” 8th February 1909 reads

JENNINGS AND TRONSON

Boxing contests are evidently fashionable here now, as the Toowoomba Athletic Club is holding another fight at their new stadium at the running grounds. This will be the third fight since its inauguration and will be the best of the lot, as the men are evenly matched, both in weight and science. Jennings, who is a good boxer with a good record, having 44 fights to his credit, winning 40, drawing twice, and losing once on points, and has never been knocked out.

Tronson, a young fighter, with a terrific punch, who defeated Max Pardella a few weeks ago here, will arrive in a few days and should give a good account of himself.

Jennings will spar at the stadium tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon at 3 o’clock. The public are cordially invited.

Outcome – Walter Tronson won knocking out Jennings in the third round.

 

 

An excerpt from “Gympie Times”, December 1907 reads

BOXING  -  TRONSON  V.  GROUNDWATER

Tronson wins easily.

W. Tronson and D. Groundwater at the Oddfellows Hallon Saturday night in a boxing contest for %10 a-side and the middleweight championship of Gympie. The conditions were best of 20 rounds, one to win, not withstanding the heavy rain, there was a fair attendance, and all the arrangements were faithfully carried out.

As preliminaries Masters Wilson and Hogan had a bout with the gloves, and Robbo (Sydney) and Sinclair (of Tiaro) gave an exhibition spar, in which the Sydneyite showed the most cleverness. Robbo then challenged the winner of the chief contest. For the principal event Dr Ahern was appointed referee, and Mr Hardy timekeeper. In Groundwater’s corner were   and Hill while Tronson’s seconds were A. Tronson and West.

As soon as the fight started Groundwater rushed Tronson and tried a left hook but Tronson timing his hit nicely, got home with a hard left on the opponent’s left eye, causing it to purple visibly. Groundwater appeared rather dazed, went in again aggressively, when Tronson gave him encoreon the eye and thence crossed him with the right on the jaw. Groundwater went down and took 9 seconds. Rising again he once more went for Tronson and struck him on the shoulder. Tronson baulked, and with the left and right, as before knocked his opponent clean out. The referee thereupon awarded the flight to Tronson, the contest having lasted about two minutes. Groundwater was fairly well marked for the short time he was on active service and Tronson was obviously much above his opponent’s class. On this showing the winner should hold his own with any welterweight in Queensland.

At the conclusion of the flight, Tronson accepted Robbo’s challenge for the %20 a-side, the contest to take place in a month’s time. He also challenged any middleweight in Gympie or any welterweight in Queensland, for %10 a-side.

 

 

An excerpt from “Ipswich”  Tuesday March 16 1909 reads

IPSWICH CHAMPION TRONSON AND JONES

Tronson of Gympie and Jones welterweight champion of Charters Towers fought here tonight. The fight lasted seven rounds, when Jones’ seconds threw in the towel. Tronson had the better of the fight all through.

Tronson is a good gritty lad who’ll come on if he gets any sort of chance, he loves the pug game for its own sweet sake, otherwise he wouldn’t be in it. For fate has been kinder to him than most exponents of the game, he has the where-with-all to live comfortably, and is also the son of a well-to-do father. Veteran Billy McCarthy licked Tronson into shape during the laters short stay in Sydney some time ago, and vows that, given a reasonable period, he would have sent the young Queenslander out to throw down the gage to the top notches at his weight. Tronson is a good living manly young chap and deserves to do well.

 

 

Securing the Ringwood Farm

 

Walter was asked by his mother when he was 19 whether he would like their farm, which had come into their hands through the previous owner not being able to keep up payments of a debt.

 

Although his father had a draper shop in Gympie, it was the land Walter liked best and worked so he had for some time on a farm before this opportunity arose. It was in 1901 that Walter and his mother came to take over the property (which they called Ringwood). His mother had a little money. There was a ridge with a shack house already there and down along Ringtail Creek there were about 50 acres of scrub. The remainder was low lying country covered in ti-tree.

 

Jessie Tronson states:

“Walter’s parents had friends who owned a farm and Walter stayed with them until he was eighteen years old when it was time to go home. His mother asked him what he would like to do, and Walter responded he would like to go on the land. ‘You could go on our farm’ his mother responded, ‘I didn’t know we had a farm’ Walter said. ‘It fell into my hand by a mortgage’ she said. Walter could not wait to go and inspect it.”

 

Besides having to fall this flat area (ie: clear it of trees) Walter had to drain it. Their neighbour Mr Sherrit (a Scotsman) had some experience in similar country back home and was able to advise Walter what best to do. His mother brought two cows for milk and butter, then Walter did some scrub felling and burning off allow the grasses to grow so that they were able to graze more cows. As soon as they had enough milk to skim off the cream and make butter, they delivered and sold the butter in Tewantin (six miles from Ringwood) once a week. In those days they made their own roads.

 

Jessie Tronson relates:

“On the next farm lived an old man, Mr Sherrit. The old man took a great liking to Walter and advised him to go on the farm. There was nothing to live on, but his mother said she would help, there was a house so they settled in. She made a garden and started to grow vegetables, acquired a few chooks then his mother brought a few cows.”

 

 

Establishing the Farm

 

His first major work was to fell the scrub country. He had two Aboriginals working for him. Being young with plenty of energy he built a tennis court, then friends would come out from Tewantin. So apart from the game of tennis on Sundays, it was hard slogging work and long hours.

 

All this time Walter kept on his boxing, and also helped with his father’s shop in Gympie. In those days he owned and rode a pushbike to Gympie, 21 miles from Ringwood, on poor roads without the good grades we have today. In 1906 on one of those trips he met an English girl, Jessie Lake who was head milliner of Rankin & Carey’s, another draper shop. They kept company from this time, until their marriage in 1909.

 

Jessie Tronson recalls:

“Easter came and Walter went to friends in Gympie. We met each other; I had come from England when I was 19 years old. I was a milliner and working in a shop. I was nearly 22 years old when we met and we became friends. Walter had someone working on the farm for him and he was working in his father’s shop, so we met often. Then we decided to get married.”

 

“Uncle Will Crooks, a Member of Parliament in England gave me away. After our honeymoon, which was only a few days, we went back to the farm. It took me a while to get used to the change of life. We took our butter to Tewantin - how I liked these Wednesdays - a cup of tea and a chat to everyone. We served everyone in Tewantin but not the two hotels”.

 

By this time the farm was producing enough milk for cream and butter to be able to sell their produce and butter to Tewantin. So once a week they made a trip in the buckboard with the butter and other produce to Tewantin. A great day it was, meeting friends for chats and cups of tea. They would sell 17lbs in billies especially for the purpose, £1/- per lb, this was from 1909 to 1910. When Walter got married he said he would not box again and he never did.

 

Late in 1910 their first daughter was born, Viva. By now there was more land cleared and many cows to milk, all by hand, so they put on share farmers, Mr & Mrs Dunn. At some time the Dunn’s must have lived bear Boreen Point known as Dunn’s Beach, a sandy beach on the Cootharaba Lake. At a later date many a school break up picnic was there, with three or four country schools would combining together.

 

It was about that time the railway line was constructed from Brisbane to Gympie. We remember Walter talking about the gangs of men building that line.

 

The Ringwood farm was 1400 acres. Just after Mr Dunn came and worked for Walter, someone else started a cream run, picking up cream and other produce and taking it all to Pomona (to be railed to Caboolture) and on the return journey bringing back the empty cans, bread, mail and any other back loading. Mr Dunn stayed on for three years. Then another share farmer, a Mr Fraser was employed. More land was cleared, fences put up, more cows milked, by then 60 or more.

 

In 1915 Jessie and Viva then 4 set sail to see her mother and father in England. Altogether they were away six months, the trip itself took five weeks each way. Viva says she does not remember much of the trip.

 

Viva went to school at 5 years of age, walking 2 ½ miles to Cooloothin Creek Provisional School. It was a building constructed by the local residents and the Queensland Department of Education supplied the teacher. At that time there were 16 children when there was a full roll call. Viva recalls it as a lonely walk but she had a faithful dog (Smiler) for company. The road was only a cleared track through the timber so one could drive a buggy. Soon the share farmer’s children were going to school, then it was not so lonely.

 

 

Farm Development

 

Towards the end of 1914 Davis (1914-1984) was born. By this time cattle ticks had spread over the coastal regions of Queensland. This meant the cattle needed spraying. At that time arsenic and caustic soda solution was used. The first attempt at speeding things up was a cage dip, in which one cow would walk onto the cage, be lowered into a shallow well by windlass, and its head would be pushed under the dip. The windlass would then be wound up to release that cow, ready for the next one. It took two men to work the windlass.

 

Later the plunge dip was built. This was a narrow deep dip with high sides and a draining yard. The beast would jump or slip in, swim to the steps and walk out under its own steam. One hundred cows could be dipped in an hour. Viva still remembers helping by letting the cows out, especially the time when one stood on her foot. There were plenty of tears that day, and she still carries the scar. Mark can recall seeing the dipping process occur when he was a boy on holiday at the farm in 1957.

 

After Mr Fraser’s three years as a share farmer, he purchased his own farm not far away and a Mr Teirney came in 1916.

 

Then Walter dug the first drain by hand, from the lagoon to the Noosa River. It wasn’t the success he had hoped because high tide was much the same level as the lagoon, about 12 inches, so there was not much drainage possible.

 

By this time Viva had learnt to ride (horses). This meant she needed to catch and saddle her own horse or pony each morning riding to school.

 

Cream carriers had changed hands and the cream run had also become the official mail run. 1916 was a drought year. A sheep farmer from near Pittworth (Mr Baker) came with their sheep. He and his son and a friend, made sheep yards near their property, to yard the sheep at nights and shelter them during the day because there were always dingoes which, given a chance, would kill more than they could eat. One day when they went swimming in the lagoon, Mr Baker’s son got cramp and drowned, this was very sad.

 

Walter got a few sheep from Mr Baker then, and always had them on hand for meat. The dingoes got their share in spite of all the care taken. Walter always used hand shears and later taught Viva to shear, a skill she maintained for many years.

 

 

Farming

 

During this dry period they ring-barked a lot more of the ti-tree bushes in the swamp areas. Soon after the dry period the cattle were getting around as if crippled. A vet was brought in and said it was commonly known as soft bone. It’s a calcium deficiency. Walter sold 22 for £1 per head thinking it was an incurable disease. But it can be cured by careful management. For a start, they needed troughs with salt and bonemeal. As a more permanent cure, they needed to plough and plant a paddock of cane, or soft sugar cane, then they had to chaff the cane as cattle feed and add Tricalis (a bone flour) at the rate of about one level desert spoon per cow, along with cottonseed meal. Later, they just used molasses, which is made from sugar cane, as it contains calcium as one of its natural nutrients.

 

Even now although there is not enough labour to grow the cane the molasses and Tricalos are still being fed to the cattle.

 

I can remember Walter telling me the share farmers was built for £95, a 10sq house with veranda. Both this and our house were built on low blocks. Our house was built in 1901-02 as soon as Walter arrived at the farm, and improved over the years.

 

They decided to raise our house and put in the high blocks with the help of a carpenter. Jessie went on as usual with cooking and house work and still talks about the cat not knowing the house was higher, and jumping off the veranda and finding herself 7 feet in the air. Walter had beech timber from this property sawn up and added another large dining room and lounge, plus a veranda and fernery. The fernery was always pleasant to look at.

 

The next big project was the erecting of a large windmill frame with the wind driving generator to charge six large 2-volt American batteries (the acid was made up with distilled water to a recipe I don’t remember now). The old acid was emptied out and replaced with new and topped up with more distilled water as needed. The distilled water was caught into glass dishes when it rained. Those batteries were still in use 30 years later.

 

Jessie Tronson comments:

“Walter erected a windmill to put up a generator to charge the batteries for lighting the house. It was good up to a point, but if there was not enough wind to run the generator we had no light. Later on when milking machines were installed, the generator was put on the engine to run these. Also a very deep well was sunk not far from the cow yard”.

 

Another big project was the well, 49 feet deep with an associated windmill to pump the water into the two water tanks on ten foot high blocks. This supplied abundant water for use in the milking yard and the house.

 

Our first big wireless and the two large dry batteries which ran it are still the talk of the district. Brisbane was the nearest transmitting station, and some nights so much static you couldn’t hear properly. People came from Tewantin to hear our wireless! When reception was clear you could hear the Sydney clock striking. One man just could not believe it – he never forgot that.

 

The family now consisted of: Viva and Davis as well as Hepsey was born, March 1915, a son Seymour 1917 on 17 December (1917-2002) and another Daughter Illma April 1918.

 

 

Cream Run

 

For some time now Walter had the cream run, that meant an extra three coach horses and they were fed with chaff and corn.

 

By 1919 there was so much cream brought to Pomona to be railed away that then they built a butter factory at Pomona. It was a busy day at Pomona on cream days, with so many carriers coming in. They were mostly horse drawn. From the Ringwood farm we had three horses and the buggy. They would eat while the coach driver would attend to all the back loading, packing supplies to take back for low lying farms along the way.

 

 

Road Travel

 

Another big event was the day Walter brought home the first car, a T Model Ford. Viva remembers that day. When she arrived home from school, there was Dad and the car. ‘Would you like a ride in the car?’, her smile was a mile wide, and all piled in. Viva can still remember all the fuss and how proud dad was. Our roads in those days were a real bone shakers. Dad was forever cutting out roots and filling in holes.

 

In 1920 Walter and Mr Maynard drove to Melbourne in the T Model Ford, and some people couldn’t believe that they had driven from Queensland until they saw the Registration No. It was No.000.

 

Later in 1922 dad brought the Studebaker car. The first trip in the Studemaker was to Rockhampton, and Walter taking Lionel Donovan, Mrs Lennox, Mum and Viva.

 

In 1923 Dad, Mum and Mr & Mrs Curran drove to Melbourne. Mr Curran was the bank manager from Pomona. We remember a Mrs Ferguson looking after us while they were away, us five children. We played the wag from school one day. A spoon full of caster oil was a cure for all complaints, besides being used for ointment for cuts and sores.

 

Viva recalls going through a sugar mill and Mrs Lennox got sick. They came home through Mt. Morgan and Banana. The country was covered with prickly pear. The weather was dry and extremely hot, the trip back to Ringwood took 10 days.

 

Another trip was to Goondwindi. There was dad, Mum and Mr Maynard, Illma and me Seymour. That trip was to visit Uncle Bert (Arthur) and Auntie Millie. They were managing a sheep station. I remember the plague of rabbits. Passed several camps where men stayed while rabbit catching, they would send them to the factory where they would be packed and frozen for export to England.

 

I remember another trip we all had to Pyalba. Many a time we got bogged on the bad roads. Dad did many smaller trips in the Studebaker. There was a trip Viva went on her own to Melbourne with a label tied to her wrist, “I am Viva Tronson going to Melbourne to see Uncle Jim and Auntie Hilda”.

 

Viva just told me about one noteworthy Pialba trip. Dad had the car checked at Gympie for the trip. They forgot to fill the oil again at Tirro when the worst happened. There were three grownups and five children. It was some load for such a small space in that car. It was a very hot day, however by some means Dad got the car going again. Off we went and had our holiday, only that we children came home with measles.

 

 

Medical Emergencies

 

Viva talks about the time she had her broken arm. They took her to Pomona by sulky, then on to Gympie by train, there the doctor put her arm in splints. I can remember Hepsy’s arm being broken, and by this time there was a doctor in Pomona to treat her arm. I had my middle left finger nearly cut off with a cane knife. I was old enough then to ride into Pomona on my own. It was thunder storm time and just before I left there had been a narrow cyclone go through. It lifted houses and broke off trees on it’s way.

 

Then Davis cut his foot so badly and lost so much blood that he fainted. He and dad had to walk home from where they were working and then Dad drove him into the doctor at Pomona. He had 10 stitches and stayed a few days in hospital. When he got home, he hopped around on crutches for a while.

 

There was a time three of us got hook worm. That prompted Dad to get a design for a septic system, which he made. It has been in operation ever since 1920 without having any trouble at all.

 

 

 

Long Hours

 

On the Ringwood farm we all worked long hours and when Dad spoke you ran or received due punishment. We children were seen and not heard and ‘no answering back’.

 

I remember one belting at 4.30am for not getting out of bed as soon as we were called, and Davis got it too.

 

In 1924 after the milking machines were put in and share farmers were hard to get, we children did the milking. 100 cows plus in the summer down to 35 in the winter. I was seven then. Viva and Hepsy stripping, I bailed up the cows, tied the leg, washed the udder and teats, and changed the cups that attached top the teats. The machines were driven by a 4 ½ h.p. kerosene engine, that also drove a pump, a separator and a 32 volt generator. There ws also a chaffcutter, which once broke down and Dad had to send to England for a part. An emery and a bench wood saw were also all driven off that one engine.

 

It was “go on the double” to milk those 100 cows, round up our school ponies, ride to Cooloothin Creek School, hurry home on the horses and again get into the milking. At least Dad believed in getting everything finished before dark. There were 30 to 40 poddies calves to feed, and a similar number of pigs to feed. I can remember those days, with everyone shouting at one another.

 

In those first machines the pulsation mechanism worked by vacuum. Many a time it would stick and wouldn’t release the milk, then the milk would fill up the vacuum tank, go through the pump, and out into the yard.

 

In dry times and very high tides, the tide or salt water would flow right back into the lagoon, then we had to sand bag at a narrow place to stop it. It was like Holland, where they have put in very high levy banks, and pumped the water from the low country. Then one very big flood we had, we were down in the flood area pushing logs off the fences and decided to go in the motor boat down to Rest Down. At the river’s edge we cut a mark in  tree and later measured it 20 foot above high tide.

 

In drought time this farm is at its best always able to take a few extra stock.

 

Dad was a well respected man in the district, but he had we children scared. Do or else, he was quick to make up his mind.

 

 

Modern Farming Methods

 

In about 1924, the Noosa Shire Council had bought a Jelbart tractor, a big cumbersome thing that frightened every horse in the district when working. However it was for sale, and Dad reckoned he could use it on the farm as he had previously bought a horse- drawn grader with which he made numerous drains in the paddocks.

 

Dad had all the gates on the farm coloured, named and numbered. It was a great help when mustering, when Dad said to bring them through the blue gate, or No. 10 gate.

 

As all the district roads were made for horse drawn vehicles, they were not very good for cars. Dad got a contract to fix a part of the Pomona Road that was notorious for bogging cars in wet weather, which in those days we had plenty of. So with a motor mechanic, a Mr Wolds, a well known and very good mechanic, with the tractor and grader they set off to fix the road. After a lot of trials and errors, breakdowns and whatever the road was gravelled and graded and is still a good piece of road today. 

 

Dad did a lot of work with the tractor after that, but it proved not suitable to work on our kind of country. It was sold to a Gympie man who used it as a stationary engine crushing the stone in a Gympie gold mine.

 

Dad was very particular about his cattle. He had an Ayrshire herd and bulls in a paddock away from the herd. Each cow was taken to the bull and recorded, with each cow named. The cows would start calving in August, and no more after Christmas.

 

At weaning time, the calves were numbered with a tattoo in their ears, branded and ear marked. Dehorning day was also busy with lots of shouting and laughing. Later on we were told about burning off the horns with caustic soda sticks at a week old. This was very successful.

 

Although Dad had planted a lot of improved pasture it was never a real success. But some poorer type grasses did reasonably well supplemented with some feed concentrate. This country carried a cow to 4 acres. In rich pockets a cow to 2 acres.

 

 

Horses

 

It was 1928 and I was 11. My horse was Phop, a scybala red and white horse and we got going quickly toward the mail gate and he bolted. Going flat out toward the mail gate and unable to stop, but instead of jumping over the gate he went through it; bits of gate went each way, but he kept his footing and kept going. Did Dad go mad !! It was wooden gate and it had to be rebuilt.

 

Then there was old Bounce a quiet horse about 15 hands. Mum would go into Pomona about 11 miles to dress making lessons and we children would saddle up Bounce for her. About 2 miles up the road Bounce wouldn’t budge another inch. Bounce thought it was far enough. Mum did all she could to try and get him to move. So Mum had to turn him and come home. We still remind Mum of that day.

 

I remember Dolly, one of the school horses, was sold to a family in Coran for their boy. Eighteen months later Dolly was out side the mail gate waiting to be let in. Poor Dolly was skin and bone, in such poor condition.

 

Glory was the boss draught horse, always a bit timid and we had to be careful because when frightened, Glory would kick, and we had to be careful with trace chains. One day Glory bolted with the dray, round the yard through the gate grazing the gate post,  down to the harness shed, turned a right hand wheel and ran over the 4 horse scoop turning the dray on its side and Glory too. We took the harness off in the downed position, talking to her to reassure her, she got up and walked away, but still frightened, but no further damage. The scoop was a bit bent.

 

Another school pony Don, on one occasion didn’t want to go to school, so reared up on his hind legs. Again Dad turned upon the scene, and ordered me to get on. And then walloped Don with a big stick on the rump. Don nearly jumped from under me. Then Dad handed Hepsy the stick, and told her to hit him. He told us that if he stopped, hit him again. No more trouble from Don.

 

Prince was a riding or sulky horse we bought, but stumble over his own shadow. Hepsy and I were mustering one day when Prince stumbled over a root and went completely over, front legs down first. Hepsy quickly stepped off and got out of the way. Prince scooped a hole in the ground with the pummel of the saddle, then after struggling to his feet again, I mounted and went on with the mustering.

 

One day the draught horse Blossom stood on my foot, it became a foot like a dinner plate. I tried to push so did Blossom, then I said “woo-back” and she stepped off.  

 

We had 21 horses on that farm. Ponies, coach horses and draught horses.

 

 

Tronson’s Canal

 

It was about 1929 that Dad dug the big drain from the Lagoon to the river, now known as Tronson’s Canal. It is 70 chains long. The first 45 chains length was higher and drier so we used 3 horse teams and scoop, with extra teams on standby during the construction.

 

I remember both Davis and Dad working on the scoops. Further down amongst the titree, a bullock team first pulled the trees out and away. Percy Anderson owned that team and he also stuttered very badly. He had the most wonderful cattle dog that looked after those bullocks.

 

After those trees were out of the way, Dad then employed a team of men from Tewantin to dig thed canal 12 feet wide and 3 feet deep with draining shovels. The payment was £1 a day. At most we had 13 men on the job. The wet swampy soil was like peat. Horses and men were always tired by the end of the day. Dad stayed to finish I remember, as he worked Christmas Day, and it rained that night. It took three seasons to complete and was finished in 1931.

 

Mr Dunn was a hard worker and a good leader, so Dad paid him extra money. The men received 8 shillings a day.

 

After the drain was finished we bought a 12 foot open motor boat and we put up a boat shed at the top end of the drain. We had to take the boat slowly into the drain because of the wash of the banks.

 

 

Home Life

 

Prior to having the boat we used to go to the swimming hole every Sunday. Although Dad believed in everyone working hard, Sunday was always a day off between milking. Once we had the boat we went further afield.  Mum would have the picnic lunch ready, then everyone would hurry down to the boat and over to John Johns as he would join us and go fishing; or better still, we would anchor the boat down near the lake ocean side and walk across to North Shore Beach. There was good swimming there or if the tide was right we could go fishing over there. John was a master at catching worms, they were the best bait. Whiting was plentiful. It was about a mile and a half to the beach. We would leave early enough to get home to milk before dark.

 

One night we were in the row boat with Davis, Jack and Bill Gard, I had the lantern burning when a Long Tom jumped in the boat with us. It took some persuading to stop Jack from diving into the Canal. We got the rowlock and hit its head in. Long Tom has a 6 inch mouth with needle sharp teeth.

 

As we got older the dancer of each Saturday night were very popular.

 

Viva wrote: “To go to the dances we had to ride which we thoroughly enjoyed, e girls would tie our dresses up around our waists and put on a riding skirt, no jeans in those days.”

 

On a day trip to Double Bay Light House after we crossed the river by car barge near Tewantin, we seven all had to get out to push until we hit the hard sand on the beach, and it was then 40 miles to the Lighthouse. Illma and I being little were not allowed to walk up the big climb to the Lighthouse, so we built little houses and then caught locusts and shut them in. These little houses were built of sticks, twigs and leaves.

 

I remember when the bridges were first built to Noosa Heads. To go up that last rise, we had to get out and push. Soon after that Dad brought an allotment and built a house in Noosa.

 

Mum always had our Ringwood farm house spick and span, as we were always having someone over to stay. For a few years the teacher boarded with us.

 

Jessie Tronson remembers:

“I could not always make Walter hear when meals were ready, so he said we will get a bell, a bell it was, a big church one, erected at the end of the house and on certain weathers if windy, it could be heard for miles. Only the other day (1985) after years of service it fell, we still have that bell.”

 

 

Time to Move On

 

Viva writes:  “Time was moving on, the depression had been around, Mum and Dad could see the family was getting older and some move had to be made. I had had a holiday on South Mole Island with friends of Dad’s (Mr Henry Lammond, a writer) and I came home very enthusiastic about the Whitsunday Islands. Dad went up to see what it was about, and on seeing Long Island he could see (envisage) great things could be done on the Island to make it into a holiday resort. There was only one tin shed on the Island when he looked at it, so he tried to get a lease on it as the present owners didn’t want it”.

 

Jessie Tronson explains:

“In 1932 Walter went on a holiday to the Whitsundays, he went with a friend Mr Samond, who was an author, They went near Daydream and Mole islands, and looking around Walter could see the possibility of starting a tourist resort on Long Island. So after much thought he would do something about it. .

 

By the time Viva was 25, Illma was 14 and ready to leave school. Viva was engaged to be married. What next? This was in 1934. Dad bought out a lease on the northern end of Long Island. Viva and Cyril married and they took the Ringwood farm on share, while Dad, Mum, Davis, Hepsy, Illma and I went to Long Island.

 

We unpicked the second house to take with us.

 

 

Video Recollections

 

In 1997 Seymour was recorded on video recollecting many of his memories of these, his early years growing up on the Ringwood Farm. His stories include his winning the school swimming races and doing very well at school, especially in arithmetic, riding to school on the various horses, and fleshing out many of the incidents recorded in these writings above. His vivid memories of Walter’s discipline was likewise recognised by all his siblings. Walter’s loud talking voice was astonishing, it didn’t matter where you were at the Gympie Show Ground on Show Day, you could hear Walter talking, even if he was across the far side of the Show Ring. More so, years later everyone in the family recognised how astute and clever was Walter. His capacity to think through a problem and come up with a practical solution was remarkable.  

 

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