Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The two caravans gingerly negotiated the steep, winding, narrow road down the ranges to Brisbane. We had arrived and we were excited to see the capital city of Queensland. I can remember my parents were not impressed with either the city or the camping place where we stayed. They must have been so disappointed because they didn't take any photos. So I have raided my folders and the Internet to find some. I guess my parents were not impressed because in the 50's Brisbane was like a big country town where the people were friendly but slow in developing. So it wasn't a modern beautiful city like Sydney at that time.

Today it is a modern attractive city and developing faster than any other city in Australia. We have caught up at last and southerners agree, because they have been coming here in droves. However that migration is slowing now. We still get many people from New Zealand, Asia and Europe. (Photo from "Above Photography")

As mum just loved the sea (and we hadn't seen any since leaving Sydney because we came on the inland route), she wanted to camp by Moreton Bay at Wynum. Once again we were disappointed as it was low tide, muddy, smelly and there were lots of mosquitoes.

Low tide at Moreton Bay today. (There weren't many sailing boats in the 50's either. Not many people lived by the bay.)

However, today the bayside suburbs are very popular and it is very expensive to buy a house there. This is Wynum today at high tide and it is a beautiful, cool area to live. Councils eradicate mosquitoes.

So we didn't stay long but hurried off to the famous Gold Coast south of Brisbane, where my mother was excitedly looking forward to see the Queensland beaches. One of her dreams was about to come true.
Mum, Ida and Jennifer on Kirra Beach, Queensland 1956

She wasn't disappointed. It was winter but the golden sands and glistening blue water with frothy, white waves crashing on the sand was a thrilling sight for all of us. The sand was so fine, deep and soft. The caravan park was perched on the edge of the beach and we went to sleep with the sound of the rolling surf. It was lovely and warm and not many people around. (Today the caravan park has gone to make way for hundreds of high rise holiday apartment blocks. The beach is crowded with people especially surf board riders. Personally I think it has been spoiled by commercialism)

John congratulating my dad on a fine catch. In fact they were fooling around because it was a shark that had washed up onto the beach. It must have been around this time in my life (14) that I became interested in photography as I took a lot of these shots with my Dad's camera. I had to straighten the horizon in some.

We were not in a hurry to leave the fabulous Queensland beaches but I guess my parents had to get back to Sydney for work. Here John and Dad are checking the map for our next stop.

We drove south and it wasn't long before we crossed the border into New South Wales at Coolangatta. We found a beautiful camping spot at Brunswick Heads. Mum and Dad deserved this happy holiday time together. Walking along the water's edge was always one of Mum's favourite activities and like mother, like daughter I also love it.

Looks like I have the camera again. John and Ida are at the back and Mum is in the middle with Dad and Jenny in front. Enjoying a last look at the beach before motoring on down the coast. Northern NSW beaches are also very beautiful.


  1. Great and greater!
    What a story and the details so spot on for that time. Yep, Brisbane was just a big country town in those days - it's no wonder I can't recall the place from our trips to Caloundra, just north, in those days for holidays, 1948 - 1957! God, that makes me old!

    Just for the readers information: Diane's father must have been a VERY competent driver to have driven down with a caravan behind the car, the Cunninghams Gap!

    Way back when this journey was done, the in-land route from Sydney to Brisbane, meant that you came down those ranges. It was at some areas just passable by one car. Two cars converging, one had to reverse to a position where the other could pass. Any rainfall, and there are plenty in the sub-toprics, resulted in the road closed due to mud slides! The number of cattle and sheep trucks that ended up over the cliff would amaze you.
    That "horrible" road no longer exists, it is a two to three laned highway on both sides!
    Progress in some areas does have good points.
    OK Diane - now back along the coastal highway.
    Great reporting and showing off Australia way back then - Congratulations.


  2. I used to lothe visiting Brisbane as a kid in the 50s and 60s ... hot, humid and mozzies.

  3. Oh *sigh* diane, I was disappointed when your post ended... At the beginning I wondered if YOU were the photographer and then you said you were. I was also always the photographer in my family. Still am! (Lol!) Your parents and John and Ida were very adventurous. To travel like this. Amazing. Brisbane in the 50's (first photo) looks just like any African city today. No high-rise buildings - just a sprawling mass. Thank you thank you, for these posts. Jo

  4. New on your blog.(Jo - memorable meanders - tells me how much she enjoys your blog.) Very interesting post today - love it! Had to read part 1 & 2 too!!

  5. Diane, I just love this photo of you above in the header. What an incredible photo. It just shows your happy life in the adventures before dementia so well. Pray you never have dementia, or Bill either. Luv you gal. You are great.

  6. I have enjoyed your posts about this 'holiday' back in the 50's-60's. I like seeing the old pictures too... It's so good that you are getting all of this family history written down--for future generations.

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  7. Oh, I've missed so much these past 2 weeks! It may take me a little time, but I will catch up :-)

  8. Nice story Diane. Your photos (including the black and white ones) are great :)

  9. In one way it's sad what happened to Brisbane, but I think it is the destiny of all cities where people want to settle down after imigration. I remember in the 60th when I started working the son of a collegue of mine imigrated too and it was so hard for her because there was no telephone except through the German embassy !
    The beach must have been beautiful ! It's so seldom now to find a spot where no tourists are.

  10. Hi Diane, a very different world then. Highly enjoyable to read about your holiday trip to
    Queensland. the black and white shots are great too...from a budding photographer!

  11. this is what blogging is all about. brilliant. Fran

  12. Oh Diane, the photos and narrative in both posts are wonderful. I should have guessed you would have been the photographer of your family.

    I took some time off last week and now I'm getting caught up. I am really enjoying your story and look forward to hearing more.

  13. Wow how Brisbane has changed. I loved it there, but as in all big cities it has become commercialised for tourists. It is so good that you have these lovely shots of your mother before she was so ill later in life. Again we are both lucky to have these photos of our childhood. Diane