from Redhill to Gympie

A tribute to Michael Christian Daly & Eileen Gertrude Green,to their descendants and to their ancestors and to the many cousins

Herston is my "home town", an inner northern suburb of Brisbane (for those readers who are unfamiliar with this part of the world, Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, Australia). The eastern border of the suburb is dominated by the Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital - known as the RBWH - and this is where I and most of my siblings were born. My mother, Eileen, would recall how my father, Michael, didn't go to the hospital when she was having me. She said that dad was sure that she'd deliver yet another daughter after five previous daughters! And, she continued to describe how Dad whipped down to the hospital as soon as he was advised that he had a son .... me. I was born on a Saturday, and according to Dad's birthday book, at six in the morning. Since then, I have never been an early riser. Mum was from a family of four girls and dad had five sisters and one brother. Girls rule the genes on both sides of the family.

That aside, Herston is significant to my family as it is where we spent our early childhood. My nana, dad's mum, who was of German heritage and several of my Dad's sisters and brother lived nearby. My mother's parents and sisters were in Adelaide.

Wikipedia says "Herston was first settled by Europeans in the 1850s. Sir Robert Herbert, Queensland's first premier, built a farm in the area, and lived in the farmhouse with his friend the Attorney-General, John Bramston. The pair named their house Herston, a combination of their surnames, which eventually became the name of the suburb."

Many of Herston's streets were named after local identities of the time. Bowen Bridge Road and Bowen Park were named after Sir George Bowen, Queensland's first governor. Butterfield Street was named after local schoolmaster William Butterfield. Hetherington Street was named after coal industry identity John William Hetherington, and Garrick Terrace got its name from James Francis Garrick, the man who purchased Herston from Herbert and Bramston. [,_Queensland, 2011].

Our family lived along Herston Road, opposite Victoria Park.

"Camp Victoria Park on the southern edge of the suburb was built to accommodate all of the logistical support for the American forces who had started to swarm into Brisbane after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The camp consisted of a large number of prefabricated buildings which stretched from Herston Road across the park to Gregory Terrace. The Headquarters for the United States Army Service of Supply (USASOS) was established at Camp Victoria Park from August 1943 until they moved to Hollandia in September 1944.....

There was a mixture of office and living quarter buildings located in Camp Victoria Park. RAAF Command took over the area after the US Army moved out in September 1944. The area is now mainly taken up by the Victoria Park Golf Links. There are at least two buildings left from Camp Victoria Park still existing near the Energex Control Centre. One houses the Queensland Energy Museum and the other is currently used by the Queensland Department of Health. The latter building had been previously used by the Queensland Electricity Generating Board (QEGB) as their Southern Region Office ..... Just after WW2, the newly established Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) moved into the "temporary" buildings of the WW2 Camp Victoria Park opposite the then Brisbane General Hospital..."
"Victoria Park housed unemployed camps during the Depression years of the 1930s, and civic improvements in this period included the construction of Gilchrist Avenue through Victoria Park in 1931 and the laying out of the municipal golf links in the same decade. While the proposal to locate the University of Queensland at Herston never materialised, the University's medical school opened on a site adjacent to the hospital in 1939. Apart from the Depression unemployed camp, Victoria Park housed temporary structures from 1930 to 1960, including World War II Barracks, postwar temporary accommodation and homeless housing."
I recall the temporary accommodation buildings; the ozatwar web page has photographs of some of the buildings. Up until the late 1950's there were some refugees living in them including a Hungarian family whose young girls went to St Joan of Arc's school. The family later moved into one of my father's apartments to the rear of our allotment. We were not permitted to go over the road and were warned that it was dangerous in just the same way we were warned not to talk to strangers. The Queensland Medical Research unit was also located in the park; it was about 300 metres away. One day my sister Annie was readying herself for school when she put her hand into her shoe to check for stones and was bitten by a spider. Annie went to hospital and the spider went to the QMR unit. Ever since I have never put neither hand nor foot into a shoe without first knowing what is inside it!

During 1963 I would walk through the park to get to my new school on Gregory Terrace. I used to walk up the road away from the refugees' housing and past QMR before proceeding through the park and golf course. On the other side of the park just before getting to the school there was a rail line underpass for pedestrians which I would use. It is still there in the 21st century. One day on the way home near Yorks Hollow (a place of aboriginal significance and mentioned in Wikipedia) a stranger came up to me. I neither spoke to him nor listened to what he said and I followed my parental instructions which had been drummed into me. I ran like a bat out of hell all the way home - not even pausing to look back over my shoulder to see if I was being followed! Overall it was about a mile walk but the run made it seem much longer.

St Joan of Arc was a church school, located in lower end of Clyde Road, Herston. The church school was a modest two story structure typical of the style of architecture for the era in Brisbane in the early 1920's when it was constructed. The church and one classroom was upstairs and three other classrooms were downstairs. The brick convent for the Presentation oder of teaching nuns was adjacent to the school.

First Communicants proceed down the
front stairs of the church Source: MC Daly 1959

The Presentation Sisters ran the school with primary classes from grade one to grade eight with a strictness to behold. The nun's would not hesitate to use a ruler over the knuckles or a cane for discipline. They were not known for their tolerance of excuses and rarely gave a child the opportunity to explain what happened before meting out punishment for any perceived breach of rules or discipline. This was not unusual for the era.

The children of Michael Christian Daly and his wife Eileen Gertrude Green attended the school in the 1950's until their move to Adelaide in 1963. The school and staff levels were small and the nuns used a composite class structure (grade 1 and 2 were combined, 3 and 4 combined etc.). There were about 40 children per teacher in each composite class. Grade 1/2 was upstairs in an long room (like an enclosed verandah) adjacent to right of the church. Grades 3/4 were in the room immediately beneath grades 1/2. Grades 5/6 and 7/8 were directly under the church with the older classes in the room closest to the road and the other classes at the back of it. The latter two classes were separated by thin wall which could be folded up to make one big room although I cannot remember this ever being done even for school performances which were performed in a nearby local hall. Noise would easily travel from one room to the other. I remember the some of the names of the nuns: jolly Sister Francis, friendly St Mark, Mother Angela (who taught grades 7/8 and was the principal) and strict Sister Cyprian.

Presewntation Nuns - an illustration of their habit only and not of any particular person mentioned here.

One year in the early 1960's there was a school production and I was selected to be a bee. I was very young. I can't remember the name of the play but I took my role seriously and was a very enthusiastic bee. Deep in my memory I think that the performance was at Windsor Hall in Lutwyche Road. When the big night came there I was, dressed in my bright yellow and black bee suit, practising my buzzing and stinging, moving from actor to actor pinching them and giving them imaginary stings.

The assembly and calisthenics were done prior to classes commencing each morning. The principal, Mother Angela, would stand on an elevated lawn area between the school and convent and survey and instruct her brood. She'd be wearing a ankle length black habit, rosary beads hanging from her thick leather belt into which her large crucifix was inserted. To complete the outfit there was a starched bonnet covered by a veil and a starched bib under her chin. The nuns appeared very imposing. I was astounded when I heard the school rumour that the nuns actually shaved their heads!

The children would have to swing their arms and march sequentially with their class group into school. The local Kelvin Grove public school was not far away. Children from each school would taunt each other when meeting on their way to their homes. These taunts, by both groups, often had religious overtones and the Catholic / Protestant rivalry would come to the fore. Fortunately I hope we are becoming a more tolerant and caring society with respect for all, by all.

The younger classes would learn their tables and spelling by rote - frequently going outside to the big fig tree and singing our lessons as we went round and around the tree. I guess this way we got some fresh air into our lungs which was particularly invigorating on a winter's morning and we didn't disturb the senior classes with all our noise in our weatherboard classrooms.

I particularly liked Sister Saint Mark. She was young and loved to tell stories. One in particular was about her swimming in the net behind a boat when she was on holidays in the Torres Strait in Far North Queensland. I was so innocent and was amazed that nuns had had another life before they joined the convent - going out, swimming, getting sunburnt and the rest.

I understand that the system of composite classes was at the forefront of educational philosophy in the late 20th century. Obviously the school was well ahead of its time! Lucky kids ..... Perhaps sadly, the old church and school no longer exist but our memories do. The statute (in the picture on the right below) used to be located at the top of the garden steps which were at the front of the church. We were taught our catechism by rote question and answer technique and after being assessed by the nuns on this we then "took" our first communion which was in Grade 2 - the girls dressed in white and the boys black shorts and bow tie. Afterwards there would be group photos on the steps. My father has old 16mm film footage of his children's first communions.

On Sundays the family as a unit would attend 10.00 o'clock mass at St Joan of Arcs. The mass was in Latin. This was the preferred time as it made the compulsory fasting three hours before communion easier and you didn't have to eat your breakfast so early if you had to when going to the earlier service. Later the church changed the fasting period to one hour. Sometimes the routine was changed and instead we went to the Cathedral in the city or the "new" church run by the Carmelite order on Gregory Terrace. After mass (we'd never call it church) we were homeward bound to change out of our good clothes and to have the hot roast dinner, even in the summers, which mum would always prepare. Michael was great friends with parish priest and often they would go together for picnics and other outings including motoring upto Mt Coot-tha.

In 1963 I became an altar boy at St Joan of Arc. My training included early morning starts for the 6.00 o'clock morning mass during the week before I was permitted to serve on a Sunday. I had to learn the Latin phrases and responses such as dominus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tu tuo; never mind learning what it all meant, it was going to be a few years before English was introduced as the linga franca for church services. Altar boys had to arrive early putting on their black cassock under white surplices, lighting the candles and pouring the wine and water into glass cruits and taking them out to the altar. Upon moving to Adelaide I had to get a red cassock which was the preference for the local church, St Peter Clavers in Dulwich.

When the priest blessed the wine the altar boys would pour it over his fingers into the chalice. If you didn't add enough the priest would hold you hand in place to keep pouring. Some priests had just a drop of wine and so lot would be left over which was normally poured back into the supply bottle at the end of the service. Until..... I was serving with a boy named Arthur, a year older than me. I went to pour the leftover wine back into the bottle but he took it from me and drank it. He explained this is what you did with the leftovers. I wonder if he developed a drink problem in later life.

Herston was abound with the Daly family. We were on Herston Road, Uncle Herb was at the top of Parkhurst Avenue and Nana and Auntie Kathleen in Scott Road and Aunty Mona lived just up the road from the church in Clyde Road.

In the early 1960s I was receiving one shilling pocket money each week for which I had to do chores. After I was paid on Saturday morning I would proceed to the corner store with my two brothers and buy three icecreams for ourselves. The shop was on the corner of Butterfield and Aberleigh. We were not allowed to cross the road and go to the shop opposite. At the corner store, where mum would buy all her groceries their was a display case on the counter for all the lollies which could be individually purchased. The storekeeper had a large chair in front of it so the little kids could stand on it and see and make their selection.

See this BLOG from the ABC about life and the school in the same era and Margie has recorded her recollections below:

"School We all went to the local Catholic primary school run by the Presentation nuns. It was called St Joan of Arc. I made my first communion in Grade 2. Dressed in my white dress and veil, I felt very special and the breakfast in the church hall afterwards was such a banquet of delicious food prepared by the parents.

Piano Lessons Our mother decided that we would all learn the piano. Our beautiful piano, inherited from our Nana, stood in the main entrance of our house in Herston and we all had to endure Sister Cyprian's piano lessons when we were at the right age. I think Rosemary was the only musical one among us who pursued it.

Teachers Sister St Mark was very tall and thin. Very stern but spoke in a soft gentle voice. It was her task to teach us all to read, write and do arithmetic. She also taught us to sing the scales - doh-rai-mei-lah-tii-doh. Up and down the scales we went.

We learnt the names of all the major towns and rivers in Queensland. At lunch time when we went out into the yard to play we ate our lunch under an enormous Moreton Bay fig tree. The nuns lived next door in a long brick building - the convent. I never went in there.

I dreaded sports day. We had class races and I always came last. I did enjoy our marching classes. We would march around the oval to the tune of a marching band. On Saints Days we also marched to hymns and a chosen "leader" would carry the religious banner. I was always disappointed that I was never chosen to carry the banner.

At the end of the school year we had a concert. We would go up to the stage in front of our parents and each class would sing a couple of songs. Always being the smallest in the class I was always standing in the front which I hated. We were under strict instruction from the teachers not to fiddle. In grade 7, my last year in primary school, I had a teacher called Sister Gemma. She was the first teacher I liked and felt she showed an interest in me. I remember I enjoyed that year at school. I enjoyed primary school but I loved going home best."

The Jubilee Catholic Parish has prepared an interesting and comprehensive short history of St Joan of Arc church. The original may be sourced through the reference below. St Joan of Arc would always enter a float in the annual Corpus Christi procession in the streets of Brisbane. Cassmob captures the fervor of the processions in the 1950's in her blog. The adjacent photo is of a "Lady Queen of Virgins" float in a Corpus Christi procession going through the city streets in the 1950's before ending up in the Exhibition Grounds in Herston. This shot was extracted from a home movie taken by Michael Christian Daly (1917-1988).

St Joan of Arc Herston History - Milestones from 1920 to 2000
July Herston Parish is started. William McGoldrick parish priest. Original St Joan of Arc Church opened in December.
Fr McGoldrick begins missionary work in China. Bartholomew Gorman parish priest.
Presentation sisters convent established. School opened in July c.1933 Fr James O'Connor parish priest.
Fr Goman died.
Care of parish entrusted to the Norbertine fathers.
Fr Gerard Nicol is parish priest.
Fr Brian McMullen parish priest. Michael Daly finishes at this school and starts at Terrace.
New church opened. Margie, Greg and Anthony Daly finish at this school upon the family's move to Adelaide.
School is closed.
New presbytery blessed.
Fr John Gerry is parish priest.
Fr Casey is parish priest.
Fr George Ainslie is parish priest.
Fr Tom Brady is parish priest.
Fr Nicol died.
Fr Patrick Tynan is Administrator.
Fr Tynan is appointed Administrator of Newmarket also.
Fr George Ainslie died.
Fr Clem Hodge is parish priest and appointed administrator of Herston and Newmarket, and later that year parish priest of Ashgrove also.
MWJ Daly, February 2018
As I have no control over external links, please let me know if the link no longer works. Part of this material is extracted from copyright records as indicated by the source material. Copyright material is acknowledged and is used for research and study purposes to the extent permitted by law and may not distributed nor commercially exploited without written permission. This page forms part of the research on the Daly Family of Herston. © MWJ Daly February 2018.