Through some stories we may learn a little more about the history of our area.

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Harrold   Brooker  remembers
  early  Maleny

By Harrold Brooker

(Harrold Brooker (now deceased) was part of the Maleny pioneering Brooker family.    He saw many changes take place in the Maleny district before his death in the late 1990's.   His brother, Bert passed away only recently (2002).   Unfortunately, both Harrold & Bert took many memories of the development of the district with them.    Chris Brooker (Bert's son and Harrold's nephew) and his family still live in Maleny.

When we look down the streets of Maleny today it is hard to imagine wagons ploughing through mud up to the shafts - in fact, says Harold Brooker, the mud was so deep that it came up to the tow boards where the carters used to carry their corn beef so that the salt didn’t rust the milk churns.

Today when we drive our four wheel drive vehicles on bitumen roads we can only imagine the difficulties that our parents had to sustain.  These conditions were not generations ago, but in the living memory of some of our town’s current residents.

Harold Brooker remembers the years when it rained continuously for six months, turning the byways into nothing but mud from fence line to fence line.  During these times, riding his horse from his family home at Witta to the Maleny State School, which at that time was in Cedar Street, the present site of the Maleny kindergarten, it was impossible to go faster than a trot because of the mud.

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(Photo Below - Bullock Wagon in Maple St, Maleny - circa 1914)

Coming from a large family of five boys and two sisters, Harold soon learnt what it was like for a family to work together as all the family had their chores to do each day.  “Life was always pretty tough, but I have no complaints.”

Times certainly have changed. Harold remembers having sixpence to spend one afternoon after school so he bought six pence worth of chocolate.  He ate the lot on the way home that day.  He got so much that he was sick before he got home, painting the road half the way.

About 1914 the Brooker family went first to live at Toogoolawah then to Mudgeeraba where the family worked on a dairy farm - milking 420 cows a day through race bails, by hand.  “You soon got sick of cows,” said Harold.  One day we had just had enough so dad called it quits and we shifted to Pimpama.  Ironically, the dairy we had just left then got milking machines.

The family eventually returned to Maleny, via Beaudesert and Gympie.

Like their father before them, the younger Brooker family saw the transport industry as their destiny, Father Brooker having horse and bullock wagons carrying butter and general cargo between Maleny and Landsborough.  Brothers Bert and Arthur also went into the transport industry with cream, milk, mail and school runs in the Witta and Curramore area.

Harold also joined the transport industry when, in 1950, he found work with Watson & Sons as a taxi driver in Maleny.  Harold had sustained serious injuries in 1946 following an industrial accident at the Maleny Co-operative store when he fell from about 10 meters onto a concrete floor whilst trying to stop water damage to the store during a cyclone.   It was believed at the time that he would not walk again, however he did better than walking again, he was able to find work as a taxi driver.

There were three taxis in Maleny at that time.   People weren’t as mobile in those days.   Cars were not generally owned by people.    At the start to holiday periods it was nothing to have up to seventeen bus loads of people bring brought into town from the Landsborough Railway Station by Watson’s Transport.

Even then, Maleny depended on the tourist industry for some of its sustenance.   Most people stayed at the pub or the guest house.


Maple Street, Maleny- 1920's

Until recently, nephew Chris was also is in the transport industry as director/owner of Goldlink Petroleum, B.P. Agents for the Sunshine Coast-South Burnett Area.  In one family generation from horsewagon on mud based roadways to 22 wheeler semi trailers travelling at over 100kph on bitumen roads carrying bulk fuel.

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Like the naked city there are a thousand stories in the
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

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