Head back to Bilo 50 years ago

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By Jen Gourley

Did you know you can travel back in time in Biloela? You can! You just need to walk through the doors of the Biloela Library. Within the yellowing pages of our district’s former newspaper, The Central Telegraph, there’s decades and decades of information that can give you a glimpse into the past.

This week I travelled back in time to Biloela 50 years ago, to February 1972.

Here’s what was making the news back then:

(The Central Telegraph, February 2, 1972)

R.S.L. Park – from bush to beauty

“Biloela is fast becoming a place of beauty, with wide roadway approaches, complete with traffic islands, well-kept, near parks, and some residents are putting on a good show with their footpaths and gardens.

Latest on the list of parks worth seeing is the R.S.L. Park next to the Club. Under the care of Mr Alec Nagorcka, this area has been changed from a virtual jungle into a place of beauty, with well cut lawn, and rows of trees showing promise of further admiring glances to come.

Alec has introduced a number of native trees as well as exotic ones into his plan of beautification, and numerous gardeners have offered more trees as required.

In a few years the R.S.L. will be justly proud of their park, and the work put into it. In 1932 that area was a thick brigalow scrub.”

[Biloela Beacon editor’s note: It’s hard to imagine this pristine park once being thick scrub! Clearly a lot of love and care went into making the park what it is today.]

Community’s Christmas kindness acknowledged

“Thanks were expressed by the Banana Hospitals Boards to the people and organisations who so generously distributed gifts and entertained patients and hospital staff during the Christmas season: Mrs L. Taylor’s Choral Group, Masonic Lodge, 4RO Santa and Son, Biloela Brownies, C.D.A., Biloela Kindergarten, Biloela Hospital Auxiliary, Country and Western Singers, Lions Club Santa Claus.”

Donations of half a pig, three hams, vegetables and Christmas pudding were also acknowledged.

[BB ed’s note: Does anyone else remember singing Christmas carols at the hospital? I have a vague memory of doing this one year with a youth group.]

At the movies (The Broadway Theatre Biloela)

Bilo locals had the chance to see “The Slender Thread” starring Sidney Poitier and Ann Bancroft, “The Quiller Memorandum” starring George Segal and Alec Guiness, “Charro” starring the one and only Elvis Presley, and the comedy “On the Buses” starring Reg Varney.

Ian joins the RAAF

A young Ian Griffith of Biloela was pictured in the Central Telegraph with Sgt Bill Logan of the Royal Australian Air Force. The caption reads: “Ian was one of a group of ambitious young Queenslanders at the Combined Recruiting Centre in Brisbane recently who embarked on a worthwhile career when they enlisted the RAAF. Afterwards they left for Edinburgh, South Australia, where they will undergo a three-month basic service course. From Edinburgh, they will go to units throughout Australia and overseas to take up their new positions. Some will go to the RAAF School of Training at Wagga, NSW, one of the most modern establishments of its kind in the world.”

.Ian Griffith with Sgt Bill Logan

Remembering a brilliant builder, Bill Burchardt (obituary)

Frederick Otto Willie Burchardt (Bill) was born in Berlin, Germany in 1891. At the age of 17 he migrated to Australia and married Matilda Schultz in 1914.

“In 1921 he travelled to the newly opened Callide Valley settlement and selected several blocks of land. In 1923 he moved with his wife and family, two girls, to one of his blocks on the Callide Creek, next to the Paroz farm, and carried on cotton growing and general farming…

In 1949 he moved to Biloela and began in the building trade. Prior to this he had built the Lutheran Church in 1942, and many buildings in the district stand as a reminder of his fine work. He was noted for the decorative finish that he put in his churches.

Mr Burchardt died after an illness of several months, on December 19, 1971, and was buried in the Biloela Cemetery.”

Have a fling at the Biloela Eisteddfod!

In the Biloela Eisteddfod Committee column in the CT, they announced that the eisteddfod would be held over three weeks instead of one week as it had been in 1971. Dancing in the first week, speech and drama in the second week, and music in the third week. In the dancing section, “Interpretive Dance” was included for the first time, as well as the Highland Fling.

“Group Miming” was a new addition to speech and drama, and in music, country and western sections made their debut in the hope of encouraging members of the local branch of the Modern Country Music Association to participate.

(The Central Telegraph, February 9, 1972)

Welded bliss

A youngful Roger van Itallie graced the front page of the Central Telegraph thanks to his welding talents. The photo caption read: “Ross Magee, Market Development Supervisor for Dalgety Australia Limited, congratulates Roger van Itallie of Biloela and David Hutchinson of Theodore, finalists in the Lincoln Electric and Dalgety welding competition for rural youth. The State Championship of the competition was held at the Lincoln Electrical factory in Brisbane on January 27. Thirteen finalists from 10 Rural Youth areas in the State competed in the championship following a three-day advanced welding course at Gatton College. The winner, Chris Nielsen of Babinda, received a $200 farm welding unit whilst the other finalists received $30 worth of welding equipment.”

Roger van Itallie (centre).

Back before Bille was famous

This snippet appeared in the CT about Bille Brown, before he went on to become a famous and respected Australian actor. “Mr Bille Brown, son of Mr and Mrs W. Brown, of Biloela, is at present visiting his parents. Bille is due to start his Honours Year at the Queensland University. He already holds the 10 units needed for his Degree, but will not receive his certificate until the Honours Year is completed. After this, Bille will attend a further year at Uni to gain his Diploma.”

[BB ed’s note: Yes, that’s the same Bille Brown who had the big chair at the Lions Park in Biloela erected in his honour.]

At the movies (The Broadway Theatre Biloela)

One of the kings of comedy, Jerry Lewis, starred in “Way.. Way Out”, screening at the Broadway Theatre. “It all began in 1989 when America and Russia sent men and woman to live on the moon.”

Other features included “Pussycat, Pussycat I Love You” starring Ian McShane and John Gavin, and the tense, western drama “Death of a Gunfighter” starring Richard Widmark and Lena Horne.

Sports wrap

In the cricket, Trevor Geall scored 94 not out playing for Plains (who were soundly defeated in an upset by Thangool despite Trev’s good knock).

In other sports news, the Queensland Indoor Bowlers Association held its Restricted Singles Championships in the School of Arts, and things were happening with the horsies.

“The Thangool Race Club are hopeful of having their new electrically operated starting stalls ready for their first meeting of the year on February 19. These stalls have been designed on similar lines to those operating at Callaghan Park, Rockhampton, and will be among the most up-to-date in the Central racing area. There will be accommodation for 12 horses and the construction is being carried out by Kooyman Engineering, Biloela.”

(The Central Telegraph, February 16, 1972)

A collection of cuties

“Nursery group was re-introduced in 1972, with full enrolment. Most children have settled in well at the end of the second week and are showing interest in the many and various activities, both inside and out, that are provided at the Kindergarten. Two volunteering mothers and Mrs Griffith, under the supervision of Mrs Bannister, care for the children on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Pictured are Danny McKeouin, Damian Rowe, Simon Belousoff, Allirah Tan, and Allan Inslay.”

At the movies

Among the flicks showing at the Broadway Theatre this week were “The Sons of Katie Elder” starring John Wayne and Dean Martin, and “Escape from Zahrain” starring Yul Brynner.

Shopping specials

According to an advertisement for Montgomery’s Store Biloela, you could purchase:

Golden Circle Pineapple for 25 cents, Colgate Toothpaste for 39 cents, Edgell Beetroot for 12 cents, Dixie No.9 chicken for $1.65, and Uncle Toby’s Custard Powder for 20 cents.

[BB Ed’s note: Can you actually buy anything for less than $1 these days???]

(The Central Telegraph, February 23, 1972)

Riding in the rain for a good cause

“In drizzling rain on Friday, four members of the Biloela Hospital Staff staged a ‘Ridathon’ in aid of the hospital’s entrant, Nurse Sandra Kruse, in the Miss Biloela Contest, being held in conjunction with the forthcoming Mardi Gras.

The four riders: Sandra Kruse, Fay Anderson, Lynn Butterworth, and Deanne Walls, left the hospital at 6.20am and kept a steady pace, escorted by Mr W.J. Mutton is a car, with drinks, and items intended to relieve any bruises, aches etc., that might occur.

However, nothing marred the trip except the thoughtless motorists, who didn’t even reduce speed when passing the girls, but raced through the water lying on the road, deluging them many time over.

[BB ed’s note: It seems nothing has changed for cyclists in 50 years!]

About seven miles out of Biloela, the girls were relieved of their cardigans, towels, and, and cameras, and Jambin was reached at 8am.

A stop of 30 minutes, with some light refreshments at Jambin, and the girls faced the 18 miles back home again; reaching the hospital at 10.35.

The cool weather, although damp (it rained all the way there and back) helped the girls considerably, and they felt quite fresh at the end of the ride.

All of the girls were completely saturated, but a hot bath quickly put things right again.

Sandra expressed her thanks to Mr and Mrs Kearney of the Jambin Hotel, who provided the refreshments, and to Mr Mutton their escort, with a special thanks to Deanne, Fay and Lyn for their moral and physical support during the ride.”

Adults get arty

“Adult education art classes began successfully on February 7 with fifteen keen young students, and more are expected to enrol. Teacher, Cheyne Purdue, is very pleased with the number of young adults interested, and hopes that this class will produce some exciting work this year. Mrs Leila Smith is receiving some advice from Cheyne, while Julie Boylan is concentrating on sketching.”

Lifesaving awards

“The second group of swimmers being instructed in Life Saving by Mr Keith Ogden, for the Biloela Apex Club, reached the peak of their success on Tuesday night last week, when they were presented with their Awards.

Two received Instructors Awards: Gail Courtman and Peter Thomasson, and Gail also received the Bronze Cross.

Bronze Medallions went to Erin Jansen, Kerry Chalmers, Colin Jensen, Andrew Gill, Shane Kennedy, Rhett Kennedy, and Russell Waghorn.

Michael Saal received the Intermediate Star Bar, and the Intermediate Star was awarded to Helen Beckwith and Janice Blanch.

Two young swimmers, David Bell, 8, and his sister Alison, 7, received their Safe Swimmers Certificates.


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