Saturday, 16 January 2016

Memoirs of Fraser Coast Pioneers – Rob Loveday recollects his family

Rob Loveday is a library volunteer and Hervey Bay resident. He has written memoirs of his Fraser Coast pioneer family.

In his story he talks about his Grandfather who he affectionately called “Ahwee”.
Ahwee and Rob 1958
Rob starts, “I’m always fascinated when I meet migrants who have cut their ties with their homeland to face the unknown in a new country. If fascination is not the best word, perhaps burning curiosity is”.

Rob’s research has found his maternal grandfather, Arno Kindervater, was born in Weimar, Germany in 1880. In 1912 he migrated, travelling by ship from Germany directly to the port of Maryborough, a small provincial city 300km north of Brisbane.

“During his first year in Maryborough, Grandpa worked furiously to establish a home of sorts. When he had left Germany, Emma (Rob’s Maternal Grandmother) had agreed to follow a year later. She arrived in Maryborough in 1913,” continues Rob. Rob weaves an intricate account of his maternal Grandparents coming to Maryborough during the war years and the birth of their children. 
Rob's Grandpa and family, yet only five children strong (c. 1925)

“Grandpa was an urban lad, yet he had a farmer’s bent. He had completed an apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker in Germany. The Lutheran pastor convinced him to stick to his trade. Later, he worked mainly as a carpenter. He must have been an intelligent man. His farming skills were self-taught. Together with his carpentry skills, he established a self-sufficiency that allowed him to support a family of 10 throughout the Great Depression and even produce a surplus to share with those less fortunate” explains Rob.

Rob talks about the early days in Hervey Bay “In the 1920s, Hervey Bay was a collection of hamlets spread along 15 kilometres of shoreline. The permanent population was probably only a thousand or so. But it was a popular destination for people from Maryborough and its rural hinterland for a day out or a short holiday.”

“Mum recalls that, as a child, there were occasional outings on a Sunday. Everyone had to rise early so that they could leave Maryborough by 6 am. They would pile into the sulky for the long, slow journey over gravel roads to Urangan, a hamlet at the southern end of the bay. I pity the poor horse (Mum’s beloved Fanny), pulling two adults and up to eight children and all their chattels.”

“At Urangan, there was a long pier, over a kilometre long, with a railway line. It used to service paper boats, sugar boats and later, oil tankers. The family would picnic under a huge fig tree near the pier and swim in the sea. Arno and Emma fell in love with the bay – the sea, the islands and their beauty. It wasn’t long before they had bought four acres of bushland near the boat harbour that serviced a few leisure boats and a small fishing fleet.”
Urangan Pier  1993

Rob details how his Grandpa worked to build up the land. He says
“Before long, Grandpa had built a holiday shack. Later, he built a second hut. I’m told this was for his (favoured?) son, Oscar, to study in. Oscar was truly a gifted child academically.”
Oscar’s hut. Still going strong after 70 years

Rob acknowledges his Grandfather’s multiplicity of skills as a pioneer.
“He even built a boat from scratch. If he needed to know something, he would seek knowledge in books, or from other knowledgeable people and sources. He was a true pioneer – a resourceful man – not just a jack-of-all-trades, but also a master of them!”
The boat Rob’s Grandfather built.

Rob reflects that he knew little of his Grandmother “Unfortunately, around this time, his devoted wife, Emma, became ill. The illness went undiagnosed, and she died. She was 63. I never knew her, and little of her life and nature was ever told to me. I feel this chapter is unfinished. Who was this woman who left her family and home in Switzerland, to join a man she knew little of in a country halfway around the world? She gave birth to and raised eight children. She, like Grandpa, must have worked hard.”

“I’m sorry to say, that I can say no more about her. Truly an unfinished story.” he reflects

“After her death in 1954, Mum and Dad decided to stay at the Bay with Grandpa. I was born in 1956. “Ahwee” died three years later. I only wish he could have lived longer (or me have been born earlier) so that I could have got to know this marvellous man better.” Rob concludes.

Do you have any stories of this time on the Fraser Coast?  

Excerpts are from Rob Loveday Memoirs – this can be found in the Local History collections in the Hervey Bay and Maryborough Libraries. It chronicles his family from the early 1900’s through to the 1960 and is a delightful firsthand view of life on the Fraser Coast.

George Seymour will be repeating his Local History talk 'Trains, the pier and railway picnics: A history of the Urangan Line' at the Maryborough Library at 12noon on Friday 12th of February, 2016. Bookings required. This talk will focus on the debates and deals that led to the construction of the railway to Hervey Bay, the prosperity and changes it brought and the very popular railway picnics.

Published with consent from Rob Loveday
Tags: #Frasercoast #Herveybay  #Uranganpier #Herveybaylibrary #Pioneers



Anonymous said...

The Kindervater/Loveday family lived next door to me. I have very fond memories of some of what Robbie has stated here.

Unknown said...

Robbie and others. Marvellous. Memories of grandparents I never saw but a part of Urangan that seemed magical. Do you have an ecopy of the memoir? I can share with your other cousins 'von Helene'. Graeme Orr. We are in reflective mode as dad/Ray died 29 February...

Graeme Orr said...

Robbie. Lovely stories and tributes of grandparents I never knew. Do you have an ecopy of the longer memoir? I could share it with your cousins 'von Helene'. Graeme Orr Ps Ray/Dad died February 29, so we're in reflective mood. Nigel sent this link via Paul K, so it's bounced around Belgium and Normandy and onto Brisbane.