Beaudesert history lives on in the memories of those who helped make it

AS many in the community mourn the loss of the historic Helen Street pig and calf sales, the Beaudesert Times has been contacted by former residents who grew up in the town and wanted to share their stories.

Last week we published some memories from former AJ Bush boss Brian Kassulke and former assistant stationmaster Mick Mullins who settled in for a yarn with the Beaudesert Times on the day scheduled for the final pig and calf sale.

Another Beaudesert son, Ron Wright, got in touch with the Times after he was unable to attend the Beaudesert reunion held at St Thomas' Anglican Church last month.

Mr Wright was keen to reminisce about his days growing up in a country town and as a student at Beaudesert State School.

"I remember when the headmaster, Bill Carroll, announced that we had 100 pupils and if we kept the numbers up we might get another teacher," he said.

"When I was a kid at school, if someone went to Brisbane the whole town talked about it for weeks. I told myself when I got older I would go all around the world and I did do that in the 80s."

Mr Wright said his grandparents ran a two-storey fruit shop and restaurant called Melba's Tea Rooms opposite the cenotaph on William Street from the 1890s to the 1960s.

"It was next door to Aldridges butchers and it had steel rings on the awnings for riders to tether their horses," he said.

"Riders from the cattle farms used to come in to have lunch. My grandmother cooked three meals a day there on a wood stove.

"My grandfather Jock rode a trotter to victory at the Beaudesert Show when he was in his 70s."

Mr Wright described the love of sport in the town.

"In those days the oval at the showgrounds was not level, it had a hell of a slope so they were unable to play footy or cricket there," he said.

"They used to play on the flat behind council chambers.

"One day there was a footy game on and one of the teams had a dispute with the referee so they threw him into Spring Creek after the game.

"The town had a couple of outstanding cricket players like Kenny Moran who lived on Eaglesfield Street with his brother Gerald and his sister Pat.

"He was the best cricketer to ever play for Beaudesert. Every time he went to bat he made 100.

"He had a stroke when he was only about 19, right outside my grandparents' shop and finished up in wheelchair.

"After that he became and accountant and worked at the butter factory. He went on to be runner up in wheelchair table tennis at the Olympics."

Mr Wright said the town looked very different.

"It was nearly all dirt streets," he said.

"There was a little power station near the Railway Hotel that powered Brisbane Street but everywhere else was powered by kerosene.

"There was a Chinese garden on the banks of Spring Creek that sold turnips and stuff."

He remembered when the trains ran in Beaudesert.

"There was a steam train that ran to Rathdowney and Lamington and it used to bring cream for the butter factory," he said.

"My dad, Jim Wright, was a guard on the train until granddad's health failed and then he stayed in the fruit shop.

Mr Wright said the pig and calf sales were a big deal in those days, and extremely popular.

"The auctioneer was Selwyn Smith and Frank McDonald was in charge of the calf section, he had a crook leg."