Friday, September 15, 2006
Picture of Capalaba of decades past, courtesy of the Redland Shire Council website
THE word, "Redland", will draw many eyes when the Census figures come out.
The influx of residents has created hunger for an authoritative head count.
Whatever figure is official, Don Cazneau will compare it with the 6000 he says the shire had when he and wife Regina "stumbled across Capalaba" in 1959.
The couple from Sydney stopped at the BP garage.
"Old Jack Gannon was sitting out the front, whittling," Don says.
"He wanted to sell the garage for 300 quid. We had a cup of tea and I said, 'Would you take 100 quid a year?'
"I ended up paying 990 quid. I still have the deed.
"I remember standard BP petrol selling for three shillings a gallon. That's eight or nine cents a litre." Don says he and Regina sold the service station later in the 60s.
Now aged 76, Don loves talking about the Redlands " characters" of that era.
"Two brothers would spend all morning cutting down a cedar with an axe and bring the logs to Jack's sawmill behind the garage," Don says.
"They'd say, 'You'd better cut these up before the Forestry finds out'. Jack would pay them 10 quid, then they'd go to the Capalaba Hotel.
"In the next few hours there would be a dozen or 20 fights.
"It was a hick town. Only one in every 10 people wore shoes. There was no town plan. You could build where and when you liked.
"Many people put in posts, a few sheets of iron on top and hessian around the sides, and painted it white.
"One family lived in a tree house on Sawmill Road, which doesn't exist any more."
Don has always liked the name, Capalaba, which featured in the business names of a wrecking yard and towing service he set up, but the couple now lives at Alexandra Hills.
When a Victoria Point man advertised for a model train buff to help set up a track for his grandson, Don was one of three volunteers.
We started talking about trains but moved on to the days when the Council Chambers were in an old house, Cleveland had only one bitumen road and Don's towing service had the phone number 17.
All was less than half a century ago.
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