1950 – 1956: Wilsons Creek Packing Shed as House


We lived in this before Dad built the house across the creek in 1956 ….. (equivalent to the caravan Harriet and I lived in for four years on our land  from 1977 to 1981 at Chambers Flat near Brisbane) ….. There was  Dad, Mum and I (born in 1949)  plus Gerald (born in 1952) and  Rick (born in 1956) who was one year old.  We lived in this two-roomed converted banana packing shed for a number of years from 1950  to 1956. Colin was born in 1958 in the new house across the creek.

The  banana  packing shed was divided into two rooms:

  • An entry room  which housed a refrigerator, a slow combustion stove, a kitchen table with several chairs around it and my bed,  more settee than bed
  • A bedroom for Dad  & Mum and a bedroom cabinet

The converted banana packing shed was constructed as a timber-framed building, covered on the outside with greyed,  unpainted,  and overlapped weatherboards. Inside it had cream- painted tar – paper nailed to the walls frames.  The roof was grey galvanised tin roof in typical packing shed construction. The timber frame was raised up about a  metre or so off the ground on wooden stumps. At the front was a sloped metre wide timber ramp landing leading to the front door.

  • Water for drinking was obtained by walking down the hill about 100  metres to the creek and getting a square kerosene bucket of water ….  A really laborious chore of bringing the water from the creek. ….. Then leaving it on the ramp landing to the front door.  Osman’s (Dad’s relations) came to stay from  New Zealand … Lorna was Dad’s twin sister  …… Linda who would have only been about four years old was constantly dipping her feet in the bucket to wash her feet each time she came inside …… everyone was getting frustrated with her behaviour.

Some  details  of living  in this banana packing shed:

  • Cooking was done on a slow combustion stove set in a galvanised iron recess ….. ironing was done with a shellite iron with blue flames emerging from round the iron …. Shellite was like methylated spirits …. The burning kept the base hot …. Refrigeration was by a Coleman  Refrigerator where cold was created in the fridge by a rising column of heated air going up a small flue at the back of the fridge … the heated air column was created by a perpetually burning kerosene wick at the base of the flue …… a metal kerosene reservoir had to be filled periodically to keep the flame burning …. The radio was a valve radio run on a pack of batteries cemented together by bitumen which ran out occasionally.
  • Lighting was by a simple system of 12-volt lights  ….. Dad used to charge up a number of car batteries in the engine room across the creek …… They were placed serially in line to maximize the power.
  • An outdoor timber toilet above the house with a cream painted toilet seat over a small drum bucket.
  • Travel was by a short- wheel based land-rover parked down under some shady Sally Wattle trees below the converted banana packing shed.