Den Adaptions: From Scouting to Wood Turning

Den Adaptions: From Scouting to Wood Turning

What sort of lives do old scout dens lead ? What do these community buildings become when there’s no longer a scout or guide group?

Last week on our morning walk, my husband, Paul, and I dropped in on the Qld Wood Turners situated on the Norman Creek park near Juliette Street. It’s at the bottom of Dunnellan Street where it turns into Pine.

The building was absolutely bursting with people working lathes, saws, and planers, creating all manner of objects from all sorts of timber.

Downstairs were the toy makers, experts in tiny.

If you have an interest in wood turning, this is the place to be – check it out here.

Our guide on the day was Brian Dodson, member since 2002. Brian proudly explained the building was a former scout den. He wasn’t sure of the company.

The wood turners had added a large meeting room, almost doubling it in size, but at its core was a den.

I looked back across the creek to the former Stephen’s guide hut in Baron Street — now home to the Norman Creek Catchment committee.

I emailed a girl friend who used to be a Stephen’s Girl Guide. Yes, she did remember a scout den ‘across the ditch’, the ditch being Norman Creek. She couldn’t remember if the scout group was Stephens though.

There had been a Stephens Scout den in Annerley – in Waldheim Street. Could this Pine Street den have been a second one?

I followed up the Scout Archive – the Queensland Scouts Heritage Centre situated at Samford. They kindly tracked the den down to being part of the Buranda Scout group.

The petrol iron

The petrol iron

Visitors to the ASHG history room (Yeronga Community Centre, 62 Park Rd., Yeronga) can see a ‘petrol iron’ on display in the cabinet.

The petrol iron or gas pressure irons were manufactured as early as 1900. The types of fuel used included petrol, alcohol, methylated spirits and kerosene. The pump was used to build up pressure in the fuel tank. The petrol/kerosene iron is on loan from local resident Ros Watson who responded to a call out from ASHG.

ASHG has been engaging with residents and former residents of Villa Street, Yeronga to tell the history of the street. The petrol iron was mentioned in books written by two former residents of Villa Street.

Jessica Anderson nee Queale lived at 56 Villa Street in the 1920s and early 1930s with her parents Charles and Alice Queale. Jessica went on to become a well known Australian writer. Her collection of short stories Stories from the Warm Zone and her Miles Franklin Award winning novel Tirra Lirra by the River and Starting Too Late, Meanjiin, 2003 draw on her memories of life in Villa Street.

Ivy May Lidia Marsh (nee McDonald)lived with her family at 33 Villa Street for part of her childhood in the early part of the 20th century. She wrote a record of ‘some of her’ life for her family who have kindly agreed to her record being quoted from.

Both mention the ‘petrol iron’ in their writings. Ivy May Lydia Marsh (nee McDonald) explains why the petrol iron was seen as a great improvement by her mother and Jessica Anderson’s (nee Queale) recalls the petrol iron being seen as a risk by some.

“Saturday morning, I would help mother do the ironing with a petrol iron. This was a great improvement on the old Mother Pots irons. To get the old Mother Pots irons really hot we had to have the door shut and the stove very hot. Petrol irons were irons with a tank on the back which was filled with petrol. We would light a flame between the tank and the sole plate. The iron would get hot but we would not be sweltering in a hot room with the fire going Autobiography of Ivy May Lydia Marsh (nee McDonald)

One of our (neighbours) coming to the house one day and seeing me ironing my school uniform with a petrol iron, gave a little shriek. ‘Alice, aren’t you afraid to let her use that thing? She could blow herself up.’ Why should she do that’ humorously enquired my mother. ‘She is not stupid. She has been taught how to use it….’Jessica Anderson, Starting too Late, Meanjin, 2003

Photos below: 56 Villa Street, Yeronga and 33 Villa Street, Yeronga

Fairfield Station signage

Fairfield Station signage

Local railway stations in Fairfield, Yeronga and Yeerongpilly are being upgraded and made accessible as part of the Cross River Rail project. ASHG is working with Cross River rail to provide historical signage for each of the stations. Research for the Fairfield Train Station has been finalised although the signage is yet to be installed. In the meantime Cross River rail have presented ASHG with 3 posters for the new local history room in the Yeronga Community Centre. The posters reflect each area of the research undertaken for the signage: Indigenous history; Rail (Fairfield) History and Urban Change. Denis Peel, Secretary of ASHG, holding the poster about the rail history of Fairfield in the above photo. Denis and President Jeff Brunne undertook the research.

Fanny Street Park historical signage

Fanny Street Park historical signage

ASHG is excited that the Fanny Street Park, Annerley historical signs are now in place. Check them out. The signs are part of improvements that Clr Nicole Johnston and BCC have been making to this beautiful yinnell/gully park. The signs provide an insight into our Indigenous history, speculate as to why the street is called Fanny Street and paint a picture of Fanny Street and the local area in the early part of the 20th century.