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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 50 - 02 of 02 (Raw)

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Interviewer Respondent
IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:21:47
Trish FitzSimons
Bev Barr
Griffith Film School
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50 - 02 of 02
21 June 2000
So Bev you were saying that you really wanted to get back to Currawilla because you loved station life. There might be a perception in some parts of Australia that living on a station would be fine if you owned one but that working on one would be poorly paid difficult work. What was it that made you love station life? Timecode refers to tape 50_BC_SP Topics in Bold
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 50 - 02 of 02
Alcohol Racing Industry
PTB Refers to Part B of Tape 50
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Bev Maunsell
Interview with Bev Maunsell. Part 3 of 5. Water damage evident. Location move from PTA
part of:
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 50 - 02 of 02
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50_BC_SP_PTB_MAUNSELL-raw.txt — 16 KB

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                      INTERVIEW WITH BEV MAUNSELL
                                    21 June 2000
                         Timecode refers to tape 50_BC_SP
                                    Topics in Bold
                    I = Interviewer              R = Respondent

So Bev you were saying that you really wanted to get back to Currawilla because you
        loved station life. There might be a perception in some parts of Australia
        that living on a station would be fine if you owned one but that working on
        one would be poorly paid difficult work. What was it that made you love
        station life?

R       Education/Correspondence
        02:11:22:04     Ummm I think once again the peace and quiet ummm for me
        was one of the stronger factors. Having so much time to spend with your
        children. There were down sides, of course, with the education of your
        children, especially when we were moving into the time when our children
        were ready to start school. Our son Geoffrey was in Grade 1 and we were
        looking at two more children coming on for the primary schooling. But, as I
        said earlier, I had done primary correspondence school so I was familiar with
        that way of educating children, so I don’t think that was really even an issue
        for me, or I wasn’t deterred by it. My husband loved to work with stock,
        foremost horses I’m sure, but also the cattle work. I think men with their
        cattle work is a little like an addiction too, as it may be with a truck driver or
        whatever else, where they ummm that’s what they feel that they need to do
        and that’s what he was happiest doing.          And so I think it was all a
        combination of all of those things. Ummm it’s really hard to sum it up just
        into words and say exactly what it is. I miss it still because there are times
        when I think how wonderful it would be just to get up in the morning and
        hear nothing but the birds and the motor running and whatever else, you
        know, the noises of the property working which, of course, are quite different
        to the noises associated with living in a town. I think that’s why I have
        ummm kept the block next door here and I sort of go out the back door still
        today and can look at the bush, so that was an enticement for both of us, and
        I think for our children to be able to also ride horses and be a part of the life
        that … not the life that Graham had had as a child because he was reared in
    Toowoomba but the life that I’d had as a child. It was just the preferred way
    to go for us, I think. 02:14:08:14

I   This is a late ID. This is tape 50 for camera, tape 19 for DAT. This is
    the second DAT and the third camera tape. We’re interviewing Bev
    Maunsell in her home in Jundah and it’s 21 June 2000.

    So Bev you were just adding something while we were waiting about the
    pleasures of station life, about your husband being home. Do you just want
    to tell me about that?

R   Women/Land
    02:14:59:20    Yes, we both decided, you know, during the years that we had
    in Brisbane and we were both busy and it was sort of consumed by babies, I
    guess, race horses and a very busy time, ummm I think we were lured by the
    peace and the opportunity to once again be a family, to have more time
    together, more time with the children. Ummm you know, we’d go camping
    on weekends. We’d pack up the vehicle and take the children out to a
    waterhole and spend the whole weekend with them. Other friends, if they
    wanted to come, you know, would come with their children or, you know, as
    well, so ummm we’d have fishing trips and just got to do a lot more things
    with the kids together than we’d probably ever done – or definitely ever

I   So Graham was no longer jockeying every weekend?

R   No, no. And he did stop riding. That was the end of his riding career.

I   And you were glad about that?

R   02:16:02:20    I didn’t mind the western … I enjoyed the western racing
    circuit. As I said before, you know, we have a lot of memories of those trips,
    a lot of special friends that remain friends today and that travelled with us,
    but certainly pleased to see the end of the Brisbane racing time.

I   Did you know Miss Duncan at Mooraberree because that would have been
    the next station?
R   Laura Duncan

    02:16:30:22    Yes, I did know her. I didn’t know her really well as some
    people do. I heard a lot about her before I didmeet her and the first time I
    saw her she came flashing into Windorah, you know, in … I think she was
    driving a Mercedes and I thought, ‘Oh, who’s that?’ That was quite a rare
    sight for Windorah then and my father said that that was who she was. He
    knew her very well.

I   Can you give me her name?

R   Laura Duncan.

I   Could you tell me this story, putting Laura Duncan into the story early on?
    I’d love you to tell me the story.

R   When she came over the sand hill?

I   Well, just the story you’re telling me. I said the name ‘Miss Duncan’. I’d
    like you to say ‘Miss Duncan’.

R   02:17:20:22    Oh, yes. Miss Duncan, because of course we all called her
    Miss Duncan and only now would we say ‘Laura Duncan’. Miss Duncan,
    she was Miss Duncan to anybody that spoke to me about her anyway. I
    didn’t hear anybody refer to her as Laura or to speak to her, call her Laura
    when they were actually speaking to her. Mostly behind her back you would
    say Laura Duncan. But, yeah, she was Miss Duncan to most people.

I   So could you tell me the story of when you first saw her? Just tell me the
    story you were just telling me.

R   Laura Duncan

    02:17:57:06    Oh, right. Oh, okay. When … yes, and a Mercedes came up
    over the hill and entered Windorah and we sort of really looked because it
    wasn’t a sight you saw in Windorah every day, driven by a woman, silk head
    scarf, and I said to my father, ‘Oh, who is that?’ and he said, ‘That’s Laura
    Duncan’. Miss Duncan. She had passed as quick as she arrived so I didn’t
    really meet her or get to speak to her. Ummm my second … the second time
    … I went to say the second sighting … the second time I saw her, she arrived
    at Currawilla and up over the sand hill she came – I think she was driving a
    Land Rover or Jeep or something – and the same thing again, silk shirt, silk
    scarf, and of course by then I guessed who she was because she was living
    just next door, and she was the same lady that had flashed through Windorah
    in a Mercedes so, yeah, wonderful lady.

I   What was her reputation? Tell me the stories you heard about Laura Duncan.

R   Racing Industry/Leisure/Gender Relations

    02:19:02:18   I don’t have lots to tell. I mean, they were ummm I knew her
    to speak to briefly. My understanding is that she was a very hardworking
    woman and that she was the first ‘lady’ who dared attend the Betoota Races
    with the gentlemen. And not only attended but stood up there with them to
    have her photo taken doing the same. So ummm I think that she’s probably
    worked hard most of her life. I admire her for, you know, working that place
    by herself and yet still remained a lady and ummm, yeah, I don’t infer that
    others don’t either, you know. I don’t really know as much about her as
    probably the older generation.

I   How about Maud Schaffer? Did you ever meet Maud and what was she like?

R   Maude Schaffer

    02:20:17:20   I knew her much better than I knew Laura Duncan. She
    owned Waverney, owned Waverney Station, which was a lot closer to
    Windorah. My husband worked on Paraguay which was nearby. I saw a lot
    of her. My sister-in-law actually worked on that property for six months, my
    husband’s sister, and so yes, she I think was a tough lady, ummm quite
    tough. I met her husband as well. He appeared to be a much quieter man.
    Ummm the thing that caught my attention about her the most was the amount
    of opal rings she managed to fit on all fingers. Yeah, I don’t sort of have a
    lot to say about her really. I guess …
I   I’d love you to just give me a sentence that has her name in it – Maud
    Schaffer – and am I to take it that you didn’t like her much? I want you to be

R   Race Relations

    02:21:26:20    No, it … no, I don’t think that she was a lady, given our age
    difference. Ummm I don’t think she was a lady that was easy to get to know.
    I’m not suggesting she was inhospitable but I was a teenager, or in my early
    twenties, during those years and she was a much, much older woman. She
    actually retired from Waverney, Maud Schaffer did, while we were at
    Currawilla and moved down near Toowoomba to live.                 She had an
    Aboriginal fellow working for her for many, many years, Johnny Costello, a
    lovely man who probably took on the role of carer, to some degree, when
    they moved down to Toowoomba. But I didn’t have a lot to do with her,
    even though I saw her at every function that she attended in Windorah. She
    was more to the age group of the Miss Kidds from Mayfield, Mr and Mrs
    Kidd from Ourdel that older generation, so I didn’t have a lot to do with her.

I   Would that have also been a class difference? Would owners of stations not
    talk so much to staff on stations or am I getting quite the wrong idea there?

R   Class
    02:22:56:14    Never. I never ever found that to be the case and I’m sure that
    others would agree that you would find that to be more common with
    managers, some managers of properties. I don’t believe, in my own mind,
    that owners of properties ever had a class distinction problem and yet, there
    have been managers in the south-west during the past years that have had an
    attitude towards the working class of people.

I   That’s interesting, isn’t it? Why do you reckon there’s that difference?

R   02:23:48:18    I don’t know and I don’t think that it’s probably so common
    west of Windorah. As you move in closer it seems to be happening more so
    and it amused me at times to observe this and to have known owners of
    much, much bigger places who treated their workmen as equals, and then to
    see managers of much smaller properties treat workmen as workmen or as a
    lower class citizen. I have witnessed that over the years but, as I said, I know
    I’m repeating … I really do feel that it’s less common the further west you

I   I’d like you to tell me that thing you just said about Miss Schaffer. Did you
    feel like you really knew Miss Schaffer?

R   02:25:12:16    No, no. I felt that ummm that Miss … my opinion is that she
    was a working woman and not so much a social lady.              If there was a
    comparison to be made, I think that Laura Duncan ummm was probably
    more sociable than Mrs Schaffer, yes. I think that she is a lady who I
    probably knew for years and yet didn’t know at all, whereas with Miss
    Duncan I did feel that, you know, I could sit and become quite chatty with
    her the first time that we met, but I didn’t … I can’t recall a lengthy
    conversation that I ever had with Mrs Chaffer.

I   What role did Mrs Chaffer’s husband take on the property as opposed to the
    role that Mrs Chaffer took?

R   History/Alcohol/Scaffers
    02:26:17:06    Ummm Walter Schaffer passed away shortly after I moved to
    the area. My opinion would be that he played a quieter role in the family, or
    the marriage. Every time I hear his name I just associate him with the
    closing of the Jaycee, you know, because he actually bought that hotel and
    closed it down so that his ringers couldn’t drink there. And so he’ll always
    be remembered, I’m sure, each time we drive past the ruins there. I suppose
    I feel a little disappointed that that happened. The building was still standing
    when I first moved into this country and, yeah, so that was a shame I guess.

I   I heard that story that it was Maud that had the Jaycee closed down.

R   Yes, well this is the chance you take, too, I suppose. If you give an opinion
    and it may have been her and the story was told to me that it was her
    husband, so yes, and I wouldn’t know because it was most certainly closed
    well and truly and deteriorating by the early sixties.
I   Is this an area where you get lots of stories about people? Do you often hear
    that you get two different stories, slightly different, because it’s a small
    community with people passing on information?

R   History
    02:28:04:00    Yes, yes, yes. We discussed that. Especially now that the
    museum is open in Windorah and we have the museum here and we’ve had
    school centenaries, so you come face to face, you meet this problem face to
    face, and you know we’ve put much emphasis on the importance of getting it
    right and how do we get it right because the information that we collect
    comes from these people and if there are two conflicting stories and the event
    was many years ago, we don’t really know, so I guess we could probably
    judge that on ratio as to how many have told us story (a) and how many
    people have passed on story (b).         It’s a sad part of losing that older
    generation from the west and I think we are rapidly. They’re either passing
    away or moving away. So, yeah …

I   Could you think of an example that would come to mind where you’ve heard
    one story one way and one the other? Other than the …

R   02:29:15:14    The one that we just spoke about. I can’t recall one, no I’m
    sorry, but that’s not because there aren’t any.         It does happen where,
    especially when you are collecting data for the things like a school centenary
    which we had here at Easter time, the Windorah Development Board with
    the Cooper Bridge Jubilee last year. I mean, we discussed these things.
    They’re ongoing discussions but they pass. It’s not something that I sort of
    have ticked up any particular story. I probably would, with a little more
    time, because as recently as the end of last year Jeannie and I had several
    discussions over conflicting stories that were told for the Cooper Bridge
    Jubilee too but fortunately enough there was somebody around who was
    actually there, you know, at the time that that story happened and they were
    able to say, ‘Well, no, this one is correct’. So whenever that can happen,
    you’re right, but when the older generation, you know, pass on, well I
    suppose it’ll be very difficult then to find out fiction from non-fiction.
I   And tell me, Bev, how you landed up in Jundah.

R   Childbirth/Currawilla
    02:30:41:16    Ummm that decision was a slow one. Probably … I had a
    miscarriage at Currawilla. It’s not the sole reason but it was a deciding
    factor, I think, because I was pregnant with Raelene, the youngest daughter,
    then and I think that both Graham and I … we talked about it. He ummm
    was ready to leave, probably more so than I at the time but because I had had
    a miscarriage while I was there and circumstances that surrounded that, some
    of them hadn’t changed on the property and I think that he sort of felt that
    perhaps it was time to come in closer, lessen the workload. Ummm I had
    been teaching our three children then, correspondence, or distance ed, and …
    but there were a lot of factors that, you know, I probably won’t discuss
    because I know that there are women out there that taught their children and
    they did cook for the station and they did ummm cope with that. I was
    coping too but medical reasons would probably sum that up with this second
    pregnancy and so as not to go through a second miscarriage and ummm …
    and I was ten years older than I was when we had the other children, so for
    medical reasons would probably sum that up and we moved in closer, and
    that is why we left Currawilla when we did, and as quickly as we did. We
    made the decision fairly quickly and … I think we regretted that move a lot
    of times during later years.

I   Because on a station you’re isolated from medical help, aren’t you?

R   02:32:47:14    Well, I think that that can be a misconception too. You know,
    having had the years … the years during which I had the first three children,
    we did live in Toowoomba and Brisbane ummm and I honestly believe that I
    could wait for as long to see even a private doctor in Brisbane as I’ve ever
    waited over the years out here for the Flying Doctor plane to land. So I’m
    not … I think medical isolation can be exaggerated in that respect ummm yet
    sometimes if you do have a life-threatening case, it may make the difference
    if you did have, and of course it would make the difference at times. I can’t
    recall an incident, though, fortunately …        02:32:47:14