52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 4 – Home

28 January 2011

Gunderson young familyI’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge.

This week’s challenge is to describe the home we grew up in. This is much easier for me as my parents stayed in the same place for the whole of their married life. Not like their gypsy daughter!

We moved there shortly after my brother was born and I was still a young child. Before that we had been living in a small place behind some family friends.  It was in one of Brisbane’s western suburbs, on the side of a very steep hill and backed onto bushland. The house itself was just a smallish, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom basic home of the 1950s.

My most vivid memories however are not so much of the house itself but of the wildlife that used to be there in the 1950s and1960s. Today people don’t believe me when I say that I had to fight (scare) off the bandicoots before I could go to the old thunder box in the backyard at night. There was an owl that used to live in the tree outside my window and often scared the life out of me. Or the night I turned the light on to see heaps of green tree frogs plastered to the outside of my window – I think I screamed the house down!

We used to hand feed the kookaburras, routinely kill snakes in the backyard, sometimes even the front yard and I can still remember crying when a carpet snake got into our budgie cage. We never did find out what happened to the guinea pigs. If we were lucky the odd wallaby or two would wander in or jump past. And let’s not forget the possums!

At the bottom of the hill there was an open creek (long since filled in as it used to flood all those living below) but we used to love collecting tadpoles, fishing and yabbying not to mention swimming on hot days. Kids growing up in that area now wouldn’t even realise that you could, once upon a time, do those activities in their street.

We don’t have many photos, although I am sure that Mum must have a photo somewhere of the old house. I must ask her next time I am in Brisbane. The house is still there and surrounded by more modern homes but it has been added to and probably changed inside as well. When Dad died, Mum sold the house to live somewhere where it wasn’t so hard to look after the yard and garden. It was, sadly, the end of an era.

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  1. It sounds like heaven with all that wildlife! I remember catching tadpoles as a kid. My current house has a creek running along behind and we often have green tree frogs on the windows, and sometimes other kinds as well. The noise on summer nights of frogs, cicadas, owls and late-arriving cockatoos is enough to keep anyone awake!

  2. Thanks for a very interesting description -and also for reminding me about the bandicoots. We had them too but not at the point where you had to fend them off. Does anyone see them in Brisbane anymore I wonder?

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